Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 17 août 2017

« A chance meeting in Arromanches with veterans of the Second World War.»
Crédit: Katy Whitfield, Fondation Vimy 2017.

Aujourd’hui en #France, les étudiants PVB2017 ont visité le @CentreJunoBeach, ont partagé un moment spécial lors de leur propre cérémonie privée sur la plage, et ont visité l’emblématique Maison des Canadiens. Ils ont également visité le port de Mulberry et les cimetières Beny-sur-Mer, Arromanches et Bayeux. La meilleure partie de la journée a été lorsque le groupe a rencontré les vétérans de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale Harry et Len!

(À noter: les participants blogueront dans leur langue de préférence)

« Juno Beach Centre. »
Crédit: Katy Whitfield, Fondation Vimy 2017.

Bonjour à tous, aujourd’hui, nous sommes allés à deux endroits où les forces Alliés ont débarqué le 6 Juin 1944, les plages de Juno et Gold. Nous sommes tout premièrement allés sur la plage de Juno, sur laquelle les Canadiens ont débarqué pour libérer la France et l’Europe. Nous avons tout d’abord participé à une cérémonie émouvante sur la plage. Ensuite, nous avons visité le Centre de Juno Beach qui était très intéressant, notamment une exposition sur la commémoration de Vimy à Juno. C’était très intéressant de voir le débarquement du point de vue Canadien et d’en apprendre plus sur le long et rigoureux entrainement pour faire partie des forces Alliées. Ensuite, nous sommes allés au cimetière Canadien de Bény sur Mer, qui était magnifique. Là-bas, j’ai été très impressionné par deux épitaphes de Canadiens mort le Jour J et dans les jours suivant : « I have fulfilled my duty » et « All you had you gave to save mankind. Yourself you scorned to save your life ».

– Paul Toqueboeuf, Boulogne, France

 

 

 

« Bayeaux War Cemetery.»
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.

As we visit numerous cemeteries throughout the program, we remember the lost, the forgotten and the fallen soldiers who made so many sacrifices during times of war; giving up the safety of their countries and their homes, their families, and ultimately, their lives. To commemorate those brave souls, there are memorials and tombstones erected in their honour. They have been designed with care; every cut in the stone, every engraving carefully planned out and overflowing with meaning. The tombstones found in Commonwealth cemeteries resemble each other at first sight, as they usually bear the name of the soldier, their battalion, regimental number and date of death. However, each one tells a different story. The epitaphs found near the bottom of the tombstones are usually a good way to begin these stories. While visiting different cemeteries, I have collected some of those epitaphs:

“To the world he was just a soldier. To me, he was all the world.”
“Loved. Remembered. Longed for always. Until the day break and the shadows flee away.”
“To live in the hearts of those who love us is never to die at all.”
“There is a link that death will never sever – Love and remembrance last forever.”

I have written the following epitaph as a promise to the Fallen:
“I will keep alight the torch of courage your dying hands passed onto me. Not just today, but every day. In silence we remember.”

-Cecilia Kim, Surrey, British Columbia

Today we went to Juno Beach, the site of the Canadian landings as part of the Normandy invasion on June 6th, 1944. We held a moving ceremony on the beach to commemorate the more than 24,000 Canadian men who fought and the 340 Canadian men who died during D-Day. We recited the poetic words of Cyril Crain:

« Cole Oien – Juno Beach. »
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.

They gave their lives in Normandy
Remember them with pride. 
Soldiers, airmen, sailors, airborne and marines
Who in civvy life were tailors and men who worked machines.

We finished the ceremony by writing memorial messages to the dead, in the sand on the beach.
Inside the center were short films about the Juno Beach assault, artifacts from the war, and a special exhibit called “From Vimy to Juno: Remembering Canadians in France.” I was excited to see the work of our chaperone Rachel in this exhibit, which discussed how Canadians fought in France since the Great War, and how Canadian involvement has been commemorated. It was an emotional and gratifying experience to see where “our boys” began the liberation of Europe, seventy-three years ago.

-Evan Kanter, Toronto, Ontario

 

« Claire Belliveau – Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. »
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.
« Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. »
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.
« Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery.»
Crédit: Katy Whitfield, Fondation Vimy 2017.

Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 16 août 2017

« Notre Dame de Lorette, Ablain St.-Nazaire French Military Cemetery »
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.

Aujourd’hui, les étudiants de la PVB2017 ont visité le Musée Lens 14-18 et plusieurs cimetières, dont le Cabaret Rouge, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette et Givenchy-en-Gohelle. Après avoir passé quelque temps à L’Anneau de la Mémoire, ils ont quitté la région d’Arras et se sont rendu à Bernières-sur-Mer pour entamer la partie du programme traitant de la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

(À noter: les participants blogueront dans leur langue de préférence)

« Notre Dame de Lorette, Ablain St.-Nazaire French Military Cemetery »
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.

