Front Lines

Christmas at war: A cabin in the Hurtgen Forest

December 12, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne

It was Christmas Eve 1914. The Tommies of Britain’s Queen’s Westminster Regiment had returned to the frigid trenches the previous day, relieving regular troops after four days of rest. Suddenly, in the stillness and cold, the voice of a young farmer’s son, Edgar Aplin, rose up from the frozen earth with “Tommy, Lad!,” a popular…

Military Milestones

Britain scores the first WW II sea victory

December 12, 2018 by Legion Magazine

On Ontario farmland safely inland from Second World War bombing, a town sprang up to house 9,000 people working at a munitions factory that produced 40 million shells for the Allied war effort. The town was named Ajax, after a ship in a little-remembered sea battle off the coast of Uruguay in 1939, the first…


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Motorcycle messengers

December 8, 2018 by Sharon Adams

Dispatch riders had doubly dangerous duties during the Second World War   One shell fell behind him, and when a second exploded just ahead, dispatch rider Gordon Edward Allen knew German gunners were homing in on him. “They can hear that stupid bike of yours,” said the sergeant giving Allen directions that would take him…

Front Lines

Jaye Edwards: A woman pilot in wartime Britain

December 5, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne

As a child, Stella Joyce (Petersen) Edwards was always pushing boundaries. She grew up in Kent, England, the third daughter of an Australian trader, and whether it was scaling walls, climbing trees or riding her bicycle off into the countryside, Jaye, as she became known to her compatriots, was an adventurer. “I think I was…


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The Battle of Ortona begins

December 5, 2018 by Legion Magazine
Seventy-five years ago, under cover of darkness on the night of Dec. 5-6, 1943, Canadian troops in Italy began a nearly month-long campaign that would end with the capture of Ortona. In July 1943, the Allies invaded Sicily, opening a new front. After the capture of Sicily and the surrender of the Italians, they...

On this date: December 2018

December 3, 2018 by Legion Magazine
1 December 2009 Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk returns to Earth after six months on the International Space Station. 3 December 1942 An RAF Wellington bomber, crewed mainly by Canadians, is badly shot up but still acquires key data on German airborne radar. 7 December 1941 Canada declares war on Finland, Hungary and Romania, the...

Citizens of War

December 1, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
The faces of the long-suffering people of Afghanistan reflect their resolve and resilience Kabul, 2004. Afghan mothers comfort sick and dying children in a hospital all but void of equipment and medicine. Across the street, fathers, banned by convention from the wards, sleep on concrete in a roofless bombed-out shell of a building, waiting...

Reginald Wise: Saviour of Easter Sunday, 1945

November 28, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
It was Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day, 1945—the day that Corporal Reginald Wise, who was no fool and no martyr either, would cheat death. More than once. Wise and the rest of his Royal Marine commandos were advancing on a German position in Northern Italy when a landmine took out a track on...

Sir Arthur Currie, a national hero

November 28, 2018 by Legion Magazine
Sir Arthur Currie, the first Canadian soldier to command the Canadian Corps during the First World War, died a national hero on Nov. 30, 1933, aged 58. Respected for his military acumen, he perfected battle strategies and honed his men into elite assault troops whose string of victories during Canada’s Hundred Days played no...

Scattering Canada’s armed forces

November 27, 2018 by David J. Bercuson
The Canadian military seems to be spread all over these days. During its deployment in Afghanistan, most of Canada’s non-North American military effort, especially that of the army, was focused almost exclusively on that mission. That was in keeping with the views of then Chief of the Defence Staff Rick Hillier—and apparently shared by...

Dutch appeal for help in building online memorial

November 23, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
Through the winter and early spring of 1944-45, up to 450,000 Canadian and other Allied troops under the command of General Harry Crerar of Hamilton poured into the Netherlands and liberated the Dutch from five years of Nazi occupation. More than 7,600 of the 175,000 Canadians who joined the fight died during the nine-month...

On the beach

November 22, 2018 by Jennifer McGill
A tour of the Normandy coastline honours those who crossed an ocean to fight tyranny   The sky is cloudy, but the rain holds off for this year’s commemorative ceremony at the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France, on June 6. The audience is filled with veterans and their families, currently serving military, officials...

Gerda Munsinger: spy or party girl?

November 21, 2018 by Legion Magazine
“If a woman wants to make a career for herself, she must learn to listen. When men want to talk, I let them talk,” said the woman behind the sex scandal that rocked the country in the 1960s. Listening is a good skill for a mistress—or a spy, as Gerda Munsinger was suspected of...

The seizing of Europe’s bells

November 21, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
The bells that rang out across allied nations after the First World War ended what for many had been a four-year silence enforced by regulation in some places and imposed by confiscation in others. In Germany and across Europe, tens of thousands of bronze bells—some imparting “the songs of the angels” since the 12th century—had...

Choose our next cover for The Battle of Ortona

November 20, 2018 by Legion Magazine
Late in 1943, Canadian troops attacked the German-held Italian city of Ortona. The goal was to push up the eastern coast, then swing inland on a road leading straight to Rome. In fierce fighting, Canada prevailed in Ortona’s labyrinth of death. Read about the day-by-day battles—street by street, house by house, and hand to...
At the 2018 Canadian Online Publishing Awards in Toronto on Nov. 14, Legion Magazine was awarded Gold for Best Interactive Story for “Prisoners of War.” The win marks the third time in the past three years Legion Magazine has won awards in this category, with a Gold in 2017 for “Cold Comfort” and a...

Still plenty of work for Veterans Ombudsman

November 19, 2018 by Sharon Adams
As outgoing Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent prepares to hand the torch to a successor, his 2018 report on government action shows while much has been accomplished, much remains to do. The federal government has acted on nearly three-quarters of the recommendations made by the ombudsman since the office was created a decade ago. But...
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