War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

The Great War, The Mother of all Remembrancetides

Day 3 of the Great War Remembrancetide (a Tim Kendall term) and I’m already wanting to throw the radio into the garbage can. today on BBC 4, a Professor Gary Sheffield, an academic from Wolverhampton, was debating the historical perceptions of the Great War. only a few minutes in and he makes statements about the British fighting the war, winning the war etc. etc… NO mention of the Allies until his very last throwaway sentence. how is it that so many who served and who died for Britain, France, Belgium etc., can be so summarily ignored?

I’d like to take Professor Sheffield on a cross-country road trip of Canada (and every other corner of the earth) and stop in every single little village, every hamlet, every town, city, why even in the wilderness of the forest at Banff, and show him the little cenotaphs with all the names of the boys who didn’t come back.

or I’d like to take him to the Vimy Memorial and let him trace, with his index finger, the name of a young Pte. F. Wiberg, of small-town Alberta, a boy who lasted only a few weeks at the Somme before being vaporized or burned to death in his tank, his body never to be found. 600,000 Canadian men and women enlisted, 65,000 didn’t come home. this includes some of our nurses. and the statistics are there for all the other allies as well – including, and most often forgotten, the “brown” (non-Caucasian) soldiers and nurses from all the reaches of the earth.

this is going to be a busy few years for me. and there’s going to be a lot of revision in the narrative of the Great War. hopefully we will shift away from the concentration on the Western Front, the “Tommie” – who DID do his part, don’t get me wrong.

it’s time for a little rebalancing. Canada was there, and so was Newfoundland at Gallipoli among other places (losing most of a battalion there). we lost so many and so many gave their young years to the Great War. so let’s remember them more fully than with the little granite cairns that are central to every little settlement across our big land.


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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled The Great War, The Mother of all Remembrancetides. It was posted here on January 03, 2014.

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