Beaverbrook Vimy Prize Blog – 9 August 2017

Today in London, our 2017 BVP students visited the Imperial War Museum where they attended lectures by Dr. Anna Maguire and Dr. James Wallis, explored the Churchill War Rooms, and were guided through a memorials walking tour. Please note: participants will blog in their mother tongue.

Our first stop in London today was the Imperial War Museum where we had the pleasure of learning from two excellent guest speakers, Dr. Anna Maguire and Dr. James Wallis who spoke on the lasting legacies and impacts of the First World War. I really enjoyed these presentations as they provided many new things to consider about the war and a new perspective on the conflict. We visited the First World War Gallery and Dr. Wallis answered questions for us as we walked through. It was very effective for me as they had a beautifully laid out exhibit with a huge array of artifacts with comprehensive backstories. From the exhibit, I definitely felt the impact that the war had on the UK, along with many other nations. The museum allowed me to clearly see the important details and stories behind the war, and I ultimately learned a lot. Next, we visited the Churchill War Rooms, and there, we saw the Second World War’s side of things. The complexity of the stuffy underground bunkers was stunning, and it showed me yet again how a war impacted the UK. Seeing these bunkers, I felt a great deal of pride from the resilience that was shown by the British people in those harsh times, and it was quite moving. Overall, I had an absolutely incredible day, and I learned so much. I can’t wait for tomorrow!

Cole Oien, Calgary, AB


Today was the first full day in London and in Hyde Park we visited the Canadian war memorial. It’s a small one, slightly sunken into the ground surrounded by a grove of maple trees. On clear days, the sun would reflect in the water running down the memorial’s slanted surface and over the maple leaves which are embedded in the stone. But today, rain splashed off the bath running down its centre. As we approached, one of the group suggested that it looked like the bow of a ship. But I saw a shipwreck, sticking out of the water with the waves crashing over.

I ran my hand over a maple leaf, with the water washing over it. As the water flowed past, so much flowed with it: time, lives lost in the war. Was it wasted time? Were they wasted lives? The path in the middle of the memorial looked very much like a trench in the rain. This was where they died on the ships, in the trenches, and in the cloud-filled sky. I felt it was a very powerful memorial.

David Alexander, Pointe-Claire QC

Group outside the Imperial War Museum.
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