Whitby Remembers the First World War
Introduction
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This year, many countries will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War. At the outbreak, it was known as the 'war to end all wars' and many of the countries involved expected their troops would be home by Christmas 1914. Old notions of respectable, gentlemanly warfare were quickly erased as the First World War became one of the deadliest conflicts in history.

Characterized by trench warfare, the Great War was one of attrition, producing stalemates among opposing forces and contributing to the continued fighting which lasted until November 11, 1918. The trench-style of battle also led to the introduction of technologically advanced weapons including machine guns, gas and the tank.

When Britain entered the war on August 4, 1914, so, too, did the British Empire. As a member of the British Empire, Canada was immediately thrown into battle. Some 33,000 volunteers were among the first Canadians sent overseas in October. By the war's end 630,000 Canadian men and women served in some capacity with 420,000 being sent into battle.

The First Wold War would prove to be the bloodiest conflict in Canadian history: almost 61,000 servicemen and women were killed during the four years the war lasted and another 172,000 were wounded.

This exhibit will examine the impact of the First World War on Whitby and will highlight a few servicemen using archival records from the collections of the Whitby Archives and Library and Archives Canada.


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