10 Shows to Watch Before the Great War Gala

Get your popcorn ready! This week, we have carefully selected ten movies and series to watch before the Great War Gala. These shows explore the multifaceted aspects of the first World War, including the emotional impact of battle, the roles women, and the changes to home front. Many of these shows are available at the Grande Prairie Public Library or on Netflix, so get ready to settle in for a weekend in front of the television.

 

All Quiet on the Western Front

This movie is a must-watch based on a classic book of the same name. It follows a group of German schoolboys, convinced to enlist in WWI by their teacher. The story is told entirely through the experiences of these young German recruits and highlights the tragedy of war through the eyes of individuals.

Source: All Quiet on the Western Front, IMDB

 

Anzac Girls

The true stories of extraordinary young women who witness the brutality and heroism of war and rise to meet the challenge. Our Administrative Assistant, Teresa, recommends this mini series as it presents a women’s perspective of the front lines of the war and the challenges they faced working in a male-dominated environment. According to our records, several South Peace soldiers spent time in the field hospitals of France featured in the series.

This series is available at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: Anzac Girls, IMDB

 

A Bear Named Winnie

This film is based on the true story of a Canadian soldier, enroute to World War I from Winnipeg, who adopts an orphaned bear cub at White River Ontario. The bear is named Winnie (for Winnipeg) and eventually ends up at the London Zoo where it became the inspiration for A.A.Milne’s Winnie The Pooh stories.

This movie is available at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: A Bear Named Winnie, IMDB

Image Source: Original Pictures

 

The Wipers Times

When Captain Fred Roberts discovers a printing press in the ruins of Ypres, Belgium in 1916, he decides to publish a satirical magazine called The Wipers Times. This TV movie is recommended by our WWI Soldier’s Memorial volunteer, Kaylee. One of the soldiers from the South Peace region, Corp. Charles Harrison Sims, served in the regiment portrayed in Wipers Times.

This movie is available at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: The Wiper’s Times, IMDB

Image Source: Huffington Post

 

Testament of Youth

Testament of Youth is a coming-of-age story based on the beloved WWI memoir by Vera Brittain. Vera’s story was heralded as the voice of a generation and has become the classic testimony of that war, from a woman’s point of view. Testament of Youth encompasses youth, hope, dreams, love, war, futility, and how to make sense of the darkest times.

This series is available on Netflix or at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: Testament of Youth, IMDB

 

Downton Abbey (Series 1-2)

Downton Abbey chronicles the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 20th Century. Series one begins with the loss of the Crawley heir in the Titanic sinking and dramatically concludes with Lord Crawley sharing the news of the outbreak of WWI.  Series two spans the Great War, including narratives from Downton and the front lines. This series is recommended by our Executive Director, Alyssa, who enjoys the quality writing, beautiful costumes, and charming British wit.

This series is available on Netflix or at the Grande Prairie Public Library.
Source: Downtown Abbey, IMDB

 

War Horse

Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert’s hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.

This movie is available at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: War Horse, IMDB

Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory is an American anti-war movie based on the novel of the same name. After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses his soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them. This movie is recommend by our Archivist Josephine who feels it shows how the requirements of duty can conflict with one’s personal moral code.

Source: Paths of Glory, IMDB

 

Mr. Selfridge (Seasons 1-2)

This PBS television series centers on the real-life story of the flamboyant and visionary American founder of Selfridge’s, London’s department store. Season two highlights the impact of WWI on the home front, as the store and staff face the difficulty reality of wartime.

This series is available on Netflix or at the Grande Prairie Public Library.

Source: Mr. Selfridge, IMDB

 

Rebellion

Rebellion is a five part serial drama about the 1916 Easter Rising. The story is told from the perspectives of a group of fictional characters who live through the outbreak of WWI and subsequent political turmoil unfolding in Ireland.

This series is available on Netflix.

Source: Rebellion, IMDB

 

Lost & Found

South Peace Regional Archives’ oldest documents met up with some of their youngest ‘descendants’ Friday, 4 August. Judy, along with her two granddaughters, stopped by to look for records related to John Davis. Davis, they recently discovered, is a long-lost ancestor. As luck would have it, a copy of the will is currently on display in the Village as part of the SPRA’s History of the South Peace in Ten Documents. We brought out the Davis, Hodgson, Coulter papers, including the original will, for her see. Judy shared family history with her granddaughters as they examined the documents in the file. Besides the will, the collection includes calling cards, photographs, and mortgage papers. Judy also filled us in on some of the family history, including identifying family members in the image below. As luck would have it, she has the same photograph at home. It was a remarkable day for the archives and for the family.

Photograph: L-R. Douglas Alexander Currie; Mary Harriet Louise Davis Currie; Robert Davis Currie; George Currie, as recently identified by Judy. Mary and George Currie are her grandparents. Robert is her father and Douglas is her uncle.

