Month: November 2005

O Canada

Border Bullies

PHOTOS: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—CO78979, C088945; ILLUSTRATION: BARBARA SPURLL Workers pose for a photo while clearing trees on the 49th parallel in 1861. British officers meet on San Juan Island in the 1800s. Canada is a border nation. Over 75 per cent of us live within 160 kilometres of the United States. By comparison, only 12 per cent of Americans live within 160 kilometres of the boundary. For almost every Canadian, the border is a reality of daily life. It defines us as citizens and is a factor in what we think and how we act. The present boundary did not simply materialize, but developed over a period of years, the result of peaceful ...
Navy

Establishing The Naval Reserve: Navy, Part 12

PHOTO: DAVID KNUDSEN, LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA--PA126720 His Majesty's Canadian Ships Skeena, Saguenay and St. Laurent visit Bermuda in the 1930s. The Royal Canadian Navy's survival and prosperity between the wars depended on two key individuals: Commodore Walter Hose, RCN, the director and later first chief of the Naval Service who developed a sensible fleet plan, and William Lyon Mackenzie King, the sometimes liberal prime minister of Canada who bought it. It was an odd combination, but in many ways the foundations of Canada's modern navy were laid by these two men in the first decade of the interwar years. For most Canadians, King is an unlikely cham...
Air Force

Up With Mail: Air Force, Part 12

PHOTO: CANADIAN FORCES A Vickers Vancouver collects mail at Havre-Saint-Pierre, Que., in 1932. The first airmail flight in Canada was a military affair, organized by the Aerial League of the British Empire and the Royal Air Force. Captain Brian Peck, an instructor in the Canadian-based RAF training scheme, together with a mechanic, Corporal E.W. Mathers, had flown in June 1918 from Toronto to Montreal, apparently to promote recruiting but also possibly to fly some liquor from "wet" Quebec to "dry" Ontario. The Aerial League used the opportunity to enlist Peck and his JN-4 aircraft in a publicity stunt--the transport of a mailbag with 150 ...
Army

From Leonforte To Agira: Army, Part 61

PHOTO: JACK H. SMITH, LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA--PA151748 Members of the Royal Canadian Artillery fire on an enemy position near Nissoria, Sicily, in July 1943. Sicily is an island of extremes and in July, when the sun shines for 11 hours a day, temperatures often reach 40°C. The men who fought for the hill towns of central Sicily in 1943 remember the heat, the dust and the stony landscape with its conical hills and steep ravines. To overcome an enemy holding the high ground required the kind of physical strength and mental agility shown by the men of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment during their climb to the heights of Assoro, nort...
Remembrance

Commemoration In The Capital: Marking The End Of Dark Days

PHOTO: TOM MacGREGOR Veterans ride in a WW II jeep during the march past. Many years ago, John Ford was unfortunate enough to be a prisoner of war in Japan and forced to perform slave labour in the dockyard at Nagasaki. It was there that he saw the beginning of the end of World War II. The St. John's, Nfld., native was with the Royal Air Force during WW II, serving with 36 Torpedo Squadron. The flight mechanic (first class) was taken prisoner in Java (now Indonesia). He was working with seven other men when they heard an incredible noise. Then he saw a massive mushroom cloud rising into the sky. It was Aug. 9, 1945, and the United States ...
Remembrance

Putting A Face To Remembrance

From top: Pilgrims hold a Remembrance ceremony in a Canadian war cemetery in France; At the Leopold Canal, MacDonald (right) tells John Goheen (second from left) and the pilgrims his memories of the battle. It was a strange and dangerous coincidence for the pilgrims. On the same day The Royal Canadian Legion Youth Leaders' Pilgrimage of Remembrance flew into London to begin its July 7-21 trip, terrorist bombs were exploding across the city; on the day the pilgrims flew out of London there were more terrorist bombs in the city. Sitting in Toronto's Pearson International Airport on the morning of July 7, glued to the television's ugly news about London, the pilgrims knew th...

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