Fonds jas-2597 - Henry Martens fonds

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Henry Martens fonds

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JAS jas-2597

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  • Digitized June 2005 (originally created 1943) (Creation)
    Martens, Henry

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Physical description

1 album (230 photographs and 8 negatives). -- 10 photographs : col ; 15 x 10 cm. -- textual records

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Biographical history

Henry Martens was a Mennonite Conscientious Objector who worked in various camps between Banff, AB and Jasper, AB during World War II. He was an unofficial photographer at the Maligne Camp in Jasper National Park. The Government employee in charge of the Maligne Lake Camp was Arthur Hughes and McGilvary. He took the photographs with a Kodak Brownie 116 Box camera that cost him $1.25. Martens had taken photographs of Habbakuk, while working on the project; however, the photographs were confiscated by authorities due to the confidential nature of the military project. Martens is one of four from his concientious objector group that is still alive. He resides in Abbotsford, BC.

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Records of climbers on Mt. Morro and Mt. Edith Cavell

Custodial history

Henry Martens returned to Jasper for the making of a documentary about project Habbakuk and met with Parks Warden, Mike Dillon, for an oral history interview and donated the album to the archives.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of pictures of conscientious objectors, their camps, their work, and how they spent their leisure time. Henry Martens worked in camps between Jasper National Park and Banff National Park, AB. and photographs taken by Martens when he returned to Jasper National Park in 2005 to visit locations where he and other objectors worked while in the area. The fonds also includes notes and textual records made by Martens pertaining to his time as a conscientious objector. All the photographs were taken by Henry Martens.

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Immediate source of acquisition


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  • The material is in English.

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David Goerzen fonds

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No further accruals are expected

General note

The entire album was digitized on June 2005 and saved onto a CD-R (2.01 GB of photographs (tif images)). In 1943, the National Research Council coordinated the top secret construction of Habbakuk, a 1-to-50-scale model ice and sawdust ship, to test the feasibility of protecting North Atlantic wartime shipping lanes with a fleet of massive, unsinkable aircraft carriers. The aircraft carriers would be at least 600 metres long, 90 metres wide and up to 60 metres deep. The vessels would weigh two million tons, be equipped with 26 electrically driven propellers, reach a top speed of seven knots, and be capable of housing two thousand crewmen in metal compartments. Habbakuk began with a heavily insulated wooden frame. Army personnel then added to its hull large blocks of ice mixed with sawdust (to add strength). On-board refrigeration units kept the ice from melting. The National Research Council proved that the ice-hulled ships were technically possible to build. But the cost of material and labour to construct such ships made the concept impractical. Late in 1943, refrigeration equipment was removed from Habbakuk. Its resistant ice hull melted and the wooden superstructure of the ship sank to the bottom of Patricia Lake. A plaque at the shoreline, and a commemorative cairn on the bottom of Patricia Lake, near the wreck, explain the history of the project.<br><br>Record No. 2005.36<br><br>

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