Two very authentic and vivid new displays in the meeting room of the Fort Ostell Museum in Ponoka feature many of the original articles and accounts of the world’s most horrific confrontations of conflict: The Great War from 1914 to 1918 and the Second World War from 1939 to 1945.
This spacious new display area will also be the temporary home from Sept. 10 to 28 of the amazing National Travelling Exhibition entitled ‘From Vimy to Juno’ Canada, honouring the dedicated efforts of thousands of Canadian soldiers serving in France and beyond from 1914-1945 and will bring their proud legacy of these intense corridors of war to citizens of all ages across our Nation.
These magnificent displays will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Sept. 28th, after which the Fort Ostell Museum will swing into winter hours from 1 to 4 p.m. three days a week. The classic Vimy feature presentation will host an open house on Saturday, Sept. 15 at which MP Blaine Calkins will be present to chat with guests, and everyone is invited to drop in and enjoy these unique and realistic once-in-a-life time displays. There are also countless plaques and photos displayed at our Royal Canadian Legion Branch #66 Ponoka to those hundreds of men and women from this community and districts who have and always will continue to proudly serve their nation in the war efforts both overseas and here at home, many who so sadly have given their lives.
As you get up close and personal to the new First and Second World War displays across one wall visitors will see the early uniforms worn by the various branches of the armed forces, as well as those of the R.C.A.S.C. Padres, St. John’s Ambulance, and Nursing Corps. Also featured are photos and memorabilia of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, which was formed in 1918 and developed to serve in the Second World War starting on March 13, 1942. The new section was open to ladies from 18 to 45 years of age weighing over 105 pounds and standing over five feet tall, they were trained in standard domestic tasks, and faithfully served until being disbanded on Sept. 30, 1946.
Also included in the grand display is a colorful wooden case full of medals that were awarded over the years to our Canadian soldiers, as well as their food ration books and tins, and an interesting array of photos and documentation of some of the men and women from this area who served in the wars. What really catches the attention of visitors at the displays are a soldier’s dairy, a tattered British flag and bible, a naval life preserver, the belt buckle of a German soldier, as well as some of the actual weapons, rifle with sword, ammunition and belt, gas masks, fire tablets, instruments, and whatever else that was required in order for these brave souls to survive through those horrific battles on all fronts.
On a more sombre note, written on the murals of the Great War are the names of those soldiers from Ponoka and district who were able to return home from the battles, but died later from their wounds or other illnesses. These include: Private Elmer Skinner, Private James H. Cox, Private William A. McLean, Private Edward H. Brophy, Corporal Robert P. Sharpe, Private Thor Krefting, Private Roy Wyatt, and Trooper Clement Pike.
It is so important for all of us to honour the dedication and sacrifice of our war veterans and armed forces members that have taken place in the corridors of war and during countless support and peace keeping efforts and roles for so many decades. Each and every year the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #66 Ponoka hosts the Nov. 11th Remembrance Day community services as well as Vimy Night and countless other celebrations that pay tribute to our brave soldiers of both yesterday and today. Everyone is welcome to attend these functions as well as to drop into the Legion and browse through the wall of fame photos and mementos that salute and remember the over 750 veterans from our town and county who have and always will faithfully serve our great nation to the fullest.