New exhibition traces First World War’s lasting legacy in Newfoundland and Labrador

June 14, 2016


For immediate release

Ottawa, Ontario, June 14, 2016 — The Canadian War Museum is commemorating a sombre centenary with a photographic exhibition. Traces of the First World War – Newfoundland and Labrador examines the impact and legacy of a world-changing conflict for what is now Canada’s easternmost province.

“This exhibition illustrates how profoundly the First World War, and especially the tragedy of war, affected people, communities, politics and culture in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador,” says Stephen Quick, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “Traces of the First World War – Newfoundland and Labrador reveals how pride, trauma and grief affected people at home and overseas, and how the war still influences ideas, opinions and reflections in so many ways, from literature and the arts to war memorials and family histories.”

Traces of the First World War – Newfoundland and Labrador introduces a diverse cast of real-life characters, brought to life through photographs and information drawn from various collections, including The Rooms and the Centre for Newfoundland Studies at Memorial University. Meet Leonard Stick, the first person to join the colony’s newly formed Newfoundland Regiment in 1914, and John Shiwak, an Inuk trapper and hunter from Labrador who became the Regiment’s top marksman. Find out how a Quebec-born teacher named Armine Nutting Gosling helped establish the basis for post-war women’s rights and improved public health and child welfare in Newfoundland and Labrador. And discover how the award-winning trio, The Ennis Sisters, honours the memory of the fallen through song.

A separate special display of historical photos, entitled July 1, 1916 – The Somme and Beaumont-Hamel, will hang next to Traces of the First World War – Newfoundland and Labrador until July 20, 2016. All of the photos in this special display are tied to the fighting at Beaumont-Hamel, a short-lived but devastating battle that decimated the Newfoundland Regiment on July 1, 1916. Of the 801 men sent that morning to seize German trenches, 233 were killed, 386 were wounded and 91 were reported missing. It was just the first day of the 4-month-long Battle of the Somme, which eventually resulted in more than 1 million Allied and German casualties. Visitors to the Museum can further explore Beaumont-Hamel and the Somme in the War Museum’s Canadian Experience Gallery 2, where each is featured prominently.

Traces of the First World War – Newfoundland and Labrador, developed by the Canadian War Museum in partnership with The Rooms, is presented in the Lobby (near the Gift Shop) from June 14, 2016 to January 1, 2017. A parallel exhibition developed for The Rooms will travel to communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, beginning in Grand Falls-Windsor on July 7.

The Canadian War Museum is also proud to announce the loan of the Thomas Ricketts Victoria Cross Medal Set to The Rooms. At age 17, Sergeant Thomas Ricketts was the youngest Newfoundlander or Canadian ever to be awarded the Victoria Cross, which he won while serving with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment near Ledeghem, Belgium, in October 1918. The Medal Set will be displayed in The Rooms’ newest permanent exhibition, opening on July 1 in St. John’s.

On June 23, in conjunction with the exhibition and the World at War – International Speakers Series, the War Museum will present a special screening of The Battle of the Somme. Shot in 1916 by two cameramen positioned on the front line, this powerful historical film presents audiences with an unflinching view of the reality of war. Following the screening, Dr. Toby Haggith, Senior Curator at the Imperial War Museum in London, England, will explore the UNESCO-recognized film’s cinematic and cultural relevance. The screening begins at 6 p.m. in the Barney Danson Theatre. Tickets are $10.

The Canadian War Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of its Official Partners for the Centenary of the First World War: John and Pattie Cleghorn and Family; H.Col (Ret’d) John C. Eaton, O.Ont., K.St.J., D.Com. and H.Col Sally Horsfall Eaton, S.S.St.J., C.D., R.N., LL.D.; the Friends of the Canadian War Museum; TD Bank Group; VISITFLANDERS; and the R. Howard Webster Foundation.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions. Work of the Canadian War Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.

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Media contacts:
Yasmine Mingay
Director, Public Affairs
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8608

Avra Gibbs Lamey
Senior Communications and Media Relations Officer, Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8607

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