CO-VAL CHORISTERS’ VIMY RIDGE COMMEMORATIVE PERFORMANCE

CO-VAL CHORISTERS’ VIMY RIDGE COMMEMORATIVE PERFORMANCE

The CoVal Choristers have asked us to share with you information about their special upcoming performance.  They’re also seeking help with related history.  Please read this and share! “Below is a poster about the event and news article about the CoVal Choristers’ Vimy Ridge commemorative performance at 2 pm on the afternoon of SundayApril 9th. As you may be aware that is the exact 100th anniversary of the start of the Canadian assault.  Using a combination of narrative and song from the era, the performance is evocative of those times. We would like to spread the word among the members of the forces.   Also we are looking for people living in the Comox Valley who are descended from those who served at Vimy.  Anything you can do would be appreciated.”   Please check ARTICLE VIMY for a request for help with related history....
INTRODUCING A SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP

INTRODUCING A SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP

The Comox Air Force Museum would like to introduce you to a special interest group that can be found on Facebook: CANADIAN MILITARY AIRCRAFT WRECKS, RELICS, SURVIVORS, WARBIRDS, AND CRASHES The administrator, Mike Kaehler, explains that the “group is dedicated to discussing and exchanging information and photos of Canadian Military Aircraft Wrecks, Relics, Survivors, Warbirds and Crashes. There are often very interesting, historically enlightening facts that come out in posts as subject matter experts and group members, that were present during the various events, contribute their information to this group… Please note that the objective of this group is not to discuss aircraft that were or are in active service unless they have been grounded due to an accident or administrative action. This group is also not designed to judge or humiliate anyone involved in an aircraft incident…” You can have a closer look at this group and the guidelines for participation by checking it out on Facebook.  Thank you, Mike, for being available to share information with our Museum as we do our research!...

ANIMALS IN WAR ~ STORIES OF COURAGE: BANDOOLA AND VIMY

  Elephants have long helped armies.  Bandoola pulled trees out of the ground, moved heavy logs to build bridges, and carried people and supplies across rivers, mountains, and along rough roads.  During WWII, Bandoola assisted Jim Williams, the officer in charge of the British Army’s No. 1 Elephant Company in Burma.  Williams worked with up to 700 elephants, each one helping the army.  Sometimes the elephants pulled up trees that were sent to England where wood was needed.  They also tugged heavy army trucks out of deep mud in the rainy season. Elephants are very smart animals, and Bandoola was no exception.  Loyal to his trainer, he did his job even when the weather was bad, and even when they were under attack. In 1944, Williams heard that the enemy was coming to take his last 47 elephants and they had to escape very quickly.  Bandoola bravely led the others along dangerous paths through the mountains.  The journey was long and hard, but Williams and the elephants ended up safely on the other side of the mountains.   Meet Vimy, shown in this photo with its mother and a Canadian soldier. Life for Canadian soldiers during WWI was tough.  They often had to march for hours carrying a rifle, ammunition, a heavy sack, a gas mask, shovels and more.  They were strong young men but needed help to get supplies to the front lines; tonnes of ammunition and rations had to be hauled each day.  Hard working pack horses helped with this task. 50,000 horses were shipped from Canada overseas to carry supplies and pull artillery guns.  Sometimes, baby animals...
ANIMALS IN WAR ~ STORIES OF COURAGE: SERGEANT BILL, GANDER, AND BONFIRE

ANIMALS IN WAR ~ STORIES OF COURAGE: SERGEANT BILL, GANDER, AND BONFIRE

  A goat named Bill was pulling a cart in a small town in Saskatchewan, when a train carrying soldiers on their way to fight in WWI stopped.  The girl who owned Bill let the soldiers take him along as a good luck charm.  Mascots were not supposed to go to the front lines, but the soldiers had become very attached to Bill, so they hid him in a big crate and took him with them. Sergeant Bill, as the goat was called, was a big help.  He saw action beside his human friends in many battles, including one where he pushed three soldiers into a trench just seconds before a shell exploded where they’d been standing. Despite being wounded several times, Sergeant Bill survived the war.  Once the fighting was over, he was even part of a large parade in Germany; he proudly word a fancy blue coat with his sergeant stripes!  Bill eventually returned to his hometown where he was reunited with his owner.   This is Gander, a mascot that was also seen as a fellow soldier with jobs to perform. Gander was a Newfoundland dog raised by the Hayden family on the airport base in Gander, Newfoundland.  A friendly dog, Gander loved playing with the children; he pulled them on their sleds and they watched him drool - a lot!  He enjoyed living on the base; however, he spent too much time on the runways, trying to catch the planes as they came in to land! One day, because he was growing to be so large, the family decided to give the playful dog to...
ANIMALS IN WAR ~ STORIES OF COURAGE: STARBUCK, BEACHCOMBER, AND SIMON

ANIMALS IN WAR ~ STORIES OF COURAGE: STARBUCK, BEACHCOMBER, AND SIMON

Animals have long helped people in times of war, conflict, and peace.  A stone arch in the Peace Tower honours these special workers and supporters; The work by artist, John. A. Pearson, represents the animals that served during the war: reindeer, pack mules, carrier pigeons, horses, dogs, canaries and mice. The inscription reads: THE TUNNELLERS’ FRIENDS, THE HUMBLE BEASTS THAT SERVED AND DIED.   Animals served in wars in a variety of roles such as transporting supplies, delivering messages, helping the wounded or just being a soldier’s companion.  In fact, thousands of animals contributed in times of war. Pigeons were used during the First and Second World Wars to deliver messages when radio or telephone communication wasn’t possible.  They flew for many kilometres and in all kinds of weather.  The sky was sometimes filled with gun fire.  Some of them didn’t complete their journeys and others were wounded.  It was dangerous but the birds were loyal and faithful. One such ‘feathered friend’ was Beachcomber, who served with the Canadian army win WWII as a carrier pigeon.  This was an important job as the soldiers in the field, sailors on their ships, and pilots in airplanes needed the ability to communicate and send messages about their progress, to request supplies, or to call for help.  The messages were written on small pieces of paper, put inside a small container and attached to one of Beachcomber’s legs.  (photo VAC)       In August, 1942, Beachcomber brought the first news of the landing at Dieppe, under hazardous conditions;  for this he was awarded the Dickin Medal on March 6, 1944.       Horses...

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