Remembrance Day 2014 Marks the 100th Anniversary of World War 1
Beginning September 20, Nelson’s local museum, Touchstones, began hosting an exhibit called: Bringing the War Home: 3-D Images from the Battlefields of WWI. The exhibit lasts until November 23.
On November 11, Remembrance Day, the museum will be open from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and all donations will go to the Nelson Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
One-hundred years ago this year, the world experienced what was called The Great War. When William Sturgeon returned to Nelson after his tour of duty, he brought with him images to help show his fellow townspeople what he had just seen. The newly invented of stereoscopic images helped him through 3-D imagery, bringing the horrors of the front line to Nelson.
The images, even to this day, are haunting. Impossible to describe, the experiences of World War 1 often left people shell shocked — what we today refer to as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
People tried, though. From a recent article by Sylvia Crooks in the Nelson Star, originally published in Home News for Canadian Soldiers, the Daily News, July 22, 1915: “In the trenches, one does not speak so complacently of dying and sacrifice and victory as do those who are left behind. One who is here makes the best he can of the bitter necessity of suffering and death.”
54th Battalion — The Kootenay’s Canadian Infantry Battalion in the Great War
For some striking images of the Kootenay men and women affected by the Great War, please take a moment to look through this web page. Sylvia Crooks, in her research on the men who died in World War 1 from the Kootenays, noticed that 4 times as many were listed on the cenotaph than those from World War 11, even though very similar numbers enlisted.
She says, in an article in the Nelson Star, that these men were fighting a modern war with Victorian battle plans. “These men were walking into wave after wave of machine gun fire,” she says.
Touchstones Museum Thankful for Images
Curator Rod Taylor worked with the family of William Sturgeon and local historian Steve Kobs in helping make this exhibit possible. It’s a very real way to experience what it may have felt like, 100 years ago, to witness the horrors of modern war and then attempt to relay those experiences to his hometown.
Though the images are in black and white, they are graphic, and so may be disturbing for some people. If you are able to visit Nelson for Remembrance Day, however, this exhibit is a stirring tribute to those who gave their lives one hundred years ago, in what was perhaps began as a more innocent time.
If you need more information about accommodation in Nelson while you are here, please visit the Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism website. Nelson has a selection of historic B&Bs as well as heritage hotels to make your Remembrance Day visit that much more special.