Front Lines

Knights of the air

May 27, 2020 by Stephen J. Thorne

There are few rivals in war who have shared the mutual regard and respect, even camaraderie, as did those who flew fighter planes during the two world wars. Theirs was a singular experience, the scale and intimacy of which were unique in the annals of conflict, even aviation, before or since. The chivalric tradition among…

Military Milestones

Fighting for Fort George

May 27, 2020 by Sharon Adams

At the turn of the 19th century, the British were concerned about a balance of power where British territory met American on the banks of the Niagara River. The British wanted a fort on the west side of the Niagara River, in what today is Niagara-on-the-Lake, to counterbalance Fort Niagara on the east bank and…


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Military History

After Dunkirk

May 26, 2020 by J.L. Granatstein

Following the German conquest of Poland in September 1939, the war against Hitler entered a period of inactivity. The Phoney War, the press called it, while the British and French concentrated their forces along the borders of neutral Belgium and France. In April 1940, the Germans invaded Denmark and Norway, moving with great force and…


Inuit bone collectors honoured

May 22, 2020 by Tom MacGregor

Parks Canada paid tribute to the previously untold story of how Inuit from Nunavut communities joined the home front war effort during the Second World War by collecting animal bones that could be used for munitions. Environment and Climate Change Minister Johnathan Wilkinson, the minister responsible for Parks Canada, honoured Qapik Attagutsiak and other Nunavut Inuit…


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Afghanistan and the AK-47

May 20, 2020 by Stephen J. Thorne
Photographs and story by Stephen J. Thorne   With more than 75 million estimated to be in circulation, the Avtomat Kalashnikova, or AK-47 (for the year Mikhail Kalashnikov completed his work), is the most popular and most copied weapon in the world. Light, simple, reliable and stable, the AK-47 has for decades been the...

Jitter and snatch patrols in Korea

May 20, 2020 by Sharon Adams
In the spring of 1952, the Allies in Korea were starving for intelligence on Chinese forces, which went to ground (and underground) between attacks. Two new strategies were employed, one to get enemy soldiers to give away their positions, and the other to capture prisoners for interrogation. The troops labelled them jitter and snatch...

China, Russia front and centre at defence conference

May 14, 2020 by Stephen J. Thorne
China and Russia were front and centre at the annual Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence on March 4-5, where experts lined up to condemn the two superpowers for everything from their aggression and spying to their destabilization efforts and treatment of minorities. “So long as there are nations provocatively developing offensive military capabilities...
It was a cloudy afternoon on May 10, 1945, when four Canadian navy ships intercepted U-889 some 250 kilometres southeast of Cape Race, Nfld. The patrol aircraft that discovered the steaming German submarine circled overhead. The war had been over less than a week and all German U-boats had been ordered to cease offensive...

The Princess Patricias hold the line

May 13, 2020 by Sharon Adams
The first Battle of Ypres in 1914, during Germany’s race to the sea at the start of the First World War, created an eight-kilometre bulge in the front northeast of Ypres, Belgium. Within this salient, Allied lines were surrounded on three sides by German-held territory. The salient was a thorn the Germans intended to...

Riot on Barrington Street

May 12, 2020 by John Boileau
During the Second World War, Halifax quickly became overcrowded with tens of thousands of army, navy and air force personnel, as well as merchant seamen, civilian workers and their families. Newcomers competed with locals for goods, services and accommodation. All were in short supply through the war. Devious landlords overcharged for the smallest of...
Among its many features, the July/August 2020 issue of Legion Magazine will explore the aftermath of a destroyed Europe and how its people chose to remember, rebuild and recover. Help choose our cover! Cast your vote, give us your opinion and share with your friends on social media!...

Voices from war’s end

May 9, 2020 by Sharon Adams
The most familiar images from the end of the war are the joyful and sometimes raucous VE-Day celebrations on May 8, 1945. But the war did not end all at once for everybody. Freedom came in stages as the Allied front crept forward across Europe. Canadian liberators fought town to town, beginning in Sicily...

Survivors in turmoil

May 8, 2020 by Stephen J. Thorne
Six years of war in continental Europe was drawing to a close but for many, if not most, victory was bittersweet—and defeat was devastating. Up to 40 million people in Europe were dead, the vast majority of them non-combatants, and as many as 11 million refugees wandered the wasted landscape. Entire cities were in ruin,...

Second World War veterans on the frontlines, again

May 6, 2020 by Stephen J. Thorne
Margaret McDonald served overseas in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, but no homecoming could match the reception she received on her 102nd birthday. Surrounded by colourful signs and balloons, the centenarian sat outside her residence in Vancouver’s west end on April 28, watching fire crews and mounted members of...

Searching Tora Bora

May 6, 2020 by Sharon Adams
Just shy of three months after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the United States believed it had found the lair of the al-Qaida mastermind, Osama bin Laden, in the Tora Bora mountains in eastern Afghanistan. Reports of smoke coming from a mountaintop after a previous bombing raid had focused U.S. attention on one area...

On this date: May 2020

May 4, 2020 by Legion Magazine
1 May 2002 HMCS St. John’s joins the Canadian Naval Task Group, part of the multinational anti-terrorism campaign in the Persian Gulf. 3 May 1942 The Nazis require Dutch Jews aged six and over to wear yellow stars with the word ‘Jood’ (Jew) on their clothing. 4 May 1945 General Harry Crerar calls off all assaults as a...

Social Distance

May 4, 2020 by Legion Magazine
At the time this is being written, the world as we know it has changed dramatically. In many ways, it resembles wartime mobilization (except most of us have been instructed to stay home). And as in wartime, much uncertainty exists. The exponential spread of the coronavirus—COVID-19—has affected every part of society—including Canada’s military and...
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