Wednesday, September 3, 2014

'From the Prairies to the Trenches: Saskatchewan and the First Months of World War One, June 1914 - February 1915'

Me proudly mugging for the camera as we install our exhibit at the Legislature. Picture by the ever-radiant J. Fedorak.
Well, sadly, it looks like summer is slipping through our fingers. Usually my work is fairly low-key during the hot months, but this year it has been very busy indeed.

One thing that my unit was tasked to do during July was to create and install an exhibit at our Provincial Legislature in order to commemorate Canada's entry into the Great War, one hundred years ago. Even though we only had four weeks to pull it off I decided that we should be ambitious and create a video installation as I thought it would better showcase the various collections/media held by our archive. Anyway, it was all hands to the sweeps each day, but my team more than showed their mettle and I think they hit the ball right out of the park. I'm very proud of them and of what we managed to create under such a tight deadline. My hat is off to you Donald, Jaimie, Madeleine, Taras and Tim - thanks so much for your hard work.

So, without further ado here is our video exhibit (which also debuted on YouTube a few days ago). It is titled, 'From the Prairies to the Trenches: Saskatchewan and the First Months of World War One, June 1914 - February 1915'. I invite you to check it out and if you like it please forward it on to others who may be interested. 


Note: I recommend turning on Closed Captioning / Subtitles as one of the interviews is with a WWI veteran which was recorded in 1975 and so can be a bit of a challenge to hear in parts. We will be creating follow-up videos for each year of the war so, rest assured, I will be pestering you all to view them when they are each released. 

Thanks very much for taking the time to visit!

19 comments:

  1. Hi Curt,

    a very interesting and well done video. Thanks for sharing it. I'll share it via Google+ and FB gladly and I'm looking forward follow-up videos.

    Cheers
    Stefan

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    1. I'm happy you liked it Stefan and thank you for getting the word out.

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  2. Well done - I like how the individual stories are woven into to the narrative. Ken Burns should be very nervous with you and your crew's documentary prowess.

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    1. Haha, thanks Miles. Actually, Ken Burns' iconic 'pan and zoom' was something we really wanted to incorporate in our exhibit. Next year, with more images available for 1915, I think we'll have a lot more fun with the video.

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  3. As the others have said, well done. I look forward to the next installment.

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  4. Curt - great work, well done by you and the team. I loved the story of the fellow who, it was assumed, wouldn't join up as he hated walking, but of course found his way regardless!

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    1. Thanks Gregster - I thought you'd like the bit about the lazy cavalryman. :)

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  5. Excellent video! I always enjoy reading or listening to the stories from mostly common soldiers from all sides. It's great to hear some stories from your side of the pond as it's most often a bit overlooked in comparison to the abundance of French, English or German accounts. Hats off ro you and your team. I'm looking forward to the follow up parts. Btw. the guy not wanting to walk really was great. Any evidence what became of him later on?

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    1. We actually have a transcript of his diary (and his brother's as well) at the Archives. The short version is that the brothers made it through, with many hilarious adventures along the way!

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    2. Thanks for stepping in to answer this one, Jaimie. Yes Nick, the interlinked story of Vic and Ern will probably be a recurring theme in the upcoming videos as they are such wonderful characters, and, as Jaimie mentions, they even managed to survive the war (a miracle in of itself being that they were from the First Canadian Contingent)!

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  6. Curt, wonderful work and a great way to begin the commemoration. I look forward to future installments.

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    1. Thanks Kevin! I think you'll like the upcoming installments as the Saskatchewan battalions get assigned to the Front. The 46th battalions, in particular, was quite a hard fighting unit, suffering over 90% casualties over the four years of the war.

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  7. Replies
    1. Thanks John, it is a great job. I just wish we were funded appropriately so we could actually meet our core mandate. It seems that everything we do is always on a shoestring. Nonetheless, I still love my job and think overall the work we do is worthwhile to society.

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  8. Great video and wonderful task. The generosity of the Canadian soldiers in both wars is something... wonderful (again).

    Great work!

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  9. Congats mr Burns and team. That's an excellent video! I guess I know many people with more boring jobs... Cheers, Mike

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  10. Congats mr Burns and team. That's an excellent video! I guess I know many people with more boring jobs... Cheers, Mike

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