Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from All Recipes
Friday, November 25, 2016
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
|The Menin Gate, 1927|
Here's some backstory: Ypres is an ancient town in Belgium which became renowned for its linen trade with England during the Middle Ages. Since it played such an important role in the textile industry and was a major hub of trade, it was decided to fortify the village with stone ramparts which were gradually expanded over the centuries.
|The Menin Gate before the outbreak of war, Summer 1914|
During the First World War, the town of Ypres occupied a strategic position because it stood directly in the path of Germany's planned sweep across the rest of Belgium and into France from the north (the Schlieffen plan). The German army surrounded the area on three sides, bombarding it through most of the war. As a result, British, French, and other Allied forces made costly advances in counterattack from what became known as the Ypres salient into the German lines on the surrounding hills.
|Another prewar shot of the Menin Gate- note the two lions on either side which were removed during the war for preservation|
|The Menin Gate area at the end of the war|
|The unveiling ceremony|
I just thought this was an amazing story and something that I hope we all get to experience someday as part of the history people bucket list. Information courtesy of greatwar.co.uk and historylearningsite as well as the presentation in my European History seminar.
Thanks for reading,
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
|The parade of veterans in front of the War Memorial|
|An early shot before the action started|
It was about five minutes into the waiting process (which began around 9:30am) that we started realizing how brutal the weather was going to be. People started putting on their hoods and zipping their coats a little higher, and I couldn't help but think of all the elderly veterans who were on their way into those conditions. The longer we waited, the wind and lack of movement really started to get brutal. I've been in Ottawa for four years and made a lot of silly fashion choices in -40 degree weather, but that day was truly the coldest I have ever been. When all the groups of soldiers and cadets started marching in, I tried for a few photos so that I could share them here, but the cold put a damper on my photography abilities. My apologies that there aren't as many photos as in previous years.
That's about when the pipers rolled in. It turned out the large blank space between our spot and the War Memorial, where all the action happens, was where the pipers in their tall, black hats were supposed to stand. As a result, seeing anything happening at the memorial was basically impossible, and even the massive screens attached to several buildings were difficult to see. Trust me when I tell you that watching from the comfort of your home sometimes has its benefits! However, there really is no replacing the unexpected little moments that always seem to come along with events like this, and that I wouldn't trade for any front row seat. As always tends to happen when thousands of people are contained by a fence of metal rails, it is difficult to move once you've entered the crowd and almost impossible to get to the other side of the rails. I had witnessed more than one high-ranking veteran having to climb over the gates with no offers of assistance thanks to the rails being supposedly unable to open. Shortly before the pipers arrived but after the ceremony had begun, a gentleman with an older man linked to his elbow appeared to be working his way along the edge of the gate. When he got closer to me, I heard him indicating that he was trying to get his father to the other side of the gates and up to where the veterans sit at the memorial. Most people were very kind in letting him pass and even trying to get the police officers' attention to open the gate for them, but I did hear a few remarks about how they were clearly late. As they passed, the older man turned to me and jokingly commented on what a difficult time they were having, and I wished him luck in getting through. From the corner of my eye, I noticed the pins and badges he was wearing on his jacket, which said that he had been a Spitfire pilot and had served at Normandy on D-Day. Here was one of my aviation heroes struggling through the same crowd by whom he was supposed to be honored. I won't forget that gentleman, or his optimism, anytime soon.
Overall, while I was rigid with cold and all of my muscles clenched against the driving wind, I was so concerned with the well being of the rest of those veterans that I could hardly focus on the service. I know how difficult it can be to be over ninety years old and in your own, warm home that it was hard to imagine the pain they had to have been experiencing in those conditions. However, over the course of the concluding veterans' parade and the aftermath of the ceremony when they all leave the memorial, I never once saw any of them appear to be affected by the weather in any way. Each and every one of those men and women stood tall and walked proudly, their minds clearly not in Ottawa at all. It was amazing to witness their unbelievable strength, and it reminded me that theirs truly is the Greatest Generation; we can never understand the limits to which they have been pushed in their lifetime.
