Memories of Wartime at the Musée Royal 22e Régiment

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Photo: Shirley Nadeau

Dany Hamel, director of the Musée Royal 22e Regiment, stands beside the section of the Memories of War exhibit that features the story of Blanche Lavallée, one of the many nurses who treated soldiers during the First World War. The uniform in the case was worn by nursing sister Mary Draper during the war.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, a new exhibit, Ils ont vécu la guerre / Memories of Wartime, recently opened at the Musée Royal 22e Régiment within the walls of the Quebec Citadelle.

The Armistice of 1918, which began with a ceasefire at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, after the official signing of the document earlier in the morning in a train car in a forest just north of Paris, marked the end of the fighting with the victory of the Allies and the defeat of Germany.

The exhibit highlights the experiences of ordinary people who lived through that pivotal time in history. The items in the exhibit represent the real face of war. Through the eyes of soldiers, prisoners and nurses, visitors will experience the major events at the end of the First World War and the return to peace.

Museum-goers will discover the stories of Arthur Giguère, a soldier who was held in a German prison camp from 1915 to 1918, nursing sisters Alexina Jalbert and Blanche Lavallée and Georges-Ulric Francoeur, an officer of the Royal 22e Régiment.

Through their correspondence, period photographs, personal items and trench art, visitors will be immersed in the heart of the great upheavals of that time. These soldiers and nursing sisters experienced a wide range of emotions – misery and fear, but also hope and joy. They headed out into the unknown and came home changed to a world that had been transformed forever.

This exhibit is an homage to their courage and resilience.

Canada’s effort during the First World War was enormous. More than 650,000 Canadians (out of a population of only eight million in 1914) wore military uniforms. Of that number, 172,000 were injured and more than 66,000 others died. Almost one in every six Canadians who took part in the war never returned.

Ils ont vécu la guerre / Memories of Wartime will be open until March 19, 2019. For more information, visit lacitadelle.qc.ca/en/exhibitions/special-exhibition.