Monday, July 28, 2008

military "blog"....July, 1944



These are excerpts from the war diaries of the Calgary Highlanders, who were traveling through France on a government expense paid trip back in '44. It puts some of the modern events into perspective....
I was especially taken with the sparsely told but no doubt heartfelt story of the lady with the girl with the hair ribbon.
These are the originals. One of the great joys of living in the nations capital is that the archives are there for anybody to go in and examine. There is a big room, with large tables, and you wear gloves. The plus side is that any item in the archive can be examined. The minus side is that you sort of have to know what to look for since you can't just "fish in the stacks". These original documents will eventually be photographed and then put onto microfilm...when that day comes we will lose a lot of stuff. I mean, on some of the pages, you can smell the cordite smoke which came off the guys hands, and you can see the coffee rings and dusky fingerprints on General Crerar's maps. We will lose this when the photographer is called in.
I got a nice set of photocopies from the Archives, including these pages, and others, relating to the story of the Canadian "Battle for the Scheldt". This was the great unknown battle since Hollywood never really had any interest in it, but of course, the country of Holland remembers Canadians rolling through really well, and sends thousands of tulips every year for people to enjoy here in Ottawa.
Well, anyway, that was how it was mid July around Caen, France, some sixty four years ago.

1 comment:

cv said...

Very cool stuff. I love history. When I was in Philadelphia I got to go into part of the Continental Congress that most tourists don't get to see. I nearly wept when I found out that it was the room that Lewis and Clark displayed all of the treasures from their journey when they returned from the west. To stand in such a place. Separated by such people by only time. To walk on floors that they did, to see things that they saw. Their journals are kept nearby, but are not available to tourists. I was content.