7 Apr 2013


Yep, it seems that some people can be simply Relentlessly Grateful.
As we often now express the attitudes of entitlement, some people still remain grateful for the most basics gifts of life and freedom.

It is Mr. Gilbert Van Landschoot who stands out as the eternally grateful - upon his father's wish he commemorates the liberation of his part of Belgium by the Canadian and Polish soldiers.
In fact, he is so immersed in his mission of immortalizing the events of the time that he has initiated and build a whole museum devoted to the preservation of artifacts and memories of these men.

In my work, reproducing works from the Canadian War Art programs I face war history often. I am also a frequent reader of the Legion Magazine and personal interest in the modern history takes me to read and watch historical documents related to the IIWW.
I have stumbled over this video and I have inquired further:

Mr. Gilbert Van Landschoot speaks here about how the museum begun by people collecting the bodies and hundreds of artifacts - uniforms, helmets, arms etc left behind.

Canada-Poland Museum

That's how the site of this historic collection is called http://www.canadamuseum.be/
It is not just an on-line entity, but an actual, physical site where those incredible moments of war and liberation took place. It has begun when the towns were liberated by the Canadian and Polish boys in uniforms. As the war continued, the boys moved on, fighting for every inch, house-by-house - as Mr. Van Landschoot recalls.
Some of the boys became familiar to the families they have liberated.
As they moved on, some never returned, but some stayed there for ever.
Death has taken their young lives, but the Belgian and Dutch families moved on to bring back and bury their bodies. It is what was left of those brave men that stays with the people of this land, and is now at the heart of the Museum.

Some of those young soldiers left not only the uniforms after they died, With the freedom came also some babies they fathered during the brief stay. So it is not only the physical artifacts, but it is the Canadian blood running now in the communitie's hearts that matters so much.

This is all so impressive, the Museum is not just a small, local collection - the number of artifacts is large and the display is professional with mural background and so on.
I have engaged in a brief round of correspondence with the Museum, Mr. Landshoot's daughter - Alexandra Landshoot, who is involved with the public relations of the Museum.
No wonder, judging from Mr. Landshoot's videotaped accounts  - there is Canadian blood running in her veins too and since she is expecting a child this summer - there will be Canadians there FOREVER!

It is a Canadian-Polish Museum, so as one of the Comments under the YouTube video interview brings up the name of "Andy" Charles Mynarski, a Polish-Canadian airman, who bravely died at the age of 27, shot over France in 1944, fighting as a Canadian and as Polish for the liberation of Europe.

I should soon devote a separate post to Andrew Charles Mynarski for the Canadian "Moose Squadron". He was a hero and was awarded Victoria Cross posthumously, for "valour of the highest order".

I wish a portrait of this hero could be added to the Museum's collection - it would connect so relevantly and meaningfully to the themes of the exposition.

On several occasions I have been asked to reproduce a remarkably handsome watercolour portrait of him, painted by a Canadian War Artist, Paul Goranson on the occasion of his Victoria Cross award.

Mynarski by Paul GoransonMynarski was also honoured in 1973 when he was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame and his native Winnipeg created a park of 8 hectares in his memory. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum has reconstructed the Lancaster VR-A (seen above) from several other Lancasters and regularly fly it from their base at the Hamilton Airport, Ontario. They have produced an excellent book on Mynarski and on the reconstruction of the aircraft, titled "Mynarski's Lanc".

He is buried in plot number 40, British Plot, Méharicourt Communal Cemetary, Méharicourt, Somme, France. http://www.constable.ca/caah/mynarski.htm
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