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1930s & Earlier / The Crucified Soldier
One enduring controversy about the First World War is a grisly tale of a Canadian soldier who was allegedly found crucified to a wall of a barn in Belgium. The unsettling incident is said to have happened following the terrible Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915 where the Germans first used poison gas. Rumors abounded that the enraged Canadians were not too interested in capturing German prisoners. According to the story, the Germans retaliated by crucifying a random Canadian prisoner. According to reports form three Canadian soldiers, they witnessed a comrade, Sgt. Harry Band, impaled on a wall by five German bayonets. The tale, which spread quickly around the world through newspaper stories, was dismissed by many people as wartime propaganda. Depicting this event is this 32-inch bronze scultpure titled Canada's Golgotha. It was removed from a post-war art exhibit after formal complaints by the Germans who insisted the story was bogus. As late as 1989 the sculpture was hidden from public view. In 2002, a war researcher uncovered letters from supposed witnesses to the event that were written to Band's sister. These letters attest that the awful story was true. Band's body was never recovered. He is still listed among the missing in action.