Today the BVP2017 participants were privileged to visit the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette French Cemetery and the Ring of Remembrance. The early hours of the day were very foggy, and the ground was consequently covered with a thick coat of mist. As we entered the cemetery, the thousands of crosses peering out from the layer of fog was a sight I will never forget. It gave the place a feeling of true eternal rest for the more than 40,000 French soldiers buried there. Besides the fog, the sheer number of crosses was shocking. There were thousands upon thousands of crosses in front of me. And then I looked behind me, and there was an equally gigantic number. Behind the central church, I saw even more including the numerous mass graves in the forms of burial pits often holding over 1,000 soldiers. The cemetery was certainly beautiful and it definitely honoured the soldiers well, but I also found that the huge number of graves in front of my very own eyes was nothing but shocking and saddening. Beside the cemetery was the Ring of Remembrance. Its purpose was to list every soldier who fell during the First World War in Northern France alphabetically. There was no order by rank, nationality or allegiance. Only the names of every single man. With nearly 600,000 names listed, the monument actually gave me a feeling of hope and unity, and I ultimately departed feeling very positively moved by it.

Cole Oien, Calgary, Alberta

Private Frederick Joseph Belliveau lived a quiet life; Born and raised in Joggins Mines, Nova Scotia, he became a bookkeeper. His life was peaceful and quiet until the First World War broke out in August 1914. Frederick enlisted with the 42nd battalion in River Herbert, Nova Scotia, on May 29th, 1916 and he was killed in action on April 9th, 1917 during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

I couldn’t comprehend how I could properly commemorate a fallen soldier. What could I say to someone who gave everything for their country? All I can say to Private Frederick Joseph Belliveau is thank you. Thank you for being brave, thank you for fighting for your country, thank you for the risk you took and in the end, thank you for offering the ultimate sacrifice. You gave your today for our tomorrow. That sacrifice, your remembrance and your legacy is ours to hold high and never let die.

Before we parted I left two gifts: The first, a Canadian penny, because a penny is symbolic that I visited the soldiers’ grave. Le deuxième cadeau, un drapeau de l’Acadie; le drapeau de notre patrie. Never did I believe that I would be able to meet Frederick Joseph Belliveau, but I’m so thankful that I was able to. I now know that no matter what happens to us, we’re strong and can get through anything.
Nous sommes toujours Acadie fort.

-Claire Belliveau, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

At the Noyelle-sur-Mer Chinese cemetery, row upon row of CWGC headstones are inscribed with the date of death: 1917. The graves are not for typical soldiers on the Western Front, they are for the Chinese labourers who worked behind the scenes clearing battlefields, digging trenches, and building roads and railways. They struggled with language and were separated from family and home yet they got barely any recognition for their service. From a Western perspective, they died unglamorously, mostly from the Spanish Flu. It’s possible their families never received the news of their deaths. Even if they did, the words would have been incomprehensible, much like how the epitaph is meaningless to the average person visiting these graves. The translations are nowhere near perfect. One of the four different types of inscriptions reads “a noble duty bravely done” when in fact, I would translate 勇往直前 (yong wang zhi qian) as “continued courage and perseverance even in the face of great adversity”. Proper recognition of the contributions and bravery of these men is lacking. They travelled long distances from the ports of Qingdao to the Western battlefields, and it may be an even longer road to reconciliation, recognition, and understanding of a truly global picture of the World Wars.

-Alisia Pan, North York, Ontario

« Ring of Remembrance »
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.
« Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery »
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.
« Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery »
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.
« Juno Beach, Normandy, France »
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.

Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 13 août 2017

Crédit: Rachel Collishaw, Fondation Vimy 2017.

Aujourd’hui en France, les étudiants de la PVB2017 ont visité des sites importants de la bataille de la Somme, y compris Beaumont Hamel, Thiepval et le musée de l’Historial de la Grande Guerre. Au cimetière de Neuve Chapelle, Yaman a donné une présentation puissante sur les contributions des soldats Sikhs dans la Première Guerre mondiale.
Noter bien que: les étudiants se présenteront dans leur langue maternelle.

