Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 10 août 2019

Nos participants du PVB visitent le Mémorial de la trêve de Noël

Aujourd’hui, nos étudiants du Prix Vimy Beaverbrook ont fait un tour guidé de la région du salient d’Ypres avec notre merveilleux guide Lucas. Les sites visités incluaient le Mémorial de la trêve de Noël, Hill 60, le Parc irlandais de la paix, le Mémorial de Passchendaele, et le cimetière Tyne Cot. Ensuite, les étudiants ont assisté à la cérémonie du « Last Post » à la Porte de Menin, où Maya, Jack et Andelina ont déposé une couronne pour commémorer les morts. (À noter: les étudiants blogueront dans leur langue de préférence.)

 

Today, at the Tyne Cot Cemetery, I had the honour to be able to share the story of my Great Granduncle, Frank Rogers at his grave marker. The feelings I had were indescribable, I will do my best to explain some of the emotions I felt. Prior to presenting Frank’s biography I had told myself that I would not cry. However, as I was reading the story of his life, I could not stop myself. Something seemed to overtake me. A feeling almost as if I were talking to Frank himself, but there was a sort of barrier or wall between us. A barrier that allowed me to see him and his life, but he was unable to see me and my life. I wonder if he heard the promise that I made to him to never let his story be forgotten, and that I will never let him be forgotten. I hope that I have made him proud, and I am so incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to be able to pass on his story in the country where his story ended. It was like he was lost and forgotten, but as I embarked on the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize program, I was able to find him and bring him back to life.

-Maya Burgess-Stansfield

 

Les chaperons qui nous accompagnent lors de ce séjour m’ont donné, aujourd’hui, la chance incroyable de participer au défilé de la cérémonie de la Porte de Menin, aux côtés de vétérans et de jeunes de la Royal Air Force britannique. Je n’aurais jamais pensé avoir l’honneur de me tenir là, portant le rôle important, quoique si abstrait, de commémorer des dizaines de milliers d’hommes dont la vie persiste grâce à la mémoire. Les rayons du soleil couchant transperçaient les puits de lumière du haut de la Porte de Menin; l’orchestre faisait chanter leurs hautbois et leurs trompettes; un groupe irlandais modérait la cérémonie par le ra de leurs tambours. Alors qu’une foule d’Yprois, de touristes ou bien de pèlerins silencieux et attentifs remplissaient l’arche célèbre, je voyais devant moi les milliers de noms gravés dans la pierre de marbre. Pour un instant, je les voyais tous devant moi, droits et courageux comme je tentais de l’être, sur une plaine belge accidentée à perte de vue. Soudain, je faisais fi des opinions divergentes sur la validité de la guerre, des différentes raisons pour lesquelles l’on pouvait se battre, de la propagande parfois trompeuse sur les valeurs ou sur le sacrifice, et tout ce qu’il restait autour de moi et en moi n’étaient que l’émotion, la vie et la mort. Il y avait tant de noms, tant de vie, tant de mort, c’était presque irréel de témoigner de l’extrême humain de manière aussi vivide. Je pris mon courage à deux mains et commençai à marcher derrière des hommes dont le nom aurait pu se trouver sur la Porte de Menin, la couronne à la main, voyant des regards curieux ou bien larmoyants dans la foule. C’est une expérience qui bouleversa ma perspective sur l’humanité et que je n’aurais jamais pensé vivre dans ma vie. 

 – Andelina Habel-Thurton

Lors de notre départ du Canada, je ne comprenais qu’un point de vue au sujet d’une guerre à plusieurs perspectives. Le Parc irlandais de la paix incluait une plaque qui s’excusait d’avoir participé dans une guerre aussi affreuse et d’avoir pris autant de vies. Notre guide nous a dit à ce moment que le mot victoire n’existe pas pour une guerre aussi longue. J’ai vu dans les villages reconstruits qu’il y a encore une atmosphère lourde concernant les guerres aujourd’hui. La souffrance des populations et l’impact sur les terrains est encore un aspect de la vie quotidienne. Nous avons visité une ferme locale dont le fermier avait trouvé des grenades actives qui datent de la Première Guerre mondiale.  J’ai aussi réalisé que les allemands avaient également une fierté de leur patrie et qu’eux aussi ont vu la perte de plusieurs vies. De leur perspective, ils étaient les véritables héros mais leur perte a créé la souffrance d’une nation entière après la Première Guerre mondiale. Je suis très reconnaissante du sacrifice qui a permis notre liberté aujourd’hui, mais je réalise qu’il faut aussi reconnaître que nous ne sommes pas le seul côté ayant souffert. Tout le monde a une perspective qui leur semble logique, et personne ne se voit comme l’ennemi. Comme notre guide a dit, le mot victoire n’existe pas dans une guerre aussi longue parce que tout le monde a souffert.

