2015 AGM

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My appologies for the delay! Friday April 24th was our 2015 AGM, and um…I don’t think it would be an atrocious stretch if one was to say it was a doozey.

When Tammy sets her mind to making an impression, you better believe it’s gonna be a good one! The theme of this years AGM was the centennial of the Battle of St. Julien.

Everyone has heard of the Battle of Ypres, [of course], but this one seems to get ‘lost in the fog’ so to speak. {too soon?}

St. Juliens significance lies in that this battle was the first time Chlorine gas had been deployed on Canadian Soldiers. St. Julien actually ended up consisting of a few costly smaller skirmishes, grouped together to make its own part as one of the many battles that Ypres consisted of. Complicated enough? The kick start of this battle was the fight at Kitchener Wood.

Perhaps the most famous illustration of the Battle of Kitchener Wood

Truth be told, it kind of makes for kind of an awkward underdog mini-saga kinda thing. It started with a rather ill prepared advancement. uhh… *clears throat* …k; um…EXTREMELY ill prepared.

As in –> no night combat training –> no ground recon –> zero intelligence on enemy position, strength, etc  –> no communication or coordination between the two advancing units…just a go get em’ boys…

ill prepared.

oh. did i mention the battle only lasted 15 min?

 

 

a little dumbfounding.

I think whirlwind would be a brutal understatement. Buuuuut…the Canadian/English side won, and got one heck of a compliment from a German prisoner, who was recorded as saying “You fellows fight like hell.” Despite this rather generous statement, it is not to be said that there was not grave losses on both sides. Of the 816 men of the 16th battalion that went into the wood, only 193 came out.

Over the next day or so, a series of advancements and retreats on either side continued, until dawn the morning of April 24 1915. Soldiers described a yellow-green cloud smelling of pineapple and pepper rolling toward them. This marked the beginning of the Battle of St. Julien.

For our AGM we aimed for a very interactive experience, and so we had an incredible local artisan make us up a pineapple pepper smelling salt and WOW! it smelled like ~R@iNbOw$~ and $uMMeR b@rBeQue$. which is actually really horrible considering what the implications of the smell were. so she added some pure eucalyptus for a little bit of a burn. which ironically made it smell even better even though your eyes were morphing into searing waterfalls. So I suppose it just becomes this vicious and sadistic circle of doom. {that smelled fabulous}

I can actually and truthfully say that I have been exposed to a form of chlorine gas before, (long story short, a faulty respirator…), and I have but two words…

NOT. FUN.

The worst part of it is that the soldiers in the position getting the full brunt of the chlorine gas had NO equipment to handle it. Someone spread word that if you peed on a kerchief (or the cotton pad in your ‘gas mask’) and held it to your face the ammonia would neutralize the chlorine.

**PLOT TWIST**

chlorine and ammonia actually create another bad gas. so needless to say the urine masks didn’t do so much. Chlorine gas doesn’t just affect the respiratory system either, it is highly acidic and so burns most things exposed, like eyes and skin.

So the smelling salts was as immersive as we could get in that area. There were lots more artifacts to check out and handle, and Tammy even found a way to get a DVD onto a digital picture frame (she is definitely the more techno-literate one of the two of us)

an artifact display with lots of goodies

 

We filled this backpack with rocks, it weighed about 50 lbs. The soldiers kits came in to about 60lbs

We filled this backpack with rocks, it weighed about 50 lbs. The soldiers kits came in to about 60lbs

I on the other hand, ran away to the kitchen! {I am a total foodie/ culinary snob, and the fact I had a semi industrial kitchen to play in made me one veeeeery happy young lady…} Put it this way. I almost refuse to move back out of the house because my families kitchen reno saw the addition of an incredible gas range. HOW can I even go back to a boring old electric element stove? *first world problems*

The meal was quite the conversation topic though! That, was immersive too! Tammy and I tend to have this very similar sick twisted sense of humor, and when we decide to run with it, WATCH OUT!!

[hee hee]

We thought, “instead of serving lasagna or chili or whatever else you typically get and just talking about how much the food sucked in the trenches…why don’t we make em’ sweat a little and serve them only the portions?”

There’s me on the far right being a bossy boots. *note serious hand on hip* The cadets that came out to help KILLED IT!! couldn’t of done it without them!!

 

and so it became a game of russian roulette…your ticket had one of three colours, and you followed a soldiers journey through one of those three colours. At the end, you went to the table with your colour, and you got {roughly} the meal he would of ate. (minus the dirt, rats and lice) He was either at training camp and ate very well, in the trenches and ate a can of corn beef and a bun, and if you were following a POW or deceased soldier, you got a very measly portion of thin veggie soup and a piece of chocolate (the red cross came today, you lucky fellow you…)

To say that some of the reactions were gratifying would be ~highly~ accurate.

another satisfied customer

These lucky people got the highly coveted training camp meal

Combat meal and the lovely ladies serving

 

 

A meal similar to what was received in POW camps, soup made from dried veggies, and if you were lucky the red cross came with luxuries like chocolate

 

We WERE nice and brought out a good spread of food after for seconds…*cough*….thirds… for those still hungry (we do have a heart <3 )

But we figured it would spoil the illusion if we said ‘here ya go eat practically nothing cuz that’s what the guys had but hey there’s a table there for you after…’ Was pretty effective actually!

I have to say though, the display’s turned out pretty darn cool. The amount of homework that went into this is astonishing…combined, Tammy figures there was about 500 hours worth of research. 500!!!!! That’s about 20 whole days. Day and night. Almost a month straight non stop. The majority was done by John Dinn, wholy man that man did some incredible work!! I don’t know where he got some of the information he did, but obviously he pulled the Aces, because he got some great stuff!!

We were pretty excited about the turnout…

And at the end of the dinner we even got a show from the cadet band!!

Nice job!!

In summary, I seriously am lost as to how we are ever going to come anywhere close to this next year. But hey, that’s half the fun 😉 Thanks to everyone who volunteered, Skip, Colin, Ian, Betty, Trudy, Cadets, anyone I may have missed because my brain is rather scattered today… You all made it a fun evening that will be talked about for a while to come!