Join Dr. Geoffrey Bird, Associate Professor, as he presents on his recent battlefield pilgrimage to Ypres, Belgium, and discusses what is perhaps the most tumultuous time in Victoria’s history.
April 22, 1915, marks the first gas attack on the Western Front, and the first time Canadians were in an offensive engagement: a midnight charge to a stand of trees known as Kitcheners Wood. By morning, two thirds were either killed, wounded or missing. In the days and weeks that followed, the casualty list in local newspapers included many who called Vancouver Island home. The battle forms an important part of Canada’s cultural memory of the ‘Great War’ in many ways. For example, it was when the poem, In Flanders’ Fields, was written by John McCrae. In addition, famous paintings mythologize the battle.
Geoff will present on the experience of touring sites of memory with representatives of the Canadian regiments and next of kin who fought in the battle, exploring that tumultuous time along with the symbolism, significance and meaning for Canadians today.
Register to reserve a seat. Admission is free, with donations collected for the Poppy Fund.