One less than uplifting event during the ceremony, which I'm not sure was covered by many of the television broadcasts, was the incident where a piece of plywood was blown off of a building under construction and into the crowd. There is always a bit of an unsettled feeling at the ceremony, at least for me, with the snipers visible on the rooftops and so many people (including dignitaries) in such close quarters. After that incident, though, I realized that my biggest fear is not of something like that happening during a public event, but that few would notice that it had even happened. I saw the plywood blow off the building and be thrown up into the air above the hundreds of people, slashing its way down in a zigzagging motion that one of the witnesses later compared to that of a guillotine. I instantly thought that something horrific was about to happen, but there really wasn't anything that anyone could have done in the seconds it took for the board to make its way down. As it got closer to hitting the people, it seemed to eerily slow, floating as a flat surface before swinging into a light post and shattering the glass everywhere. While I did hear that a woman was injured, the damage that could have resulted from that was terrifying to imagine and everyone there was extremely lucky to have either missed seeing it or missed having that awful memory of the day.
|The Hon. Kent Hehr speaking with the crowd|
Finally, the gates were opened and I was able to get to the tomb to lay my poppy. This is always the pinnacle of the day and one of the most emotional aspects; it is incredibly humbling to approach the unknown soldier and spend a few moments reflecting on the magnitude of all that he represents. The photos from this point are probably the best, so I will let them speak for themselves:
|This dog served as a reminder of the countless animals who also paid the ultimate sacrifice in times of war|
Overall, while it certainly did not go according to plan, my final experience at the national Remembrance Day ceremony was as touching and memorable as ever. I truly am so grateful to have been able to experience these four events, both as a Canadian and as a historian. It can be so easy sometimes to get bogged down in the details and think of the history as the material on an exam or in an essay, and it's events like this that remind me that these are real experiences that still exist in the memories of many. I encourage you all to consider attending the ceremony yourselves in future years as it is a moving experience that I wish you could all have. Hopefully this post was a good substitute for this year's edition, and you can learn from my mistakes when you make your plans to attend!
Thanks for reading,
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
I thought it might be nice to give this Remembrance Week post a dose of sweetness as we prepare to reflect upon some of the more somber aspects of our wartime history this Friday. A great thing about this story is that it includes some actual testimony from our story's star, and you'll be able to tell her parts when the font looks like this.
Our story begins in 1917 France, where young Helen Purviance, an ensign in the Salvation Army, was sent to work with the American First Division: “There were four companies in my outfit, A, B, C, D. The major would assign them in turn to take responsibility for taking our tent down, packing our supplies and loading them on top of a truck. We would climb up on top of our pile of supplies when we moved. We always moved at night because of the ammunition train... General Pershing wasn’t keen about women going close to the front lines. He said he didn’t want to take the responsibility for us. We told him he wasn’t. We were taking the responsibility to do this. It seemed to us that the greater their (the soldiers) danger, the greater was their need... They armed us immediately with a gas mask, helmet and a .45 calibre revolver. They instructed us to take target practice for our own protection.”
One day, as she and her assistant, Margaret Sheldon were taking a Sunday afternoon stroll near the Salvation Army hut behind the front lines, the pair come up with an idea to whip up a new sweet treat for the soldiers: “We had been making fudge for the soldiers and we were trying to think of something else to make with some supplies we’d gotten from the commissary of the ammunition train. And the more we talked, it just spelled doughnuts... Margaret said, ‘But what about eggs?’ I said I would go see the villagers about eggs. We got the eggs. When we made the first doughnuts, we partitioned off the hut with a blanket so the soldiers wouldn’t know what we were making until it was ready."
Ensign Purviance coaxed the wood fire in the potbellied stove to keep it at an even heat for frying. Because it was back-breaking to lean over the low fire, she spent most of the time kneeling in front of the stove. "I was literally on my knees when those first doughnuts were fried, seven at a time, in a small frypan. There was also a prayer in my heart that somehow this home touch would do more for those who ate the doughnuts than satisfy a physical hunger,"
The first soldier to receive a doughnut was Pvt. Braxton Zuber of Auburn, Ala., who later worked with the girls as a full-time aide: “This came about because it was discovered Zuber had lied about his age when he enlisted. He was only 16. When he was sick and had to go the hospital, he confessed his real age. The military was going to send him home. We had a detail assigned to help us get water and things such as that. So when the Army said it was going to send Zuber home, I said to them, ‘You are now assigning me an able bodied man who could be used for other duties. Why don’t you let me have Zuber. Until he confessed, you would have never known he was under age. You could give me him instead of sending me a different man each day."
