Friday, 20 November 2015

Brian Glenn on The Hell of War and the Bells of Home

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Archives, to be held at 2 PM on November 22 in the new Great Hall of Christ Church Cathedral at 414 Sparks Street, Brian Glenn will give a talk entitled "The Hell of War and the Bells of Home: censorship for the greater good: a parish's privileged view of the First World War."

In the course of photographing All Saints Church, Sandy Hill, in Ottawa before Anglican services within its walls ceased in the late summer of 2014, Brian Glenn came across a wooden box with some 60 well conserved 3" x 5" glass slides. From the style of the box and the limited view he had of the contents they appeared to be photographs taken on the battlefield during Great War.

At the time Sandy Hill was still the hottest residential district of Ottawa, in a generation before Rockcliffe Park and the Glebe began to be considered prime residential districts of the capital. As home to many senior public servants including prime ministers Laurier, Borden and Mackenzie King, there was immense public interest in the progress of the war.

As Brian Glenn began to research these images, he discover that many of them were well known photographs from the First World War. The talk will discuss the history of photography in WW1; give a brief profile of  three official CEF photographers and show a couple of examples of how photography was used for exhibition purposes.

The main part of the presentation will focus on one photograph of four graves near Vimy Ridge. While not an in-depth genealogical study of the four soldiers, I have drawn on the usual online sources: Ancestry, LAC, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Findmypast to put together a picture of their lives, the battle and their deaths.

The talk will end with a video of the last ringing of the bells of All Saints Sandy Hill Church, where the box of glass plate photos was found.

The meeting is open to all.

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