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Month: September 2005

O Canada

The Remarkable Wright

PHOTOS: HERBERT PONTING, ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY Wright after returning from Barrier. It was one of those serendipitous events during an eight-hour flight back to Christchurch, New Zealand, from Antarctica that I first came across a reference to Sir Charles Seymour Wright in Diana Preston's, A First Rate Tragedy: Captain Scott's Antarctic Expeditions. Like most Canadians, I had never heard of Wright, a Canadian who had a major impact on the 20th century. Born in Toronto in 1887, Wright would not only find the frozen remains of Captain Robert Scott and his men after their ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, but he would also collect the ...
Air Force

The NCO Pilots: Air Force, Part 11

PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—PA62619 NCO pilot R.S. Grandy prepares for takeoff at Rockcliffe, Ont., in 1929. World War I British pilots were usually commissioned officers. Non-commissioned officer pilots were a rarity until 1918, and were still greatly outnumbered by officers. And so by late 1919, the pilot's trade had reverted to being an officer's preserve. Britain's air ministry decided in 1921 to reinstitute the training of NCO pilots. Candidates were drawn from the ranks of mechanics and skilled tradesmen. They were to possess "pluck, reliability, alertness, keenness and energy". Initially, it was expected that, having served fi...

Beginning The Battle For Sicily: Army, Part 60

PHOTO: FRANK ROYAL, LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—PA132777 Members of Royal Canadian Regiment consult a map at Piazza Armerina, Italy, in July 1943. This is the first of a series of articles examining the Canadian contributions to the Allied campaign in Sicily and the Italian mainland. Regular readers of Canadian Military History In Perspective will recall a number of articles published in 1997-98 on this theme, articles that may be consulted on the Legion Magazine Web site, This new series will focus on battalion and brigade-level actions, explore the Italian battlefields and understand the challenges faced by Canada's ...

A Rump Of A Navy: Navy, Part 11

PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—PA29755 HMCS Shearwater (left) and HMCS Rainbow at Esquimalt, B.C., in 1910. When the enemy finally came to Canada's shores in 1918, he ran amok through the fishing fleet and revealed the woeful inadequacy of the nation's naval defence. Apart from keeping Canada's coast defence batteries fully manned so the navy could retreat under their guns and avoid annihilation, there was little the federal government could do. The British, despite their continued promises of aid in the event of a crisis, offered nothing. Only the Americans sent help. They passed along the British intelligence estimates for the western...
O Canada

Twin Centenarians

PHOTOS: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—C024878; EDMONTON.COM; ARLENE L. MARTIN Clockwise from top: Dutch immigrants clear away trees and brush before plowing new Alberta farmland in 1886; fireworks explode over Edmonton; a wheat field in central Saskatchewan. "I turn 100 this year," says Priscilla Roland. "And I just feel good being a Canadian." I'm sitting with this charming near-centenarian under the gaze of southern Alberta pioneer images that line the wall of the front room of Calgary's Memorial Building. Her statements could equally apply to two of Canada's western provinces this year: on Sept. 1, 1905, the Saskatchewan Act and the Alberta Act were adopted by Ottawa, carving two spanking-new Canadian provinces out of the Northwest Territories. Priscilla was bo...
Defence Today

Thoughts On Terrorism

High on a ridge above an inaccessible valley in northern Iran sit the remains of Alamut castle, previous stronghold of the Assassins, history's first political terrorists. Appearing in the 11th century, the Assassins were members of Muslim sects that used targeted assassinations against their enemies--Western crusaders and moderate Muslim regimes--in an effort to establish their ideal version of an Islamic state. Though Alumut castle was eventually sacked by the Mongols, the Assassins managed to wage their revolutionary war for more than 100 years. In time they became some of the most feared of all enemies, until eventually...

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