Month: September 2014

The Forgotten Flyers
Air Force

The Forgotten Flyers

In other theatres the RAF had spurned dive-bombers in general and the Vengeance in particular. But in India and Burma the Vengeance performed heroic service with nine squadrons. General William Slim’s leadership of XIV Army was brilliant, yet he is one of the least known of the Second World War leaders.   Slim recognized this when he wrote of his command as The Forgotten Army. His principal achievements were to defeat a Japanese invasion of India and then to reconquer Burma. Yet he was defending and recovering an empire already lost. The XIV Army was the last true British Imperial army, composed of divisions from Britain, East and West Africa, and an undivided India. Between March and June 1944, this force broke sieges at Imphal and Kohima and then launched a gruelling...
Archive

My Brother Bill

My Brother Bill By  A.V. Bentum April 1985 Of my two brothers who, like me, went to France in WW I, Bill was my favorite. Like most old soldiers I am now fading away so Bill is in my thoughts as I dream of days gone by. Bill was born on March 17 and an Irish neighbour wanted mother to call him Patrick. She would not have any of that. He was to be Thomas William like his dad, Willie to her. The oldest brother, Jack, joined the King’s Own Royal Lancasters. He never came back. Bill thought he must have got a direct hit going over the top. Jack was a real warrior compared to Bill, who was not a fighter. As things turned out Bill did not have much choice. When we were little Bill and I shared a bed in a red sandstone cottage that looked out on Peel Island and Peel Castle. ...
Ypres 1915: The First Gas Attack
Army

Ypres 1915: The First Gas Attack

Without warning, a yellowish-green cloud began drifting over the landscape toward the Allied front line. It was April 1915 and the first to fall to the chlorine gas were soldiers from the 45th Algerian Division. Two days later, Canadian soldiers would be clutching their throats, choking on the same asphyxiating gas. We begin a series of articles on Canada’s initial battles on the Western Front. Early on the evening of April 21, 1915, the 13th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force began preparations to take over part of the forward line in the Ypres Salient. A rounded tumour bulging into the German lines on the Western Front, the position was an unfortunate legacy of the determined defence of the only major town in Belgium—Ypres—to escape occupation by the German army. Tha...
Archive

The Historian’s Story of Vimy

The Historian’s Story of Vimy By  John Buchan April 1927 A decade has passed since the great battle in which the Canadian Corps swept the enemy from their supposed impregnable position on Vimy Ridge. The story of this epic has been repeated each year as the anniversary date, April 9th, approached. This year The Legionary repeats the story as recorded by John Buchan covering the early part of the Battle of Arras, which included the capture of Vimy Ridge. Even in this unemotional record, where opinions are rarely expressed, and then usually as criticisms, we find this declaration regarding the taking of the Ridge: “Few finer pieces of dogged fighting were seen in the campaign.” The British front of attack was slightly over twelve miles long, from Givenchy-en-Gohelle in the no...
Eye On Defence: September/October
Defence Today

Eye On Defence: September/October

This past July the Department of National Defence issued its long awaited Defence Acquisition Guide 2014 (DAG 14) which it says will be updated annually and refreshed every year “in alignment with the Canadian Armed Forces investment planning cycle.” It’s a long document—170 pages when printed from the Internet—which lays out “future potential Canadian Armed Forces requirements and associated procurement projects.”  Divided into five main sections covering “services” (18 pages), “joint systems and other” (47 pages), “naval systems” (21 pages), “land systems” (50 pages) and “aerospace” (34 pages), it is intended to list everything the CAF is likely to need for at least five years, and possibly longer than that. Its aim is to inform the defence industry what items are on the CAF’s wis...

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