-Andréa Jackson

In the town of Ypres at the most beautiful cathedral, yesterday the sounds of the song “silent night” rang out in the In Flanders Fields Museum. This was what the soldiers of the Western Front would have heard during the Christmas Truce of 1914. It moved me so much that even the most steadfast of enemies could find the humanity that one special night where there was peace in the midst of war. Today was the first time I saw something lighthearted and kind in the face of these conflicts.  

After visiting the Christmas Truce Memorial in the fields of Ypres, my mind turned to how the soldiers of both sides must have been exhausted after months of fighting. The monument filled with soccer balls alluding to the famous game of soccer played in no man’s land gave me a sense of joy in a place where almost all memories are negative. The truth is, war was destructive and horrific, but it gives me hope to think that on that one single day on the 25th of December 1914, there was peace on the Western Front. 

-Jack Roy

Le guide Lucas au mémorial de la trêve de Noël

Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 9 août 2019

Nos étudiants du PVB 2019 dans la tour des Halles aux draps

Aujourd’hui, les récipiendaires du Prix Vimy Beaverbrook 2019 ont visité le cimetière allemand Langemark et le poste de secours de John McCrae où Lily et Alliya ont lu le célèbre poème Au Champ d’Honneur. Ensuite, les étudiants se sont rendus à Ypres pour visiter le musée In Flanders Field situé dans les Halles aux Draps.  (À noter: les étudiants blogueront dans leur langue de préférence.) 

 

Today was our first official day exploring the many fascinating and stimulating monuments, areas and cemeteries of the Beaverook Vimy Prize program. I was most moved by the very beginning of the day visiting our first Commonwealth grave and famous Canadian poet John McCrae’s dressing station. Starting off at Essex Farm cemetery instantly opened my eyes to new perspectives and challenged my own, as I discovered an almost subconscious bias of mine: one of the chaperones pointed out two headstones right beside each other in one row and asked us why this was the case, and I immediately envisioned a patriotic image of two best friends dying together so being buried together. Learning that they were likely buried together due to being indistinguishable from each other due to horrific wounds, really made me start to rethink any glorified preconceptions of the First World War I may hold. At John McCrae’s dressing station by the spot McCrae wrote the iconic poem In Flanders Fields I was absolutely honoured to read his famous work to the group, which made me feel so connected to its material and thrilled to be standing where the poppy emblem of the war essentially originated from.

I was also so lucky to conduct a tribute to a soldier I had selected at the very spot where his name was engraved – something I never thought I would have the chance to do. We reached the expansive Menin Gate where I spoke about a soldier whose name was written there, Cecil Hubert Cray Cattel – I presented my project including inferring his personality characteristics from letters he wrote that I had studied – this was an incredible moment, allowing me to truly feel a personal connection to a name likely lost in history. I look forward to tomorrow and challenging my ideas and assumptions about the World Wars even further.

-Lily Maguire

 

Aujourd’hui, nous avons visité deux cimetières : la Ferme d’Essex – cimetière du Commonwealth britannique – ainsi que le Langemark Cemetary – cimetière allemand -. C’était la première fois que j’entrais dans un cimetière militaire. Tous ces noms, gravés sur les tombes, m’ont fait prendre conscience du nombre de morts engendré par la Première Guerre mondiale. Il y a une grande différence entre un nombre et un visuel concret. Ces quelques cimetières ne représentent cependant qu’une fraction de l’horreur de la Grande Guerre. Tout au long des visites, je me suis sentie très concernée par la mobilisation de tous ces soldats. Nous ne pouvons, en effet, rester insensible au sacrifice de toute une génération.

Le cimetière du Commonwealth britannique montrait un style à l’antipode de celui du cimetière allemand. Si la Ferme d’Essex avançait une vision de clarté neutre, le Langemark Cemetery évoquait une image plus sombre et impersonnelle. En effet, la lumière filtrait à peine entre les branches et les feuilles des arbres, les murs étaient noirs, de même que les tombes, complètement à l’inverse pour la Ferme d’Essex.

Durant cette journée, j’ai notamment appris qu’à partir de quarante tombes, la croix du sacrifice était érigée alors que lorsque ce nombre dépassait le millier, on faisait installer la pierre du souvenir. Aussi, j’ai pu éclaircir les origines du poème In Flanders Fields.

-Florence Trigaux

 

Though I have been highly anticipating this program ever since my acceptance, I do not think there is any way to truly comprehend the emotions you experience upon stepping onto a cemetery. Today, during the first day of activities, we visited both a Commonwealth and a German cemetery. The contrast between the two was astounding to me – the Commonwealth cemetery was more celebratory and patriotic whereas the German cemetery was much more ominous and more impersonal. I was quite literally speechless, as in a space no larger than my backyard, there was a mass grave with more than 25,000 German soldiers buried on top of one another. I truly do not think there is a word to describe seeing this in person. Each one of these people had a life, a family, and a story which was cut short … and their only commemoration is a small engravement of their name on a stone.

