Dennis Galean is a long time collector of military articles from the first and second world wars. He also has a large collection of posters on display. (Tom Best photo)

NWCC displays wide variety of military history

The collection at the Smithers campus covers from the personal to propaganda.

In our modern times, it is often not easy to understand the effect that the global wars of the past 100 years had on everyday life and how support for those members of our society who were off fighting those conflicts was a big part of everything we did.

In these days, terrorism and far more localized conflicts exist but don’t have the huge effect that everyone experienced on a daily basis.

Dennis Gelean is an energetic individual who has spent a great deal of time over the years collecting artifacts from those past wars and this week we have an opportunity to view some of those in a very interesting and thought provoking display at Northwest Community College (NWCC) in Smithers.

While some of his collection just won’t fit into the display cases or onto the walls in the hallways there (think military combat vehicles), Gelean has chosen items that will certainly make us think about how war can reach down into everyday life for all members of society.

Some of the display is an interesting collection of various items from variety of nations or services. There are a wide range of helmets, for example, from different countries that have a variety of shapes. There are also helmets that were used in tanks. There are helmets used for different purposes on naval ships.

For many people, they only think of the helmets they may have seen in movies.

Not a very wide range compared to the collection we can see in this display.

Getting into perhaps more personal items, there is a very interesting collection of gas masks that ranges from those used by soldiers early on when chemical warfare of the sort that needed some kind of protection such as a mask might provide to much more advanced equipment. You can see a good variety of such equipment that was developed for use by infants and by a variety of draft animals.

“When the Canadians experienced the first gas attacks, all of the mules they used ended up dead so they had to make masks for them too,” said Gelean.

He also pointed out a poster from the camel corps which showed the type of masks used by those desert dwellers. Not something you ever see in Lawrence of Arabia.

Gelean feels that remembering and honouring our military is still important.

“The number of veterans from the two big wars is way down but we still need to honour those who have gone to places like Afghanistan,” he said.

His collection at NWCC has something for everyone to enjoy and he can easily talk your ear off with bits and pieces of information about the various items on display. These are small reminders of a different time that has allowed us have the rich life we have now and the sacrifice that many of the youth of those days gave with no second thought.

The display will be available for viewing until Nov. 12.

Remembrance Day

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Part of the collection on display includes posters that were common during the Second World War. Some common expressions are easily recognizable. (Tom Best photo)

Various kits used by various soldiers and their families demonstrate the difficulty that people may have had obtaining what may be considered everyday items in our world today such as sewing kits. Practice bombs and grenades are also on display. (Tom Best photo)

Just Posted

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Closures and cancellations in the Bulkley Valley due to COVID-19

Many places and businesses have closed or reduced their hours

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

Concerns raised over publicly discarded masks, gloves

Deputy mayor says behaviour is simply unacceptable in time of elevated public health crisis

Stikine MLA optimistic about COVID-19 recovery

Doug Donaldson says first step is to beat the pandemic then work out the economics

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

‘Community is amazing’: Williams Lake woman organizes drive-by birthdays

With self-isolation the norm due to COVID-19 children are missing out

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read