The Great War the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1
The Great War shirt, commemorates Canada's involvement in the battles of World War One. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1
Some people don't realize that World War One was known as "The Great War". It was referred to as "The War to end all Wars." by Woodrow Wilson who was President of the United States at that time. Ironically, while Wilson used this phrase to refer to World War I, World War II began just two decades later.
Chemical warfare was a major component of the 1st World War. Chemical agents such as mustard gas became a way to break that uneasy deadlock. Germany's first attempt at chemical weapons came in 1915 at the battle of Ypres in Belgium, in the form of chlorine gas.
Chlorine and phosgene gases attacked the lungs ripping the very breath out of its victims. At least a gas mask provided some defense against the chlorine and phosgene gases. Mustard gas was worse, it attacked the skin - moist skin such as the eyes, armpits, and groin. It burned its way into its victim leaving searing blisters and unimaginable pain.
The back of the shirt has a chronological list of Canada's involvement in WW1 and reads:
The Great War
Canada at War August 4, 1914: When Britain went to war on August 4, all colonies and dominions of the British Empire, like Canada and Newfoundland, were automatically at war.
The Battle of Verdun February 21 - December 18, 1916: The Battle of Verdun is considered the greatest and lengthiest in world history. Never before or since has there been such a lengthy battle, involving so many men, situated on such a tiny piece of land. The battle caused over an estimated 700,000 casualties (dead, wounded and missing). The battlefield was not even 10 square kilometres.
Second Battle of Ypres April 22 – May 25, 1915: In Canada’s first major battle, the outnumbered Canadian Division faced the first use of chlorine gas as a battlefield agent. A third of the force, or 6,000 soldiers, were killed, wounded, or captured, but the Canadians kept the Germans from breaking through.
The Battle of the Somme July 1 to November 18, 1916: The opening of the Somme offensive turned into one of the deadliest days in the history of modern warfare. Allied forces launched a major offensive when waves of Allied soldiers began climbing out of their trenches to advance through a hail of enemy fire toward the German lines; it was a tragic beginning to a costly battle where more than 57,000 Commonwealth soldiers became casualties on the opening day of the fighting alone. After the 141 days of horror, the Allies and Central Powers would lose more than 1.5 million men.
Beaumont Hamel July 1, 1916: The Newfoundland Regiment went into battle at Beaumont-Hamel as part of a general British offensive of the Battle of the Somme. The brave members of the Newfoundland Regiment who went into action were hit especially hard. Newfoundlanders advanced without covering fire from heavy artillery; the German barbed wire perimeters hadn’t been cut as promised; reports of early Allied gains were incorrect; the regiment’s battle plans changed at the last minute; the assault they engaged in was one they hadn’t trained for. Only 68 of the more than 800 men who had taken part were able to answer the roll call the next morning.
Battle of Vimy Ridge April 9 - April 12, 1917: Canadians successfully attacked the German-held strongpoint of Vimy Ridge. The thoroughly planned and executed victory has become a post-war symbol for Canadian identity and independence.
Battle of Passchendaele October 26 - November 10, 1917: Passchendaele is remembered for its brutal fighting and horrible weather conditions. Canadian forces, serving under a Canadian commander, captured their objective, but suffered great losses, 16,000 were killed or wounded.
The Hundred Days Offensive August 8 - November 11, 1918: Canadians played a key role in the series of battles that formed the Hundred Days campaign. With the infantry and artillery working in a combined arms system, along with tactical airpower, machine-guns, mortars, chemical weapons, and armoured vehicles, the German armies were driven back and defeated.
Armistice November 11, 1918: The war ended at 11 a.m. on this day. More than nine million service personnel and an estimated 20 million civilians were killed in The Great War (WWI). This is why on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we stop for 2 minutes of silence, to remember those who fought for Canada.