The cost of uniforms is prohibitive (in my opinion) and the purchase of a period firearm requires a Possession and Aquisition License in Canada as well as a serious amount of coin for the weapon and the blank ammunition. Weapons include the British Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE which is still in use by the Canadian Arctic Rangers), the Canadian Ross (don't look at it wrong or it'll jam), the German 97K Mauser, and the French Label (which as NO SAFETY so the chamber is left open!) In the future, I believe there are plans to obtain a Mosin-Nagant M91 Rifle to show some Russia to the students. (More on this later.)
Various stations are set up, from the opening Military "Fashion Show" through Military Chaplain, Work Detail, Close-order Drill, Roadblock, Sniper/Tunneler/Stormtrooper to the station my wife, daughter, and I staff: the de-lousing and laundry station. I dress in a work smock, dark trousers, and Adrian helmet (which gives me a massive headache) or peaked cap and I spray the students with simple compressed air from a pump-up sprayer to "de-louse" them. We teach them about the prevelance of lice in all armies, the consequences of infestation like "trench fever", and how to get rid of the cooties from the body and the clothes.
|Nope... far more unpleasant.|
Some of the students take this quite seriously, others less so. Their loss, I say. It is a lively and vibrant way to teach history and I wish this had been done when I was in school.
Now more photos, courtesy of Jeff Brown, who does the planning of this whole thing.
|Justin as a French "Poilu"|
The uniform is accurate and the pack is massive. The puttees are a real pain.
|The Forward Aid Post which serves as the Stretcher Bearer station. Jeff made the bricks out of styrofoam and the sandbags are real sandbags... not too hard to come by.|
|Felicity and Matthew as Belgian refugees. The roadblock troops mess up their belonging and Rob throws Matthew (gently) across the path during the vignette.|
|Rob goes through the pityful belongings of the Belgians and their wheelbarrow. He never finds anything. Maybe if they put a Snickers bar in the barrow he'd leave them alone the next time.|
|My wife, Beth, "irons" a uniform shirt with an old cast-iron iron. This was done to get the bugs and their eggs out of the clothing rather than to get rid of wrinkles. Lice like to lay eggs in the seams of clothing. Lots of eggs.|
|This site is "Justin-approved"!|
|This is not a World War I photo, sure. But the absurdity of it appeals to me.|