Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ottawa, Part III - Canadian War Museum

Here I am again telling about our time in Ottawa. Again, I will just quickly tell the highlights. Don and I went to the Canadian War Museum. We spent about four hours there quietly waling through the exhibits and reflecting. We started our visit in the Afghanistan exhibit. It was a very moving experience knowing the sacrifice soldiers are willing to make for others.
We sat at a computer terminal to look up Don's grandfather and my great grandfather Wallbridge. It was cool to see their application papers. The library was closed, but some day I would love to go back and get copies of this information. You can also get a list of battles and medals. That would be cool for Don since his grandfather, who lied about his age to fight in WWI, received a few medals - one for carrying an injured comrade even though he, himself, was shot in the leg. Below: an example of tunnel art done while waiting in a tunnel at Vimmy Ridge and memorabelia from Billy Bishop, a famous Canadian fight pilot. The windshield of his plane has a bullet hole in it.

The last interesting place we went to was the Deifenbunker - the cold war bunker for the national goverment and military. Each province also had bunkers, but this one was the main one in the country. When we entered we were lead down a long tunnel to the main entrance. The tunnel kept going up the other side so that if a bomb fell the pressure would go along the tunnel and out the other end. Before we went in through the entrance there was a nuclear bomb on display.

As we entered we were taken through the decontamination area where there were showers for those who may have radiation. In the same area was the medical facilities to deal with possible radiation burns. One of the rooms in the area was built so that it could be locked down from the outside so peoople inside could not get out. This came in handy in case someone went a little crazy with being too long in the bunker.

It amazed me how this place was built and maintained until the late 90's in secrecy. I was surprised at how basic the life would be down there. I guess I thought it would be a little more elaborate with couches and nicer furniture since the Hitler bunker was somewhat elaborate for its time. Below is a picture of the Prime Minister's bedroom, a radio room, and the cabinet room. Notice how small the cabinet room is - only select ministers would be included in the inner circle. The rest were out of luck!

Ladies, if you were the prime minister's wife at the time of an atomic bomb, you would be left behind with the children to die. Unlike the saving of people you see in American movies (wives and children), only necessary personal were allowed below and only a handful of people knew who those personal were. Example: the primeminister appointed a second in command in case he could not be there and no one except the PM and that person knew who it was. That person, in turn, appointed another minister and only he and that person knew who he was. That was secrecy was maintained. Below is a picture of a room in which only certain people were allowed to enter due to secrets over the years. even the base commander did not have access. The tour guide met a man who worked in that room and he is sworn to secrecy to never reveal the information learned in their reconaisance. SCARY!
The bank of Canada bunker for gold storage. If there was enought notice a train was ready at Union Station (Ottawa) to bring key personal and gold to the facility. One of the gentlemen going through the tour with us worked in the bunker for years in the generator room.

The last place Don and I visited was Rideau Hall (Governor General's residence) and Rideau Falls.

This is the end - that's all there is folks!


Evie said...

That bunker information is fascinating.

Dave said...

Thanks for the report. We have visited some of those places but not all. Did you go to the RCMP campus and their musical ride training ground?

Joanne said...

The war museum is someplace I have always thought would be good to visit, but have never taken the time to do so. These days, it takes on alot more significance and meaning for me. Thanks for the report, I think when we go to visit Alyson and Jason at Petewawa some time in the future, we might take some time to drive down for a visit

Jenn said...

i'd be interested to know how the world would be expected to go on without any women? i mean...how would a man know how to wash his socks or clean the bathroom? honestly!!! the thinking of our ancestors! cool trip though - who knew there were places like that in ottawa?

Barbara said...

I was telling John about what you were telling me about the bunker. It's on our must-see list for next time we go to Ottawa.