Later in the day, I had the opportunity to present a project which I had prepared prior to the program. My soldier, private Thomas Hannabury, is commemorated at Menin Gate as his place of burial was destroyed in battle during the First World War. It makes me very proud to carry the legacy of my soldier, as aside from his immediate family I could very well be one of few people to know of his life and incredibly selfless sacrifices he made for his nation. As he was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, it was an absolute honour to pay my respects to someone from my province who gave their life so that I can live mine in liberty. Despite it being only the first proper day, I already feel as though I have gained an entirely new perspective on history and I cannot wait to see where else the program leads and how else it shapes my knowledge and personal viewpoints.

Evan Di Cesare

 

 

site John McCrae de la Essex Farm
Lily présentant son soldat à la Porte de Menin
Andelina faisant un frottage de la pierre tombale de son soldat au cimetière Chateau Potijze

 

 

Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 8 août 2019

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize Recipients outside Peace Village, Messines

 

Nos récipiendaires PVB 2019 sont arrivés à Bruxelles. Ils ont voyagé directement à Messine sur le Salient d’Ypres. Après s’être installé, les étudiants ont été initié au programme et ont participé à des activités de brise-glace. Aujourd’hui, ils ont blogué sur ce à quoi ils ont le plus hâte durant le programme. (À noter : les particants blogueront dans leur langue de préférence.)

 

J’ai particulièrement hâte d’entendre des témoignages et des conférences d’experts, nous sommes choyés d’y avoir accès, car ils nous donnent une perspective très personnelle sur les conflits.

-Andelina Habel-Thurton

 

I am most excited to visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, due partly to its symbolic and historical significance, as well as because it is where the soldier I have been researching over the past few months is commemorated there. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the Beaverbrook Vimy Program, and I am looking forwards to the journey ahead!

-Rose He

 

I am particularly excited to see the Vimy Memorial after all the stories I have heard from people about the emotional impact it had on them. I am also looking forward to seeing the Ring of Remembrance, for its architecture. 

-Nimra Hooda

 

I am most excited to visit the grave of my great grand uncle at Tyne Cot Memorial. I think it will be an amazing experience to be able to stand by his grave and to tell his story.

-Maya Burgess

 

During this program, I am most looking forward to visiting Second World War sites, especially the Juno Centre and Juno Beach due to my decade-long interest in the Second World War, and to visit a plaque dedicated to my jazz band at the Juno Beach.

-Philipp R.W Darley

 

J’ai très hâte de voir le Château de Versailles. Être à l’endroit où ils ont déclaré la fin d’une des guerres les plus sanglantes de l’histoire mondiale, et où la paix a été déclarée sera une expérience très marquante pour moi.

-Andréa Jackson

 

I am looking forward to the Dieppe candlelight ceremony because I find an immersive experience is so effective in commemorating tragically lost lives in a way that remembers the beauty of their lives and humanity.

-Lily Maguire

 

I’m ecstatic to have the chance to visit the infamous beaches of Normandy. Experiencing where those soldiers walked will be so moving.

-Jack Roy

 

Je suis très excitée à l’idée de visiter tous les musées, monuments et cimetières prévus lors du PVB. L’Anneau de la Mémoire m’intéresse particulièrement pour sa signification. En effet, à travers ce monument commémoratif circulaire se cache un puissant message unificateur.

-Florence Trigaux

 

I am the most excited to get to see Vimy Ridge because of it’s cultural significance to Canada.

-Noah Korver

 

Though I am incredibly excited for every aspect of the program, what I am most looking forward is to visit Beaumont Hamel so that I can gain a new sense of respect for the history of my province.

-Evan Di Cesare

 

I am most excited to have the opportunity to commemorate my chosen soldier, as it is very important to the family. I feel honored.

– Meaghan Bulger

 

I am excited to visit the Versailles palace because of the history and architecture portrayed by the palace.

-Nathan Yee

 

I am most looking forward to Versailles, for it is said to be gorgeous, and the Courcelette Memorial, because that is the battle in which the soldier I researched died. I feel it will be very moving to stand where someone my age died just over one hundred years ago.

-Sophie Long

 

Je suis impatient de créer des liens forts et durables avec tous les autres lauréats du programme tout en participant à une expérience unique relative à l’histoire.

-Isaac St-Jean

 

Visiter le centre Juno Beach et les champs de bataille m’enchante tout particulièrement car je pense que la visite de celui-ci me permettra d’en apprendre plus sur le rôle et l’histoire du Canada lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et les champs de bataille font ressentir de réelles émotions qui, même après une centaine d’années, rendent compte de la gravité de la guerre.

-Alliya Arifa

 

Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 7 août 2019

Les participants du Prix Vimy Beaverbrook prêts à quitter L’aéroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montréal le 7 août 2019.

