Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Vimy Monument models, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa

Marking the anniversary of two Canadian milestones, 65 years apart. Continue reading

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – CR Magrath and John L Godwin, allsaints, Ottawa

Each soldier tells a story. Some stories start together, diverge, then come together again.

John and Magrath Godwin were born in Lethbridge, Alberta, sons of Frederick Richard Godwin and Anna Bella Lockhart Godwin. Both attended Lisgar Collegiate when the family moved to Ottawa. Magrath was one of the first to enlist, John enlisted months later, both serving in the Canadian Artillery. They were killed in action three months apart. Both are buried at Reninghelst New Military Cemetery, near Poperinghe, Belgium, where each is remembered on the other’s grave. Continue reading


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Paris 1919 – The Peacemakers

Well here I am at book 100*, four years and eight months after launching this grand project. In my opening review of Margaret MacMillan’s The War That Ended Peace, I announced my plan to bookend the reading part of the project with her other book about the era.

MacMillan’s book about the end of the war, titled Paris 1919 in North America and The Peacemakers in the UK, is subtitled Six Months that Changed the World. Imagine world leaders gathering in one city for a summit lasting the better part of six months – from January to June, with a break from mid-February to mid-March. First with the Supreme Council (France, Italy, Japan, UK, US), then the Council of Four (remove Japan), then the Big Three (US President Woodrow Wilson, UK Prime Minister David Lloyd George and French PM Georges Clemenceau). Along with their delegations. And countless other delegations petitioning for their people. And civil societies pressing their causes. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Central United Church, Calgary

Over 200 congregants of Calgary’s Central Methodist Church – 201 men, one underage boy and three women – served in WW1. Thirty-six men died. All are remembered on a large brass plaque in the basement of the church, now Central United, at the corner of Seventh Avenue and First Street SW. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Cenotaph, Chippewas of Rama First Nation, ON

Thousands of visitors come to the Chippewas of Rama First Nation each day. Their destination: Casino Rama, the largest First Nations casino in Canada. Most of them likely don’t take in the cenotaph across the Rama Rd, next to the United Church. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Island of Ireland Peace Park, Mesen (Messines), Belgium

The Island of Ireland Peace Park – Páirc Síochána d’Oileán na hÉirean – was “dedicated to the memory of all those from the Island of Ireland who fought and died in the First World War.” It was dedicated on 11 November 1998, in the months following the signing of the Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement) and 82 years after the 1916 Easter uprising.

Each feature of the park is a symbolic element of peace and reconciliation.   Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Royal 22e Régiment, Québec City, Québec

The 22e Bataillon (canadien-français), now le Royal 22e Régiment was formed in 1914, the only francophone regiment in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. In 1921, George V bestowed the Royal designation on the unit in recognition of its military accomplishments in Belgium and France in WW1. Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – War Memorials, Meaford, ON

A war memorial at the corner of Nelson St E at Sykes St, in front of the Meaford Town Hall, is dedicated “in honoured memory of the men of the Town of Meaford and St. Vincent Township who died for King and Country in the Great World War.” A memorial tablet on the Town Hall is “in memory of the men of Meaford who lost their lives in the Great War.” Continue reading


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Monday Monuments and Memorials – 107th Infantry Memorial, Central Park, New York

The 7th Regiment of New York, renamed the 107th Infantry, sailed for Europe when the US joined the war in 1917. A bronze sculpture on a granite pedestal stands on the Fifth Avenue side of Central Park at East 67th Street, in honour of those in the regiment who died in WW1. It was dedicated on 29 September 1927. Continue reading