Victoria museum to display unique World War I footage starting Monday

Peninsula Daily News

VICTORIA — The Royal B.C. Museum will open Monday a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I.

The new installation will be in Clifford Carl Hall at the museum at 675 Belleville St. in Victoria.

The centerpiece of the Great War installation is a series of four videos put together by Royal B.C. Museum archivist Dennis J. Duffy.

“Answering the Call” features rare footage of Canadian troops training in Victoria, Vancouver and Comox and of their departure for Eastern Canada and, ultimately, the battlefields of Europe.

“Our task at the museum is to cultivate a spirit of remembrance, especially when there are no more survivors of the Great War,” said Professor Jack Lohman, Royal B.C. Museum CEO.

“Through projects like this, we hope more objects, archives, photographs and films emerge from the depths of our collections and are shared for the benefit of all.”

Footage for “Answering the Call” comes from 10 reels of film preserved in Library and Archives Canada.

Eight of the reels contain raw footage with little information about their content.

Two reels were shot by pioneering B.C. filmmaker A.D. “Cowboy” Kean, who attempted to document every unit that left the province to serve in the Great War.

Duffy has taken all of this footage — some severely deteriorated, most of it unidentified — and constructed a visual story set to music.

More in the fall

Commemoration will continue in the fall with the digitization and online publishing of 5,000 pages of letters and diaries from the B.C. Archives related to the First World War.

Excerpts of the footage will be included during a concert by the Victoria Symphony, “Lest We Forget,” at the Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25.

Aug. 4 marks the beginning of British Columbia's Commemoration of the First and Second World Wars.

The Royal B.C. Museum will add displays of images, artifacts and archival records until 2019.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 27.

For information about exhibits and tickets, visit

The MV Coho ferry makes daily crossings to Victoria from Port Angeles. For information, visit

Last modified: July 29. 2014 8:24PM
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