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World War II Art: Dieppe Raid by Charles Fraser Comfort


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1. What aspect of war, or event, does this piece of art depict?

This piece of art depicts the Canadians involvement during the raid of the French channel port of Dieppe on August 19, 1942. As most of Europe was under German occupation the Allies wanted to see if they could capture an enemy port and hold it for any length of time as to get a foothold into Europe. This was a frontal assault of 6000 soldiers, mostly Canadians. This was a direct assault from the sea in daylight without any preliminary bombardment. The Dieppe port was especially fortified and responded with intense machine gun fire. Half of the attackers were killed and the rest evacuated or were taken prisoner. No objectives were really met during this raid and t ended in a total failure. But the Canadians were courageous in trying such a task and the whole thing offered valuable lessons for the future victories for the allies regarding port attacks. This piece of art shows the Canadian soldiers in the midst of making their way towards the German fort. The tanks would of been from the 14th Tank regiment from Calgary who were not very effective due to the timing they were deployed at and the rough terrain but were successful in helping soldiers escape. This artwork shows the bravery of these soldiers and the immense task they were up against.

Lyons, Michael J. World War II: A Short History: Second Edition. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall Inc., 1994.

2. Who created this piece of art?

Charles Fraser Comfort a distinguished Canadian painter was born in Edinburgh Scotland July 22, 1990. In 1912 he moved to Winnipeg with his family. Comfort began night classes at Winnipeg School of Art and then went on to study art at the Art Students League in New York City under Robert Henri. In 1923 he returned to Canada married then established a commercial studio. From 1935 to 1938 Charles Fraser Comfort worked as a commercial illustrator and a teacher at the Ontario College of Art and Design, he also taught at University of Toronto from 1938 to 1960. In the Second World War Comfort served in Europe as an official war artist; after the war he went back to teaching at University of Toronto and working as an artist. From 1960 to 1965 Charles Fraser Comfort was the Director of the National Gallery of Canada; after his term ended he resumed painting. During his time after the war he studied seventeenth-century Dutch mast techniques in the Netherlands, contributed articles to Canadian journals and published his war memoir. Charles Comfort was a member of many art societies including the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, Canadian Society of Graphic Art, Ontario Society of Artists, Canadian Group of Painters and Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

3. Where was this piece of art created?

The Dieppe Raid, painted by Charles Fraser Comfort, was created in 1946. Charles Comfort painted this painting in his studio that he resided at in Toronto, Canada. His studio was next to the studio of A. Y. Jackson in the Studio Building. This building was built in 1914 by R. Robertson and Sons. Eden Smith designed it and it was financed by Lauren Harris and Dr. James MacCallum. This building was a non-profit facility; this means that the cost of rent for the building was enough to only cover the expenses of the building such as electricity. This building was the earliest purpose built artist studio in Canada. The purpose of this building was to create a place for young Canadians, who would develop distinctly Canadian art, to live and work. The studio had six studio spaces and a working shack in the yard. It was three stories high and made of concrete and red brick. This building is located at 25 Severn Street, Toronto, Ontario. The renowned group of painters, known as the Group of Seven, originated from this building. It was designated a national historic site of Canada in 2005. The painting of the Dieppe Raid is now located in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario.

4. For what purpose was this art created?

This art was created to reconstruct and capture the attack and events that took place at the Raid on Dieppe, France, on August 19, 1942. This art illustrates the battle between the Canadian and German soldiers as it existed through the eyes of Charles Comfort. The artist gives his interpretation to the gruesome battle which can clearly be visualized like a photograph. Comfort illustrates the high amount of Canadian casualties and massive gun fire that took place on the beachfronts. As you can see, there is a large amount of smoke and haze in the discoloured sky, a large amount of dead bodies, massive explosions and a clear cut enemy line that
depicts the difficulties and struggles of the battle for the advancement of ground. Charles comfort painted this art piece to demonstrate the harsh reality of battle and the great investment Canadians had with the many losses that they incurred. This artwork helps to visually record the battle that took place and represent the environment and emotional intensity at this moment in time. The creation of this artwork, like many others, is to be able to pass on and share the experiences and emotions that were involved in such a moment so they will not be forgotten.

Canada At War. “The Dieppe Raid, August 1942.” Last updated November,
Government of Canada. “The Dieppe Raid.” Last Updated February, 2014.
National Gallery of Canada. “Charles F. Comfort.” Last updated 2014.

5. What does this piece of art tell us about the experience of war?

The painting, “Dieppe Raid,” by Dr. Charles Fraser Comfort was painted in 1946. This painting, gives an insight into the difficult experience of war through the dangerous position of the Allied Forces in 1942. At the time, Europe was becoming a Nazi dominated society and this painting depicts the true trials faced by the Allied Forces. This is also depicted in the colors of the painting. The piece exhibits dark colors which contrast in the middle to a yellow that creates a dark picture towards the war. This painting depicts accurately what occurred during the Dieppe Raid because it shows the soldiers and their tanks and weapons as tiny images compared to the rest of the painting. This accurately describes the extremely difficult task that the Canadian troops had. They were given an incredibly difficult assignment, which was to land on the beach against the well protected enemy. This is also shown through the great deal of explosives that can be seen to expand down the beach. This piece paints the picture of war through a realistic point of view. The color and the images portray how small the Allied forces were compare to the Nazis, who were a strong and powerful force at this time.

6. How accurate is this depiction of war?

The painting depicts an amphibious landing on White Beach, which was a part of the Dieppe Raid in northern France. Many of the details on the painting are depicted accurately. We can see the transport ships on the shore that carried troops and equipment. There is also aerial combat taking place, which played a large part in operations during World War II. The beach is also heavily fortified to slow down advances and trap soldiers so that they would be left in the open and vulnerable to enemy fire. However, one error in the painting is the fact that tanks can be seen together with the infantry. During the actual attack the tanks were held back while the infantry were left alone on the beach taking heavy fire. Although very detailed with its surroundings and depiction of warfare, the painting does not accurately portray the actual Dieppe Raid itself.

How does your piece of art further our understanding of Canadian history?

This piece of art helps us further our understanding of Canadian history because it depicts an important battle our
soldiers were involved in during the Second World War. This piece shows the monumental disadvantage our troops were at during this battle and the difficult conditions they were faced with. Though not a completely accurate depiction of tank use during the battle, it enlightens us that tanks were used in port attacks from the sea. Though ultimately a failure this battle demonstrates the bravery of our troops and the many lessons learned for the Allies regarding port attacks, especially during the D-Day invasion a couple years later. This artwork helps to depict the chaos and massive Canadian investment and loss of lives that the Battle of Dieppe can be attributed with. This piece commemorates those sacrifices.

World War I Art: The Second Battle of Ypres, 22 April to 25 May 1915 by Richard Jack

Richard Jack - The Second Battle of Ypres, 22 April to 25 May 1915

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1. What aspect of war, or event, does this piece of art depict?

