Friday, November 22, 2019

Hell On Earth

Dogfight is the title of this 1919 painting by John Armstrong Turnbull, depicting the fierce aerial combat of the First World War.

One of those combatants was Roy Brown, who came from Carleton Place, not far from here, and survived the war. His medals and logbook are part of the Museum collection. Brown has the distinction of being the man who downed the Red Baron- though there's some controversy to this day as to if the fatal wound came from Australian ground troops firing up at the Baron. Brown is still credited regardless, and in ending the Baron's life, he probably did him a favour. Had von Richthofen survived the war, he would have surely become a propaganda tool for the Nazis. This way the Red Baron's legacy is unstained, and he remains a highly respected aviator.

Before leaving this area, a panel examines the importance of Vimy Ridge. The battle can be said to be a pivotal moment in our history; the First World War and the tough reputation of Canadian soldiers throughout gave the country a place on the world stage. 

The home front is also examined with artifacts, panels, and photographs here. It includes family photographs- soldiers home from the war or soon to go back to it posing with their wives and children.

The path moves on to examine the Battle of Passchendaele, a hard fought victory for Canadian troops in 1917. From everything I've ever read or seen about it, if ever there was a hell on earth, it was Passchendaele.

A replica of an area of the battlefield has been constructed here- something that wouldn't be out of place in other parts of the front. Shell holes, equipment, and bodies pounded into the mud. 

This is the uniform of Alma Florence Finnie, a nursing sister from Bailieboro, Ontario. She went to France and tended to the wounded along with many other women. The blue colour got them the nickname bluebirds.

Arthur Currie was the senior Canadian officer of the war, a methodical general who proved more capable than many of his European counterparts, willing to adapt to circumstances and not stay true to the Napoleonic era tactics that for four years were doing little but getting masses of men slaughtered. His presentation sword is part of the museum collection.

Thomas Ricketts of Newfoundland was 17 when he won the Victoria Cross for bravery under fire in October 1918. Boys lying about their age and going off to war when they should have been chasing girls. And some of them never coming home.


  1. Powerful picture!
    And the pond, what can I say. Even the survivors were destroyed in their minds, Hubby´s Grandfather was.
    Sad that people don´t learn from this, ever.

  2. het is altijd interresant en heel leerzaam om je geschiedenis de revue te laten passeren.

  3. Nice to see a CP shoutout. And the nurses too.

  4. What I've read and seen about the First World War shows it was really hell on earth.
    But I can't help it, every time I hear the name von Richthofen or the Red Baron, I always have to think with a smile on "Snoopy vs The Red Baron" by The Royal Guardsmen (https: // www) / watch? v = 8vMomifl-EY)

  5. Dogfights in the air and on the ground are both hell on earth. whether planes or canines.... Janis GDP

  6. @Iris: a whole generation shattered.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Bas: thanks.

    @Susie: indeed.

    @Anvilcloud: I agree.

    @Jan: everything I have ever heard of the Baron, he was an honourable man.

  7. ...Hell has raised its ugly head too many times throughout history.

  8. This section makes me a bit sad.

  9. Oh Man, Sombering Images - But Thats History

  10. Another fascinating look at Canadian history.

  11. The painting 'Dogfight' is fabulous William.. lots of interesting reading here ✨

  12. Good man, Roy Brown!

    I read just recently about the act which won the Victoria Cross for Tommy Ricketts. Incredible feat!

  13. The replica is very striking. And the painting, too.

  14. Powerful and well organized
    Thank you for the photos and explanations.
    God Bless Canada

  15. It is hard to imagine the number of deaths that happened to so many young guys.

  16. I find these old family photos very impressive.

  17. A sad look at human history. War is not the answer.

  18. Happy Weekend, William.
    Also, I can't get a hold of Norma.
    If possible, please tell her I'm thinking of her.
    Thanks and boogie boogie.

  19. Yes, I suspect if more people could see the real aftermath of a battle, there would be no more war.

  20. wow, like the nun nurse attire. very cool uniform. have a super great happy weekend!! take care. ( ;

  21. @Janis: thank you.

    @Tom: that's true.

    @Sharon: me too.

    @Padre: it is.

    @DJan: thanks.

    @Grace: it is dynamic.

    @Marie: stories like Ricketts strike me particularly- these guys did things that by all rights should have been impossible.

    @Nancy: I do too.

    @Tamago: the replica brings it home.

    @Janey: I certainly think so.

    @Maywyn: you're welcome.

    @RedPat: an entire generation, shattered by it.

    @Marleen: so do I.

    @Bill: that is true.

    @Bill: there is indeed.

    @Whisk: I'll let her know.

    @Revrunner: definitely.

    @Beth: thank you.

  22. Thank you for these very interesting exhibits William.

  23. I am glad that their stories have been preserved in this moving exhibition.

  24. So much of information about the war and its bravehearts!

  25. No part of that war was easy. The diorama of the Battle of Passchendaele certainly brings home the horror of war.

  26. Hell on earth, indeed. Oh, when I think of Passchendaele... what a tragedy.

  27. War has got to definitely be 'Hell on Earth' ~ Great post and photos ^_^

    Happy Day to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  28. Very good post and a very accurate title.

  29. This was a moving post. It is a very good exhibition and you've covered it very well in your photographs.

    All the best Jan