Les récipiendaires du Prix Vimy Beaverbrook ont entamé un programme éducatif immersif en Belgique et en France, afin d’étudier l’histoire du Canada lors de la Première et de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Suivez-les alors qu’ils bloguent sur leur expérience!

Les blogs d’aujourd’hui viennent de nos chaperons. À noter: les participants blogueront dans leur langue de préférence.)

Today we begin the BVP 2019 program! I’m looking forward to spending the next two weeks working with my fellow educators/historians to teach an incredible group of Canadian, British, and French youth about the First and Second World Wars. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to engage with the past through experiential learning on the battlefields!

-Sara Karn

Le grand jour est enfin arrivé! C’est avec une grande joie que je prends part pour la première fois au Programme Vimy Beaverbrook 2019 comme accompagnatrice. Je me réjouis à la perspective de découvrir les sites canadiens de la Première et de la Seconde Guerre mondiale avec un groupe de jeunes étudiants et étudiantes curieux, enthousiastes et passionnés d’histoire. 

-Chloé Poitras-Raymond

L’heure est enfin arrivée et nous quittons Montréal pour les lointaines contrées européennes. Pour ma part, c’est la première fois que je participe en tant qu’accompagnateur pour le BVP et je suis fébrile à l’idée de rencontrer mes collègues, les étudiants et étudiantes qui se joignent à nous cette année pour approfondir leurs savoir et leurs réflexions autours des deux conflits mondiaux. J’espère pouvoir piquer leur curiosité historique et leur ouvrir de nombreuses nouvelles portes d’interprétations et de compréhension sur ces deux conflits, sur leurs impacts non seulement sur l’Europe, mais aussi sur le monde.

-Thomas Vennes

As we get ready to board the flight to Brussels, we’re looking forward to getting the 2019 BVP started. We have a great itinerary lined up and it will be a lot of fun to visit these important historical sites with a fantastic group of students. Having the opportunity to learn about the First World War while experiencing the sites and battlefields is a tremendous opportunity for the students to immerse themselves in the stories that marked this critical period in not only Canadian, but also world history.

-Sean Graham

 

I am beyond thrilled and honored to be returning with the Vimy foundation and part of the Beaverbrook program.This is my second experience with the Vimy foundation and I look forward to this incredible opportunity with the students.The experiences and knowledge shared during these 14 days will be remarkable and something that I will never forget.As a teacher I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with 16 amazing students.Every day will offer amazing opportunities for everyone to learn and grow and I look forward to learning with and from the students throughout this journey.

-Christopher Kinsella

Nous commémorons le jour J 75

Nous commémorons aujourd’hui le 75e anniversaire du jour J.

 

Au matin du jour J, le 6 juin 1944, une énorme force formée de troupes alliées traversa la Manche. Les Canadiens réussirent à capturer leurs positions riveraines à la plage Juno, mais la victoire était coûteuse : 359 soldats canadiens furent tués pendant les combats du jour J.

Chaque année, nos étudiants du Prix Vimy Beaverbrook ont l’occasion de visiter Juno Beach et son centre, le cimetière de Beny-sur-Mer et d’autres sites importants de la bataille de Normandie. Aujourd’hui, pour marquer cet important anniversaire, nous avons rassemblé certaines de leurs réflexions au fil des ans. (Remarque: les étudiants blogueront dans la langue de leur choix).

 

Similar to my experience at Vimy Ridge, Juno Beach was a unique and humbling experience. Building off of the success of the First World War, Canada was given increasingly important responsibilities climaxing with the contributions of Canadians in the landings on Juno Beach. It was truly humbling to walk along the sand that Canada had been trusted by the world to take; the sand that hundreds of Canadians had fallen on. Yet walking across the sand was strangely peaceful.

Meeting the locals and taking in the beauty of the area, it was to believe that a major battle was once fought here. The trenches, bunkers, beaches, mulberries in the harbour, all made for a sobering and meaningful experience.

– Adam Labrash, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Prix Vimy Beaverbrook 2016

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; Prix Vimy Beaverbrook 2017

An interesting moment was visiting the Beny-sur-mer cemetery because we were able to see how the epitaphs for the First and Second World Wars are different. What I found very interesting was how so many of the Second World War epitaphs were more personal, with fewer religious references, and often stated who had chosen the epitaph. This made me think about who headstones are really for. The deceased, or those they left behind. I also wondered about why the shift towards personal, familial epitaphs occurred.

– Sabrina Ashgar, Northwood, Middlesex, UK; Prix Vimy Beaverbrook 2017

As the sun rose halfway behind grey clouds on Juno Beach approximately 2.5 hours after we expected it, I stood hand in hand with my family, sang an off-key and sleep rough national anthem, and walked slowly up the pier, rocks clacking in our pockets. The boots of 14,000 soldiers walked behind us, marching us slowly into the morning light. No matter what happens, their light will sustain us. No matter what happens, we will face the hardship together. No matter what happens, we will love each other, wholly and unconditionally. And on days like these, it almost seems like that could be enough. Lest we forget.

