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The Bugle and the Passing Bell, Part 4 - The war in the air/Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele

Canada's early aviators fought and died in their flimsy unreliable planes; the average combat life of a pilot was three weeks. At Vimy Ridge Canadian losses were enormous, but Vimy was a victory and a high point in Canada's involvement in WW1. Six months later at Passchendaele morale would be at an all time low.
Private Donald Johnston McKinnon, No. 7 PLatoon, 73rd Battalion, Canadian Army, returning from the front line in France. ( Library and Archives Canada (reproduction reference number PA-000867)/Wikipedia)

Canada's early aviators fought and died in their flimsy unreliable planes; the average combat life of a pilot was three weeks.  At Vimy Ridge Canadian losses were enormous, but Vimy was a victory and a high point in Canada's involvement in WW1.  Six months later at Passchendaele morale would be at an all time low.

About the series:

In 1964 – to mark the 50th anniversary of the beginning of world war one, a CBC radio team interviewed over 200 men who fought in the war and lived to tell the tale. From this huge body of eye witness testimony came a 17-hour series called Flanders Fields. The programmes were broadcast once and then stored in the CBC archives. In the summer of 2014 – to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the war - CBC producer Steve Wadhams opened up this remarkable archive to make ten half-hour documentaries called The Bugle and The Passing Bell. 

The bugle is a call to action.  The passing bell calls us to a funeral.

The interviews with the World War 1 Canadian veterans were recorded by a team led by legendary CBC broadcaster J. Frank Willis. 

 

Find the list of soldiers names interviewed in the series here.

The documents and poems in this episode were read by Graham Wright, Daniel Guillemett, Bill Knott, Mitch Pollock and Pedro Mendes.

Poems and excerpts:Truthful Teddie and The Ballad of Freiburg Jail, by two Canadian prisoners of war the Canadian patriotic poem The Shirker and excerpts from The Great War by British poet Vernon Scannell.

This bagpipe lament was recorded in St. Andrew's Presbyterian church in Toronto - home of the 48th Highlanders.  The 48th Highlanders sent three batallions of soldiers to fight in the first world war - 1467 were killed in action.

 

Listen to other episodes in the series:

The Bugle and the Passing Bell, Part 1 - Canada answers the call

The Bugle and the Passing Bell, Part 2 - Baptism of fire and Deadly Stealth

The Bugle and the Passing Bell, Part 3 - Siege warfare and Newfoundland's day of the dead

The Bugle and the Passing Bell, Part 4 - The war in the air/Vimy Ridge & Passchendaele

The Bugle and the Passing Bell, Part 5 - Pushing on the Victory

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