11 December - FCWM Volunteers Host Teachers at War Museum
FCWM volunteers Mai-yu Chan and Larry Capstick hosted a "guided exploration" for about 25 retired secondary teachers from Eastern Ontario. They all belonged to ARM (Active Retired Members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation). There were both retired teachers and retired educational worker in attendance. In spite of the snow, they came from Cornwall, Smiths Falls, Kingston and Ottawa.
They were divided two groups - Mai-yu took them through the Museum to specifically examine the collection dealing with the First World War. This included an introduction to the current exhibit on Flanders Fields in the McCrae Gallery. Larry led the other half on an examination of the architecture of the Museum and the conceptual design of the chief architect, Raymond Moriyama, with specific focus on the two memorial areas. After about an hour the groups were switched.
The event was a huge success and those in attendance also learned how the Friends support the Museum as well as taking time to view the other main galleries after the tours.
23 November - Friends of the Canadian War Museum Visit the Friends of Beechwood Cemetery
On Sunday, November 23, the Events Committee hosted an afternoon with two speakers at Ottawa’s Beechwood Cemetery, followed by a social get-together. Although the numbers in attendance were few, the general consensus was that the afternoon's presentations were both informative and entertaining.
Ian Guthrie, a member of the Beechwood Board of Directors, provided a very informative and engaging explanation of the origins of Beechwood and how it became Canada's National Cemetery. He incorporated the evolution of the cemetery with the lay-out and specific features of certain memorials. Local history buffs were given an insight into the emergence of the city of Ottawa and surrounding areas. We also learned how the more than 150 acres are a horticultural landmark as well. Mr. Guthrie also related information of specific interest to Friends of the War Museum who wanted to have insight into the National Military Cemetery, its layout, its maintenance, the military hardware on display, and special events related to it.
Former Chaplain-General, Brigadier (Ret’d) David Kettles, spoke on behalf of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He is responsible for the all operations of the Commission in the Americas. Chaplain Kettles gave an overview of the origins of the War Graves Commission and how it evolved around the world. The design of the First World War Cemeteries and rules related to the arrangements for those who die while serving overseas was explained. Some very interesting factual data was shared with the group and this led to a number of questions and discussion following his talk. As well, we were given a calendar of events which the Commission and Canadian Government are highlighting over the next four years as relates to the anniversary of World War I.
It is the intention of the Events Committee to follow-up this presentation with a walking tour of the Cemetery in the spring. Mr. Guthrie has agreed to act as our tour guide and highlight specific details related to World War I, as outlined in a very informative pamphlet which the Cemetery has produced for the anniversary of that war. This tour would be open to all members of the Friends and notification will be publicized in advance.
Beechwood is truly a national treasure. The Foundation Staff and volunteers of the Friends of Beechwood couldn’t have been of more help to us in arranging the events. This experience will undoubtedly lead to other collaborative efforts in the future.
10 November - Visit of Silver Cross Mother to Canadian War Museum
The Memorial (Silver) Cross was instituted on December 1, 1919 and was issued as a memento of personal loss and sacrifice on behalf of all widows and mothers who lost a child while on active duty in the service of their nation or whose death was consequently attributed to such duty. Every year, Legion provincial commands and individuals forward nominations for the selection of a National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother. These nominations are reviewed by a selection committee at Dominion Command and one mother is chosen for the year which begins on 01 November until the following year. During her term as the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother she lays a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on 11 November and fulfills other official functions. The medal is awarded to such mothers by the Canadian Forces.
The 2014 Silver Cross Mother is Mrs. Gisèle Michaud. Mrs. Michaud’s son, Master Cpl. Charles-Philippe Michaud, 28, was wounded after stepping on an improvised explosive device while on patrol southwest of Kandahar City in 2009.
On Monday, 10 November 2014, Mrs. Michaud was an honoured guest of the Canadian War Museum. As part of her visit to the Museum, she was presented with an engraved plaque by the President of the Friends of the Canadian War Museum, BGen (Ret’d) Linda Colwell.