Month: May 2014

Humour Hunt

Humour Hunt

Wilf Clark of Spencerville, Ont., wrote about his time with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. The Boufarik Winery in North Africa was at one time the billet of 420 Squadron. The upper storey housed the tops of the 12-foot-square wine vats and these tops were used as tables and bunks. In the centre of each was a small opening with a cork ball to allow fermenting gases to escape, but nothing to enter. Mr. Clark continues: “Scant inches below was the final product of Algerian vineyards. Alas, how was one to share in this booty? Issue mugs were too large and spoons inadequate to dip out this fine elixir. Shortly the Canadian airman’s resourcefulness surfaced and, presto, a new use for our issue of Sten guns was born. Barrels were removed and used as straws to ...
Snakes, Lice And Japanese Aircraft
Air Force

Snakes, Lice And Japanese Aircraft

By the monsoon season of 1942 the Japanese had taken as much of Burma (now Myanmar) as they wanted. They had achieved their primary goal of cutting off the land route to China, and it would be many months before they attempted to advance on India itself, and then primarily to forestall British efforts to recapture Burma. In the meantime, Canadians continued to arrive in the theatre of operations—some to No. 413 Squadron but most to Royal Air Force units. A routine muster dated Jan. 7, 1944, listed 48 Royal Canadian Air Force officers reporting to the Indian theatre in the previous week. Only four were headed for No. 413 Sqdn. Eight had not yet been assigned to a unit and 14 were being sent to training units. The balance was being sent to RAF flying boat, fighter reconnaissance and b...
Humour Hunt

Humour Hunt

Jack Wallace of Ottawa digging in the national archives found this: In late 1942 or early 1943, there was smoldering resentment among the Cape Breton Highlanders in Britain because some of their number had been shipped out due to, ah, incompetence. One morning the commander of the 5th Canadian Armored Division., Major-General Ernie Sansom, was advised that one company of the Cape Bretoners had declined to appear for parade. He wasted no time confronting the rebellious (mutinous?) unit. Sansom later reported to the army commander, General Andy McNaughton, that he had got to the source of the trouble: The Cape Bretoners, and not only those in the sit-down company, were unhappy about the new breed of officers being sent to the battalion. They were all Upper Canada Scots.  ...
News

Envelope Marks PPCLI Centennial

Canada Post Corporation unveiled a commemorative envelope at Ottawa City Hall March 17 marking the first of a series of events for the the 100th anniversary of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Canada Post Vice-President Mary Traversy introduced the envelope and presented the first one to former chief of defence staff and member of the PPCLI, John de Chastelain. The envelope features a unique printed stamp and collection of historical images of the regiment. The black and white photograph on the front shows Princess Patricia placing a gilt silver wreath on the Regimental Colour in February 1919. The stamp shows the PPCLI band at the former Currie Barracks in Calgary. The cancellation shows a coronet and the letters VP for Victoria Patricia. Shortly after the dec...
Touring Beyond Normandy
Army

Touring Beyond Normandy

As 70th anniversary commemorations get underway for D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, it is important to remember that the majority of combat soldiers who fought in Northwest Europe in 1944 and 1945 only joined their units in the last eight months of the war. By September 1944 the typical infantry battalion had lost two-thirds of its strength and was rebuilt with replacements. The 6,806 burials at Calais, Adegem, Bergen-op-Zoom, Groesbeek and Holten Canadian military cemeteries are a testament to the cost of the post-Normandy struggle to liberate Northwest Europe. When the victorious Allied armies crossed the Seine River in late August 1944, many thought the German army was beaten and the war likely to end before Christmas. The optimists failed to consider the logistical nightmar...
News

Battle Of The Atlantic To Be Experienced In Halifax

A new structure that will showcase Canada’s Naval Memorial, HMCS Sackville, is to be constructed on Halifax’s historic waterfront as a tribute to all who served in the Battle of the Atlantic. Battle of the Atlantic Place will be built on 4.5 acres of pre-Confederation waterfront allocated to the project by the government of Nova Scotia. It will be built out over the water on pilings where the wartime corvette is currently docked during the summer months. Organizers emphasize that Battle of the Atlantic Place is not a museum. It is a building which will let the visitor experience the battle in many ways. “The Battle of the Atlantic was a national achievement and this is a national project,” said Ted Kelly, a retired Royal Canadian Navy captain. “We want to tell the story of all...

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