Month: July 2005

O Canada

The Cape And The Causeway

PHOTOS: CHRIS LUND, LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA--PA152321; PORT HASTINGS HISTORICAL SOCIETY; YVONNE FOX, HASTINGS HISTORICAL SOCIETY Clockwise from top: The causeway during construction in the 1950s; an early train ferry, circa 1935 and how it appears today. The last great continental glacier several thousand years ago carved out a deep and fast-flowing strait, a forbidding natural barrier separating Cape Breton Island from mainland Nova Scotia. For many “Capers” that was just fine. Two centuries ago, a Cape Breton clergyman intoned a prayer of thanks for “the Gut of Canso, which separates us from the mainland and wickedness thereof.” While the 30-kilometre-long Strait of Canso—connecting the Gulf of St Lawrence to the Atlantic Ocean—may h...
Navy

Our First Fighting Submariners: Navy, Part 10

PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA--C032238 Submarine H-8 in drydock in Montreal, June 1917. One of the most remarkable, and best documented, Canadian naval stories of World War I is that of its small band of intrepid submariners. Only a handful of men, they provided the home war establishment with its most lethal weapon, and a very elite cadre saw extensive active service overseas in British submarines, setting a number of memorable firsts in the process. Their exploits, fully recounted in Dave Perkins’s wonderful book, Canada’s Submariners 1914-1923 (1989), also reveal how incredibly dangerous submarine service was in those early days, especially under wartime conditions. As recounted in a previous column, the very existence of a Cana...
Air Force

Flying the Hudson Strait: Air Force, Part 10

PHOTO: CANADIAN FORCES Adjustments are made to a Fokker Universal in the frigid waters of the Hudson Strait in the late 1920s. In 1922, the Canadian Air Force dispatched Squadron Leader R.A. Logan on the CGS Arctic during its annual cruise of the Eastern Arctic Islands. Though he had no aircraft, Logan unfurled an Air Force ensign in the Arctic and subsequently compiled a report on possible air operations in the North. Nothing came immediately of his study. The Royal Canadian Air Force concentrated on forestry and photo work far from the northern frontier. However, events transpired to spur subarctic aviation. The Hudson Bay Railway—a product of railway optimism and overbuilding—had been started in 1913 and pushed to The Pas, Man., before WW I. ...
Army

Divided At Home, United In Battle: Army, Part 59

PHOTO: NATIONAL DEFENCE/LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA--PA003248 Wounded soldiers, including Germans, are delivered to a Canadian advanced dressing station in 1918. While the Canadian Corps fought the battles of Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and Passchendaele, Canadians on the home front were focused on the issue of conscription for overseas service. There is much to be learned about this topic in a new book of essays in honour of historian Craig Brown edited by David Mackenzie. Titled Canada and the First World War, the book includes chapters by J.L. Granatstein and John English that re-examine conscription and the political leadership of Canada’s wartime Prime Minister Robert Laird Borden. Granatstein, who has written about conscription “for more than 40...
Memoirs

With The Greatest Gratitude

Clockwise from right: A Dutch boy shows his gratitude during the National Liberation Parade in Apeldoorn; continuous rain couldn't dampen the spirits of those lining the parade route; Piet and Anne Charlotte Molemaker lower their national flag on Dutch Remembrance Day; a joyous veteran marches through Apeldoorn. Did you see the coverage on CBC television on May 8, 2005? Did you watch the National Liberation Parade in Apeldoorn with about 250,000 Dutch citizens lining the parade route in pouring rain? Did you see the smiles and radiant faces of our returning veterans on parade? It was a reception quite unlike anything the veterans have received at home and it was obvious they revelled in the affection. My visit to the Netherlands for 10 days of events mar...
Memoirs

Return Of The Liberators

Clockwise from top right: A tulip is handed to a veteran during the parade; a veteran presents flags along the parade route; roses cover the rails at Westerbork, site of a WW II German transit camp; and veteran Maurice Gauthier and daughter Francine at the Apeldoorn parade. There are young men inside those weathered husks. You can see it in their eyes whenever someone—especially a child—steps forward to say thank you or present a bouquet of flowers. You can notice it in the way they carry themselves—heads high, backs straight—along the rain-soaked streets of Apeldoorn, and in the way their smiling wartime buddies—riding in vintage military vehicles—wave and blow kisses to the more than 250,000 who are cheering, waving and blowing kisses at them on t...

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