Friday, November 17, 2017

War And Peace

Carrying on with the Second World War area, the effects on the home front are explored, including a series of propaganda posters of the era.

The Italian campaign has an extensive display area. This photograph from the period caught my eye.

The Normandy campaign follows. Canadians stormed Juno Beach on D-Day, with 110 ships among the Allied naval force bringing in troops and providing support. These two paintings depict the action above Juno Beach and on the beach itself that day.

There is a balcony here that looks out onto Lebreton Gallery, where military vehicles and equipment are on display.

After wrapping up the story of the Second World War, the Museum's next stage explores the Cold War through to the current day. The Korean War is a big part of that, and there are several paintings here by  an artist, Ted Zuber, done in recent years, that capture that conflict. Zuber served in that war as a young man. Welcome Party depicts a Canadian patrol coming across dead bodies in the winter.

Freeze shows another Canadian patrol halt in their steps in the light of an enemy flare.

Holding At Kap'yong features a moment in battle in mountainous country on the Korean peninsula.

A NATO control center is also recreated here, approximately what you might expect in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Simulations of what the Third World War might have unfolded as play out on the screens above.

Presented here is a model of the trustworthy Sea King helicopter.

Canadian involvement in peacekeeping operations is also featured here. This painting by Donald Connolly is titled Mail Delivery- Sinai. 

This is wreckage from a peacekeeping tragedy- fragments of a Canadian plane shot down by Syrian surface to air missiles in 1974. Nine people were killed, and it is still the single biggest loss in Canadian peacekeeping history.

There is a recreation of a Cyprus tavern here. Canadians have been involved in the peacekeeping operations there extensively.

Among the items here is a painting, Gateway To Cyprus, painted by Real Gauthier. The Paphos Gate is an old entry into the city of Nicosia. At one point it was an observation post for peacekeepers, but today serves as a police station.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Time And Conflict

A reminder to members of City Daily Photo that the theme day for the first of December is Gift.

The permanent galleries in the Canadian War Museum tell the story of Canada's military history in chronological order, beginning with conflicts between First Nations people through to European contact. The French and Indian War and the American Revolution are examined as well. During this visit, my photography began with the War of 1812. This is a model of the HMS St. Lawrence, a British navy ship built in Kingston at the time, and which lies in the harbour today after sinking years after that war.

The weapons and wampum belt seen here would be typical of First Nations allies to the British during that war. The portrait is of John Norton, also known as Teyoninhokarawan, a Cherokee warrior with a Scottish mother who had been adopted by the Mohawk chief Joseph Brant. Norton led First Nations warriors against the Americans at the Battle Of Queenston Heights.

Another leader of that war can be found here. Charles de Salabery was a rarity- a French Canadian who rose to become an officer in the regular British army. He served with distinction, commanding the light infantry regiment called the Voltigeurs Canadiens in the War of 1812.

The galleries move on in time, through events of the latter 19th century and the South African War before the extensive area dealing with the First World War. This is Canada's Answer, a large painting by Norman Wilkinson, an English artist. He captured the October 1914 sailing of ships for Europe bearing Canadian men for the war.

Another striking work of art nearby is this sculpture, based on a story that may or may not be true- that German soldiers crucified a Canadian soldier on a door.

The life of a soldier is explored among the panels and artifacts of battles. One of the displays includes things that might be found in a soldier's kit in the trenches. That includes, at the lower left, an inedible item many American Civil War soldiers might have been familiar with: hardtack. 

The Halifax Explosion of December 6th, 1917, is examined in depth, with photographs of the carnage accompanying the text, as well as pieces of one of the ships destroyed in the detonation. 

The Second World War area of the galleries opens with an examination of the state of the world during the 1930s and the forces that drew everyone into war. A painting based on action in the Atlantic drew my eye. Painted in 1944 by a lieutenant, Thomas Charles Wood, The Boarding Of The U-744 depicts sailors from the H.M.C.S. Chilliwack boarding the disabled German submarine on an intelligence gathering  run in the Atlantic.

