Claire D.

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Avalon Regional Heritage Fair

Marching as to war: Pleasantville and the first 500

This project is about Pleasantville, an important training ground which is found near Quidi Vidi lake. Pleasantville is where the young men of the first 500 were trained in the art of combat. In this project, I also talked about my great-great-grandfather and his job at Pleasantville as well.


What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing I learned about my topic was Pleasantville itself! It is a very important place in war history, and it is not talked about often. Without the training grounds, the men would have gone into battle without any training, which would have been bad. I think people should talk about the training grounds more often because they are were very important parts of the war history that helped the Triple Entente to win the war.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

I learned, first of all, that pre-war training and events were just as important, if not more so, than the events that occurred on the battlefield. I also learned that the Newfoundland troops had to rally very quickly (in 6 weeks!) to create an army. Finally, I learned that, to fulfill immediate military requirements, many positions were filled by people previously trained by other organisations.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

My life today is very different to the lives of the people studied in my project! For one thing, we are not currently living in a world war, which they were. Also, they had no technology, and no advanced weaponry, just some guns and bombs. Finally, we do not have to fight for freedom, as they fought those 100 years ago.