This piece of art depicts the Canadian involvement in the Second Battle of Ypres during April 22 to May 25, 1915. This battle was an offensive attack made by the Germans against the Allied powers for control of the Flemish town of Ypres. The Germans used a new weapon, chlorine gas which caused a green and yellow clouds to slither around the ground and into the trenches. The gas either killed the Allied soldiers or it caused them to stick their heads out from of the trenches which caused them to get shot. The French divisions were taken out by the offensive but the Canadians on the east side were able to fend the Germans off. The use of gas caused Allied troop withdrawal which created a huge gap in the front line. The Germans were unable to take advantage of this gap because they were not prepared themselves for the outcome of their attack and the effect the gas would have. This allowed the Canadians to embark on what some would call a suicide mission and hold their line. The Canadians bravely held the Germans off, combating against German attacks, artillery bombardment and chlorine gas. This gave the British enough time to get reserves to the front. This painting depicts the front line fighting between the Canadian and the German soldiers. This scene recreates the horror and death that our soldiers were faced with in the violent chaos that this battle was.
Lyons, Michael J. World War I: A Short History: Second Edition. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall Inc., 2000
Strachan, Hew, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

2. Who created this piece of art?

Richard Jack was born in Sunderland England on February 15, 1866 and died in Montreal, Quebec June 29, 1952. He was a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1914 and moved to Canada in 1930. His medium was oil on canvas. Richard Jack war artist portrays the Canadian stand during the Second Battle of Ypres, which he himself did not actually witness. The canvas was painted in his London studio. This painting was the first of almost a thousand works by hundreds of war artists commissioned by the Canadian War Memorials Fund (CWMF), an organization established by Lord Beaverbrook in order to document Canada’s war effort. The Second Battle of Ypres is still an iconic work of art from the First World War. There were no photographic images of the Ypres battle since soldiers were not allowed to carry cameras into the trenches so wealthy Canadian Lord Beaverbrook created an official war art program of official photographers and cinematographers.

3. Where was this piece of art created?

The Second Battle of Ypres, 22 April to 25 May 1915, was painted by Richard Jack. This painting was commissioned in November 1916 by the Canadian War Memorials Fund, the first painting that they commissioned. This caused Richard to become Canada’s first official war artist. He created this painting in his studio in London, England. The painting was one of the biggest commemoration paintings. It was painted on a canvas that was 371.5 cm by 589.0 cm. Jack’s painting is an iconic work from the first world war that, at first, people thought might be a too realistic depiction of war for Canadians to identify with. The Second Battle of Ypres, 22 April to 25 May 1915 is currently in the Canadian War Museum. It contains over 13000 pieces of art and many different artifacts. It shows how the military past has shaped the country. This museum is the national museum of military history located in Ottawa Ontario, Canada along the Ottawa River.

4. For what purpose was this art created?

This wartime art piece was created to commemorate the Canadian involvements and achievements during the battle of
Ypres in 1915. Richard Jack does an excellent job to capture the chaotic environment of wartime efforts. His painting represents the unique personal encounters of the soldiers and their environment during the wartime efforts. Illustrating the use of artillery, the injured and dead soldiers, the heavy smoke and the muddy environment, Jack demonstrates the great chaos that war brings. The great detail to depict facial expressions of the soldiers in the time of battle captures the individual efforts and emotions that describe the
seriousness and difficulties that this war represented. By creating this piece of art, Richard Jack is able to pass on the significance of the Canadians in the war, and deliver to the viewer the achievements along with its losses associated with wartime participation. This painting helps to capture the experiences and emotion that wartime represents, through the eye of the artist as well as the soldier. This visual record radiates the extraordinary sincerity and emotional intensity at this moment in time which can hopefully be passed on
to future generations who did not experience such events.

Canada War Museum. “Canada and the First World War – Second Ypres”.
Last Updated 2014.
Roy, R.H. “Battle of Ypres”. Last Edited December, 2013.

5. What does this piece of art tell us about the experience of war?

The painting, “The Second Battle of Ypres 22 April to 25 May 1915,” painted by Richard Jack, portrays the true
battle at Ypres during World War 1. Although, Richard Jack, did not participate in the war himself. His painting is still credited with being an accurate description of what it was like for Canadian soldiers at this battle. This piece is known to be accurate because it was accredited by Sir Edmund Walker, who sat on the advisory board for the Canadian War Memorials Fund. He believes that Jack has done an excellent job recreating the Canadian experience at Ypres. However, Walker does admit that he does not think that Jack’s work would be popular with Canadians because the painting shows the traumatic violence witnessed by the soldiers themselves which is a very dramatic image. The images include men in bandages, as well as the dangerous and terrible conditions of the battlefield. The painting shows the struggle that Canadians had at Ypres. This painting successfully documented Canadians and their role in the First World War. Unlike the opinions of Walker, the piece has been recognized to this day as one of the most popular of the First World War.

“Second Battle of Ypres: Canada and the
First World War,” Canadian War Museum, accessed Monday, March 17, 2014.

6. How accurate is this depiction of war?

The artist was not actually present at the event taking place so it is not an accurate depiction of the actual historical event. However, many of the details seen in the painting are accurate. We can see the trenches that were symbolic of the warfare in the First World War. The use of the machine gun can also be observed. The introduction of the machine gun changed how war was conducted and contributed to the development of trench warfare as armies were forced to dig in so that they would not be decimated. There is also a German assault in progress with large number of forces. This was one of the only ways to try and take a fixed position during the First World War, charge one specific position with superior forces in hopes of overwhelming the enemy. The painting therefore does show an accurate depiction of war, although the scene depicted did not actually happen.

How does your piece of art further our understanding of Canadian history?

This piece of art helps further our understanding of Canadian history because it shows one of the various operations Canadian troops were involved in during World War I. The Canadian soldiers held up a heroic defence against the Germans during the Second Battle of Ypres. This artwork illustrates the high volume of casualties that were created due to war and the emotional involvement in such a battle. The heavy smoke and discoloured sky illustrates the use of poison gas that was used in battle, which marked the first mass use of poisonous gas by the Germans on the western front. This piece shows the harsh realities that were faced during the First World War and the difficult conditions that Canadian soldiers faced. The Canadian government wanted to commemorate these soldiers who worked together to hold off the enemy and the horrors they faced.

World War II

"Night Target, Germany" Miller Brittain

Painting Source:

1) What aspect of war, or event, does this piece of art depict?

