Article written by 2nd Lieutenant Pulliam-Therrien, 6 Platoon Commander, with input from Private Enriquez and Private Lefebvre.
Westmount, Quebec – 27 November 2019: Each year, The Royal Montreal Regiment’s “Depot Platoon” visits The Canadian War Museum as part of their military indoctrination program and this year’s visit had an added twist, with the voluntary assistance and guidance of HLCol Garber, Maj Faughnan and Mr. Harvey. The presence of these three gentlemen added to the value of the outing and was appreciated by the platoon. In fact, their presence drew 29 members from Depot Platoon and 16 members from 4 and 5 platoon. The RMR was also accompanied by two of our affiliated Cadet Corps, who had 12 members in attendance. The day was kicked off when the RMR was asked to sing Happy Birthday to a young visitor to the CWM (Pictured below).
Two members from Depot have about their experience during the CWM visit. Pte Lefebvre, has written the following about her experience:
“As a new recruit to the Royal Montreal Regiment, I was thrilled with the chance to visit the Canadian War Museum on a tour organized by our leadership on 2 November 2019. As dawn was barely breaking, 2 buses filled up with sleepy RMR members and started down the highway toward Ottawa.
My first thought on seeing the museum as we rolled into the parking lot was how beautiful the location was: on the bank of the Ottawa River, and steps away from the Houses of Parliament. It’s a very unique structure, with an interesting low-slung profile, filled with light and wonderful high ceilings once you get inside, and walls and floors at various angles, and not many 90-degree angles to be found. I wanted to know a bit more about the building itself, and what the design features are meant to communicate.
We visited several galleries: the First World War; the Second World War; From the Cold War to the Present; and the Military Technology Collection (which I remember as a fantastic collection tanks!). I was deeply moved by the artifacts, photographs, and paintings from the First World War gallery, which showed how difficult life was for soldiers fighting in an entirely new type of combat, and the great cost paid by the nation in that conflict. We got to walk through a trench, hear the sounds of warfare, and touch some of the weapons that were used. It’s incredible to me to think that these earth-shattering events occurred during my grandmother’s lifetime, and the exhibit really brought it to life for me. There was even a WWI uniform from the RMR on display!
The galleries focusing on Canada’s involvement in recent missions were equally affecting, with personal testimony from Canadian soldiers as well as local people affected by the conflicts. And the tank room was just amazing – you could spend a whole day in that room and not see half of it. You might call them “snug”: I’m not sure I’d like to have been an armoured soldier for much of the 20th century!
Overall, I thought the day was great – well organized, enjoyable, and enriching. Our three guides were engaging and knowledgeable. I wish I could have spent longer there, and I will definitely be going back this winter with my fiancé and my history buff best friend to take in more of our military history.”
It’s great to hear about the impact that this short day can have on members of The RMR. Pte Lefebvre was not the only Depot member eager to share their experience of the CWM. Pte Enriquez has also written a short narrative on the day.
“As for my personal experience with the visit I found it to be very interesting. Although I have already been on a partially guided tour in this museum, the guides that were present on this day gave us knowledge and experiences that I had not yet heard of prior to the visit.
Although the establishment itself seemed unchanged from the last time that I had been, a year prior, the tour guides were knowledgeable enough to point out interesting and important pieces of information that help put the exhibits and art pieces into proper context. Although the time limit that we had set to put for guided tours seemed long at first, the passionate manner in which the tour guides spoke kept our attention and made our provided time seem to go rather quickly. It was also interesting to see that there were so many little artifacts scattered throughout the museum with plenty of history behind them, our tour guides tried their best to point out as many of them as possible but even with their expertise, there were too many pieces to see within our given time. Nonetheless, our tour was immersive and full of content.
One aspect that I appreciated greatly was the fact that certain members of the tour guide team were retired military personnel with experience that was related to certain exhibits found in the Museum. It was very interesting and somewhat motivational to hear of the experiences they had, and memories going through their minds as they passed certain images and fixtures.
Overall it was a very good experience, the tour guides were very nice and knowledgeable, and we had just enough time to get a proper experience in the museum without it feeling like the event was being dragged on. I wouldn’t say that there any real points to work on in terms of organizing a similar outing besides minute details such as starting our work day a little later, possibly by an hour or so, just to give certain members of the regiment a chance to arrive on time to the regiment considering public transit options.
For future reference, I would recommend any other member of the regiment to participate in similar experiences.
Once again 6 Platoon would like to extend a huge thanks to HLCol Garber, Maj Faughnan and Mr. Harvey for offering their time to The RMR and making this years museum visit one to remember.