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#DYK a shovel was a soldier’s best friend during the First World War? Survival depended on digging in quickly. #Vimy100

While rifles, boots and helmets were touchstones in a Canadian infantryman’s life during the First World War, the shovel was one of his most important tools of all. On battlefields where hails of machine gun bullets, heavy rifle fire and exploding artillery shells turned the air into a lethal storm of metal, quickly digging into the ground for a measure of protection was the only way for a soldier to give himself a chance to stay alive. Pictured are Canadians digging in to consolidate their newly captured positions at Vimy Ridge in April 1917. Photo: Library and Archives Canada

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Do you recognize this vital piece of gear soldiers kept close at hand during the First World War? #CanadaRemembers

First World War soldiers faced many dangers as advances in technology and evolving military strategies came together to make battlefields especially deadly. Poison gas, for example, was used as a terrible new weapon to knock out the opposing troops. As a result, gas masks soon became a necessity. The small box respirator, pictured here, was used by many Allied soldiers. It was uncomfortable, hard to see through and made breathing difficult, but it could often protect the wearer from the worst effects of gas with its charcoal filter containing special chemical agents that pulled out the harmful poisons in the air. Photo: Canadian War Museum

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