This piece depicts the scene of an aviation battle from the perspective of a British pilot. The fighting in the air is reminiscent of a firework show, but of course the reality of the situation is much darker. During WWII Britain, and later the United States, began a bombing campaign against Germany in retaliation for the bombings of London and its surrounding areas. The goal of the raids was to effectively de-house one third of the German population and break their morale. But much like German air raids over Britain, this allied bombing offense only rallied the Germans and made them fight back harder. They used a complex spotlight system, AA guns, and faster fighter planes to take out the slower bombers. In attempting to achieve this goal the allies bombed many German towns and killed about five hundred thousand German civilians. 3500 Canadian soldiers also died in the air war. This raised profound ethical questions. Many criticized it claiming it did not slow German industry at all. Many of the pilots, like the artist of “Night target, Germany” Miller Brittain, did not even know what they were bombing until after the fact. Keeping this in mind we can kind of see this painting as a metaphor. The romanticized war in the air is all colours and flashing lights for the greater good. Meanwhile, on the ground out of view we see what could be a civilian center engulfed in smoke.[1]

2) Who created this piece of art?

The artist who created “Night Target, Germany” was Miller Brittain. Brittain was born in Saint John, New Brunswick on November 12th, 1912. He began studying art at age 11 in Saint John with E.R. Holt and then he moved onto the big city of New York where he studied under Henry Wickey. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force where he flew thirty-seven missions as an air bomber before he accepted the position as the official war artist during the Second World War. Before he served in the war, his main focuses on paintings were scenes of everyday life and realistic city settings, but after the war he took a turn and focused on surreal aspects. He painted abstract figures, nudes and flowers, to name a few. Brittain was also a founding member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, which was created in 1941, during World War II. In 1951, Brittain married Connie Starr, but she passed away 7 years later due to cancer. Brittain then suffered from alcoholism and died 10 years later in 1968 at the age of 54. His collections are held in a number of galleries across Canada, such as the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery of Canada.

3) Where was this piece of art created?

Miller Brittain conceived this painting while serving as a bomb aimer in World War II. He had put his art career on hold in 1942 to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force, eventually seeing active duty in the final years of the war in Europe. From 1944 to 1945, Brittain participated in the bombing raids over the Ruhr industrial region of Germany. He was profoundly affected by these experiences and used his artwork to express his emotions. Night Target, Germany is thus a first-person account of warfare in the night sky. The painting is from the perspective of a bomb aimer in the heat of battle. Smart holds that Brittain’s portrait “puts the viewer in his own place, witnessing a bombing mission from the aimer’s seat.” Given the artists’ personal involvement in aerial warfare during the Second World War, it clear where his inspiration for Night Target, Germany originated. It was completed after the war in 1946, when Brittain was working as an official war artist for the Canadian War Records.

4) For what purpose was this art created?

Bomb aimer Brittain wrote to his parents in 1944: “The night attacks although they are deadly are very beautiful from our point of view. The target is like an enormous lighted Christmas tree twenty miles away but straight beneath one looks like pictures I have seen of the mouth of hell.” In a 1946 letter to his parents he assessed this painting critically: “My target picture looks like the real thing they say, but I don’t like it yet as a picture. In fact at the moment, I feel like putting my foot though it.” With this being said, it was created to depict his time and experiences during the Second World War. It was as if he wanted people to live through what he did through his art. This art was a way for him to deal with the traumatic events we witnessed, and he was able to express relieve his stress though his artwork.

5) What does this piece of art tell us about the experiences of war?

This painting in its mass of bright criss-crossing lights and the many indistinct planes that look like black shadows in the sky suggests that the war experience was chaotic and dangerous; however, the mix of colours used also implies an element of beauty.  This notion is reinforced with the artist’s comment, “the night attacks although they are deadly are very beautiful from our point of view.  Both the painting and the artist’s comment expresses an element of disconnect between soldiers and what they were required to do in the line of duty.  This disconnect is also evident in the following description of conditions in the trenches: “Sleep-deprived and in a chronic state of shock, most troops fought in a numb, zombie-like state.”[2]  Furthermore, this painting informs us that Canadians had an important role in overseas warfare.  This painting depicts bomber planes and Canadian pilots were recognized for their missions in bomber planes as opposed to fighter planes.[3]  Although most Canadian pilots joined British units Canada sent 43 squadrons overseas throughout the course of the war. [4]

6) How accurate is this depiction of war?

I would have to suggest that this depiction of war is very accurate because of the fact that it was painted from the memory of a Canadian soldier in the Royal Canadian Air Force who experienced on of these night battles first hand. We cannot assume that the piece of art is 100 percent accurate because of the bias spin the artist could have put onto the painting on order to increase the viewing appeal.

7) How does your piece of art further our understanding of Canadian history?

This painting gives us an understanding of Canada’s contribution to air warfare during World War II.  At the outbreak of World War II, the RCAF consisted of 4,061 men.  The painting depicts bombers targeting Germany which is significant as Canadian pilots became known for their work in bomber planes.  Furthermore, air warfare is one of the ways in which Canadians gained recognition by their allies as they were viewed to have a natural talent in that area of warfare.  This aids in understanding why the British Commonwealth Air Training plan emerged which entailed Canadians training British pilots.  The BCATP is another example of Britain’s disinterest in Canada forming their own independent units, although Canada did eventually send several of its own overseas.  Canada’s air contribution was also significant at a political level as Prime Minister Mackenzie King used it to his advantage to temporarily avoid the issue of conscription.  In addition, this painting depicts a tendency by some to romanticize the idea of war.  The element of beauty in the painting is recognized by the artist himself, when he comments on the contradiction between the beauty created by the lights from the pilots’ perspectives as compared to the destruction created below.  In conclusion, the painting explains the role that air warfare played in World War II as well as Canada’s strengths in this area of warfare


Bumsted, J.M. The Peoples of Canada: A Post-Confederation History. 4th ed. ON: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Canadian War Museum . (accessed March 16, 2014

“Gallery 78: Fine Art” last modified March 19th, 2014.

Smart, Tom. Miller Brittain: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears. Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2007.

[1] Doerr, Paul. “The Air War.” Lecture, World War Two, Acadia University, March 17th, 2014.

[2] J.M, Bumsted, The Peoples of Canada: A Post-Confederation History. 4th ed. (Ontario: Oxford University Press, 2014), 204.

[3] Ibid, 293.

[4]Ibid, 293.

War Art- Olympic with Returned Soldiers, Moresby Picture Show

WAR ART– Heather Crain, Shelby Mader, Brianna McEachern, Jenna Hastings

moresby picture show

What aspect of war does this piece of art depict?

The aspect of war which the art piece Olympic with Returned Soldiers is transportation. The Olympic was used to transport over 200,000 soldiers across the Atlantic Ocean between 1914 and 1919. The ship used unique camouflage to safely transport soldiers without being detected by German U-Boats. The piece showcases the importance of transportation by providing insight to how soldiers were to get from point to point during the war. Without the use of ships such as the Olympic for transportation it would have been extremely difficult to move soldiers at a fast and efficient manner across large bodies of water and far distances. The image does not depict one single event of war but rather a tactic used throughout the war to ensure the safety of troops when moving from one place to another. The need to camouflage from the German U-Boats showcases the military tactics used by each side. The Germans wanted to destroy the ships of the Germans forcing Canada to create new means to safely transport their troops.  The significance of the piece of art and transportation in the war is the need for the moving of troops. Troops had to be transported to different fighting locations throughout the war; the troops were needed to arrive safely in order to perform required duties to protect and serve their countries.

