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Month: April 2010


Health File

The Skinny On Grapefruit The humble grapefruit holds promise for fighting some of the fastest-growing diseases plaguing Canadians and burdening our health-care system. The secret is in the pith—the bitter white material between fruit and peel—something most people discard. Scientists at the Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario in London have found a grapefruit flavonoid that prevents weight gain and development of metabolic syndrome, the combination of extra weight, increased cholesterol and triglycerides as well as insulin resistance and blood glucose levels that can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Researchers fed four groups of mice identical high-fat Western diets for four weeks. One group was also fed the flavonoid naringenin; that group s...
Military History

The Riddle Of The D-Day Footage

The beginning of the end of Nazi-occupied Europe began well before the May 1945 liberation of the Netherlands, when Allied forces stormed the shores of Normandy in June 1944. Thousands of lives were lost and thousands more shattered during the long and difficult battles that brought liberation to France, Belgium and the Netherlands over the next several months. They were days filled with incredible moments of courage and sacrifice, many of which will remain untold and lost forever to time. Among the more well known and preserved D-Day moments, however, is one found on a grainy black and white film shot by Sergeant Bill Grant of the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit (CAFPU). Dubbed the iconic footage of the greatest assault landing in history and lasting only two minutes and 10 secon...
Air Force, Choose our cover

The Problems With Vampires: Air Force, Part 38

In April 1945 there was a new kid on the block. The De Havilland Vampire jet, which had been test-flown as a prototype on Sept. 20, 1943, was in mass production, and soon the Royal Canadian Air Force would acquire one for winter trials at the Winter Experimental Establishment, Edmonton. As with the Meteor trials, the first Vampire flight trials were made by Squadron Leader Everett Baudoux and flight lieutenants Bill McKenzie and Jack Ritch. A typical test day was Jan. 23, 1947, when McKenzie made four brief flights involving a 50-minute VHF radio test, two fuel consumption tests at 20,000 feet, lasting 45 and 40 minutes, and a fuel consumption test at 5,000 feet, lasting 35 minutes. The trials did not go smoothly and by Feb.12 the Vampire was declared unserviceable because of pro...

The Three Princes: Navy, Part 38

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, turned a European conflict into a global war. Once again the British Columbia coastline was largely undefended, and the province’s citizens clamoured for action. In early 1942, Japanese citizens were stripped of their possessions and removed from the Pacific coast to internment camps, while a massive expansion of the Royal Canadian Air Force was planned to secure the west coast from Japanese aerial assault. As one British official observed ruefully of the Canadian request for scores of aircraft for home defence, “Vancouver is fighting with its back to the wall!” The naval establishment on the west coast had been tiny since the war began in September 1939, but it had not been idle. The dispatch of the River class destroyers to the...

Operation Chuckle: No Laughing Matter: Army, Part 87

The battle for Italy’s Savio River, Oct. 20-23, 1944, marked the turning point in the difficult relationship between Lieutenant-General E.L.M. Burns and his senior officers. Despite the success the Canadian Corps enjoyed under Burns’ leadership, his two divisional commanders had begun to echo British complaints about his style of command. Burns, who was ironically nicknamed Smiley, lacked the kind of easy-going leadership skills that were so highly valued in the 8th Army. His relations with the brash, profane divisional commander Chris Vokes had always been difficult, but in the misery of the October battles another divisional commander, Bert Hoffmeister, “lost all confidence” in his corps commander, complaining that Burns “interfered with forward commanders.” Hoffmeister stated tha...

Providing A Home For Injured Veterans

Two veterans’ housing organizations in Vancouver have collaborated to provide free accommodation to wounded veterans in need of temporary housing while receiving medical care or rehabilitation. Winch House, a renovated townhouse owned by the New Chelsea Society and run by the Honour House Society, opened in November. “I call it the miracle on 52nd Street,” says Jim Stanton, a board member of Honour House Society. Although the house was renovated and is owned by the New Chelsea Society, one of the first affordable housing societies organized by The Royal Canadian Legion in the 1950s, it will be run by the Honour House Society. The New Chelsea Society has 750 residences located in 10 properties in Vancouver and Burnaby (Housing Society Expands Its Horizons, September/October). Winch House...

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An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.