The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marks the date and time when armies stopped fighting in the First World War. At this time each year, The Bowen Island Legion, branch #150, brings the community together to gather by the Cenotaph to honour, reflect and remember; whether in-person or as last year for the first time, virtually.
Under installation and on view at the Bowen Island Museum & Archives is the exhibit “Bowen Remembers,” which explores and draws inspiration from the community exhibiting how it’s been touched by the war years. This installation honours those whose lives have been influenced by war, whether they served on the frontlines or were at home. Archival documents and artifacts give us a view into the past, exposing how the war years continue to shape the present for Bowen Islanders.
One of the highlights of the exhibit honours the ongoing work and support of the Bowen Island Legion branch #150 with Canada’s Veterans and local community with archival images from past Cenotaph ceremonies for reflection. Ordinary lives were touched on the frontlines and the Legion has played a pivotal role in keeping history alive. =
Established in 1930, the Bowen Island Legion commemorates the service – past and present – of Canada’s veterans. The Cenotaph was built by members of the Legion in 1937 and serves today, as it did then, as a monument and public place to remember and reflect. The names of the five islanders killed during action in the First World War are commemorated on the Cenotaph: Lewen Tugwell, Charles Redmond, Cameron Smith, Miles Green and Norman Vickery.
The Ladies Auxiliary of the Royal Canadian Legion branch #150, worked in tandem with the Legion to assist in the branch’s fundraising activities and efforts, and is also featured in the exhibit. The Auxiliary was very active during the Second World War fundraising with teas, banquets and socials which was funneled back into the community. The Auxiliary received its charter on June 7, 1922 and closed on June 12, 1988 leaving behind a legacy of support and giving. Part of the Ladies Auxiliary gallery is their type-written registrar from March 1980 to June 1988.
We are graced with the long standing generosity of Mike Shields and Ross Patterson loans. Last year’s special edition, Mary Anne Smith’s donation, are on display this year with Mallory Smith’s personal effects from serving in the Korean War as a fighter pilot.
Another act of remembrance is through participation. The Remembrance Art, integrated through the show, was collectively created by Island Pacific School. Through art they reflect on peace and what it means to them. Their theme is the Poppy, which was adopted after the First World War as a symbol of remembrance and respect.
Additional artifacts to explore are the personal family effects from Frants Erik Nielsen, on loan courtesy of Pernille and Tina Nielsen. Frants, who with his wife Alice lived on Bowen Island for 36 years, was part of the Danish Resistance movement and a prisoner of war in Denmark. Frants was recruited to the movement as a Boy Scout and eventually received training in weapons and explosives for sabotage. This and other stories are there to be discovered and explored.
The “Bowen Remembers” exhibit runs Nov. 2 through Nov. 11, Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Come to remember, to honour and to be part of the community.