All posts by admin

Trench system

Pretty much at every tour people ask if the McKnight trench is build exactly as it would have been done during the Great War.

The quick answer is: Yes. We build the trench to using historic manuals and cross referenced historical images.
The trench is a composite of different types of trenches found. Due to limited space it combines fire trench, and service trenches.

  

Trench routine “stand to”

What was a morning like in the trenches?

Well before twilight all men stand on the fire step. Stand to. This was the time a possible attack could happen.

When it was fully light the men stood down. Now the soldier’s daytime routine starts.

The best art of the morning is the rum ration. It has to be consumed instantly to prevent sharing and hoarding. 

Next breakfast of corned beef, tinned stew, bread or biscuit. There is also syrup and jam.

Next stop is personal hygiene. Dirty men get diseases. A respirator does not close well over beard stubble. Whatever the temperature, winter or summer, the men have to keep themselves clean.

The next important duty is recycling. Every morning soldiers are responsible to collect tin cans, ammunition cases, anything that does not belong to their fellow soldiers. 

Unfired ammunition is cleaned and empty shells would collected and eventually be melted down. Gunners were expected to return fired shells for refilling.

Most battalions have their own salvage dump.

The recycling was necessary because during the Great Was every resource was precious.

Next weapons have to be cleaned.

In the trench sights are always set to 200yrds (182m) to ensure that targets in no man’s land can be hit.

More trench routines soon….

Trench day

A fabulous day at the trench thanks to the many visitors today.

This is really what makes all the efforts worthwhile. Sharing history and thanks to the trench bringing it to life.

    

Trench Tours

If anyone would like to see the trench you can view it from the balcony at the museum when the museum is open. If you want a walk through the trench, please check with the museum to see if anyone is available.  Tours do not start until July.

Centennial Trench Opening Ceremony

Opening of the centennial trench. Despite minor disturbances by some demonstrators it was a great event. Our many speakers were just great. As mentioned by many it’s the actions of men and women in the past that gives us our freedom today. The trench is a great leading experience. From the no man’s land, the path leads into the trench, and exits in the meditation garden.
Had the demonstrator paid any attention they would have noticed the symbolic movement from war to peace.
We will remember and we will make sure many will learn about the past to avoid mistakes in the future.

2015-04-04 13.48.57

2015-04-04 13.50.16

Trench Finished

The trench is now finished and final work is being done to get things ready for the Dedication Ceremony on Saturday April 4th 2:00 pm.
Everyone is invited to watch the ceremony and tour the trench.
Thank you everyone, to all those that worked on the trench, donated money or material or just came by to see how we were progressing.
It was a team effort to get this project completed and is probably something we will never want to do again, our shovels are broken and our gloves are worn out and our wood is all used up and the large box of nails is empty. Allan is resting his back and the shell craters are full of water. The work is done. The trench is finished. Please join us on April 4th – you are invited.

Too Tired To Blog

Last Saturday 6 Engineer cadets returned to the McKnight trench display and completed the barbed wire field defense, dug shell craters and filled and carried many sand bags. Weather was great. So much work done in one day. No more sand bags left in our QM stores hut and my gloves are worn out from digging. This project could not have gotten to its final stage of 95% completed without so much help from so many people. Thank you.

Today’s Surprise

Work continued as usual this Saturday with a full contingent of our trench gang and we were very surprised when a truck load of Army Cadets arrived to lend us a hand.

Half a dozen members of the Royal Westminster Regiment Army Cadet Corps from Aldergrove came out unannounced, wanting to help build the trench. We were very surprised and very pleased.

And once again they worked hard, filling sand bags, and installing barbed wire. Thank you for your great help. Another interesting item is Lieutenant McKnight’s relative has made a donation to the trench project, thank you Keith.

Thank You !

Thank you to the Tri City News for their excellent article about the McKnight Centennial Trench, thank you Dianne ! We are 85% complete with the trench work and pushing hard to get it done for the April 4th opening. Work continues every weekend.

Also thanks to those that have supported our volunteer project including Mill & Timber, Wavor Wire, Burnaby Bag & Burlap, Hon. Colonel James Happer and Tree Island Industries, Allard Contractors Ltd, 6 Engineer Squadron Cadet Corps, Royal Westminster Regiment Cadet Corps Maple Ridge and Aldergrove, Western Command Military Vehicle Historical Society, Yellow Dog BrewingBrianne and the Port Moody Heritage Society.

Thank you from the trench building team of Marcus, Allan, Sonny, Cary, John, Jim, Sean and Guy.