I have always had an interest in, and deep passion for, Canada’s military past. A big part of this passion stems from my grandfather’s nearly 30-year career in the Canadian Army (Signals Corps). His service in Europe in World War II was one of the main reasons I fell in love with this subject, as it gave me a personal connection to it.
As I grew older, I came to appreciate how vital Canada’s military history is to the history of our country in general. Many of the events Canadians participated in and witnessed during two World Wars helped to shape Canada into the country it is today.
Before going on this trip, I had worked with our curator, Joanne White, to create a database of soldiers from the St. Albert area that served in World War I and when Dan and I were planning for this trip, I felt that as a member of the museum staff, I should try to do some research for the museum while in Europe. In the course of my research, I found that three of the men from St. Albert that died in the First World War were commemorated on the Vimy Ridge Memorial. As such, I made certain to take the time to find their names and photograph them while at Vimy. I will cover this in another post later on.
In June of this year, my friend Dan and I embarked on a nine day pilgrimage to visit the Canadian battlefield, memorials, and cemeteries of both World Wars. Over the next weeks leading up to Remembrance Day, I will share our travels with you.
|Dan and Roy on the ferry to Calais, France. White Cliffs of Dover in the background.|
|Old church in Dunkerque, France. Bullet holes can be seen to the lower right.|
|Hooge Commonwealth Cemetery|
Please visit the Musée Héritage Museum’s blog next week for Part II of our pilgrimage, where I discuss the rest of our time in Belgium, and our visit to one of the holiest of Canadian historic sites: Vimy Ridge. This entry will also cover the St. Albert connection to Vimy Ridge.