Snowdrop from World War I

MS-2879, Box 82, File 2

Labelled “snowdrop from front line trench”, this small spring flower was pressed into a diary kept by Lieutenant Arthur Crease of Victoria beside his entry for March 24, 1917; two weeks later, he was in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. His war diaries and pressed snowdrop are vivid reminders of the horror of war, the Canadian contribution in the First World War, and the hope that Crease must have seen in this fragile flower.

Diary entries for that week (found in two separate diaries for the period) include: “Friday, 23rd March. …walked into Neuville St. Vaast and took up our quarters in the famous Winchester House (a long brick cellar with very little overhead protection)…. This was a pretty hot spot, for the enemy artillery had a great fancy for it…. Sunday, 25th March. Visit from 20 Imperial Officers. 1 was killed at the door of our H.Q.… Had a bath to the tune of bursting shells – rather a nervous performance and an extraordinary place for a bath.”

Crease survived the war, and returned to Victoria to become a successful lawyer. His diaries are part of a large collection of Crease Family records.

This object selected by Ann ten Cate. View Profile »