Dec. 1, 1996: A recovery team locates the remains of crew members killed when Royal Canadian Air Force Dakota KN-563 crashed during a monsoon on June 21, 1945. The plane had been flying supplies to British troops in Burma (now Myanmar).
Dec. 2, 1968: The Canadian submarine Rainbow (2nd) is commissioned. Purchased from the United States, she was originally known as the USS Argonaut, launched in 1944.
Dec. 3, 1969: Tragedy strikes as the Canadian aircraft carrier Bonaventure is being decommissioned. The ship’s aviation fuel tanks are emptied and cleaned, but one tank does not vent properly, and the first two sailors who enter the tank are overcome by deadly fumes. Two other sailors lose their lives during the rescue attempt.
Dec. 4, 1950: Canadian warships Cayuga, Athabaskan (2nd) and Sioux are part of a United Nations force covering the withdrawal at Chinnampo, Korea.
Dec. 5, 1944: After entering the city the day before, Canadians settle into the historic city of Ravenna, Italy.
Dec. 6, 1917: Canadians sailors exhibit great bravery when the French-registered SS Mont Blanc, laden with explosives, collides with the Belgian relief ship Imo in Halifax Harbour. Sparks from the collision ignite highly flammable benzol aboard Mont Blanc. Sailors from HMCS Niobe try to tow the burning ship away from the crowded waterfront, but a violent explosion rips into the ship and destroys much of the city. More than 2,000 people die.
Dec. 7, 1941: Japanese forces attack the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Dec. 8, 1941: Japanese aircraft attack Hong Kong’s Kai Tak airport.
Dec. 9, 1941: A key position on the Shing Mun Redoubt is attacked and later captured by Japanese forces invading Hong Kong.
Dec. 10, 1943: In Italy, Brigadier B.M. Hoffmeister orders the Loyal Edmonton Regiment to secure an intermediate objective half way across the San Leonardo plateau. The regiment is ordered to push on to the Cider Crossroads, a key intersection near Ortona.
Dec. 11, 1941: Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr. of the Royal Canadian Air Force is killed when his Spitfire collides with another aircraft during training. Magee is best known as the author of the sonnet High Flight, one of the most famous poems of the Second World War. “Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth; and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.”
Dec. 12, 1944: In Italy, Canadian forces fight across steeply diked watercourses. After 10 days of combat, the Canadians reach the Senio River, successfully diverting German reserves away from the main Allied effort near Bologna.
Dec. 13, 1943: The Canadian River-class frigate Saint John is commissioned.
Dec. 14, 1943: Major Paul Triquet earns the Victoria Cross for his valour and bravery during the fighting at Casa Berardi near Ortona, Italy.
Dec. 15, 1956: The Canadian destroyer Saguenay (2nd) is commissioned.
Dec. 16, 1972: Huron (2nd), a Tribal-class destroyer, is commissioned into the Canadian navy.
Dec. 17, 1939: In Ottawa, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand sign the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan agreement.
Dec. 18, 1941: Japanese forces invade the island of Hong Kong.
Dec. 19, 1941: Company Sergeant-Major John Robert Osborn of the Winnipeg Grenadiers earns the Victoria Cross during fighting at Hong Kong. After a brave rearguard action on Mount Butler, Osborn dies after throwing himself onto a grenade that threatens the lives of fellow his soldiers.
Dec. 20, 1915: Continually pressed by Turkish forces, the Newfoundland Regiment is evacuated from Suvla Bay, Gallipoli.
Dec. 21, 1943: The Second Canadian Infantry Brigade, supported by Three Rivers Regt. tanks, enters Ortona, Italy. The Canadians soon encounter fresh troops from the elite 1st Parachute Division. For seven days the brigade fights house to house, using innovative tactics until the Germans, defeated in the streets and nearly outflanked to the west by 1st Cdn. Inf. Bde., abandon the town.
Dec. 22, 1977: Ottawa announces plans to construct new naval frigates, but it will take years to get the ships into the water.
Dec. 23, 1915: As the second Christmas of the war approaches, the soldiers of the Canadian Corps suffer through a cold and wet winter.
Dec. 24, 1944: The Canadian minesweeper Clayoquot is torpedoed by U-806 off Halifax. Seventy-six survive. Eight perish.
Dec. 25, 1941: Hong Kong surrenders to the Japanese.
Dec. 26, 2004: Approximately 230,000 die as a tsunami, triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean, slams into the coastlines of more than a dozen countries.
Dec. 27, 1942: The Canadian destroyer St. Laurent and corvettes Battleford, Chilliwack and Napanee sink U-356 in the North Atlantic while escorting a westbound convoy. Credit for the sinking only comes after the war.
Dec. 28, 1961: No. 446 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force is established at North Bay, Ont. It is the first of two units to be equipped with BOMARC missile.
Dec. 29, 1944: Royal Canadian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Richard Joseph Audet of 411 Squadron shoots down five German planes in one action.
Dec. 30, 1941: In Ottawa, Winston Churchill delivers an inspirational speech that helps galvanize wartime resolve.
Dec. 31, 1943: The Royal Canadian Air Force is at its peak with 215,000 people, including 15,000 members of the Women’s Division.