NEW! Canadian Military History Trivia Challenge

Month: March 2008


Keeping Busy At The Wascana Centre

Ask what makes this place home, and easy smiles steal across the faces of the veterans enjoying a soft drink or brew at Happy Hour on one of the veterans’ units at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre (WRC) in Regina. “What makes it home to me is the people around me,” says Fletcher Peterson. “It’s a wonderful bunch of people.” One by one the men sharing the table chime in. For new resident Vic Lappa, it’s being able to continue his swim routine: 10 laps every Tuesday. For Vernon Kramer it’s the trips out for meals or entertainment. For 86-year-old Simon Hitcherick, who’s been there four years, it’s that everyone is treated the same. “That’s the way it should be. I don’t care if he was a boot captain or a general—everybody’s the same when he gets here.” It seems there’s something to occu...

Helping To Buy Shoes For Afghan Children

Life is hard in Afghanistan, a country which ranks among the very poorest in the world. While cities like Kabul and Kandahar are relatively modern with their paved streets and concrete buildings, many of the smaller cities and villages probably haven’t changed a great deal in the last 1,000 years—food is scarce, the buildings are often made of mud, and clothing is rudimentary at best. Seeing these living conditions first-hand can be quite a shock for the Canadian soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and understandably many of them want to help in whatever way possible. When Major Pierre Huet, a reconnaissance squadron commander with the 12th Armoured Regiment, arrived in Spin Boldak, a dusty Afghan town situated on the Pakistan border, there was one thing in particular that struck him ab...

Snowbirds Pilot Honoured On U.S. Memorial

When one of Canada’s famed Snowbirds aerobatic team members died in a stunning plane crash last year, American veterans in Montana felt they could not overlook the tragedy in their own back yard.Captain Shawn McCaughey died May 18 while the team was practising for an air show at the Malmstrom Air Force Base, near Great Falls, Mont. While the accident made headlines in Canada and led to a temporary suspension of the Snowbirds regular air demonstration schedule, local veterans thought it was fitting that the Canadian pilot be honoured on their local memorial.“He was a brother,” said Sam Pappas, the sergeant-at-arms of the Montana Department of the American Legion. He and other American Legionnaires made the trip to Lloydminster in October to attend the convention of Saskatchewan Command of T...
Christopher R.W. Nevinson
War Art

Christopher R.W. Nevinson

Christopher R.W. Nevinson, one of the earliest war artists, created images of World War I that explored the personal and global consequences of war. While one early painting was censored for its unflinching portrayal of death, others portrayed close-ups of wounded and worn soldiers; still others were distant landscapes that spoke to the industrial growth of the period and how that changed the face of war. The artist was born in 1889 in London, England. His parents were well-known journalists—his father an author and war correspondent, his mother a writer and suffragette. Unlike many of his peers, Nevinson’s family supported his career choice, and its prominence and contacts proved invaluable. In London he studied at the St. John’s Wood School of Art, the Slade School of Art, and lat...
Air Force

Cameras Take Flight: Air Force, Part 26

Almost from the moment the camera was invented, men sought to take it aloft. The first aerial photograph—taken from a balloon over Paris—was made in 1858. Armies investigated the new technology, and in 1883 Captain Henry Esdale, Royal Engineers, photographed the Halifax Citadel from an unmanned balloon tethered 1,450 feet above the site—the first aerial photograph taken in Canada. The limitations of balloons as camera platforms were evident. If tethered they overlooked a limited area. If set free they traversed an unpredictable track. The development of the airplane solved the problem by allowing the camera to roam or follow a selected path. The marriage of these two technologies brought about photographic reconnaissance that was so important in World War I. Among the techniques dev...

The Wolf Packs: Navy, Part 26

Contrary to what some historians suggest, the Royal Canadian Navy’s ambitious plans in late 1940 for a navy built around fleet-class destroyers and cruisers were not out of sync with developments in the war. In fact, even as the Canadian naval staff planned to acquire cruisers and modern fleet-class destroyers, the German pocket battleship Scheer attacked Allied convoys just east of the Grand Banks. In November, in one of the dramatic moments of the war at sea, Scheer sank the armed merchant cruiser Jervis Bay while attacking convoy HX 84. By December, the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper was trolling the convoy lanes north of the Azores, and in late January 1941 the battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sortied for two months of raiding in the central North Atlantic. These operatio...

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