NEW! Canadian Military History Trivia Challenge

Month: July 2008


Battle-Tested Medicine

Dr. Allan Hawryluk was dreading the difficult hours ahead—his patient was on blood thinners, and bleeding uncontrollably following a tooth extraction. The Mississauga dentist knew it could be hours before the bleeding was brought under control with sutures and chemical compounds. Then he tried a sample of the new HemCon dental dressing. “The bleeding stopped completely and immediately,” he said. “I just didn’t believe it.” In the year since he first used it he has gone on to use the new dressing to stop bleeding in the mouth of a National Hockey League player who “was able to return to fight in the third period.” He now keeps HemCon in supply for the “impossible cases” he comes across in his practice. Since its introduction about a year ago, increasing numbers of dental patients ...

The Rush To Expansion: Navy, Part 28

On June 26, 1940, just two days after France formally surrendered to Germany, the first Canadian-built Flower-class corvette, His Majesty’s Ship Trillium, slipped into the St. Lawrence River from the Vickers shipyard in Montreal. Nine more corvettes for the Royal Navy followed from Quebec yards over the next eight weeks. By the end of August 1940, these ships had been joined by seven Royal Canadian Navy corvettes, including the first produced by Ontario and British Columbia builders. But getting hulls in the water proved much easier than getting ships into action. In fact, it was another nine months before all the ships launched in 1940 became operational. In part, this was the result of teething problems with expansion and relations with the British, but it also had a great deal to...

Students Hear Nova Scotia’s Call To Remembrance

One second. That’s about all you’ve got after you hit the buzzer. If you hesitate or begin to waffle, the question will go to the other team. And that’s not cool because the other team could get it right and score a point. And so here’s your question: What was the code name for an offensive launched on Feb. 8, 1945, preceded by a crushing air and artillery attack on the enemy positions? The remarkable thing here is that you’re not a military historian—although you may be some day. You’re a junior high school student, born in 1995—50 years after the end of the Second World War. What’s also amazing is that when you blurt out the words Operation Veritable, the moderator looks at you and says you’re correct. Chalk up one point for your team in the provincial finals of the Nova Scotia/Nun...

Clash Among Generals: Army, Part 77

The 5th Canadian Armoured Division’s first major opera- tion—the breakout from the Hitler Line and the establishment of a bridgehead across the Melfa River—was by any measure a great success. Unfortunately, the next stage of the advance through Italy—the crossing of the Liri River and the advance to Ceprano and Frosinone—was marred by a series of incidents that resulted in slow and uncertain progress. Was this the result of the normal friction of war or were failures in command responsible for the difficulties of the last days of May 1944? General Oliver Leese, the commander of 8th Army, insisted that the problems began with Canadian Corps Commander Lieutenant-General E.L.M. “Tommy” Burns and extended throughout corps headquarters and 5th Armoured Div. Leese, with full support of G...

For Those Who Served At Sea

This story doesn’t begin during the Second World War; it begins this year, on the first Sunday in May, with a bespectacled Arthur Taylor—now 85—standing on the portside of His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Sackville with one hand resting on the rail and the other clutching a red rose and part of a small bouquet. The old sailor from Newfoundland did not come aboard the wartime corvette with the flowers. Instead, they were given to him by people he had just met—people who were pleased to meet him and show respect for what he and thousands of other sailors did during the longest battle of the Second World War—the Battle of the Atlantic. And so now with his well-worn ball cap pulled snugly over the top of his head and his grey overcoat buttoned nearly to the top, Taylor, who was born i...

Our Own Victoria Cross Unveiled

Governor General Michaëlle Jean invoked the image of crowds lining up on Parliament Hill to pay their respects to Smokey Smith VC as he lay in state in 2005 when she unveiled Canada’s own Victoria Cross on May 16. “The line stretched all the way to Wellington Street. The decoration captured the imagination of an entire country,” she said. “The British Victoria Cross is the highest degree of recognition one could hope to receive in the course of a lifetime. And there are but a few who have received it just over a century and a half.” Nearly 100 Canadians have received the Victoria Cross. The last of those were awarded for actions during the Second World War. Like all the others they were presented by Britain. Canada has had its own Victoria Cross since Queen Elizabeth II gave her a...

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