– Rachel Bannerman, St. Catharines, ON; Prix Vimy Beaverbrook 2015

Aujourd’hui, nous avons visité plusieurs endroits historiques liés à la Bataille de Normandie. J’ai particulièrement apprécié le tour des bunkers, en plus de notre visite au Centre Juno Beach. Durant le tour des Bunkers, j’ai eu l’opportunité de voir ceux-ci en personne, c’était impressionnant de se trouver où les soldats allemands commandaient et observaient l’ennemi, car je pouvais voir des sites historiques ayant bravés le temps. J’ai également été surprise d’apprendre qu’un des bunkers avait été découvert récemment, il y a environ 8 ans. Apprendre cela m’a fait réfléchir: si les humains découvrent encore, de nos jours, des objets et lieux historiques, allons-nous continuer à en retrouver ? Pour moi, voir des représentations visuelles des évènements historiques de cet endroit était plus touchant que lire de l’information sur le sujet, puisque je pouvais me mettre momentanément dans la peau des soldats durant la Bataille de Normandie et ainsi imaginer ce qu’il aurait pu vivre à l’époque.

– Laetitia Champenois Pison, Montreal QC; Prix Vimy Beaverbrook 2018

It was an amazing experience to be on the beach and see the geography of it all. It made it much clearer in my mind. I’ve seen pictures hundreds of times but nothing can compare to seeing it in real life.

– Cassidy Choquette, Steinbach MB; Prix Vimy Beaverbrook 2018

There is a post with the name and home town of all of the soldiers who died on Juno Beach on June 06, 1944. As we walked amongst the names, we were all struck by the realization that we recognized a lot of the town names from home, and it was not just big cities represented, but small towns as well. The soldiers who stormed that beach 70 years ago came from across Canada, as did the youth in this delegation today. If we learned nothing else about the war today, it would have been that soldiers came from everywhere, and communities large and small would have felt the devastation of loss in the fight to bring democracy to the world.

– Loralea Wark, Whitehorse, YK; Prix Vimy Beaverbrook 2014

 

Plus d’info:

Centre Juno Beach

Anciens Combattants Canada

Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 23 août 2018

Après deux semaines incroyables, nos étudiants du PVB 2018 ont fait ses adieux et sont partis tôt ce matin. Pour la dernière publication de cet programme nous avons demandé à nos nouveaux ambassadeurs du Prix Vimy Beaverbrook de décrire leur expérience en une seule ligne. (À noter: les participants blogueront dans leur langue préférée).

Alejandra: The BVP program is a perfectly orchestrated journey that allows for deeper and more personal thinking about the First and Second World Wars, for which I am thankful.

Cassandre: Une fabuleuse experience, de formidable rencontres, dinouables souvenirs- mon plus grand merci pour mavoir donné la chance denrichir ma personne.

Kelsey: This program was life-changing- it gave me an understanding of the World Wars on a level I could previously only dream of.

Cassidy: BVP 2018 was a breathtaking, emotional and adventurous experience that I will never forget.

Alix: Un enrichissement à vie, de mémoires d’amitié forgées et des images saisissantes gravées pour toujours, c’est ce que le BVP est pour moi.

Hannah: This program has enlightened me in both mind and spirit- I couldnt forget about this program if I tried.

Rachel: The BVP has inspired and empowered me to share this unforgettable experience with my community, and my perspective on Canadas involvement in both World Wars has been changed forever.

John: This program has introduced to me a new way of studying history, and to teachers and peers who will continue to inspire me in the future.

Isabella: BVP is not a program that has forced mundane dates into the minds of the participants, but has rather challenged one to think critically about past historical events and present-day occurrences.

Anna: The BVP has completely changed the way I view history, it has inspired me to learn and teach, and I cant wait to spread it as far as I can!

Gordon: This program has been truly incredible, from speaking to some of the last remaining Second World War veterans, to retracing the footsteps of the soldiers of the First World War and D-day- I am so grateful that I could be part of such an amazing experience.

Laetitia : Durant ce programme, jai appris énormément dinformations sur les deux guerres mondiales entourée de personnes incroyables: cette expérience restera à jamais graver dans ma mémoire: merci beaucoup !

Caroline: BVP has allowed me to experience history as I never imagined it before, among like-minded peers in an environment where it comes alive.

Brooke: Our classrooms ranged from lecture halls at Oxford, to the fields of Belgium, to the white caves at Vimy, to the rocky beaches at Normandy, and often where we learn, teaches us more than our tour guide.

Ghalia: Today I leave feeling more empowered than ever before and with a network of colleagues that have become lifelong friends.

Stanford: BVP has allowed me to share exceptional experiences with unforgettable people.

Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 22 août 2018

Le dernier jour du programme, les récipiendaires du PVB 2018 ont passé la journée à l’Université Paris Nanterre. Au matin, ils ont participé à une atelier de bibliothèque et archives et ont discuté la poésie de la guerre. L’après-midi, ils ont assisté à des conférences présentés par candidats de doctorats Gwendal Piegas et Mathieu Panoryia. (À noter: les étudiants blogueront dans leur langue préférée).

Today we went to the Université Paris Nanterre to attend lectures and do some activities around the University. My favourite activity was a poetry analysis that we did in groups. Our group had a poem called “My Boy Jack” by Rudyard Kipling, and we had to analyze it from an emotional point of view. I thought this activity was really interesting because the other part of our group had to analyze it from a historian’s standpoint, and we very different points. I think poetry is very subjective, especially when you aren’t given any information about the poem beforehand. Our groups analysis of the poem was quite different from the actual meaning of the poem. The lines we thought were metaphors were literal, and vise-versa. Although, the way I think of it, the way that one individual person can never be wrong in their own opinion. Poems are different from other literature because it often doesn’t impose a meaning on you, it’s all about interpretation and relating it to your own experiences. This is similar to learning about the World Wars, as a person born in the 21st century, I can never truly understand what experiences people went though. All I can do is try to use empathy to connect it using an experience to help me understand.   

Anna Hoimyr, Gladmar SK

 

The last true day of this amazing program was highlighted by the introduction to other viewpoints to the war, that were not thoroughly discussed during the program. We visited Université Paris Nanterre and participated in a poetry analysis workshop. Two French scholars discussed the Franco-Prussian War and the Battle of Verdun, and the Eastern Front’s main interesting differences to the more studied Western Front. While analyzing different poems I came across a French poem called “Chanson de Craonne” with no known author. Reading poetry in my second language was a new experience for me, but it allowed me to understand an entirely different culture during the First World War on the Western Front; similar to how the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize has allowed to experience different narratives of the World Wars as oppose to the narrative usually taught in class. It was also interesting to see how there were many interpretations of the poem, whether that was because the poet wished to remain anonymous for fear that some of his sentiments may not have been appreciated by his commanding officers, or that the poem was a song that was constantly being altered by the soldiers on the front. Overall, I learned through today’s experiences, that the culture that was present during the First World War, the Interwar Period, and the Second World War are just as important for historians to look at critically as the actual military history of the war.

Isabella MacKay, Ottawa ON

 

I woke up on the last day of the BVP program feeling conflicted. Though I am disappointed to be finishing the most incredible experience of my life, I am thrilled to be heading home to share my new-found knowledge and perspectives. This morning we travelled to the Université Paris Nanterre where we were reunited with Julia. She led us in a workshop where I analyzed the emotional aspects and feelings conveyed by a poem written in 1915 during the battle of Ypres. Reading and listening to the various poems helped me to visualize a different side of war; soldiers wrote about their fears, their loved ones, or just how exhausted they were. This program has shown me the effects the Great War still has one hundred years later. I have visited countless cemeteries over the past two weeks, and yet I still find it difficult to comprehend that each and every headstone I saw represents a once living and loving person. When I sat in the cemeteries, I spoke to the headstones as I would a veteran, asking about their families and thanking them for their service. But whenever I stopped speaking, the leaves of the nearby maples began to rustle vigorously, almost as though the soldiers spirits were attempting to respond. Being part of the BVP has impacted my life in a way I never anticipated, and if knowledge is power, then I have gained the strength of every soldier who found in the First World War.

Rachel Woodruff, Chemainus BC

Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 20 août 2018

Aujourd’hui, nos récipiendaires du PVB 2018 ont visité le Centre Juno Beach où ils ont tourné le park Juno avec Vincent. En suite, ils ont visité Arromanches, le Mulberry Harbour, et le jardin Canadien au Mémorial de Caen. Pour finir la journée, le groupe a passée le soir au Queen’s Own Rifles de Canada (Maison des canadiens). (À noter: les étudiants blogueront dans leur langue préférée).

Aujourd’hui, nous avons visité plusieurs endroits historiques liés à la Bataille de Normandie. J’ai particulièrement apprécié le tour des bunkers, en plus de notre visite au Centre Juno Beach. Durant le tour des Bunkers, j’ai eu l’opportunité de voir ceux-ci en personne, c’était impressionnant de se trouver où les soldats allemands commandaient et observaient l’ennemi, car je pouvais voir des sites historiques ayant bravés le temps. J’ai également été surprise d’apprendre qu’un des bunkers avait été découvert récemment, il y a environ 8 ans. Apprendre cela m’a fait réfléchir: si les humains découvrent encore, de nos jours, des objets et lieux historiques, allons-nous continuer à en retrouver ? Par la suite, au musée canadien, Centre Juno Beach, le film intitulé Dans leurs pas m’a le plus marqué de l’ensemble des visites présentés dans l’endroit: il affichait des images des Canadiens lors du Jour J et durant la Bataille de Normandie. Pour moi, voir des représentations visuelles des évènements historiques de cet endroit était plus touchant que lire de l’information sur le sujet, puisque je pouvais me mettre momentanément dans la peau des soldats durant la Bataille de Normandie et ainsi imaginer ce qu’il aurait pu vivre à l’époque. Cette journée a donc été remplie de découvertes historiques intrigantes pour moi !