Canadians were at war not only with Germany in the European theatre of operations, but also with Japan, and that aspect of the war is covered in this area. One of the panels examines the Japanese practice of sending balloon bombs east across the Pacific to strike at North America. One of those balloons hangs overhead.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The War Museum

I paid a visit to the Canadian War Museum on Remembrance Day. The Museum has been here at its location west of the downtown core since 2005 after outgrowing its previous location. It looks like a bunker or a massive plane, depending on angle and perspective, and is well suited to its collection.

Two particular spaces inside are critical from the design, and the Memorial Hall is one of them. It is an austere space containing one artifact: the headstone for the Unknown Soldier who lies now in his tomb at the War Memorial (his gravesite in France has another tombstone marking the location and the reason the body has been moved). The building is designed with this room as a focal point- on November 11th, at eleven in the morning, sun will shine through the overhead window and illuminate the headstone. As you can see, on Remembrance Day, the headstone attracts poppies.

There was an exhibition going on in the temporary exhibit hall about Vimy Ridge and the commemoration of war dead. It begins with a painting, William Longstaff's Ghosts Of Vimy Ridge, which depict ghosts rising up from the ridge below the Memorial at night.

This year has been the centennial year of the pivotal battle for Canadians during the First World War. The Memorial at the battle site, designed by Walter Allward, attracted a large crowd upon its opening, and is still a place for pilgrimage today.

Several of Allward's smaller scale sculptures were on display as part of this exhibition, moved over from their usual location in Regeneration Hall.

This caught my eye.

This is a model of the Memorial itself.

This is a calfskin robe done for a World War One corporal of the Kainai First Nation, Mike Mountain Horse. It depicts twelve deeds the Indigenous warrior carried out during the war.

This quilt was nearby.

I finish with two more of Allward's sculpture sets. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Paying Final Respects

After a visit to the Canadian War Museum, I returned downtown on Remembrance Day to the War Memorial, where it has become habit in the years since the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has been placed here to leave poppies after the ceremonies.

Wreaths are part of the official ceremonies, placed around each side of the Memorial, from the governor general, government and opposition leaders, the Silver Cross Mother, the youth of Canada, and then onwards. Veterans groups, military commanders, cabinet ministers, community organizations, embassies, schools, and more organizations place wreaths during the service.

Coming back around gave another view on the Tomb. It contains the remains of a Canadian soldier who was buried at Vimy Ridge a century ago, and re-interred here on what is sacred ground, right before the War Memorial. Two active servicemen, both from the Army, paused to place their poppies and give a salute in the fading light.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Salute To The Fallen

In the evenings leading up to Remembrance Day again this year, Centre Block on Parliament Hill was illuminated by a projection of poppies descending its architecture from six until midnight. Have a look at my video if you want to see this in motion.

That same evening I walked over to the War Memorial and photographed its statues in the spotlight.

This is a view of those statues from November 10th. Preparations around the Memorial for the following day's service had been well underway.

The following day I took up my usual spot northwest of the Memorial before the Remembrance Day service. Pipers from the military led the veterans out from this spot in the lead-up to the beginning of the event. Members of each service- army, navy, and air force, along with one Mountie- stand sentry at each corner of the Memorial throughout the service.

The ceremony, consisting of music, prayers and remarks in French and English (and even a First Nations language), the 21 gun salute by the field artillery, a fly past by fighter jets, and the placing of wreaths, was followed by the march past of the assembly, led by the pipers again. The veterans, members of each service branch, Mounties, students at the Royal Military College in Kingston, cadets, the Governor General's guards, and the artillery moved down this way for a march past the Governor General herself, who had participated in the ceremony.

Afterwards members of the public could come up and place wreaths or poppies on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. As you can see, it was quite packed, so I did that later in the day after coming back from the War Museum. I will have more from this day in the coming days.