Fort Malden hosts first weekend dedicated to local WWI history

 

World War One re-enactors hold a rifle shooting demonstration during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors hold a rifle shooting demonstration during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors demonstrate the proper use of gas masks during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors demonstrate the proper use of gas masks during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors hold a rifle shooting demonstration during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors hold a rifle shooting demonstration during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors participate in a cavalry display during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

World War One re-enactors participate in a cavalry display during the Great War Encampment at Fort Malden National Historic Site on July 20. Photo by Adam D’Andrea.

By Adam D’Andrea

 

Although Amherstburg’s military history is usually associated with the War of 1812, Fort Malden National Historic Site celebrated the town’s contributions to World War One last weekend.

Fort Malden held their first WW1-centric event July 19-20, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Titled the Great War Encampment, the weekend featured infantry demonstrations, rifle firing, cavalry displays and kids activities, as well as musket demonstrations and cannon firing to keep with the site’s War of 1812 tradition.

While Fort Malden has educated visitors on nearly 2,000 years of military history during their annual Military Heritage Days event to as far back as the Roman Empire, this was their first attempt at narrowing down a weekend to focus solely on WW1.

The historical site played an important role in local WW1 history, according to staff members involved in the event. Fort Malden was used as a recruiting depot during the war, specifically for the 1st Hussars horseback regiment from London, Ont., who recruited men from Amherstburg for their B squadron. In addition to this, Fort Malden staff said there were a considerable number of men from Amherstburg, Windsor and Essex County who contributed to the war effort by going off to fight in Europe during this time.

Fort Malden’s next event is their Military Heritage Days weekend on August 2-3, which will also address WW1 but also broadly explore the military history surrounding Romans, Greeks, Vikings, medieval times and more. Additional information can be found at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/fortmalden.

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