Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Death At Home And At The Battlefield

Land Girls Hoeing is the title of this painting by war artist Manly MacDonald, showing women at work on the home front.

The debate arose about the issue of conscription as more and more men died during the war and there needed to be replacements. It would lead to divisions in the country, and a bitter election campaign between the sitting prime minister, Robert Borden, seen at left, and a former prime minister, Liberal leader Wilfred Laurier, seen at right.

Propaganda posters at home are seen here; civilians were expected to make their own sacrifices and efforts as part of the war effort. 

The Halifax Explosion occurred on December 6th, 1917, involving the collision of two ships in the harbour at Halifax. One was a munitions ship heading for Europe; the resulting explosion was one of the largest prior to the detonation of atomic bombs, with thousands of deaths and casualties. The painting at top is by Arthur Lismer, a member of the Group of Seven, who was a war artist during this period. It is titled Convoy In Bedford Basin.

Shrapnel from one of the ships, and a pair of medals for bravery for sailors who tried to help after the collision.

1917 would also see another battle of huge scale and cost for Canadians. Passchendaele would be fought for months and the ridge captured by Canadians, but the casualties were enormous. From all I've read of it, Passchendaele was one of those battles that rates as close as it comes to hell on earth.

Always harrowing to see: a recreation of Passchendaele one can walk through, with a large scale photograph on the wall winding around you, and recreations of items in the mud, including a body. A century on, how many bodies are still out there, pounded deep into the earth of the western front?

Two Canadians who fought at Passchendaele. George Pearkes won the Victoria Cross for his actions during the battle and survived the war.

Another major, Talbot Papineau, was killed while leading his troops in battle.


  1. To live as usual - we try that again...

  2. War is something we can do without. Already many lives have been lost in the covid war.

  3. I prefer the first, the most peaceful image in this series.

  4. @Italiafinlandia: indeed.

    @Iris: so many died.

    @Francisco: thanks.

    @Nancy: war is hell.

    @Jan: that it is.

  5. Throughout history we have said, " War is terrible, war is hell, we lose all our young men - so as soon as this one is over let's start another." It has been ever thus.

  6. How many seas must a white dove sail
    Before she sleeps in the sand
    Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
    Before they're forever banned
    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind

  7. I like that "Land Girls" painting.

  8. I'm sure that there's more to the horrors of war that we will never know.

  9. I find your historical posts very interesting William. Really makes me wonder about such things. Thank you!

  10. Another good historical exhibit ~ would be wonderful if the world learned from these ~ sigh.

    Wishing you peace in your day,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  11. I watched a series about the Land Girls. They were hard workers and certainly were a huge asset during the war.

  12. War is ugly and a waste of good young life.

  13. @David: so it has.

    @Magiceye: very fitting.

    @Tom: it has such a cost.

    @Sharon: so do I.

    @Red: much more.

  14. @RedPat: it is indeed.

    @Denise: you're welcome.

    @Carol: thank you.

    @Janey: definitely.

    @Bill: that is true.

  15. That painting of the Land Girls is terrific.

  16. I wonder if the artist's intention was to purposelly show the women's hoes in a V-formation.

  17. "One lived. One died."

    Oh, Lord. Why do we do this?

  18. The Land Girls painting is wonderful.
    I am so sick of war. The Biden pull out was awful and brutal so many lives Human and Service Dogs lost.
    We here at the border to Mexico are always fighting a war and it is revving up again.
    So tired of it all.
    That jerk is back I wonder when will he learn,,,, go away !

  19. 'Land Girls Hoeing' is a very nice painting.

    A little while ago I read a good book about the land girls, very interesting.

    All the best Jan

  20. Absolute hell. Yes, the Halifax explosion was a world event in its time always to be remembered like the Johnstown flood