~Archivist Josephine Sallis

10 Facts You May Not Have Known About World War I

1) Slugs were used to detect poison gas attacks.

Source: How did animals (even slugs) serve in World War I?

 

2) There were separate battalions, called “bantam battalions”, for short men (under 5’4″ tall).

Source: B.C. Bantams

 

3) A fake Paris was constructed to fool German pilots.

Source: Second Paris Built to Fool the Germans

 

4) By war’s end, it was estimated that 1,000 Canadian soldiers were marrying European women (mostly British) each month.

Source: Canadian War Brides of the First World War

Grande Prairie Herald ~ February 11, 1919

 

5) Pilots in the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force were not allowed to have parachutes.

Source: Wikipedia – The Royal Flying Corps

Wop May, a First World War flying ace, was the first pilot to land in Grande Prairie, ca. 1920

 

6) Daylight Savings Time was first used during the First World War as a way to conserve coal.

Source: History of Daylight Savings Time; For men used to mining – fighting in trenches was seen as an escape FROM HELL

Side view of a coal miner with hat and lamp working on a vein of coal 350 feet into a Wapiti Coal Mine, 1937

 

7) The Halifax Explosion (1917) was the largest man-made explosion to occur before the dropping of the atomic bombs in the Second World War.

Source: The Canadian War Museum – The Halifax Explosion

 

8) White feathers were frequently given to men in civilian clothing to label them as cowards, but on more than one occasion the recipient was in fact a soldier returned from the front.

Source: Wikipedia – White Feathers in World War I

“The White Feather: A Sketch of English Recruiting”, Collier’s Weekly (1914)

 

9) Tanks were categorized as ‘male’ and ‘female’. Female tanks had only machine guns, while male tanks had a 6-pounder cannon.

Source: Wikipedia – British Heavy Tanks of World War I

 

10) During the Christmas of 1914, Allied and German soldiers met in ‘No Man’s Land’ to exchange greetings, gifts, and play football.

Source: Wikipedia – Christmas Truce

 

Compiled by Kaylee Dyck

Save the Date

The Friends of the South Peace Regional Archives invites you to save the date for our upcoming fall event, the Great War Gala. This event will be a night to remember with dinner, dancing, displays from our collections, and more.

A silent and live auction will be held to raise money for the South Peace Regional Archives. Sponsorship opportunities are available; if you would like to receive information on our sponsorship opportunities or be added to our contact list for tickets please call or email the archives at 780-830-5105 or director@southpeacearchives.org.

Every Thursday leading up to the event, our blog will have feature a lighthearted list to prepare you for the Gala; we will be showcasing fun facts, great reads, fashion trends, famous battles, and trench slang.

 

 

Forgotten Triumph: The Battle of Hill 70

O guns, fall silent till the dead men hear
Above their heads the legions pressing on:
(These fought their fight in time of bitter fear,
And died not knowing how the day had gone.)

Tell them, O guns, that we have heard their call,
That we have sworn, and will not turn aside,
That we will onward till we win or fall,
That we will keep the faith for which they died.

(excerpt from “The Anxious Dead” [1917], believed to be the final poem penned by John McCrae before his death)

 

Following the Canadians’ remarkable victory at Vimy Ridge, the British High Command decided to attack the coal-mining city of Lens with the purpose of diverting the attention of the German Army away from Passchendaele. The plan was to storm the city directly, but Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie, the newly-appointed commander of the Canadian Corps, knew that such action would be far too costly and of little benefit to the Allies. Lens may have been heavily fortified, but Currie knew that if his men could take control of the high ground surrounding the city, particularly Hill 70, the Germans would have no choice but to counter-attack in order to defend their stronghold. As at Vimy Ridge, Currie’s judgement and planning proved to be impeccable once again.

In the early hours of August 15, 1917, Canadian troops began the attack by seizing the trenches around Hill 70. Though the Germans had predicted the assault quite accurately, most objectives were reached early in the day. By 9am, the enemy had begun to retaliate, but with no success. The high ground of Hill 70 was captured by nightfall. Over the next four days, there were 21 counter-attacks in which the Germans used mustard gas and flamethrowers in addition to machine gun fire and hand-to-hand combat. But the gallant Canadians remained impenetrable – they were not to be shaken.

While later Allied attacks on the city of Lens itself did not prove successful, Lieutenant-General Currie and his men had achieved the desired goal of diverting the Germans’ attention away from Passchendaele and weakening their defenses. An estimated 25,000 enemy soldiers were wounded or killed at Hill 70, while Canada suffered approximately 9,000 casualties.

It is rather ironic that this battle was staged in order to simultaneously succeed at Passchendaele, yet it was not until the Canadian troops were deployed from Lens to Passchendaele that Passchendaele was captured. A great tribute to the boys and men who became known as the “Shock Army” or “Storm Troopers” of the British Empire – epithets used not only by the Allies, but by the Germans as well!

