Month: February 2012


Deadline approaches for teachers’ battlefields tour

March 15 is the deadline for teachers to apply for a fellowship for a 14-day tour of Canadian battlefields, monuments and cemeteries  in Europe July 1 through 14. The 2012 Cleghorn Battlefield Study Fellowship   introduces teachers to Canada’s military history during the two world wars by visiting the most important battlefields and memorials in Belgium and France.  They can draw upon this experience for use in the classroom. The tour is delivered by the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies  at Wilfrid Laurier University and  The Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society  and the Faculty of Education at the University of New Brunswick. Participants will visit sites of the First World War battles of Passchendaele, Vimy Ridge and the Somme and Second World War ...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – Sept. 14, 1944

Dear Mum, Dad, Sis and Jack the Commando, Really a swell day today with lots of mail and it makes it nice.… That box of Moirs chocolates sure is swell to look at, I haven’t opened them yet. Thanks ever so much folks.  I am coming along fine, but did have one setback a few days ago and they put me back to bed. However, I will be able to get up tomorrow…. Still have my tube, but am hoping. Before I had to go back to bed the Doc, Maj. Whiteside, had me as his secretary, quite a job.  I would get in a wheelchair and follow him from patient to patient, taking bedside notes which he dictated as he dressed the wounds. Some of those words were really something and he was busy spelling.  The worst part was looking at the wounds, some being pretty bad. I really have a lot of fun with him. He is fr...

Last known First World War veteran dies

Florence Green, the last known veteran of the First World War, has died in Britain, two weeks shy of her 111th birthday. At 17 Green joined the Women’s Royal Air Force in 1918. She worked as a waitress in the officers’ mess at a base in eastern England until the end of the war. In an interview in 2008 she said though her service was brief “in many ways, I had the time of my life.” With her passing “we mark another significant milestone in the history of the First World War, said Steven Blaney, minister of veterans affairs.  It “is another reminder  that all of us must continue to remember and honour the sacrifices of all veterans.” The last known combat veteran of the ‘war to end all wars’ was Claude Choules, who died last year in Perth, Australia. He, too, was 110.  John Babcock, the ...

If you read one thing on Afghanistan this month, read this!

It's not often -- OK, almost never really -- that a respected and experienced senior military officer will break from cover to make public criticisms of their own institution, the wars that institution is fighting and the way politicians intercede in those wars. But that has happened. And now, you can read all about it. U.S. Army Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Davis recently hit the news for his scathing short article posted over at the Armed Forces Journal which describes how U.S. leadership (and NATO, by extension) had consistently mislead the public about the actual situation in Afghanistan. (Canadian content bonus: read the AFJ article for mentions of combat and various mis-deeds in the old CF stomping grounds of Panjwaii and Zhari). For the past few days, the web has been alight with ne...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – Sept. 9, 1944

Dear Mum, Dad, Sis and Commando Jack, Well folks I am going to try it again and hope I do a better job than I did with the last one.… I am coming along fine on the road to recovery but it still tires me out to write.  I am able to sit up for about an hour now but it doesn’t take me long to be licked for the day. I guess you folks…have forgotten all about me, haven’t had a letter from either of you for two weeks. Your last letters were about the middle of August. However, they must be chasing me all over France.  Probably some day soon I will get a pile all at once. I still can’t write very much but I hope to get back on the old schedule soon. I had a letter from Major Thompson today…he was my company commander. He was wounded the day before I was through the arm and I did it up for him a...
Letters From Bill

Letters From Bill – Sept. 1, 1944

Dear Folks: Well, I am finally going to try and write to you but if you can’t make it out it sure isn’t my fault. I never thought anyone could get so weak but I can hardly make the pen go where I want it to as you can see by this mess already. Well in case you are wondering I am well on the way to getting better, today the Doc said I was doing swell.  For awhile I guess it was pretty close for me but I pulled through.  Believe me I never want to be so sick again.  The bullet went in my back through my right lung and out just at my right breast and it sure made a hole.  Maybe someday I can tell you about my reaction after being hit. I was out for two days and when I came to I was in a British hospital.  After ten days there they moved me to a Canadian  hospital where I stayed for two week...

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