Military History

The Phoney War

February 15, 2020 by J.L. Granatstein

Two days after Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Britain and France declared war on the Nazi regime. On the evening of Sept. 3, a German U-boat torpedoed the British passenger liner SS Athenia, a sign that Hitler intended to wage a ruthless war at sea. The sinking triggered ample public outrage, but little immediate…


Unused veterans’ beds concern delegates

February 13, 2020 by Tom MacGregor

Legionnaires in New Brunswick expressed concern about the loss of veterans-priority-access beds in the province’s long-term care facilities when delegates met for the 84th New Brunswick Command Convention in Shediac on Sept. 21-22. The issue of veterans’ beds came up when Veterans Seniors and Services Committee Chair Daryl Alward noted that Horizon Health Network, one of the province’s two health-care…


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Front Lines

The first casualty of war may be the truth, but the last and just as certain is the non-combatant. As many as 85 million people were killed during the Second World War but fewer than 30 per cent were military. More of the dead were victims of war crimes than legitimate battle. Eighty-five per cent…

Military Milestones

The last of the U-boats is scuttled

February 12, 2020 by Sharon Adams

On Feb. 12, 1946, U-3514 was sunk off the coast of Northern Ireland in Operation Deadlight, meant to ensure elimination of the German submarine fleet after the war. The sub was sunk at 10:04 a.m. by ship guns and depth charges, the last of 116 scuttled by the Royal Navy. In anticipation of the end…


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A new era of war films triumphs

February 5, 2020 by Stephen J. Thorne
The First World War film 1917 is cleaning up at awards shows from Los Angeles to London, and the surprise success of the 2020 season is now considered a frontrunner for Best Picture at the Academy Awards on Feb. 9. Directed by Sam Mendes and based on tales his veteran grandfather told him, the...

The Victoria Cross is established

February 5, 2020 by Sharon Adams
In the mid-1800s, the highest British military honours were almost exclusively awarded to senior officers under the observant eye of generals. But generals rarely make it to the front lines, where the heroism of brave junior officers and enlisted men mostly went unrecognized except among themselves. The Crimean War changed that. For the first...

On this Date: February 2020

February 4, 2020 by Legion Magazine
1 February 1911 Royal Canadian Naval Service recruitment posters go up in post offices across Canada. 2 February 2003 HMCS Regina joins the Canadian Naval Task Group, part of the international anti-terrorism campaign in the Persian Gulf. 3 February 1942 The Canadian Women’s Auxiliary Air Force is renamed the RCAF Women’s Division. 5 February...

The RCMP turns 100

January 31, 2020 by Don Gillmor
When Canada bought Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1870, it needed to police those millions of square kilometres, so in 1873, the North West Mounted Police was formed by an act of Parliament. Successful applicants had to be males between the ages of 18 and 40, of sound constitution and good...
Many, if not most, historians have maintained for eight decades that Germany could have won the Battle of Britain had Adolf Hitler just done a couple of things differently. Recently, six mathematicians created a new methodology and essentially proved them right, sparking a social media outcry among Second World War buffs, warbird fanatics and...

Secret deliveries

January 29, 2020 by Sharon Adams
In June 1943, a German agent penetrated a network in France set up to bring large numbers of escaped Allied airmen back to Britain. A new one was urgently needed. MI9, the British military intelligence department, entrusted the task, code-named Operation Bonaparte, to a pair of French-Canadian volunteer spies. Raymond LaBrosse, a sergeant in...
This is the second feature on Canada’s Indigenous war heroes. To read part 1, click here For two years during the Second World War, Charles (Checker) Tomkins, a Métis from Grouard, Alta., was given a secret assignment. It was a secret he very nearly took to his grave, an Indigenous contribution to the war...

The Children’s Invasion

January 25, 2020 by Valerie Knowles
Citizens of Saskatoon couldn’t contain their excitement when the British children arrived by rail in the late summer of 1940. The largest crowd since the Royal Visit of 1939 was at Union Station to greet the young newcomers. Huge crowds also greeted a party of British children at the Port of Montreal. In Toronto,...

Forum research spans mind to moon

January 24, 2020 by Sharon Adams
New ways to control bleeding, better prostheses, vehicles designed to minimize damage from explosions, providing hope and help to struggling military families—these benefits of military health research have wide-ranging impacts on people’s lives. The 750 delegates to the 10th Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research forum in Gatineau, Que., Oct. 21-23 heard about these...
A new study says Adolf Hitler would have won the Battle of Britain in the Second World War had he started three weeks earlier and focused on airfields rather than shifting his bombing campaign to London and other cities. Using a computer model, six mathematicians at the University of York in England have recalculated...

Roberta Bondar studies the human body in space

January 22, 2020 by Sharon Adams
On Jan. 22, 1992, Roberta Bondar became the first neurologist—and coincidentally, Canada’s first woman—in space, joining the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery on an eight-day mission. While orbiting, she and the other astronauts conducted more than 40 experiments in the Spacelab on the first International Microgravity Laboratory mission, working 12-hour shifts to get...
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The winged ship: HMCS Bras d’Or

January 20, 2020 by Sharon Adams
Legion Magazine sat down with Lt. (N) Jason Delaney, Naval Historian at the Directorate of History and Heritage for the Department of National Defence, to discuss Canada’s hydrofoil project of the 1960s – HMCS Bras d’Or. During sea trials in 1969, the vessel exceeded 63 knots (117 km/h; 72 mph), making her the fastest...
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