First World War Trench Display
Lieutenant Augustus McKnight Memorial Trench
Built in 2014, the World War One McKnight Centennial Trench is our outdoor exhibit that is used to educate the public about an important part of Canadian History and pay tribute to the soldiers that fought in World War One. It is maintained by staff and volunteers.
The trench is dedicated to the Lieutenant Augustus McKnight, a Port Moody resident. He was one of the first engineers in this city and, when World War One began, he enlisted. He went overseas and ended up in France. Unfortunately, on August 11, 1916, McKnight was fatally wounded and buried at the Reninghelst New Military Cemetery in Belgium.
After entering the gates, you can see our SE5A replica plane. You will find signs about the aftermath of First World War or the Great War, a timeline of World War II, and Canada's role in the liberation of the Netherlands. In between the plane and the start of the trench, you see No Man’s Land, an area that was heavily guarded and barbed wire littered the ground. Then, you enter the trench. The panels describe not only life in the trenches for the soldiers, but also women’s role in the war, and the First Nation, Chinese, Japanese, African, and Sikh soldiers who fought as well. You’ll see the fire step that they would have used to look over the side and the holes for the snipers. You’ll come across a bunker that was usually reserved for the soldiers with a higher rank and for communication. As you walk through, imagine what it would have been like to live, sleep, and eat between these walls.
Burnaby North Secondary School and our Port Moody Station Museum came together on a project to develop a documentary about life in the trenches to honour the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. Curtis Alsop and his classmates took up the roles of the soldiers, even letters from soldiers as inspiration for the characters. To read more about the project, click the link below.