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On This Date – May 2010

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MAY 1, 1945
As part of the Pacific Fleet, His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Uganda and elements of Task Force 57 place themselves to intercept Japanese air strikes headed for the island of Okinawa south of Japan. Uganda, along with other cruisers and battleships, bombards air bases on the Shakashima Islands and comes under attack by two kamikazes. Two support British aircraft cruisers are hit.

His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Uganda. [PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA]

His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Uganda.
PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA

MAY 2, 1945
The Royal Canadian Army Service Corps begins transporting relief supplies by truck convoy to the hungry people of the western Netherlands.

MAY 3, 1917
Robert Grierson Combe earns the Victoria Cross during action south of Acheville, France. A lieutenant with the 27th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Combe is instrumental in heading up the capture of 250 yards of trench in which 80 Germans are taken prisoner. Combe is killed during the action by an enemy sniper.

MAY 4, 1910
The Naval Service Act becomes law. L.P. Brodeur is appointed minister of Naval Service and Rear-Admiral Charles Kingsmill becomes director of the new Naval Service.

Rear-Admiral Charles Kingsmill. [PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA]

Rear-Admiral Charles Kingsmill.
PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA

MAY 5, 1945
German General Johannes Blaskowitz formally surrenders his remaining 117,000 troops in the Netherlands to Canadian Lieutenant-General Charles Foulkes of the 1st Canadian Corps.

MAY 6, 1944
His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Valleyfield is hit by a homing torpedo from U-548 and sinks southeast of Cape Race, Nfld.; 125 die.

MAY 7, 1945
German forces surrender to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander.

MAY 8, 1945
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and United States President Harry S. Truman declare this day Victory-in-Europe Day. While millions celebrate, Allied leaders focus on the war in the Pacific.

MAY 9, 1885
Major-General F.D. Middleton’s column reaches Batoche, Sask., and engages in a four-day battle with Louis Riel’s forces, culminating in a successful assault on the rebel stronghold.

MAY 10, 1940
Germany invades Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. The German Blitzkrieg or “lightning war” sweeps into France.

MAY 11, 1957
440 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force moves from Bagotville, Que., to Zweibrucken, West Germany. Equipped with the CF-100, the squadron serves with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as part of 3 Wing.

MAY 12, 1958
Canada and the United States sign the North American Air Defence Agreement. The signing comes at a time when the threat of Soviet bombers transiting the Arctic to attack North America is seen as a real possibility.

MAY 13, 1943
The Canadian corvette Drumheller and British frigate Lagan destroy a U-boat in the North Atlantic assisted by two Allied aircraft.

Canadian corvette Drumheller. [PHOTO: LEGION MAGAZINE ARCHIVES]

Canadian corvette Drumheller.
PHOTO: LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA

MAY 14, 2003
The first modernized CF-18 fighters are accepted into service. In total, 80 of Canada’s front-line Hornets receive the upgrade completed by Boeing. Known as the first phase of upgrades, the Hornets would have better radar, navigational and electronics equipment.

MAY 15, 1917
Prime Minister Robert Borden returns to Canada after attending an imperial war conference with British and dominion leaders in England.

MAY 16 & 17, 1943
Nineteen specially modified Lancaster bombers from 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force, including members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, strike at German dams in the Ruhr Valley. The attack breaches a number of dams causing a spectacular flood that disrupts the water and power supply systems serving Germany’s industrial heartland.

MAY 18, 1917
Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden announces that the voluntary system of recruitment no longer suffices for the war effort.

MAY 19, 1998
Operation Sarno begins. As a result of massive mudslides in Italy, 30 Canadian Forces personnel are sent to help. Arriving with them are 10 bulldozers for clearing mud. Later, personnel from Canadian Contingent Stabilization Force in Bosnia arrive.

MAY 20, 1998
Canadian involvement in Operation Determination ends. The purpose of the operation was to blockade all Iraqi ports and intercept any shipping attempting to leave or enter the area.

MAY 21, 1998
The Canadian submarine Ojibwa conducts her final sail- past in Halifax. The Oberon class, diesel-electric submarine had been purchased from the Royal Navy in the mid-1960s. She had been modernized to carry anti-ship missiles and advanced torpedoes.

MAY 22, 1942
While hauling 2,457 tons of bauxite—bound from St. Lucia to Sydney, N.S.—the Frank B. Baird is sunk by U-158 southeast of Bermuda. Her crew is later rescued by the Norwegian freighter SS Talisman.

MAY 23, 1944
Canadians break through the Hitler Line southwest of Monte Cassino, Italy.

MAY 24, 1918
Women aged 21 and over became eligible to vote in Canadian federal elections. However, not all provinces had established provincial voting rights for women at this time.

MAY 25, 1915
Canadian casualties from the Battle of Festubert amount to nearly 2,500. These losses are rewarded with little gain in territory.

MAY 26, 1953
HMCS Haida is patrolling near Tranch’on, Korea, when she spots a train under clear midnight skies. Haida’s guns hit the train’s engine dead centre with three- and four-inch shells. The ship continues firing, destroying the train’s 10 boxcars.

MAY 27, 1918
The German army launches its fourth offensive of 1918 against French forces in the Chemin des Dames. The Germans initially catch the French off guard and penetrate 10 miles, but the French hold the line, and with American support, the attack is contained.

MAY 28, 2000
With full military honours, Canada’s Unknown Soldier is laid to rest in a tomb in front of the National War Memorial. The ceremony was the culmination of more than two years of planning by several organizations and government departments, with The Royal Canadian Legion playing a lead role.

Canada’s Unknown Soldier is laid to rest in a tomb in front of the National War Memorial. [PHOTO: LEGION MAGAZINE ARCHIVES]

Canada’s Unknown Soldier is laid to rest in a tomb in front of the National War Memorial.
PHOTO: LEGION MAGAZINE ARCHIVES

MAY 29, 1914
While sailing through extremely dense fog on the St. Lawrence near Rimouski, Que., the Canadian Pacific passenger ship Empress of Ireland is struck by the loaded Norwegian collier Storstad. The Empress sinks in 14 minutes; 1,014 perish.

MAY 30, 1942
The Royal Air Force’s first thousand-plane bomber raid attacks the German city of Cologne. Approximately 500 Canadians are involved in the raid.

MAY 31, 1997
Prince Edward Island and the Canadian mainland are officially linked by the Confederation Bridge.

 Confederation Bridge. [PHOTO: iStockphoto]

Confederation Bridge.
PHOTO: iStockphoto

For ‘ON THIS DATE’ June Events, come back to legionmagazine.com on June 1st, 2010

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