NEW! Canadian Military History Trivia Challenge

Month: September 1998

O Canada

The Little Tire Store That Grew

The fragrant smell of Christmas tree-shaped car deodorizers always makes me think of two important events in my life: Taking a much-anticipated drive in my dad’s first completely new car–a Ford Thunderbird convertible–and shopping with him at our local Canadian Tire store. Back then, men didn’t "shop", they just "picked things up." I remember we would end up in line at the checkout counter where we’d come face to face with the store’s last-ditch effort to show us the things we were forgetting to pick up. The counter-top display usually included masking tape, flashlights, batteries, twine and a pretty good selection of green car deodorizers. I, of course, would do my best to remind Dad of his need for these "essentials" and it wasn’t long before the T-bird smelled like a pine tree again....

For Those Who Served At Sea

by Tom MacGregor A few miles out to sea from St. John’s, Nfld., HMCS Charlottetown, one of the modern Halifax-class frigates, pulled up beside a floating block of ice the size of a small ship. Known as growlers to Newfoundlanders because of the noise they make when they roll over, the ice is only a fragment from the icebergs that drift south from the Arctic Ocean each spring. It was a scenic setting for a solemn ceremony. Canadian Forces chaplain Lieutenant-Commander Jacques Cantin was joined by several St. John’s clergy in the saying of prayers. The Act of Remembrance was recited in English and French and this was followed by Last Post, the lament and Reveille. The most solemn moment came when the 24 veterans of the WW II Battle of the Atlantic, ship’s crew, serving military a...

A Show Of Support

by Dan Black Beyond the jagged edge of the evergreen forest the armored personnel carrier makes another sharp turn on the mountain road before heading down across the valley. I’m standing in one of the carrier’s rear hatches, watching a great big moon rise over Bosnia-Herzegovina. As the carrier shifts gears and gains more speed, my ears are pounded by the noise coming from the huge engine. Suddenly–in rapid succession–I see the twisted, moonlit skeletons of bombed-out houses and overturned vehicles; gloomy reminders of the 1991—95 war that killed 250,000 men, women and children. Down below–squeezed into the belly of the carrier–five members of a 17-member Canadian Forces entertainment troupe are comparing notes on what they saw that day in the northwest Bosnian town of Drvar a...
O Canada

The Trouble With Geese

High-flying honkers are as Canadian as maple sugar in March and crimson leaves in October. Several species of these migratory majestic cacklers were almost extinct earlier this century. But black-necked giant Canada geese and white Arctic snow geese have made remarkable, albeit raucous, recoveries. Sound dandy? It isn’t. Scientists warn that record numbers of lesser snow geese are placing the Arctic ecosystem in peril as an estimated six million birds grub away at the fragile tundra breeding grounds edging Hudson and James bays. This management problem has wildlife and conservation groups flocking together to find controls. The Arctic Goose Habitat Working Group–a joint government/private coalition–has studied the escalating lesser snow goose population explosion and Environment Can...
War Art

Richard Jack

Richard Jack concentrated on the collective triumph rather than the individual agony of war. From top to bottom: Major Ronald I. Jack; The Taking of Vimy Ridge, Easter Monday, 1917; an untitled painting. Richard Jack was Canada’s first official war artist. Born in Sunderland, England, in 1866, the British subject studied at the Académie Julien in Paris, France, before he was hired by Canada to become our first official war artist in 1916. He held strong opinions on the modern school of art and in 1933 was quoted in the Toronto Telegram as saying: "A glib tongue, rather than a clever brush and an eye for pigment was the main asset of the proponent of the extremist schools." Jack was a master draftsman and there was no question that he understood color and form. His grand and roma...

The Normandy Battle Of Attrition: Army, Part 22

The American military historian Stephen Ambrose has a new bestseller in the bookstores. It’s called Citizen Soldiers and in it he describes the United States Army from the Normandy landings to the surrender of Germany. Ambrose is one of a small, but growing group of American historians who argue that the Allied armies fought with skill and determination in defeating their enemies on the battlefield. He believes that "free men fight better than slaves" and that "the sons of democracy proved to be better soldiers than the sons of Nazi Germany."I think Ambrose overstates his case, but a re-examination of the conventional wisdom on the campaigns of WW II is badly needed. Such a re-examination began in Canada in the early 1980s with the publication of the five-volume Maple Leaf Route series....

Sign up today for a FREE download of Canada’s War Stories

Free e-book

An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.