Chlorine gas was first used in the Second Battle of Ypres. The Sooke Region Museum presents a special exhibit on the First World War

Fighting in Flanders

Canada’s experiences in First World War on display at Sooke museum

Pirjo Raits

Sooke News Mirror

The 2013 image of a young Belgian boy, in military apparel, saluting Canadian troops while O Canada plays is an iconic video of the way Belgians regard Canadians. Canada’s role in Belgium during the First World War was pivotal.

That war ended in Mons, Belgium on Nov. 11, 1918, after four years of fighting and immense sacrifices.

Canadians paid a heavy price during the First World War with 59,544 casualties and 172,950 wounded. One quarter of those who fell, fell on Belgian soil.

The Sooke Region Museum will be presents the two-dimensional version of Fighting, from Sept. 16 to Dec. 2: Fighting in Flanders – Gas. Mud.

Memory, is a traveling exhibition from the Canadian War Museum, one of a series of projects commemorating the centenary of the First World War at the war museum.

“We were interested in bringing in more travelling exhibits,” said Lee Boyko, executive director of the Sooke Region Museum and Visitor Centre. “Personally, I am interested in the 150th anniversary (of Canada) and the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge.

Boyko said he visited Vimy Ridge with his son a couple of years ago. He said this upcoming exhibition fit all the categories. The museum will be supplementing the exhibition with photographs and war art from the Sooke museum.

“From the first use of deadly chlorine gas in the Second Battle of Ypres to the treacherous mud of Passchendaele, Canadian soldiers faced horrific new weapons and unimaginable conditions on the battlefield,” said Mark O’Neill, president of the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum.

“This exhibition showcases the Canadian experiences in Belgium, and the impact these had on Canadian lives.”

The exhibition is presented in a series of four panels using photographs, personal testimonials and reproductions of art. The exhibition covers the invasion of Belgium in 1914, the Battle of Ypres in 1915 and the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

The exhibit will be held in the upper gallery at the Sooke Region Museum at 2070 Phillips Rd.