Soon the tempting aroma of frying doughnuts drew a lengthy line of soldiers to the hut. Standing in mud and rain, they patiently waited their turn. Although the girls worked late into the night, they could serve only 150 doughnuts the first day. The next day, that number was doubled. A while later, when fully equipped for the job, they fried from 2,500 to 9,000 doughnuts daily, as did other lassies along the frontline trenches. After several soldiers asked, "Can't you make a doughnut with a hole in it?", Ensign Purviance had an elderly French blacksmith improvise a doughnut cutter by fastening the top of a condensed milk can and camphor-ice tube to a wooden block. Later, all sorts of other inventions were employed, such as the lid from a baking powder can or a lamp chimney to cut the doughnut, with the top of a coffee percolator to make the hole.
The soldiers cheered the doughnuts and soon referred to Salvation Army lassies as "doughnut girls," even when they baked apple pies or other treats. The simple doughnut became a symbol of all that the Salvation Army was doing to ease the hardships of the frontline fighting man -- the canteens in primitive dugouts and huts, the free refreshments, religious services, concerts, and a clothes-mending service. Today Salvation Army Red Shield Clubs and USO units offer members of the Armed Forces a variety of services, ranging from recreational facilities to family counseling -- but the famous doughnut remains a perennial favorite. Nor is it confined to those in uniform. During every sort of peacetime emergency --fires, floods, earthquake, transit strikes, blackouts -- The Salvation Army's mobile canteens have provided thousands of civilians with the doughnuts that stand for the Salvationist's loving concern and readiness to help in time of need.
In case you want to see what all the excitement was about, here's the recipe (http://www.gwpda.org):
The Original recipe for donuts as made by the Salvation Army Lassies in WWIWWI Donut Recipe - Makes approximately 15 - 20 donuts
4 cups plain flour
1˝ tsp salt
˝ tsp butter
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
Put flour in shallow pan, add salt, baking powder, and Sugar.
Rub in butter with fingertips.
Add the well beaten egg and milk and stir thoroughly.
Toss on floured board, roll to one-fourth inch in thickness, shape, fry, and drain.
Mix the cinnamon and nutmeg with fine granulated or icing sugar and use to dust the donuts after cooking.
“I have always said that the doughnuts became known in 1847. But I do think they came into their own on Oct. 19, 1917, when Margaret Sheldon and I decided to make doughnuts in World War I.”
I'd like to recognize the Doughboy Center, Susan Mitchem, director of the archives at the Salvation Army Headquarters, and the Salvation Army of Indiana for the information and quotes. I'd also like to mention that the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Campaign is underway, and I encourage you all to look for your nearest poppy box and make a donation if you haven't already. One hundred percent of the proceeds go towards supporting our veterans, so it is our duty to repay them in such a small capacity. Please remember the regulations for poppy wearing: do not attach any pins or emblems into the center, wear the poppy only on a lapel or shirtfront, and be sure to purchase a new one every year. It's also not too late to begin thinking about how you will spend this Remembrance Day. Make a plan to attend your local ceremony, or at the very least to observe a moment of silence at 11:00am on Friday. If you're in Elgin County or the area, here is a list of ceremonies and events: http://www.elgintourist.com/hot-spot/remembrance-day-services If it's possible for you to take photos in a respectful manner or just share your experience in words, I'd love to hear about how you observe Remembrance Day and ways that this year was memorable. In the meantime, have a safe and respectful week and as always,
Thanks for reading,
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
|Senegalese Riflemen who fought with the French|
This week, we're embarking into uncharted territory with WWW's first foray into a non-western perspective. I'll admit that my primary interest in Canadian and German history has dominated the narrative for the past two years, but a lack of knowledge of other sides of the story has also prevented me from expanding the horizons. Naturally, I have been interested in reading about the North African campaign of the Second World War and the legendary figure of Erwin Rommel, but that was the extent of my knowledge of the wartime conditions on that continent. Even during my in-depth Second World War course with Dr. Serge Durflinger, there wasn't too much discussion of Africa's role. Given that we call it the Second World War, I knew there had to be a connection, but never learned of it until very recently. I mentioned a few posts ago that I am taking a course on African history, which is part of my non-Western credit requirement. Since this is not my area of interest, I'll be honest and say that I wasn't overly excited about taking the class, and it's definitely been a challenge so far, but I did learn something completely new about the war and wanted to share it with you this week. I think a lot of us would say that our lack of knowledge on this topic does not come from an unwillingness to learn, but more from a lack of exposure to these stories. My hope is that you'll take away even a little information in order to acknowledge the African experience, and keep it in mind as we prepare to recognize that period in our history.