Who created this piece of art?

Arthur Lismer created the piece of art “Olympic with Returned Soldiers” in 1919.  Lismer was born on June 27th 1885 in Sheffield England. In his teen years Arthur Lismer studied at the Sheffield School of Art from 1899-1906 and then went to Academie royale des beaux-arts to 1907.  Looking for work as a commercial illustrator he decided to transfer his life to Canada in 1911. From 1916-1919 Arthur Lismer went to Halifax and started his career as an art educator as principal of Victoria School of Art and Design. While in Halifax he painted beautiful artwork of the Halifax harbor and the returning troopships for World War One from 1918-1919. After the War he returned to Toronto and became the vice president of the Ontario College of Art and Design and in 1920 he became one of the founding members of the Group of Seven. The style Lismer showed throughout his art was seen as art, which showed raw colour, heavy impasto, a stiff showing of brushwork and a basic form. Most of Lismers life focused around art education as in 1927 to 1938 he became the educational supervisor at the Art Gallery of Toronto. During his time as the educational supervisor he went on a nationwide lecture tour that travelled to Europe and South Africa. After finishing his work at the Art Gallery of Toronto he became a visiting professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. Most of his artwork and time to paint came after 1930 and later after 1951. On March 23rd 1969, Arthur Lismer passed away in Montreal Canada.

 Where was this piece of art created?

Olympic with Returned Soldiers was a piece of art that was created by the Halifax harbor in Nova Scotia. The Halifax dockyard was very busy spot while the war was going on. During the war the Halifax harbor was Canada’s main naval base where ships came in to get supplies and also to send and return Canadian soldiers. The Olympic became well known for being a troop ship for the British, Americans and Canadians. Where the Olympic was well known, towards the end of the war the ship had been painted in the camouflage to make it more difficult to recognize when there was a rise in German U-Boats became a huge threat for attacks. As it was said earlier, Halifax harbors’ dockyard was quite a busy one, it was just two years before this painting when there was the largest man made explosion that happened in that harbor. It happened when two different supply ships were trying to pass each other in the narrower part of the harbor and collided. The explosion came from SS Mont-Blanc which it just been filled up explosives. Even though that may have happened this painting shows a happier seen as the boat is full of soldiers returning home at the end of war and people on the dockyard to welcome them home.

For what purpose was this art created?

This art was created to depict one of the most famous troop ships and shows the busy Halifax dockyard which was Canada’s main wartime naval based. The boat was entered into service in 1915. The boat was camouflaged in 1917 at the height of the German U-Boat threat to make the ship more difficult to identify and target. The Olympic was the sister ship to the Titanic and one of the few large liners to survive the war. The boat was the largest ocean liner in the world from 1911-1913 until the Titanic was built and had the title of the largest British- built liner until the Queen Mary was built in 1934. Unlike many of the Olympics sister ships it had a long career of twenty-four years from 1911 to 1935. The twenty-four year service included service as a troopship during World War I and this is when it gained its nickname old reliable because the Olympic held over 200,000 British, American and Canadian troops to and from the fighting fronts. The Olympic returned to civilian service after the war and served as an ocean liner throughout the 1920s and 30s. This art was created to showcase an ocean liner that was extremely vital during WWI. The liner outlasted many of its sister ships and was crucial in the transportation of troops from the fighting fronts.

What does this piece of art tell us about the experience of war?

The “Olympic with Returned Soldiers” piece of art tells us a lot about the experience of war. This piece of art was painted in 1919 by Arthur Lismer to show the troopship S.S. Olympic pull into port carrying troops from World War One. This piece of art shows us how the troops travelled from Canada to Europe and the war zone. Having to use troopships that while travelling could have come into contact with German U-Boats. The travel could be rough because if spotted by a German U-Boat there is an opportunity for them to shoot down and strand the oncoming troops to the war. This piece of artwork really shows how the troopships were able to surpass the German U-Boats by using camouflage. The S.S. Olympic is an example of this, which is shown in this piece of art, the camouflage is used to make the troopship more difficult for the U-Boats to detect. Also to defend themselves some to most of the troopships were armed throughout the duration of the war. This piece of art shows us the difficulties and problems it took for the ships to transport the troops of the Canadian Army from Canada to Europe.

How accurate is this depiction of war?

This painting is an accurate representation of the grand Olympic liner that outlasted many of its sister ships but I would not say it’s an accurate depiction of the war itself. The painting gives off emotions of excitement and joy because the soldiers who had been fighting in the front are now returning to Halifax. There appears to be women and children likely waiting for the arrival of loved ones and people waving. The war itself was not a time of blue skies and happy days rather a time of brutality and darkness. Many loved ones were lost during the war and living conditions were anything but bearable in most cases. Many soldiers were left to die alone in no man’s land either in the daylight or the darkness and these times were anything but happy. This painting reminds me of the calm after the storm. The Olympic is docking into harbor and people are ecstatic to see loved ones arrive home safely after large amounts of time spent away from each other however; war was not like this painting at all. Yes, there were likely days at war when the sun shone and for moments everything appeared to be normal but the reality is that war was a time of heartache and pain and that is not seen in this painting at all.

How does your piece of art further our understanding of Canadian history?

The art piece Olympic with Returned Soldiers aids our understanding of the First World War by highlighting the importance of transportation and the use of naval and water as a means to do so. The piece helps us understand how troops were transported so that they could efficiently help defend our country in war.  Through the troops using the S.S Olympic 200,000 troops were safely transported across the Atlantic from 1914 to 1919. The safe transportation of these troops was possible because of camouflaging done to the ship so that it was harder to be detected by German U-Boats. The camouflaging signified the resilience of the Canadian troops and how far they were willing to go to deliver their soldiers safely so that they could carry out their missions.  The piece shows us the supportive role that Canadian soldiers played in the war, signifying our role in Canadian history. Through seeing the large amount of troops carried across the Atlantic one can see that despite battles not being fought on Canadian soil, Canadian troops were their to support their allies. The support that Canada gave throughout the war and the war effort helped to signify Canada as a nation.


What aspect of war does this piece of art depict?

The aspect of war which the piece: Moresby Picture Show represents is leisure. The painting gives light to a more relaxed part of the war that people do not often get to see. Often the war is only looked at in terms of battles and fighting but this piece shows what the soldiers did when they had free time.  The soldiers are watching an outdoor screening of Donald Duck (a popular Disney movie/show). The movie was shown in color and the soldiers are wearing wet clothes while fixated on the screen. The intense gaze on the screen despite being wet showcases the need for relaxation and leisure by the soldiers. The painting was to depict the lighter life of a solider in New Guinea. While we generally focus on the fighting endured by soldiers the day-to-day life for a soldier in New Guinea was generally routine and boring (without a lot of fighting as well).  Distractions were considered necessary to keep the soldiers in reality and to see life beyond war. The leisure captured in the photo showcases the lure of an extremely popular American cultural icon even in times of war.

