Front Lines

How independent should an ombudsman be?

April 25, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne

Like his predecessors, military ombudsman Gary Walbourne is engaged in what appears to be a futile battle for independence from his masters at the Department of National Defence and in the Canadian Armed Forces. In his March report, entitled The Case for a Permanent and Independent Ombudsman Office, Walbourne notes that the principles of the…


Mementoes from Afghanistan

April 20, 2017 by Sharon Adams

Uniforms, equipment and explosives are reminders of Canada’s involvement in Southwest Asia   Though fresh in memory, the war in Afghanistan has entered the annals of national history. Aside from personal mementoes brought home by military and civilian personnel, museums have begun building their collections of artifacts. Bruce Tascona, director of Legion House Museum in…

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Front Lines

The chief of the defence staff has a theory: happy retirees make for more and better recruits. Appearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, General Jonathan Vance said recruitment, training and treatment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel is “at a turning point.” It has to be. “I think it’s a truism that if you…


To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Legion Magazine, Canada’s Ultimate Story and William Shatner tell the story of this important First World War battle. Our victory at Vimy was a defining event for Canada. On the 100th anniversary, we revisit the Canadian triumph over the German army and explore why the battle has come to…


  • Leonard Cohen recites “In Flanders Fields”
  • Military Moments | Japanese Canadian Internment
  • Military Moments | Battle of Vimy Ridge
  • Military Moments | Battle of Beaumont-Hamel
  • Legion Magazine Presents: Battle of the Atlantic

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Defeating “two big ills”

April 20, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
Wounded while fighting off an attack on his observation post, Gorden Boivin eventually beat back his physical and psychological demons Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne From darkness, there is light. Corporal Gorden Boivin knows this only too well. Boivin’s descent into darkness began with a firefight at Checkpoint 3 in Panjwaii District,...

Challenge accepted

April 13, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
Searching for mines, bombs and IEDs was Étienne Aubé’s specialty. Then a motherlode changed his life. Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne Sergeant Étienne Aubé had a bad feeling about the compound he was standing in near Kandahar, Afghanistan, on July 16, 2009, so the 28-year-old field engineer from Drummondville, Que., ordered everyone...

Ships and airplanes—for sovereignty’s sake

April 12, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
Canada’s coastline is the world’s longest. Its landmass is second largest. And its territorial waters are massive. According to the Geological Survey of Canada, the country’s coastline including bays, inlets, islands and the like, runs 243,000 kilometres—almost three times the world’s second-longest shore, Indonesia’s. Its landmass, including the world’s largest supply of freshwater, totals...

Miracle man

April 6, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
André Girard’s recovery from a battlefield head wound defies all odds Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne Corporal André Girard was shot in the head by a Chechen fighter in Afghanistan on Sept. 25, 2007, and he lived to tell the tale. Within the Royal 22nd Regiment, the Vandoos consider him a miracle...

Canada has reason to be in Latvia

April 5, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
Recent events on and within the borders of Russia should quell lingering doubt, if any exists, around the wisdom of Canada contributing troops to European security. After 13 years fighting a war in Afghanistan, Canadian soldiers have come full circle, returning to the once-familiar climes of Europe to join efforts to discourage Moscow’s growing...

Air support for the Canadian Corps at Vimy

April 1, 2017 by Hugh A. Halliday
As the Canadian Corps prepared for the attack on Vimy Ridge, it was assisted by I Brigade, Royal Flying Corps. Four squadrons of Corps (army co-operation) aircraft mapped the German defences and located enemy artillery batteries; by April 9, 1917, 180 of 212 hostile batteries had been pinpointed and their co-ordinates plotted on maps....

On this date: April 2017

April 1, 2017 by Legion Magazine
1 APRIL 1915 First Canadian Division is ordered to join defence of the Ypres Salient. 2 APRIL 1917 The Royal Flying Corps starts training at Camp Borden, Ont. 3 APRIL 1945 The First Canadian Army captures the German town of Zevenaar.   4 APRIL 1916 Canadians relieve exhausted British forces at St. Éloi. 5...

Hush-hush heroes

April 1, 2017 by Sharon Adams
Montrealer Gustave Biéler spent the Christmas of 1943 in France. It was likely to be his last. The Nazis had launched a manhunt for him and his comrades in the French Resistance. The spy, known only by his code name Guy, wrote a few lines on the back of a photograph and handed it...

Brothers in arms, legs, body and mind

March 30, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
Blown up in Afghanistan, Andrew Knisley gained strength from two other severely injured comrades Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne Andrew Knisley, a 24-year-old private in 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, was eating Frosted Flakes at a forward operating base an hour’s drive east of Kandahar when he heard about Billy Kerr. It...

Budget does little to improve veterans benefits

March 28, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
Bad for the military; not good enough for veterans. That about sums up defence-related elements of the federal budget tabled March 22 by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Ottawa says it will spend $624 million more on veterans’ programs over the next five years, most of it on easing outgoing soldiers’ transitions to civilian life....
Mike Trauner and Leah Cuffe share the frustrations, pain and nightmares that linger from his wounds Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne It was just a corridor, but it was probably the longest walk of 30-year-old Leah Cuffe’s life. Down that hospital hallway in Landstuhl, Germany, was a Canadian flag. And beside that...

Trail of the Caribou organizer honoured

March 21, 2017 by Tom MacGregor
A new plaque was unveiled in St. John’s, N.L., in November by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizing Thomas Nangle, the tireless padre of the Newfoundland Regiment, as a person of national historic significance. The unveiling took place in the Surgeon Lieutenant-Commander Anthony Paddon Building at Canadian Forces Station St. John’s...

Canadian Rangers hampered by delays

March 21, 2017 by Stephen J. Thorne
Hurry up and wait, goes the old military adage. Just ask the Canadian Rangers. The military ombudsman did. And in a second interim report on the challenges they face, Gary Walbourne says the 5,000 volunteers who form Canada’s first line of defence in the Arctic are waiting too long for compensation and reimbursement. Often...
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