1917, Total War in Flanders

1917

In the footsteps of Pegahmagabow (CAN)

Francis PegahmagabowFrancis Pegahmagabow was not only a fighter during the First World War, but also fought for the rights of the native population in his homeland after the Armistice. He is believed to have been born on 9 March 1889 at Parry Sound, Canada. After the early death of his parents, he was brought up by other members of his tribe.

Although native Canadians initially were not allowed to join the army, Pegahmagabow was able to find his way around the rules. He enlisted on 13 August 1914. He was posted to the1st Battalion C.E.F. Pegahmagabow became the most decorated Canadian soldier of native origin and is one of just 38 Canadian holders of the Military Medal with two bars. He earned his first Military Medal in 1916, for his bravery in carrying messages under heavy shellfire during fighting at Ieper, Festubert and Givenchy. His first bar was awarded during the Third Battle of Ieper, when he managed to maintain contact with an exposed flank during the night of 4-5 November 1917. He received his second bar in August 1918 after the Battle of the Scarpe in France. In addition, he was also a crack shot, with 378 confirmed 'kills' as a sniper.

Pegahmagabow survived the war, but when he returned to Canada he found that the country's political landscape had not changed. The native population was still not accorded the same rights as other members of Canadian society. Pegahmagabow married and fathered eight children. He became the head of his tribe and fought tirelessly for the rest of his life to obtain equal rights for his people.

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ITINERARY

  • Villa Zonnedaele - Zonnebeke10.00 – 12.00:
    • Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917
      This museum perpetuates the everlasting memory of the bloody Battle of Passendale. As part of the project '1917, Total War in Flanders', the 'Villa Zonnedaele' Mansion is the setting for a thematic exhibition entitled 'Passchendaele, a landscape in war', which explains the crucial role played by the devastated landscape during the Battle of Passendale.
      Berten Pilstraat 5 - 8980 Zonnebeke
       
  • 12.00 – 13.30: lunch
     
  • 13.30 – 15.00:
    • Tyne Cot Cemetery
      Tyne Cot Cemetery - ZonnebekeThis Commonwealth cemetery is the most important witness to the bloody Battle of Passendale. The nearby visitors centre offers a unique view across the old battlefields and tells in words and images the poignant story of Tyne Cot Cemetery and the dead of the Passendale offensive. As part of the project '1917, Total War in Flanders', an interactive panorama panel tells the equally tragic story of the landscape in 1917.
      Tynecotstraat 22 - 8980 Zonnebeke (Passendale)
       
  • 15.00 – 15.30:
    • Crest Farm Canadian MemorialCrest Farm Canadian Memorial
      This monument commemorates the actions of the Canadian Corps, which suffered heavy losses during the Battle of Passendale, but was finally able to seize the ruins of the Passendale church. Crest Farm stands on a small rise and offers a fine view of the battlefield. The avenue between the memorial and the church symbolizes the last 600 metres that the Canadians had to cover before completing their capture of the devastated village.
      Canadalaan – 8980 Zonnebeke (Passendale)
       
  • The Brooding Soldier - Langemark-Poelkapelle15.45 – 16.15:
    • St. Julien Canadian Memorial
      The Canadian Forces Memorial at St. Julien, better known as the 'Canadien' or the 'Brooding Soldier', honours the role played by Canadian troops during the Second Battle of Ieper. The Canadians lost 2,000 men near here in the first-ever gas attack. The monument is in the form of a Canadian soldier with 'reversed arms', a traditional military salute to the fallen. The park contains numerous Canadian plants and shrubs, planted in Canadian earth. In other words, you are standing on Canadian ground.
      Brugseweg – 8920 Langemark-Poelkapelle (Langemark)
       
  • 16.45 – 17.45:
    • Hill 62
      Hill 62Hill 62 was the wartime name of a hill not far from Ieper. The number '62' refers to the fact that the hill is 62 metres above sea level. It was one of the few pieces of high ground in the Ieper Salient in the hands of the Allies. In June 1916, during the Battle of Mount Sorrel, Hill 62 or Höhe 62 was captured by the Germans from the Canadians in a surprise attack. It was quickly retaken by fresh Canadian troops just days later, but only after heavy losses.  The summit offers a magnificent view of the towers of Ieper, underlining the strategic importance of high ground during the First World War.
      Canadalaan - 8902 Ieper (Zillebeke)
       

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