Who created this piece of art?

Charles Bush created the piece of art “Moresby Picture Show” in 1943. He was born on November 23rd 1919 in Brunswick East, Melbourne to his parents Andrew Charles Thomas Bush and Alice Maude nee Rohsburn. In his teen years he got accepted into the National Gallery School in which he attained multiple awards.  His first exhibition happened in 1939 and by 1941 he became fulltime involved in the Militia as an artillery survey unit. But in 1943 he became employed as a war artist where he painted in Papua and New Guinea, and was later transferred to the Australian Imperial Force and finished his work there in October 1946 as a lieutenant. When he returned to Melbourne, Bush was known and viewed as a sketch master in the National Gallery schools in 1953 and 1954. In 1959 Charles Bush became a TV host when he hosted the afternoon television show called ‘My Fair Lady’ which he depicted on the exterior of women; the show ended in 1962. After his time in TV he initiated the Leveson Street Gallery, North Melbourne. This gallery gave the young artists who were coming up in the business the encouragement and the criticism upon their art for them to improve. Charles Bush is one of the few artists o make a living off painting; he went through struggle and success in his lifetime. On November 13ht 1989, Charles Bush passed away from ischaemic heart disease.

Where was this piece of art created?

This piece of art was created in Port Moresby, New Guinea. It was this island where during the war the Japanese tried to take over and that would cut off Australia bases from the Americas and Southeast Asia. This was also a place where during World War II became a home for allies where there were bases and many troops often got stationed there. Not all soldiers got stationed there, but many of them went through there as it was known as the last jumping off point on the island as they started warfare to push back the Japanese advances. The Japanese want all of New Guinea but mostly because of Port Moresby as it was the biggest and closes city to Australia who were their enemies. Often times when thinking about the war people think about Europe where majority of the battles took place, however there was an aircraft battle that happened over New Guinea between Australia, United States and Japan. New Guinea did not have many battles like this and most of a soldiers’ day was rather routine, and the picture show put on in Port Moresby was a way to distract the soldiers from these routines.

For what purpose was this art created

The Moresby Picture Show was created to show that even in a time of brutal conditions that some peace could be found within soldiers. The tropical conditions in New Guinea were very harsh for soldiers both in combat and living in general. Most soldiers were not accustomed to the humidity and jungle terrain that New Guinea presented them with. The men shown in the picture are wearing what appears to be their rain gear standing outside and seem to be fixated by the childlike image. Donald Duck was and still is today a very popular cultural icon to the younger crowd so it seems a bit odd for grown men to be watching the fictional character but in a place like New Guinea where the conditions were rough a simple screening of a show would be much appreciated. This piece of art was created by Bush to emphasize the lighter side of service because daily life for the soldiers was anything but enjoyable therefore simple distractions were necessary.

What does this piece of art tell us about the experience of war?

The “Moresby Picture Show” piece of art tells us quite a bit about the experience of war. Charles Bush painted this piece of art in 1943 in Ports Moresby, New Guinea. This artwork shows the lighter and calmer side of the service life in World War Two. The art depicts soldiers who are wearing wet-weather gear who are watching a cartoon of Donald Duck. The painting of servicemen watching the cartoon character Donald Duck at a picture show really displays the softer side of the war. Even with the war going on around them and the conditions they have to go through they find time to come away from the war and step back into reality. The life in New Guinea for these soldiers was majority of the time, boring and very routine. Throwing in a picture show of Donald Duck created a change in their everyday lives in war and gave them something new and different to look forward to. Showing a picture show during the war also gave the opportunity to the soldiers to bond and become a closer troop and division.

 How accurate is this depiction of war?

I would say this painting is an accurate depiction of leisure time during the war. This painting was done in New Guinea where even leisure time was uncomfortable due to climate conditions. The men are standing outside in rain gear watching the screening of Donald Duck but appear to be content. Life as a soldier was exhausting both mentally and physically therefore any activity that got their minds off of the current situation would be helpful. The men appear to be comfortable and somewhat entranced by the screen. In a time of bloodshed even if only for a moment any form of positive distraction would be a relief. I would also say that the painting is an accurate depiction of the war because it almost looks like a brotherhood watching the screening. Soldiers lived in such close proximity to each other all the time that they developed a special bond and it appears in the painting like a family watching a movie. Soldiers fought together, laughed together, and died together and enjoyed times like these together. Although this painting is not an accurate depiction of the battle of war itself it is definitely an accurate representation of how solders bared the hardship of war together and took advantages of the simple things that the war offered.

How does your piece of art further our understanding of Canadian history?

The painting Moresby Picture Show showcases a lighter side to the war. In the painting soldiers are watching Donald Duck while in New Guinea. The reality of a soldier in New Guinea was that they generally did not see a lot of combat. Their life and role in day to day activities was generally routine and boring. The use of Donald Duck in the painting showcases the lure of a very popular American cultural icon even in the time of war. The painting is significant to understanding the Canadian role in history because it shows the reality of what life was like in the lighter times of war. Not all Canadian soldiers saw combat and were fighting constantly (although this tends to be an image in most people’s head and what we focus on). The painting allows us to see the human side of Canadian soldiers and see that even during the war there were still times of normalcy and measures were taken to ensure distractions from war and give time for leisure. The piece furthers our understanding of Canadian History by helping us to better understand the different roles of Canadian soldiers during the war. Not all our soldiers were there for combat some were there for support and never saw combat while others saw a lot of combat and had a difficult experience. It shows us that solders are still human and wanted to enjoy leisure activities just like everyone else.



World War II: The Hitler Line (1944), by Charles Comfort.

In order to better understand the Canadian war effort over the course of the World War II (1939-45), our class has been tasked with studying war art of the period and presenting information on the source, the topic of the painting, its purpose, and its historical relevance. These are the answers we, as a group, proposed through the study of the painting The Hitler Line (1944) by Charles Comfort.

Collective response for both pieces of war art: Both of these pieces further our understanding of Canadian history because they show us how effective the Canadian forces were during this time. We implemented new tactics like the use of armored tanks. These tactics were able to conquer difficult defenses like the “Sugar Factory” and the village of Courcelette. Not only were they able to capture these locations, but they were able to hold off all German attacks, and counter-attacks. This showed the world that Canada was a force to be reckoned with and deserved the respect that they fought for.

Question #1: What aspect of war, or event, does this piece of art depict?

As Charles Comfort’s 1944 title suggests, this painting depicts what is know as “The Hitler Line”. The Hitler Line was a German defensive line in central Italy during the Second World War. The two major strong points of the line were found at Aquino and Piedimonte. This line was used as a fallback for the German’s Gustav line, which was situated a couple of kilometers south.

