Here we have a model of a Canadian soldier during the South African War, where fighting ended up becoming guerilla warfare. Gone was the red serge of dress uniforms, and in was tan khaki uniforms.
Monday, November 27, 2023
The Global Battlefield
By and large, the South African War has long been overshadowed by the Great War, which followed only a few years later.
More uniforms and personal artifacts of that war.
This field gun would, a few years later, look like an antique compared to those of the First World War, but it served in the South African War. In the end, 7000 Canadians went to the far side of the world in service to Queen and country.
The First World War would be the great cataclysm, the end result of decades and more of imperialism, nationalism, and entangled alliances. The murder of a minor Austrian royal would drag in the better part of the world, and end with an entire generation dead, wounded, and otherwise forever haunted by its aftermath.
Canada was in it from the start.
Canada's Answer is a large painting by Norman Wilkinson, depicting the first sailing of Canadian soldiers to Europe in October 1914.
Some of the weapons of the time are found here.
John McCrae was a Canadian doctor and veteran of the South African War who served again as an artillery officer in the First World War. His poem In Flanders Fields is his best known around the world, and is inscribed on the wall. His personal revolver is displayed here as well.
Propaganda became a big factor during the war, with incidents including the murder of a British nurse, Edith Cavell. Today a mountain in the Canadian Rockies bears her name.
A story circulated on the western front that German soldiers had crucified a Canadian soldier on a barn door. Whether or not it was true, it had a propaganda value. This sculpture is titled Canada's Golgotha, by Derwent Wood