Month: February 2012


Calgary military museum seeks stolen artifacts

The Military Museums of Calgary has issued a public appeal to military collectors to be on the lookout for a large number of items stolen from the museum in 2010. Nearly 600 items were stolen from the museum’s collections, and although some were recovered during a police investigation, most have likely made their way into private collections, the buyers unaware they purchased stolen goods. Although most of the items could be bought practically for a song, they are really priceless pieces of Canadian history, says Tom Doucette, the museum’s executive director. They include many medals, belts, berets, cap and collar badges, rank pips, daggers and knives, rifles and bayonets and history books. The museum has posted a description of the missing items on its website.
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – Oct. 3, 1944

Dear Mum, Dad, Sis, Commando Jack, Here I am again, but can’t promise you how long I will be able to write because in a short while I am going to the operating room. The M.O. (Medical Officer) is taking out the small tube and putting in a bigger one. Whatever the reason is I don’t know, they just took a big tube out the other day and put a small one in. Now they are reversing it again. They also discovered I have a piece of shrapnel in the calf of my right leg. It isn’t very serious so do not worry about that. What I am mad at is the fact that we had steak, onions and mashed potatoes for dinner and because I am going to the operating room, I can’t have anything to eat. Just so I wouldn’t miss out I got the Sister to put mine away until this evening. Really had a swell surprise yesterday w...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – Sept. 27, 1944

Dear Mum, Dad, Sis and Jack the Commando, Back again folks with some news which isn’t so good, at least it disappointed me. ….Today the Doctor told me I would be going back to my unit some time before too long. I can’t understand it myself, but I guess I didn’t do enough the first time. He said I would be here for another two weeks and then to a convalescent home. Don’t know how long I will be there but after that I go to the holding unit and from there to the Essex Scottish or wherever they want to send me. The Sisters can’t understand it, they say I should be home, but I guess it is Belgium for me. It looks like a fellow has to get killed or get both legs off before he gets out or I just don’t know the right people. I don’t mind going back if I have to but I thought I went through mine....
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – Sept. 23, 1944

Dear Mum, Dad, Sis and Jack the Commando, …Before I went to France I sent all my snaps and a few odds and ends to Alison to keep for me. I have a good notion to write and ask her to send them back to me now. She wrote to me some time ago and I’ve never answered, guess I should have been polite but I just couldn’t be bothered. You told me she sent you snaps of the family…I guess you know she was just company for a lonely soldier! You can probably see that this writing is not so good, but please blame it on the pen.  You see Johnny was down to see me last evening and he brought this pen to me. He said it was an extra one he had and I find it a bit strange to write with.  He sure is a swell fellow and I thought it was darn nice of him to bring it to me. He comes to see me every week and I c...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – Sept. 19, 1944

Dear Mom, Dad, Sis and Jack the Commando, Another swell day folks with three letters from you…Guess I missed all the fun back there.  Three weddings since I left that I sure wanted to attend, but it is too late now. The old love bug sure went to town on the people of Hopewell, there won’t be a darn soul left when I get there. Things are much the same over here with me. I am getting better…but it seems so darn slow.  That is natural I guess for a fellow as sick as I was. Yesterday, was fine and  was outside for a very short walk with the able assistance of one of the fellows. It wasn’t very far but it was sure good to get outside. Pretty soon I will be running around again. There is no more news of me going home. Guess I won’t make it. They will probably put me in some place over here as ...
The Battle Of The St. Lawrence Begins: Navy, Part 49

The Battle Of The St. Lawrence Begins: Navy, Part 49

In the early morning darkness of May 12, 1942, U-553, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Karl Thurmann, sank the steamers Nicoya and Leto, 16 kilometres off the Gaspé coast. Thurmann had pursued the 5,364-ton British freighter Nicoya for roughly an hour before the first torpedo struck. In the 19 minutes it took to deliver the final killing shot, most of Nicoya’s 87 crew and passengers got safely away. They landed at the tiny Gaspé villages of Cloridorme and L’Anse-à-Valleau. Those aboard Leto were less fortunate. Thurmann found the 4,712-ton Dutch steamer by chance several hours later and sent her to the bottom in 12 minutes with one well-placed torpedo. Only a small boat and a raft got clear, and most of the survivors were in the water for a couple of hours before being rescued. Twelve of L...

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