The Allies had broken the Gustav line on their way to the Italian capital of Rome. Their next objective was the Hitler line. It was on May 23, 1944 that soldiers from Canada’s Van Doos, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Seaforth Highlanders, and Carleton and York regiments successfully attacked the Hitler line. It was the hardest part of the line to conquer, as it was a barricade of steel, concrete and barbed wire 20 feet thick. Following the penetration of the line, tanks from the Canadian Fifth Armoured Division were able to drive through and attack the awaiting German Panther tanks. The Hitler line had then officially fallen.

This painting gives insight to the total destruction with which the Canadians were faced as the fought through the Hitler line. Luckily, the destruction of the Hitler Line was followed by two weeks of rest for the Canadians.

Question #2: Who created this piece of art?

Charles F Comfort, the painter of The Hitler Line, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1900. In 1919, he moved to Canada where he acquired a Canadian citizenship as well.  Throughout his life, he was an artist, painter, teacher, muralist, writer, poet, photographer, and art gallery director. (“Charles F. Comfort”)

Comfort also served in the war, beginning as a rifle instructor for the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps in 1939. Next, he became a lieutenant in the Canadian Active Service Force to serve as an official war artist from 1943 to 1946. Some of the most popular Canadian paintings of the Second World War were made by Comfort (“Charles Comfort, 1900-1994”). These include The Hitler Line, a dramatic subject based on the artist’s experiences in the Italian campaign, which hangs permanently in the Canadian War Museum (“Charles Comfort, 1900-1994”).

After the war, Charles Comfort played a significant role in Canada’s War Art program and in the establishment of the Canada Council for the Arts. He was an avid supporter of the War Art program after Canada had successfully formed such a program during WW1(“Charles F. Comfort”). From 1960 to 1965 Comfort served as the director of the National Gallery of Canada. He played a key role in insuring that there were enough funds available for the proper storage and care of the War Art collections. Charles Comfort later passed away in Ottawa in 1994.

Question #3: Where was this piece of art created?

The piece of art titled “The Hitler Line” by Charles Comfort in 1944 was created in Italy where the Allied troops, including the Canadians were trying to break through into Rome. The Germans had a line of defense across Italy which they named The Hitler Line. When the Allies landed, among them were three Canadian divisions which took part in the invasion; The Canadian 1stt Division, The 5th British Division, and The 1st Canadian Arm Tank Brigade. Italy provided difficult terrain for the Allies. The Canadians had to overcome broken up roads, mud, and mountains, which gave the enemy an advantage. They also had to watch out for land mines. Despite the difficult and dangerous conditions the Canadian divisions still managed to advance in land. The Canadians fought in
the Liri Valley in 1944 where they were ordered to apply pressure to the German line of defense. The attack on the Hitler Line occurred on May.23rd, 1944. It was a difficult battle for both sides, but the Canadians advanced ending most of the Liri Valley conflict. The purpose of the Hitler Line was to prevent the Allies from entering Rome. Rome was vital for the Germans and they did not want to lose control over it. The Hitler Line eventually collapsed after continuous fighting from both sides. Rome was then seized by the
Americans. The breakthrough of the Hitler Line was crucial for the Allies since D-Day occurred not long after. The D-Day landings made having control of Italy even more important because the Allies needed to keep the German army under control to ensure their success.

Question #4: For what purpose was this art created?

As warfare erupted on the global scene for the second time in the span of less than a generation, wartime artists once more found themselves in a situation where they would be deployed to the front lines, using their talents to capture what a camera lens simply could not, despite important technological advancements.

Much like the First World War artwork that we have already considered, Comfort sought to encapsulate the Canadian war front experience. This painting, titled The Hitler Line, captures Canadian soldiers fighting in Italy. What is absolutely captivating about this painting is not solely the content, but also the manner through which it is presented; the soldiers are weary, the war is damaging and the wreckage is immense. Comfort obviously sought, in this work of art, to summarize the war effort, as he so often did in his other paintings. The harshness of war was not glossed over. The fumes from the detonations, the ragged dirty uniforms, the tired looks on the soldiers’ faces, the broken and desolate landscape completely torn apart by new forms of artillery and war machines. There are numerous elements to this painting that speak true of the Canadian military experience during the Second World War. Comfort, in short, demonstrates the true purpose of war art: it captures, through the artists’ gaze, what a camera simply cannot. There is raw emotion in the painting that will go unnoticed in photography, especially the photography of the mid twentieth century. War artists navigated through the war in an incredibly personal way and put to canvas not only their unique perspective, but also the human outlook on the devastation and wreckage brought on by unparalleled warfare.

Question #5: What does this piece of art tell us about the experience of war?

The painting “The Hitler Line” by Charles Comfort depicts a scene from battle on the Hitler Line during the Second World War where a large gun exploded from a hit to its magazine. The painting also depicts soldiers standing with guns in front of a background filled with smoke and darkness from gunfire, setting an ominous tone that surely was felt amidst the battle as well.

In the foreground of the painting is a piece of splintered wood, setting the perspective as being the first person perspective of a soldier. This makes the painting seem more personal, since the scene is portrayed from the eyes of a soldier. It makes the image more real, as if the viewer themselves was a soldier witnessing the scene first hand, which also makes the scene that much more powerful. It is easy, through use of this perspective, to imagine seeing this scene of men in arms with smoke and debris, let alone a large exploding gun, giving the impression of an experience filled with loud noise, smoke, and explosions, which must have been quite traumatic.

The moment Comfort decided to depict in his painting says a lot about the experience of war as well, and Comfort says in his own words that the large gun sticking up from the ground from its explosion was “like a gigantic pylon memorializing the disasters of war.” Even amongst the duration of battle, Comfort was able to see the poetic side to things, and his depiction of this moment in its own way memorializes the disasters of war, mirroring the memorialisation factor to the large gun.

Question #6: How accurate is this depiction of war?

This painting could almost be said to be a picture of how the battle actually looked like in this time. It was very accurate by showing the death and suffering the troops had to endure throughout the war. It shows no actual plant life save for the dead or dying trees in the battle. Explosions and troops advancement are shown. Men helping other fellow comrades are shown caring or helping wounded soldiers. A tank is also shown looking stuck, and that is pretty accurate because back when tanks were first used they got damaged or stuck easily and were not able to function anymore. It is also pretty accurate the bi-planes that were used in battle against other enemy planes or scouting enemy lines.

Sources used by the group:

Website for painting:

Canadian War Museum. “The Hitler Line.” Canadian Museum of History. Accessed 19 March, 2014.    Fcwm%2Fexhibitions%2Fartwar%2Fartworks%2F19710261-2203_hilter-  line_e.shtml&h=9AQE9YnqZ

Stursberg, Peter. “The Italian Campaign: Breaking the Hitler Line” Recorded May 23, 1944. CBC Radio News. CBC Digital Archives. Radio.

