Enjoying The Magazine
I am going to make a gift purchase of your magazine for my brother-in-law. I thoroughly enjoy each magazine which comes as part of my Legion dues. Also, I am sure my brother-in-law will enjoy it as well. Yes, you are “Canadian History” and “Canada Today.”
My dad was an airman in the last world war as were all my uncles in various branches of the Canadian military. I have an uncle, a flying officer, who is still over there, in Flanders Fields.
Generally speaking it is very important to get the uniforms out there—currently serving and Legion members all with insignia and medals—for the general population, especially our youth, to see and respect. For the last 200 years we haven’t had a war fought on our home soil. This being so, of those who tend to forget, we Canadians head the list. We take so much for granted.
I can remember in the late 1950s and early 1960s, attending the Nov. 11 ceremonies at the National War Memorial and then later in the evening watching those ceremonies on television in my hometown of Ottawa. Part of that TV presentation looked at Europeans. The parents and grandparents there made sure their kids and grandkids knew what we and the Allies did for them. Memories of life under the heals of Nazi German jackboots were still way too fresh.
John Lusk, Norland, Ont.
Proud Of Maltese Heritage
As a proud Maltese-born member of The Royal Canadian Legion, I was pleased and very honoured to read the wonderful story, The Maltese Connection by Jennifer Morse (September/October). The island of my birth has been a very heroic nation throughout history, and more so during the horrific days of the Second World War.
My late father served in the Royal Malta Artillery, a sergeant in an anti-aircraft gun unit. When I was old enough to understand, he told me of the many horrible and hard times he and the men under his command endured. In fact, the whole of the Maltese population, as well as the servicemen and women who belonged to other Allied countries and stationed in Malta, all endured the same horrible times. My grandfather on my mother’s side, who was one of the very few bakers on the island, actually baked bread and gave it away free to anyone who needed food.
As mentioned in the article King George awarded Malta, as a nation, the George Cross for its bravery and service to the Commonwealth during the war.
The story was to me, a great thing to see in our magazine. I was born in Malta in 1944. In 1950, we immigrated to Australia, where I at the age of 18 joined the Australian military in the reserves. I was training for full-time service with possible shipment to Vietnam. This did not come about, and so in 1965 I left Australia and came over to Canada, where I have lived since.
Joe Borg, Exeter, Ont.
Off The Shelf Often The Best
The way the government purchases equipment for the military is at times a joke. I agree with the author David J. Bercuson (Eye On Defence, September/October) that the best possible way to get the best bang for the buck would be off the shelf. At times there are certain “Canadian requirements” for a piece of equipment that is not off the shelf. This is where government and industry work together to find this equipment.
Canada is a small market in defence purchasing which is why it is difficult to find what we want or need. This purchasing method is not isolated to the Department of National Defence. Other government departments do the same thing. I have personally seen the government procurement process at work and found that the off-the-shelf purchase worked the best. Obviously the present system is not working. Maybe there are just too many hands in the cookie jar.
Roger Magarian, Revelstoke, B.C.
Mail Was Important
Thank you so much for the article on the Canadian Postal Corps (The Morale Department, July/August). My father, John M. Wright, served in the corps in England and then on the continent after D-Day. As they say, it takes nine men behind the lines to support the combat soldier up front, and they needed the mail as much as food and ammunition. I met many of my dad’s compatriots during his involvement with the CPC veterans group in the 1960s, including a full charter of veterans and families on a trip to Britain in 1969. Thanks again for highlighting their service.
David Wright, Kitchener, Ont.
Change At VAC
I have been a Legion service officer since 1980. Over those years, I have observed and witnessed numerous changes that have occurred in Veterans Affairs Canada which have affected our veterans and their dependants.
Yes—there will be a requirement to have a department of Veterans Affairs as long as we have a military force and veterans.
Yes—there will be staff reductions and deployment as our veteran populations dwindles, especially our traditional veterans, the Cold War veterans and eventually the peacetime veterans.
Yes—there will be further changes. In fact, some of the changes have occurred or have commenced with the New Veterans Charter introduced in 2006.
Yes—I have confidence that VAC will continue to meet future challenges with their organization for the betterment of all veterans and their dependants.
I strongly suggest that any veteran who has not enquired about what may be available to him, do so. If you are a veteran who has been denied previously, enquire again.
It is my personal experience in dealing directly with VAC that they are a sincere, compassionate, knowledgeable and dedicated group of individuals who do not hesitate to assist me in my endeavours as a service officer. I can assure you if you call them that same courtesy will be extended to you.
Jim Burns, Fredericton
Sunk For The Last Time
Thank you for your article Torpedoed In The St. Lawrence (May/June). My grand-uncle Charles (a.k.a. Carl) Ernst Nolda served in the merchant navy during the early days of the Second World War and had several ships shot out from under him. He was about 6’ 8” and his sister told me that he showed up at her door one day in his skivvies, shoes and a lot of oil on him, but with a smile. It was his sixth time going down and his last. He joined the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and served 1939-1945 in Europe and was in every major engagement. He was described as the best topkick in the Canadian Army!
Dr. Stephen E. King, Columbia, S.C.
Shoes Just In Case
I was interested in reading the item, Odd Body Fact in the May/June issue (Health File). It raises the question about why women “own a dozen to a dozen and half pairs of shoes.” Being in my 70s now, it took me back to my childhood days in England in the early 1940s. I had one pair of “best” shoes for Sunday, and one regular lace-up (black or brown) walking shoes for school and weekdays.
My mother was a widow and earned a meagre wage sewing boys’ school caps and had no money to spend on anything but the bare necessities. I admired all the shoes that I saw in the shoe shop windows and promised myself that one day I would save money and be able to buy as many as I liked.
That dream never died and much, much later in life I always had new shoes and several more in boxes “for when I needed them.” Your article brought back so many of the old days and war times I remember. I realized that through the trials and tribulations we learned to survive. We took what we had and worked with it, saved our money for necessities and shared the good times with family and friends. I grew to be a stronger character.
I have actually lost, to some extent, the need to buy new shoes, but I have two dozen in stock and cannot pass a shoe shop window without looking at the latest styles. I am sure there are other women out there who had similar experiences and who nowadays love to complete every new outfit with a complementary pair of shoes. Good luck to us all. We keep the economy thriving.
Sylvia Pelham, Oshawa, Ont.