Guelph Museums Military Lecture

“It was hell, that’s all”
Artillery and the Senses in the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918
with Hazel Scott Pancratz

Artillery and the Senses in the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918 with Hazel Scott Pancratz

The First World War on the Western Front was overwhelmingly a war of artillery. Both sides’ firepower dictated what form the war would take, driving men to dig trenches to conceal and protect themselves, but even then, artillery was responsible for over half of Canadian casualties. Given the significance of its role, it is no surprise that the letters, diaries and memoirs of soldiers make frequent reference to the unending roar of the guns and the damage wrought by shellfire.

But what was it like to fight with the artillery? Though stationed further from the front lines than the infantry, gunners underwent many of the same experiences and faced many of the same risks. They, too, struggled to fight a war against enemies they couldn’t see, learned how to use sound as a tool for self-preservation and were frequent targets of enemy guns. Despite these commonalities, however, the ways in which gunners understood the war and their role within it could vary drastically from their infantry counterparts. Using the senses — namely vision, hearing and touch — this presentation explores the lives of Canadian gunners and demonstrates the ongoing need to look beyond the trenches in order to better understand the diverse experiences of Canadians fighting the First World War

The lecture premieres in-person at the Civic Museum, and online via the Guelph Museum’s Facebook livestream. The recorded conversation will be available on Facebook, YouTube, and the Museum Everywhere Portal after the event.

Full event details available on the Guelph Museums site HERE.

Hazel Scott Pankratz is a PhD candidate in history at Western University, where her research focuses on the intersection of technology, the body and lived experience in the Canadian artillery during the First World War. She holds degrees from Trent University and Wilfrid Laurier University.

March 21, 2024 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Guelph Civic Museum + Google Map View Venue Website

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The Guelph Museums Military Lecture series is presented in partnership with Guelph Museums.