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.

 

 

Coming Up: The Alaska Highway Road Show

If you like storytelling, don’t miss the Alaska Highway Roadshow on July 6th in the Grande Prairie Museum Community Room at 7:00 PM. Only 100 tickets are available and they are selling fast at $10.00.  Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance from the Grande Prairie Museum (Cash Only)

Performers Bill Dolan, Alison Tubman, and Kathy Jessup have a long family history in the north, and they have created an entertaining look back at the history of the Alaska Highway through research, family stories, music, artifacts, and photographs.

Raised as “highway kids,” they lend an authentic voice to this ninety-minute tribute concert. Audiences will gain an appreciation of why the Alaska Highway deserves to be Canada’s newest National Historic Site and why truckers and all those who’ve called it home over the years proudly share a special bond. The Trail of ’42 is a remarkable story, and as the Highway reaches its 75th birthday, this is the time to tell it!

Upcoming Cemetery Tours

South Peace Regional Archives is hosting two cemetery tours this summer and we’re inviting you to join in!

On Tuesday, July 4 and Friday, August 25 at 7:00 PM we will be hosting our annual cemetery walking tours.  Join us at the Grande Prairie Cemetery (84 Avenue and 112 Street) to discover the rich and interesting history of Grande Prairie and area through the lives and stories of its people.  Our tour will highlight the lives of those who served in the two world wars.  Please note that this will be the same tour that was given last summer.

Call the Archives at 780-830-5105 to register (limit of 25 participants per tour)

It’s Coming!

Mark your calendars and start prepping your costume! The 2016 Friends of the Archives fall fundraiser is booked for Saturday, October 15, 2016 at the Pomeroy Hotel. We are gearing up for a fun-filled, barn-dance themed event and we want to see you there! Watch our webpage for more details: www.southpeacearchives.org/friends-spra

The Horse Drive of Harry Adair in Review

Now that our website is back online and fully repaired, check out the photographs of the July 12th fundraiser!

We had a great time at the Horse Drive of Harry Adair!  The weather was perfect, the content was riveting, and the Scenic Heights Players did a great job with the play.  Thanks again to all our volunteers, our donors, and the Scenic Heights community. We had a profit of just over $7,000 on the event and a nice donation of $10,000 for our building fund from one of the attendees, so that made it a very profitable event!

Roping instruction

Roping instruction

Crowds in the stands, waiting for the play to begin

Crowds in the stands, waiting for the play to begin

Leslie Gordon interviews Gary Dixon

Leslie Gordon interviews Gary Dixon

Charlie Penson, MC and President of the Friends Society

Charlie Penson, MC and President of the Friends Society

Musicians

Musicians

The chuckwagon

The chuckwagon

The players

The players

The bear that scared the horses

The bear that scared the horses

Last Call for Tickets!

Hello all;

This is a last call for tickets for the Harry Adair Horse Drive Open Air Play and Barbecue!  We have about forty left from our top number of two hundred tickets.

And here’s another story about Harry Adair.

This is the best photo we have of Harry Adair.  It is called “Paying an Election Bet” (SPRA 032.08.08.0585) and is dated July 2, 1917.  Harry was involved in politics at many levels.  He was on the first Council for the Rural Municipality of Bear Lake when it was formed in December 1912, and he ran in the Provincial Election in 1917 but lost to banker William Innes.  You can read about it in the news clipping below.

What surprised me, though, was his support of feminist politician and social activist Nellie McClung.  The clipping here, dated October 5, 1920, gives a taste of community life at the Adair ranch.

October 5, 1920

October 5, 1920

July 10, 1917

July 10, 1917

Coming Soon – the Horse Drive of Harry Adair

Houses on the Adair Ranch. From 1929-1942 the Bartsch Family loved in one of these houses and the Cornelius Toews Family in the other, ca. 1930

Houses on the Adair Ranch after they were sold in the late 1920s. From 1929-1942 the Bartsch Family lived in one of these houses and the Cornelius Toews Family in the other, ca. 1930

What do you know about Harry Adair? How he heard about the Peace Country, we don’t know, but Harry Adair set out from Montana in 1906 with 700 head of horses, assisted only by three women relatives and a few wranglers. He finally arrived here in 1909 and established a 2,200 acre ranch northwest of the fledgling community of Saskatoon Lake. Grande Prairie City wasn’t even a dream then. By 1913, he was seeding 900 acres of crop; and by 1917, 1300 acres, the largest ranch in the Peace Country. His ranch buildings, seen in the photos above, were the center of community life in that area. For the story about that exciting horse drive from Montana to the Grande Prairie, you’ll have to come to the Open Air Play on July 12th!

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 16, 1916

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 16, 1916

Grande Prairie Herald ~ May 20, 1913

Grande Prairie Herald ~ May 20, 1913

SPRA Annual General Meeting 2015

 In spite of the wintry weather on Saturday, we had a good turnout for our annual general meeting.

Maureen Curry, director of the Grande Prairie Public Library, receiving the Beth Sheehan Archives Award for the library's valuable contributions to and partnership with the South Peace Regional Archives.

Maureen Curry, director of the Grande Prairie Public Library, received the Beth Sheehan Archives Award for the library’s valuable contributions to and partnership with the South Peace Regional Archives.

Kathryn Auger received an award for contributing more than 1000 hours to the archives as a volunteer.

Kathryn Auger received an award for contributing more than 1000 hours to the archives as a volunteer.

David Leonard shared with us his passion for the Peace Country Land Settlement Database project.

David Leonard shared with us his passion for the Peace Country Land Settlement Database project.

Thank you to everyone who came out to join us and we’ll look forward to seeing you next year!

Researching Your Family History

Have you thought about exploring your family tree? Or have started and have hit a road block? The South Peace Regional Archives has partnered with the Grande Prairie Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society to bring to you a free workshop focusing on your family tree.

There will be classes that will help you further your research, compile it into a story as well we will show you how to preserve special documents or photographs. With that in mind we have printers on-hand to walk you through the process of publishing your family book so it can be shared with a wider audience.

We are very excited to have vendors who will be giving demos of their products. Shop the Hound has the Flip-Pal Scanner which is a wonder for scanning those old photos, there will be scrapbooking tables, preservation supplies, demonstrations, and displays.

Grab a friend, come to the Golden Age Centre on Feb. 17th and start climbing your family tree!

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