In remembrance of The Great War during this centenary year, this blog will explore the intriguing social history of that tumultuous time. The first two of my Muskoka Novels – "The Summer Before the Storm" and "Elusive Dawn" – take place from 1914-1918. During my four years of research I accumulated a trunkful of notes, and will illuminate some of the more interesting and unusual tidbits, beginning with the Age of Elegance.
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.
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.