To read about the experiences of South Peace soldiers who fought in the Battle of Hill 70, please visit our Soldiers’ Memorial page. Here are the names of a few men who were wounded, killed, or decorated during this particular battle: George Agar, John Cahoon, Donald Francis Coffey, Andrew Elliot, Lacy Gully, Henry Jack Head, Charles William Alfred Herbert, and John Jaundraw.

Grande Prairie Herald ~ August 21, 1917

Sources:

Hill70.ca

The Canadian Encyclopedia – Hill 70

The Canadian War Museum – Hill 70

https://legionmagazine.com/en/2017/07/attack-on-hill-70/

Sheffield, Gary. The First Word War Remembered. London: Carlton Books Limited, 2014. Print.

Work in Progress – Bill Turnbull “Weaving Lives”

Still at this project. In my defense, it is a huge collection. Bill was a teacher for over 40 years and active in the running community. An avid photographer, he produced thousands of photographs that remind me of this quote: “Every person’s story weaves in and out of another person’s story.” The photographs I’m describing now which depict the Brian Harms Memorial Run are a touching example of this.

Brian Harms began running in 1976 and became one of the top runners in provincial track and cross- country. He switched to road running in 1980 and competed in the first Jasper-Banff Relay that year. Brian Harms was also a founding member of the Wapiti Striders Road Running Club of Grande Prairie. At the time of his death in November 1986, he was the club president.

In his honour, the club changed the name of their 10-mile road race to the Brian Harms Memorial Run. It is touching to see friends and family running and walking in his memory year after year, with new names cropping up as time goes on. Young and old alike are enjoying an activity with a group Brian was instrumental in forming. He touched so many lives then and continues to do so today.

I feel very privileged to be able to work with these records and witness how peoples’ lives intersect. There are some great people and stories waiting here at the South Peace Regional Archives. Hopefully, yours will be here one day waiting for someone to find you again and marvel at all the lives you touched.

By Archivist Josephine Sallis

South Peace Regional Archives Welcomes New Executive Director

The South Peace Regional Archives is pleased to welcome Alyssa Currie, who has taken over the role of Executive Director this week. Currie succeeds Mary Nutting who retired from her post.

Currie was born and raised in Dawson Creek before attending the University of Northern British Columbia where she completed her Bachelors of Arts in English and History, then going to the University of Victoria, where she is currently completing her Masters of Arts. Her previous experience includes working as an Assistant Curator at the Pouce Coupe Museum, Student Archivist at Library and Archives Canada, and as a Recruitment Officer at the University of Victoria.

Currie will draw upon her previous work and academic experiences, as well as her personal connection to the area. “I look forward to bringing the history of the South Peace region into the present and the future,” she remarks, stressing that “this work would not be possible without the generous support of the Archive’s municipal partners, donors, and community members.”

The South Peace Regional Archives continues its commitment to gathering, preserving, and sharing the historical records of the region. The archives enrich people’s lives by increasing their understanding and appreciation of the past.

For more information, please contact:

Alyssa Currie, Executive Director
780-830-5105
director@southpeacearchives.org

Surprise Party at the Archives

On Thursday, June 29, staff and volunteers surprised South Peace Regional Archives’ founder and executive director Mary Nutting with a potluck luncheon, celebrating her achievements in preserving the history of the South Peace.  We’ll miss Mary’s presence and expertise at the archives after her retirement, but we know she’ll continue to support the archives and pursue her passion for history.

All the best, Mary!

A gift of Depression glass and flowers for Mary from the museum

Karen Burgess presenting Mary with her gift from the archives staff

“A party without cake is just a meeting.” ~Julia Child

It Takes a Community

The archives is the proud owner of a wonderful new-to-us map cabinet.

A big thank you goes to Weyerhaeuser for donating it to house our maps.

Getting the cabinet to the archives was no easy feat and we would like to send out thank yous to:

  1. The County for transporting the cabinet to us.
  2. Willie Braun for making the trolley for our cabinet to sit on
  3. Parks for giving us a hand getting the cabinet off the truck
  4. City Transport for their willingness to be here and assist with the off-loading
  5. Tim Moore from the GP Museum for always helping us out

Just like our pioneers who came together to work on big projects the archives appreciates all their friends who help us out when we need it!

Hythe Homecoming Collection on SPRA Website

A new collection from the Hythe Homecoming committee has been uploaded to our website.  The collection consists of photographs and documents that were collected by Grace Wideman for the Memory Lane at the Homecoming. The pictures truly tell the story of Hythe through the years 1927-2007, including photos of students, businesses, sporting events, community buildings, and much more.

Six kids on bikes on Main Street Hythe, Alberta, l-r: Gary Reid, Jane Inkster, Brenda Smith, Vernon Mutch, Brock Smith and Jim Moody. Dixon & Hill Store and 2 cafes in the backgroumd, one being the U.N. Café.

Visit Hythe Homecoming 2016 fonds on our website to read more about the collection and enjoy as you tour through Memory Lane.