Wednesday, June 25, 2014

War and Games

Despite what many people believe, Allied troops spent relatively little time in the deadly front line trenches. One example showed that an officer and his men spent a total of 65 days in front line and 36 in nearby support trenches during 1916. They also moved to 80 different locations that year. So there were long periods when the men were safely (if not all that comfortably) behind the lines, working, training, resting, and playing games to keep fit and busy. Tennis and polo matches, soccer and baseball games, dances and entertainments were all part of the military experience in France.

British 15th Division, Sports Day 1917 - From collection of the Imperial War Museum, © IWM (Q 2360)
On July 1, 1918 (Dominion Day - now called Canada Day), 50,000 Canadian troops gathered at Tincques France for the Corps sports championships. The event was attended by Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, former Canadian Governor-General His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught, and American General John Pershing, among others.

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