Today was our first day in France. After all we did today, our visit to Beaumont-Hamel left an impression so deep and significant that I will truly never forget it. Being a Newfoundlander myself, Beaumont-Hamel and the tragic story of the “Blue Puttees” is forever seared into our cultural memory. We lost a whole generation of young men from which our Dominion, (and now province), has never fully healed. Seeing the Caribou Monument, the shell craters, and trenches triggered something inside me to the point where I was overcome with emotion. The fact that I was there in remembrance of my great-grandfather and that I was commemorating my soldier there added to this emotional connection. I had never been to Beaumont-Hamel, having only seen the monument through photographs and video at home, but for some reason it felt like I had seen it before. The overwhelming response of love and support I received from my fellow Beaverbrook Vimy Prize participants after doing my soldier presentation was inspiring and heart warming. The connection I have developed not only to the fallen comrades, but also to my fellow BVP recipients is overwhelming, and I have never been filled with so much emotion. I hope that my great-grandfather, Fred, and my soldier, Cecil, would be proud and touched by my actions here today.

-Abigail Garret, Conception Bay, Newfoundland & Labrador

 

Aujourd’hui, je me suis senti très fier de présenter au groupe – lorsque nous étions en train de visiter le monument commémoratif de Neuve Chapelle – le soldat canadien sikh Buckam Singh, dont l’histoire a été oubliée pendant plusieurs décennies. Cet homme a souffert beaucoup et il est mort seul, sans avoir droit à un rituel religieux. Dû à l’absence de Sikhs au Canada à son époque, personne n’est venu visité sa tombe… jusqu’à ce qu’un historien ait retrouvé sa médaille de victoire dans une boutique anglaise.

Ensuite, nous avons visité Beaumont Hamel. J’ai adoré observer les réseaux de tranchées qui zigzaguaient dans l’herbe. Un caribou symbolique dominant le paysage se tenait majestueusement par-dessus un support. Abbey, l’une des participantes, nous a distribué à chacun deux drapeaux de Terre-Neuve et Labrador que nous avons planté devant les tombes de nos choix.

Finalement, lorsque j’ai aperçu le monument à Thiepval, c’était immense ! Les drapeaux français et britannique donnaient l’impression que ces deux pays se serraient la main. Il y avait un cimetière derrière la structure, séparé en deux sections : une section pour les soldats français où se tenaient des rangées de croix portant la mention « Inconnu » ; et une section pour les soldats anglais un peu différente, où les tombes étaient conçues d’après les standards de la CWGC, malgré que la plupart étaient également des tombes de soldats inconnus.

-Yaman Awad, Anjou, Quebec

 

Immense archways, thousands of inscribed names, a cemetery placed against the background of a picturesque countryside; today we visited the Thiépval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, dedicated to the missing British and South African soldiers who fought at the Battle of the Somme. As I walked through the memorial, my heart dropped at the sight of all the names of the soldiers who lost their lives in one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, and whose bodies have not yet been found. Continuing down the stairs of the memorial to the cemetery, I saw the graves of the French and British soldiers; the French on one side and the British soldiers on the other. The difference between the two nationalities could be easily spotted as there were stone crosses erected at the graves of the French soldiers, while for the English soldiers, there were the rounded Commonwealth tombstones that we had seen previously at other cemeteries. As I approached the French crosses, I realized that they all bore the same inscription, “Inconnu,” or “Unknown.” Row after row, there were crosses without the names of those who were buried there. When I saw this, my heart shattered. All these fallen soldiers once had names and identities, which have been buried under the horrors of the war. I now have an understanding of the contributions made by those who served their countries and felt a greater need to commemorate the fallen soldiers. I will continue to remember these soldiers and to search for and share their stories with others so that we will never forget those who gave up their lives so that we may live ours in peace.

-Cecilia Kim, Surrey, British Columbia

Y Ravine Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel
Crédit: Rachel Collishaw, Fondation Vimy 2017.
Historial de la Grande Guerre – Musée de la Première Guerre Mondiale
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.
Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme
Crédit: Rachel Collishaw, Fondation Vimy 2017.
Y Ravine Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel
Crédit: Hanna Smyth, Fondation Vimy 2017.

Essex Farm cimetière

Aujourdhui, le groupe du prix Beaverbrook Vimy visite le cimetière Essex Farm, le mémorial de Passchendaele, et participera à la cérémonie de la Dernière sonnerie à la Porte de Menin. Emai 1915, on croit que le lieutenant-colonel John McCrae, du Corps médical de larmée canadienne, a écrit le poème Au champ dhonneur alors quil était posté au cimetière Essex Farm. Afin de souligner le centenaire de la troisième bataille dYpres, les historiens de la Commonwealth War Graves Commission ont diffusé une série de vidéos en direct pendant quils visitaient des sites de la CWGC.Aujourdhui, nous partageons lenregistrement fait au cimetière Essex Farm.

https://www.facebook.com/commonwealthwargravescommission/videos/10154839965761094/ 

Live from #CWGC Essex Farm Cemetery

Posted by Commonwealth War Graves Commission on Friday, July 28, 2017