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u 100th Anniversary of the Armistice Continued from page 1


Canadian forces were forced to fill the gap. Two days later, the Canadian forces


busy, instead of going to the rail station to welcome home a son. There were mothers who tried not to think of the room upstairs that would never be used again. Young widows would sleep alone that night and would for so many years. Children sat in their classrooms, or lay in their bed at night, and tried to re- member what their fathers had looked like.


It had been so different in the summer


of 1914. The sequence of events which began with the assassination of the Aus- trian Archduke Francis Ferdinand in the obscure city of Sarajevo in June, built from crisis to crisis through the long hot summer. In early August, following the march of German troops into neu- tral Belgium, Britain declared war on Germany. In 1914 Canadian links with the old country, the monarchy, and the Empire were very close. We read the British authors, celebrated Victoria Day with great enthusiasm and read the lat- est cricket and soccer scores from the old country in our daily papers. Thus, when news of the outbreak of hostilities reached Canada, the newspa- pers and politicians were unanimous in endorsing Canada’s participation in the war. For the average Canadian, it was a simple matter – the mother country was at war, so Canada was at war – that was all there was to it. Every able-bodied male was expected to do his part, to serve king and country. The great ma- jority of the men and youths were eager


were again subject to a gas attack. Those who hunkered down in their trenches were killed horribly by the heavier than air gas. But many others survived by holding urine-soaked rags and kerchiefs over their mouths and noses. (This ac- tion helped to neutralize the chlorine gas.) At the Battle of Loos, in 1915, Gen- eral Haig sent close to 10,000 men out into no man’s land in broad daylight with no smoke and only a light artil- lery bombardment. The Germans en- trenched behind their barbed wire could hardly believe their eyes; ten lines of extended column. In three-and-a-half hours, it was wiped out. The loss to the British was 385 officers and 7,861 men, over 80 per cent. The Germans lost not one man. But the War to end all Wars wasn’t


over until 1918, and it wasn’t glorious, and it wasn’t fun. In The Great War, nearly


The War continued to the bitter end. On November 11,


10,000,000 combatants died. 1918,


Canadian


to enlist for they were familiar only with the glory of war, not the death. One young man was reported to have said, “It’ll probably be all over before I can get in on the fun.” Reality soon disproved the romantic


notion of war as a sport. One of the first battles involving Canadian troops oc-


JOHN ORLIKOW


CITY COUNCILLOR | RIVER HEIGHTS/FORT GARRY WARD “ Praising what is lost makes


the remembrance dear. William Shakespeare


510 Main Street, Winnipeg, MB R3B 1B9 (204) 986-5236 | jorlikow@orlikow.ca


orlikow.ca follow me:


Remembering our Veterans, our brave men and women in uniform, and their famillies.


/DougEyolfson @DougEyolfson @DougEyolfson dougeyolfson.ca


204-984-6432


doug.eyolfson@parl.gc.ca 3092 Portage Avenue Winnipeg, MB, R3K 0Y2


curred at Ypres in Belgium. On April 22, 1915, the Germans released more than 160 tonnes of chlorine gas to- ward Canadian and the French-Algerian troops defending their trenches against the Kaiser’s forces. The mysterious yel- low-green cloud hit the French colonial troops hardest, and when they broke,


troops under General Horne captured the Belgian border town of Mons. Win- nipeggers received notification of the surrender at 1:51 in the morning of the 11th and, gradually, the celebrations grew to a crescendo. When the guns fell silent at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, the cost in human suffering had been staggering. Close to 60,000 Cana- dians were dead; one in eight Canadian men of military age had become a ca- sualty. Tens of thousands would live on in veterans’ hospitals for forty, fifty, sixty years – amputees, human vegetables, men with their lungs destroyed by gas attacks. That these men and women are remembered dutifully by their next of kin, and only occasionally by Canadians during the two-minute silence each No- vember 11, should beg the question: “Is two minutes of remembrance enough?” Tom Dercola was a History teacher for several decades.


Dr. Doug Eyolfson, MP Lest We Forget


Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley


We remember them


204-944-1049 3723 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3K 2A8


Connect with us online www.lifestyles55.net | Facebook: Lifestyles55 | Twitter: @Lifestyles55 6 www.lifestyles55.net November 2018





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