Laetitia Champenois Pison, Montreal QC

 

Today we had a tour at the Juno Beach Centre and our tour guide, Vincent, was amazing. He explained things in ways that were very easy to understand and you could tell he was very passionate about what he was talking about. One thing I learned from him was that the Atlantic Wall is portrayed a lot differently than how it really was. It is usually explained as a long wall going across the coast that absolutely no one could get through. Vincent explained it as a rope with knots in it. The knots were the bunkers on the coast. I think that is a very good way of putting it because the coast was heavily armed and defended but it was not a solid unbreakable wall. It was also an amazing experience to be on the beach and see the geography of it all. It made it much clearer in my mind. I’ve seen pictures hundreds of times but nothing can compare to seeing it in real life. 

Cassidy Choquette, Steinbach MB 

 

Today we visited Juno beach and its educational centre, which was very interesting. The first thing we did was a tour of two German bunkers, the first of which was from 1940 and had many weak points and flaws as at the time of building the threat of an allied invasion was minimal and wasn’t taken too seriously whereas the second was built in 1943 and was far superior due to the growing possibility of the British Invasion. It was interesting to see how the bunkers differed and I learnt a lot about other tactical defences at Juno beach. After the bunkers we went to the centre which was very informative and it was amazing to learn about Canada’s role on D-Day since, being from Scotland we aren’t taught much about other countries’ role in the Wars, so it was eye-opening, not only today, but throughout the whole program, to learn how much they contributed to both World Wars.

Gordon Simpson, Edinburgh Scotland

Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 19 août 2018

Aujourd’hui, nos récipiendaires du PVB 2018 ont participé à une série de cérémonies commémoratives pour la 76e anniversaire du raid de Dieppe. La première cérémonie a eu lieu au Cimetière Militaire Canadien Dieppe où Rachel et Gordon ont déposé une couronne alors que Alejandra et John on lisent la promesse de ne pas oublier. La deuxième cérémonie a eu lieu au Square du Canada où Stanford et Hannah ont déposé une couronne. L’après-midi, les étudiants ont voyagé à Normandie, ont visité Pegasus Bridge, et ont participé à une cérémonie privée à Abbaye d’Ardenne, le lieu où 20 soldats canadiens ont été exécutés par les membres du 12e SS Division Panzer en juin 1944. Lisez leurs publications en suivant le lien dans notre biographie. (À noter: les participants blogueront dans leur langue préférée).

Today was another amazing day in Dieppe. This morning, we walked to the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, where we attended a ceremony marking the 76th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid. It made me so proud to head the Canadian anthem sung at the ceremony, honouring the Canadians who fought and died during the raid 76 years ago today. Another activity that particularly resonated with me occurred immediately after the ceremony. The BVP participants were each given the name and story of a soldier buried in the cemetery, and we were asked to find our soldiers’ respective graves. My soldier was Bertram Howard Renfrew Capnerhurst, who—like me—lived in Toronto. After finding his grave, I read the short sheet of information I was given. Bertram, serving in the Essex Scottish Regiment during the Dieppe Raid, was only eighteen years old (one year older than I am) at the time of his death. He came from a military family, his father having served in the First World War, and a newspaper article also indicated that Bertram was hoping to win a Victoria Cross. Upon being informed that his son was missing in action, Bertram’s father, Major Capnerhurst, stated, “If my son is among the dead, those Jerries will pay dearly for his life. I am going back over there as soon as I can.” As I read about Bertram and his family I imagined the grief of receiving the news of Bertram’s death, as well as the circumstances that would inspire his father to go to war not once, but twice. Although I never knew Bertram, I can’t help but feel a kinship towards him. Like me, he was a Toronto teenager. Unlike me, however, he had extraordinary circumstances thrust upon him. He made the ultimate sacrifice, and for that I am truly grateful.

Caroline Tolton, Toronto ON

 

The courtyard of the Ardenne Abbey is deceptively beautiful, deceptively peaceful. Broad, old trees stand strong, shading the small space from the scorching sun. Bushes of vibrant green leaves coat the ground save for a small path leading up to a larger clearing of grass. It’s a place that I would love to relax in with a good book, had I not known the dark truth of the places past. During the Second World War in June of 1944, this quaint little garden became the site of a terrible atrocity. Twenty men, boys really, taken as Prisoners of War were murdered for no reason at all.

