Trenches in Tillsonburg|
Photos courtesy of Project Ojibwa Museum of Naval History
What do a trench warfare soldier, a submariner, and a flying ace have in common?
Just ask the forty-five Grade 10 students of Parkside Collegiate Institute in St.
Thomas who will be immersed in three very different aspects of World War II on Tuesday,
May 27, 2014. Land, sea, and air all in one day!
The Museum of Naval History and the Harvard Association of Canada have partnered
with Robin Barker-James and his "Ground Warfare Program" to create a unique new
educational program - the first of its kind in Canada. Land, Sea and Air emphasizes
the "tools of war as the technology of the day," says Barker-James. "The notion
of 'Combined Arms' was used in WWII to overwhelm the enemy, and it's what won the
war. Students will be familiar with the D-Day landings in Normandy - a perfect example
of combined arms."
The Sea component begins first at 9:00 a.m. in Port Burwell as HMCS Ojibwa stands
in for a WWII submarine to teach students about the Battle of the Atlantic. "Experiencing
the sea war will help participants understand how Canada came to have the third
largest navy in the world by the end of the war," commented Ian Raven, Executive
Director of the Elgin Military Museum.
Students will learn the harrowing stories of two St. Thomas men who joined the navy
and participated in missions during the Battle of the Atlantic and a German U-boat
man who eventually moved to St. Thomas after the war. Learning will mix with fun
as they participate in a precision-style re-enactment of a convoy under attack by
notoriously deadly technology of German U-boats while they learn about the importance
of Canadian corvettes delivering much needed supplies to Britain's shores. Also,
in keeping with St. Thomas related stories, students will discover how the HMCS
St. Thomas, a Castle-class corvette warship of the Royal Canadian Navy, made naval
history and saved lives.
The Air component, starting at 11:15 a.m., will take the students to the Harvard
Association of Canada facilities at the Tillsonburg Airport. There they will see
a demonstration of the Harvard Trainer, arguably the most important aircraft of
the war. Harvards were the primary training aircraft at the Service Flying Training
School in Aylmer, the current site of the Ontario Police College. Barker-James adds,
"Students will learn that WWII on land could not have been won without aircraft
and hundreds of thousands were trained on the Harvard."
Starting at 12:30 p.m., the Land component will teach basic tactical manoeuvres
to students as they re-enact the action where Canada captured the Hitler line in
1944. Students will have the opportunity to play both defensive and offensive roles
to better understand the dynamics of ground warfare. To explain which side had the
best technology at the time, Barker-James promises that "there will be simulated
"The land, sea and air technologies of 14 nations combined their strength and teamwork
to defeat the Nazis," Parker-James concludes. "We are teaching that you can't be
successful by using one system alone - we all need to combine our efforts and knowledge,
and to encourage teamwork and cooperation. You have to have courage and be willing
to take risks."
The Land, Sea and Air program begins at Port Burwell on Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
at 9 a.m.
9:00 a.m. Sea: Ojibwa Submarine, 3 Pitt Street, Port Burwell
11:15 a.m. Air: Harvard Association of Canada, 244411 Airport Road, Tillsonburg
12:30 p.m. Land: The William Findley Outdoor Education Site, 164886 New Road,
R.R. #1 Tillsonburg