All information comes from a lecture delivered by Dr. Meredith Teretta on 11 October 2016.
My professor began by asserting that the Second World War actually began in Africa, which obviously took me by surprise. She said that the first expansion of fascism took place not in Europe, but in Ethiopia, with Mussolini's 1935 invasion. This was related to both strategic and economic reasons, was a symbol of the birth of Italian power (Italy had controlled parts of that territory until they were defeated and expelled by the Ethiopians after the 1896 Battle of Adwa), and was a way of proving that the nation had been reborn. A hundred thousand Italian troops invaded from neighboring Somaliland and Eritrea, using superior technology including poison gas, and ultimately occupied the nation until 1941. Since Ethipoia was a member of the League of Nations, Emperor Haile Selassi made an appeal after the invasion which led to his honour as Time Man of the Year for 1935, but no action was taken by the League. The appeal did create a great deal of press, especially among members of the African diaspora in the West, where it established anti-colonialist, black solidarity sentiments.
|Haile Selassi on the cover of Time|
|Senegalese Tirailleurs prisoners in 1940|
|British African soldiers in Burma|
Overall, one million African men contributed to the war effort, and an estimated fifty thousand were killed in active duty.
After the war, three hundred thousand African soldiers returned home in 1945. Africa experienced a much slower process in returning to civilian life, as troops remained in Africa until 1947 because preference was given to European soldiers to return home. In addition, the continent shouldered an economic burden as a result of its natural resource exploitation during the war. African minerals played a significant role in the Allied war effort, with an estimated ninety-nine percent of the Allied uranium coming from the continent, and those extractions during the peak years of the war were crucial for armament supply. Major mineral-producing countries included South Africa, the Belgian Congo, both Rodesias, the Gold Coast, Nigeria, Angola, Sierra Leone, Morocco, and Southwest Africa. As a result, the colonies were used as a means of shoring up the economies of their mother countries and the war accelerated the entry of Africa's mineral extraction into multinational corporate capitalism, a system that still plagues those countries to this day.
Overall, I think that Africa's story of the Second World War is one of many unfortunate and upsetting narratives from that period, and should be discussed and recognized by a wider audience. I'd like to thank you for expanding your historical horizons this week!
I'd also like to mention that the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Campaign is underway, and I encourage you all to look for your nearest poppy box and make a donation. One hundred percent of the proceeds go towards supporting our veterans, so it is our duty to repay them in such a small capacity. Please remember the regulations for poppy wearing: do not attach any pins or emblems into the center, wear the poppy only on a lapel or shirtfront, and be sure to purchase a new one every year. It's also not too early to begin thinking about how you will spend this Remembrance Day. If you are in the Elgin County area, I would highly recommend attending this year's ceremony held by the Township of Southold. It's on Sunday, November 6th at the Shedden Keystone Complex, with author and historian Ted Barris as the guest speaker. Mr. Barris is an excellent scholar of Canadian history, and I've worked with some of his material when writing about the No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School in Fingal. I'm very sad that I can't be at the ceremony to meet him, so please be sure to attend on my behalf and hear him speak about Vimy Ridge. More details here: http://www.southwold.ca/sites/default/files/Poster_2016_Remembrance_Day_Service_1.pdf
That's everything for this week! Thanks for reading,
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Tyrconnell Heritage Society is seeking volunteers to serve on the Board of Directors for 1 and 3 year terms commencing March 1, 2017.
Interested individuals are required to be minimum of 18 years of age; pay your annual Tyrconnell Heritage Society membership; complete and submit a Recruitment Form to the nominating committee; and encouraged to attend the Annual General Meeting on March 1, 2017, 7pm at Backus-Page House Museum.
Documents are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org , or by calling 519-762-3072.
The Board of Directors will post the approved candidacy list online, 40 days prior to the Annual General Meeting (on or before January 20, 2017).
Submission deadline to be considered for nomination and election is December 31, 2016.
Attn: Nominating Committee
Box 26, 29424 Lakeview Line
Wallacetown, ON, N0L 2M0
The Nomination Committee consists of Brian Elliott (current board member), Angela Bobier (current staff person), Paula Grafstein (current staff person), and Jerry Galbraith (current society member).
We are especially seeking individuals with heritage skills, experience in human resources, building maintenance, grounds keeping, document digitization, history, museum work, environment or nature, and those that excel in sales and fundraising.