Seeing this picturesque garden and learning about its dark history was heartbreaking. They were so very young, only a few years older than me, and they were braver that I could ever hope to be. When they realized that they were going to die, they did not cower, cry or confess all they knew. They shook each other’s hands and faced death head on. That kind of courage is unimaginable to me. I have never been thrust into a situation dire enough to require it. To die rather than reveal what I knew, I can’t say I would make the same choice. I certainly wouldn’t have faced my death in silence. These men were heros, they possessed a courage that I can’t even fathom. Perhaps it is because of their courage and the courage of men like them, that I am here today.

So, as I stood in that peaceful little garden and a soft wind rustled the leaves, I did what many French and Canadian citizens have done and will do in the future. I remembered them. I bowed my head and whispered a prayer for the fallen.

Kelsey Ross, Burin NL

 

We began today with a ceremony at Dieppe commemorating the raid by the Canadians on 19 August 1942. For me, this was one of the most powerful experiences so far in the program, for several reasons. For one, it is eye-opening to see that local French people still commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of the Canadians who fought at Dieppe 76 years ago. Another striking aspect of the ceremony was the number of nations and organizations involved, all the national anthems being sung, and all the wreaths being placed by their respective representatives. I was honoured by the opportunity to read the Commitment to Remember at the ceremony. Additionally, the veterans present at the ceremony made it more special to me because I soon realized that we will soon lose the opportunity to learn from them and their experiences. Following the ceremony, we travelled to Abbaye D’Ardenne, the site where 20 Canadians were unjustly executed by the Nazis in June 1944, after refusing to turn over strategic information. This was the program’s second key visit today, and it was an intensely emotional one. The biographies and photographs of the 20 Canadian soldiers were prominently displayed, and we held a private ceremony at the small memorial where we each placed a poppy on a wreath. I was in awe, particularly of the immense bravery of the Canadians who stood strong, despite knowing their fate.

John Evans, Victoria BC

Blog Prix Vimy Beaverbrook – 18 août 2018

Aujourd’hui, les récipiendaires du PVB 2018 ont visité le cathédrale d’Amiens. Dans l’après-midi, les étudiants ont voyagé à Dieppe où ils ont rencontré Jean Caillet, résistant français durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. En suite, le groupe a fait un tour de mémoriaux à travers Dieppe, a marché le long de la plage rouge et de la plage blanc et a vu la plage bleu et la plage verte. Au soir, les étudiants ont assisté à une veillée du 76e anniversaire des raids de Dieppe et ont participé à la garde d’honneur au Cimetières des Canadiens – Les Vertus. (À noter: les participants blogueront dans leur langue préférée).

Today we transitioned from studying the First World War to the Second World War by visiting a cemetery with soldiers from both wars. I was excited to meet a member of the French Resistance, Jean Caillet, in Dieppe and felt grateful to have had this opportunity. I found the seminar to be extremely engaging because he was open to all of our questions. As he explained his role in the French Resistance, I was able to understand the implications people faced personally during the war. He spoke about his experiences in a manner that allowed me to understand as much as I possibly could about the emotions and hardships he went through. He also discussed his time as a prisoner in Spain which gave me another perspective of the difficulties faced during the war. I felt significantly more connected with the world wars when I was able to engage with someone who had witnessed and participated in one himself. I’m looking forward to speaking to veterans during Dieppe ceremonies tomorrow and learning about the personal aspect of the war.

Ghalia Aamer, Edmonton AB

 

Pour moi, ce jour a été très important. Nous avons rencontré Jean Caillet, résistant français durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. J’étais vraiment très honorée, venant de la France c’était vraiment quelque chose de marquant pour moi. Je le remercie, de nous avoir partagé quelques bouts de sa vie. Je le remercie pour sa générosité et son envie de perpétuer sa mémoire et celle de tous les soldats ayant combattu pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Ce fut vraiment un moment magique ! Nous avons pu également participer à la cérémonie commémorative de Dieppe. Cela était vraiment émouvant. Ils ont déposé une rose sur chaque tombe canadienne et allumé plusieurs flambeaux. Cette journée était superbe ! Merci la Fondation Vimy !

Cassandre Onteniente, Bessières FR

 

Visiting Dieppe was an amazing day. I was drawn in as soon as I stepped foot on the rocky beaches of Red Beach. It’s sad to think of the lives lost on that raid, but at the same time I can’t help but feel a sense of pride. Seeing the landscape, hearing the sounds and feeling the burn of my muscles as we explored the terrain truly put the event into perspective for me.

Later today, the ceremony we attended only added to my feeling of pride. Only with it, I felt the spark of respect I feel for the French people grow into a raging inferno. For those people to commemorate the fallen Canadian soldiers yearly only adds to the swelling high I am still experiencing even as I write this blog post.

The history in Dieppe made me truly see how Canadians aided their allies during the Second World War. To annually remember the fallen of a foreign nation for attempting to liberate your community and to allow the erection of multiple monuments shows how thankful this one town is that we tried to do what we thought was right. Dieppe has won a place in my heart and I can only hope to experience this town again after the program concludes.

Hannah Rogers, Kinkora PEI