National Gallery of Canada, “Charles F. Comfort .” Accessed March 18, 2014.

Canadian War Museum , “Charles Comfort, 1900-1994.” Accessed March 18, 2014.

“Veterans Affairs Canada” Canada-Italy 1943-1945. Minister of Supply and Service Canada. March.6th, 2014. Date accessed: March.20th, 2014

“Why do we need oil painters in a war zone?” BBC News. Accessed March 19th, 2014.

World War I: The Battle for Courcelette (1918), by Louis Weirter.

In order to better understand the Canadian war effort over the course of the World War I (1914-1918), our class has been tasked with studying war art of the period and presenting information on the source, the topic of the painting, its purpose, and its historical relevance. These are the answers we, as a group, proposed through the study of the painting The Battle for Courcelette (1918) by Louis Weirter.
Battle  of Courcelette

Question #1: What aspect of war, or event, does this piece of art depict?

The piece of art, “Battle of Courcelette” by Louis Alexander Weirter, depicts the Battle of Courcelette, also sometimes known as the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, from a soldier’s point of view. It was painted two years after the battle. As is evident in the painting, the Battle of Courcelette, as well as the Battle of the Somme and fighting on the western front as a whole, was a chaotic bloodbath.

The Battle of Courcelette was the first major assault launched by the Canadian Army during the Battle of the Somme. This attack was launched the morning of September 15th, 1916 near the village of Courcelette in northern France. The Canadian Corps advanced along a two-kilometer front and implemented combined armed tactics. One of these tactics was the use of armoured tanks, which had not previously been used in battle. These tanks aided in the rapid capture of the defence bastion that was know as the “Sugar Factory”. After capturing the Sugar Factory, the Canadians continued all the way to the village of Courcelette.

Despite many counter-attacks by the Germans, the Canadians had officially captured the French village of Courcelette by the following day. This initial attack during the Battle of the Somme was both significant and successful for the Canadians.

Question #2: Who created this piece of art?

The Battle of Courcelette was painted by Louis Weirter, sometimes also known as Louis Whirter. Weirter was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and lived both in London and at Étaples, France. As a young adult, he studied at the Royal Scottish Academy Schools and later at schools in Paris.

Louis Weirter joined the army and served as a solider during World War One. He witnessed many of the allies’ battles at the Somme (“Canada and the First World War”), including the Battle of Courcelette which is illustrated in the painting. The painting, Battle of Courcellete, was bought for the national war collection at Ottawa. His other works such as the Peronne is also at Ottawa, and War in the Air is in the British War Museum. (“Louis Whirter” 13 12, 2013)

Louis Weirter was an original member of the Scottish Society of Artists, which is an artist-led membership organisation which promotes and encourages experimentation and “adventurous spirit” in contemporary art, as stated on their website.  He showcased his art at the Royal Academy of London, the Paris Salon, and other art exhibitions all over the world.  Weirter is best known for his pictures of World War One (“Louis Weirter, 1873-1932”), but he did some architectural paintings and etchings as well. Weirter’s obituary of 1932 states that he died on January 12 at his home in Onslow-gardens, London, at the age of 61. (“Louis Whirter Biography” )

Question #3: Where was this piece of art created?

“The Battle of Courcelette” by Louis Alexander Weirter was created during World War One in the village of Courcelette, France. The battle was part of the well-known Somme offensive, which lasted for months and had massive causalities for both the Allies and the Germans. The Canadian corps at Courcelette was commanded by Sir Douglas Haig who proceeded with the attack on September. 15th, 1916. The Canadians played a vital role in The Battle of Courcelette since it was the Canadian division who captured the village. As a result of this battle, the Canadians became known as “Storm Troops”. They had gained respect for their effort and bravery. The Allies success at Courcelette was partly due to new strategies and the unveiling of tanks for the first time in battle. The tanks were slow and not very effective in most situations, but they frightened and confused the enemy so they did have a slight advantage. The Allies also experimented with “creeping barrages”. This tactic was successful because it created massive shelling on enemy trench lines, which allowed the Canadian infantry to advance behind the barrage to cross No Man’s Land. The Battle of Courcelette was a very important victory for the Allies, however, they would not be as successful in the following battles. Courcelette taught the Allies valuable lessons and improvements that would be beneficial later on in combat.

Question #4: For what purpose was this art created?

Although the camera had been around for quite a few decades prior to the outbreak of the Great War (1914-1918), it was a widely held belief that the quality of photography at the dawn of the twentieth century was still lagging in some respects. Therefore, as the First World War dramatically erupted on various parts of the globe, it became apparent that war artists would once more be required (seeing as war artists had been used several times before, including during the Crimean War of 1853-56) in order to capture pivotal moments. The Battle for Courcelette, the painting at study, is an example of this.

The subject of the painting in itself is seared in the Canadian narrative; in fact, it is considered to be “one of the Canadians’ greatest achievements during the Battle of the Somme.” Although the painter, Louis Weirter, had been commissioned for a variety of battle-scene artwork, this particular piece was a rendition of what he himself had witnessed as a serving soldier.

It is an incredibly busy painting: numerous soldiers all across the canvas, some wounded while others are gripped in the midst of battle, rifles raised. It is very bleak and sombre; one needs only look at the painting to understand why it was created: not only would it be used as a means to commemorate this decisive battle and the people who fought in it, it also very accurately demonstrates the horror and the carnage that came to embody ‘modern warfare’, as well as the wreckage brought about by the “onset of trench warfare”. This is most certainly not a piece that would have been used for propaganda, seeing as it provokes feelings of sadness and despair, rather than a burst of nationalistic pride. However, it most certainly would be appreciated in later years as representative of the hardships Canadian soldiers faced against the German soldiers at the Somme, where “twenty-four thousand soldiers were killed and wounded for an advance of just six kilometres.”

Question #5: What does this piece of art tell us about the experience of war?

The painting “Battle of Courcelette” by Louis Alexander Weirter is a very busy piece that tells us a lot about the first-hand experience of war. The painting itself, done in 1918, sets the sombre tone of being amidst the chaos of battle through the use of fiery and earth-toned colours, representing the fire of artillery and the upending of the earth, and the distant perspective, allowing for broad visuals of the events of battle.

On the ground level of the painting, soldiers are depicted in trenches, as well as on foot, with shelling and artillery fire going on around and in front of them. So many men are depicted, in fact, that it is almost difficult to distinguish between them, and between them and the ground. This aspect of the painting shows how chaotic the First World War was, and how, in the middle of battle, soldiers were completely surrounded with other men, shelling, artillery fire, and war equipment. This chaos is also evidenced by Weirter’s depiction of the sky being filled with warplanes and smoke from explosions, showing that soldiers on the front lines were surrounded by battle on all sides during the Battle of Courcelette.

