In preparation for this year’s 2020 Mottershead Battlefield tour, I, as well as the rest of the individuals who will be embarking this adventure, have been partaking in multiple activities in order to ready ourselves for what we will see in France and Belgium in two weeks time. Among other activities, the weekly seminars that we have been attending have developed our knowledge regarding the various different aspects of the first and second world wars from the naval, air, and land perspectives. As an English Major, this is a fantastic opportunity for me to further my education on the two Great Wars, and to delve into some of the finer details that may have been missed in our general history courses. War poetry has always been something that has fascinated me, so it is fantastic that I get to learn a little more about the literature that I am reading.
On the topic of literature and war art, I have taken an interest in furthering my knowledge about war poetry by receiving an anthology of war poems from one of my English professors. I will read many of these poems aloud to the group on the Battlefields that we will be visiting, which will be an experience in and of itself. To be able to conceptualize the scenes depicted in the text through actual experience is an opportunity that I have not had before in much of the literature that I have read over the years. Equally, we will get to see the landscape that is represented in so many of the war films and documentaries that we have been watching both as a group and individually. This, too, uniquely conceptualizes the severity and grandeur of the Wars in ways we cannot fully grasp until we experience it.
Finally, on a more personal level, I have gone into my families past to learn about the war history of my lineage. Above all the other ways in which I have prepared for the Battlefield tour, this medium has proven to affect me the most. Before my preparation for the Battlefield tour, I hadn’t a clue that my great uncle drove merchant ships in the Battle of The Atlantic, or that my great grandfather was gassed at Vimy and went on to fight at Passchendaele. Often, the influence Canadian soldiers had on the two great Wars is overlooked in current Canadian culture, an oversight I am a culprit of as well. Upon further investigation, however, my experience so far with the Battlefield tour has proven that the influence our great country had on the Wars is one that should never be forgotten, as well as one we should all, as Canadians, take great pride in. I look forward to seeing the Battlefields in real time, and to the memories that I will make on the tour that will be sure to be unforgettable. – OCdt Eve Baker
Your Donations at Work – It is only through the generous support of 5586 Ian and Rosemary Mottershead that funding for this trip is made possible. Ian and Rosemary attended a Battlefield Tour a few years ago and seen the value in providing this experience to our future officers and wanted this trip to continue.