Month: July 2013

Pocket Of Destruction: Closing The Falaise Gap
Army

Pocket Of Destruction: Closing The Falaise Gap

American General Omar Bradley’s decision to stop Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army at Argentan, France, on Aug. 12, 1944, gave the German armies in the Falaise Pocket a chance to escape encirclement. Montgomery accepted Bradley’s decision and ordered the Canadians to capture Falaise before turning east to close the gap at Trun and Chambois. On the morning of Aug. 15, three Canadian divisions converged on Falaise, a town which the corps commander, Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, thought was the wrong objective. Simonds could not disobey orders, but he could decide to use his only reserve, the battered Polish Armoured Division, to manoeuvre around the German positions and strike south to meet the Americans at Chambois. The Poles started east at 11 a.m., moving in two columns over...
Letters From The Bowes Brothers

Letters From The Bowes Brothers – March 9, 1917 Somewhere in France

Dear Mrs. Bowes, It is with the deepest regret that I write to you that I buried your son this afternoon in the village soldiers’ cemetery. God’s mercy is shown, although it sounds paradoxical, in taking him away as his sufferings were great and if he had lived he would have always been an invalid. Your tribulation through this cruel war is very great in that you lave lost another son as well. I only trust that God will give you the strength to bear it. [Your sons] are sure to be found among all these fine men who have given their lives for such a noble cause. They are waiting in God’s great eternal kingdom. We must [wait] patiently for the dawn of that great day in sure and certain hope. Yours in deep sympathy, [Padre] Davis
Alberta Legion Backs Long-Term Health Study
Health

Alberta Legion Backs Long-Term Health Study

It’s a Friday and no coincidence that Dr. Ibolja Cernak is dressed in red. Her quest for knowledge to improve the lot of injured soldiers has taken her from academe in Europe, to the battlefields of Kosovo, to one of the most respected research universities in the United States, and finally, 18 months ago, to Canada. Supporting troops has been a lifelong habit.  As chair of the Canadian Military and Veterans’ Rehabilitation Research Program at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Cernak is excited to have a chance at “building something which is still not existing, neither here in Canada, nor in the world.” She envisions a database that tracks changes in troops’ health throughout their lives, documenting what happens to their bodies while they’re plying their dangerous profession—...
Letters From The Bowes Brothers

Letters From The Bowes Brothers – March 9, 1917 France

Dear Mrs Bowes, It was my sad duty in just days ago to write you of the death of your son J.L. Bowes and the wounding of his brother Pte. F.A. Bowes No. 291815 of the 44th Canadian Infantry. Today I am called upon to write news adding to your sorrow. F.A. was very badly wounded and succumbed to those injuries on March 8th. The hospital is some distance from here and I could not visit him. I went over to the funeral today and learned news of him. He was only conscious for a little while and then was unconscious until his death came to release him from his suffering. The chaplain at the hospital is writing you and he will tell you all there is to be told. I tried to get to your third son to tell him personally. I went to the Company of Royal Engineers to which he is temporarily attache...
Running Ragged: The North Atlantic Run
Navy

Running Ragged: The North Atlantic Run

Through the crisis of the Atlantic war in 1942, the Royal Canadian Navy worked much harder than its British and American allies realized.  In fact, the RCN ran its escort fleet ragged trying to keep up with demands for more escorts and more convoy routes. The British estimated that to refit, repair and train their fleet, fully one-third of it was non-operational at any one time. The RCN figure for non-operational vessels in 1942 was closer to 10 per cent, and even so, the navy was critically short of escorts. In June 1942, the RCN estimated that to meet its operational commitments and have one-third available for necessary maintenance and training they needed well over 400 escorts. It had 212. Not surprisingly, operational escort groups were below agreed minimums: Halifax-b...

Sign up today for a FREE download of Canada’s War Stories

Free e-book

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