This tumultuous scene from the Great War is a great example of just how horrible being on the front lines would have been. The soldiers depicted in this painting are either tightly packed together in the background or tightly packed into the trenches in the foreground, and being surrounded with the smoke, flying debris, and the noise of gunfire and warplanes depicted would have added to the effect of the Battle of Courcelette being quite overwhelming.

Question #6: How accurate is this depiction of war?

This painting could almost be said to be a picture of how the battle actually looked like in this time. It was very accurate by showing the death and suffering the troops had to endure throughout the war. It shows no actual plant life save for the dead or dying trees in the battle. Explosions and troops advancement are shown. Men helping other fellow comrades are shown caring or helping wounded soldiers. A tank is also shown looking stuck, and that is pretty accurate because back when tanks were first used they got damaged or stuck easily and were not able to function anymore. It is also pretty accurate the bi-planes that were used in battle against other enemy planes or scouting enemy lines.

*Collective response on blog post for WWII art.


Sources used by the group:


Veterans Affairs Canada. “Courcelette Canadian Memorial.” Government of Canada, 02 07, 2014. (accessed March 17, 2014).

“Veterans Affairs Canada” The Somme. Government of Canada. Februrary.7th, 2014. Date accessed: March.20th, 2014.

Canada War Museum, “Canada and the First World War.” Accessed March 18, 2014., “Louis Whirter .” Last modified 13 12, 2013. Accessed March 18, 2014.

The Annex Galleries , “Louis Whirter Biography.” Accessed March 18, 2014.

The Modernist Journals Project, “Louis Weirter, 1873-1932.” Accessed March 18, 2014.

Oliver, Dean F., Laura Brandon et al. Canvas of War – Painting the Canadian Experience, 1914 to 1945. Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 2000 (pages 20 – 22).

(group 9: Pre-Confederate Canada) St. Lawrence Iroquoian

Taylor Morton    



  1. The St. Lawrence Iroquoians lived on the shores of what is now called the St. Lawrence River, and in the surrounding region.  Their Iroquoian culture was shared by the Huron, Mohawks, and Seneca to the south, but on all other sides they were bordered by Algonquian peoples.  They lived in semi-permanent villages, sometimes fortified with log palisades.  Clans were matriarchal and more than one family lived in each longhouse.


            2. The Iroquois nations kept in good contact with each other, including the St. Lawrence Iroquoians.  The only Europeans the St. Lawrence Iroquoians had contact with were Jaques Cartier and the French.





Parks Canada.  “Cartier-Brebeuf National Historic Site of Canada.” Last modified 15 July, 2009. Accessed 24 September, 2013.



Andrew Smitten

3.         Where did these people come into contact?

A.        The St. Lawrence Iroquoian and Europeans did manage to come in contact like all other native tribes at the time. The first recorded interaction between the two was made in 1535-1536. It was reported that Jacques Cartier and his crew were the first Europeans to make contact with the St. Lawrence Iroquoian. This encounter was completely by change when Cartier and his crew were traveling down the mighty St. Lawrence River they spotted a small village located just a few kilometres inland from the banks of the St. Lawrence. Their first meeting was reported to have gone very smoothly (Except for a kidnapping), an interesting fact about this encounter especial compared to others was that this was rumored to be the birth place of Canada as a name, because in the Iroquoian language Canada meant village so this was possible the first time anyone from outside the Iroquoian nation heard the word Canada. This meeting between the St. Lawrence Iroquoian and Cartier was not Cartier’s first time meeting with natives but it was an important one none the less.


4.         For what purpose were Europeans in the area?

A.        The St. Lawrence area saw lots of exploration by different European explores.  The main reason why Europeans were in this area was they were trying to find new areas to set up fur trading post and to explore farther down the St. Lawrence River. At the time when the St. Lawrence Iroquoian and Cartier made their historic first encounter, Cartier was on a voyage down to find valuable metals and fur. His voyage did not yield anything he was looking for. But when he did finally meet the Iroquoian he kidnapped the two sons of a chief and took them back with him. Cartier was in the area to explore and find new riches he may not have found any of the riches he was looking for but he did find a huge piece that makes Canada what it is today.  



• , Copyright 2000

•           Pendergast, James F. “The St.Lawrence Iroquoians: Their Past, Present and Immediate Future,” The Bulletin, 47-74, 1991



Luke Berlemont

5)         The St. Lawrence Iroquois were a bit hesitant upon first contact with European, but were very eager to trade with them. When Jacques Cartier kidnapped two sons of a Iroquois chief, he allowed his sons to be taken on the condition that Cartier return with them along with European goods. They remained friendly with the French for the first few years, even helping them deal with an outbreak of Scurvy, but by 1542, they had grown hostile to the French. They attacked Cartier’s settlement of Charlesbourg-Royal, and killed many people before they could get to safety behind the walls. This, along with harsh winters and disease, drove Cartier and the French to abandon the settlement of Canada for the time being.


6)         When Cartier first landed along the mouth of the St. Lawrence, he placed a large wooden cross and claimed the land for France. He kidnapped two son of the local chieftain to learn more about the land. On his second voyage, he took Chief Donnacona back to France after spending the winter with his village. From their stories, he believed that there was a rich kingdom further north and this motivated him and France to attempt to settle the area, which upset the Iroquois.

The Beginnings of an Ecological Movement: Greenpeace

Frank Zelko’s in depth article, “Making Greenpeace: The Development of Direct Action Environmentalism in British Columbia,” offers an astute analysis of the ideological and societal events that led to the formation of Greenpeace.  Through this piece, Zelko deftly traces the historical lineage of North American environmental movements, straight from the Quaker pacifists to the anti-nuclear protests of the 1960s and 1970s. Greenpeace is one of the world’s most influential and long-lasting environmental movements in history. Their work spans the globe and decades. Through exploring Greenpeace’s unlikely beginnings, the author Zelko sheds light on the historical relationship between anti-war movements and ecological movements, as well as the possibility for ordinary citizens to affect change. Read the rest of this entry

Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia

Between 1783 and 1785, more than 3000 Black persons came to Nova Scotia as a direct result of the American Revolution.  With the establishment of tobacco, indigo, and rice plantations in the southern states, plantation owners required more labourers to work in the fields, and carry out other jobs. In order to reduce costs for themselves and their estate, these owners used slave labour. Initially, the owners attempted to enslave local natives, but with little success, decided to opt for mostly African slaves instead.

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Planter Shipbuilding in Nova Scotia Townships

There were three clearly defined groups of “pre-loyalists” in Nova Scotia, with the Planters being the third, the latest, and the largest (Conrad 120). This group of “pre-loyalists”, established various townships throughout Nova Scotia’s peninsular area, and trans-border area between 1759, and 1764. With access to most waterways, and the Minas Basin, these Planter communities were in key locations for fishery and shipping developments (121).

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