Day: April 1, 2017

Air support for the Canadian Corps at Vimy
Air Force

Air support for the Canadian Corps at Vimy

As the Canadian Corps prepared for the attack on Vimy Ridge, it was assisted by I Brigade, Royal Flying Corps. Four squadrons of Corps (army co-operation) aircraft mapped the German defences and located enemy artillery batteries; by April 9, 1917, 180 of 212 hostile batteries had been pinpointed and their co-ordinates plotted on maps. I Brigade also had four squadrons of fighters to defend the Corps aircraft and discourage enemy reconnaissance of the front. It was a grim business, because the German Air Force was flying superior Albatross fighters armed with twin machine guns which outclassed most of their RFC counterparts. The Corps squadrons were flying two-seat BE-2 reconnaissance aircraft; even the latest models were verging on obsolescence. No. 16 Squadron was specifically tasked t...
On this date: April 2017
On This Date

On this date: April 2017

1 APRIL 1915 First Canadian Division is ordered to join defence of the Ypres Salient. 2 APRIL 1917 The Royal Flying Corps starts training at Camp Borden, Ont. 3 APRIL 1945 The First Canadian Army captures the German town of Zevenaar.   4 APRIL 1916 Canadians relieve exhausted British forces at St. Éloi. 5 APRIL 1932 Newfoundland’s parliament building is wrecked by thousands of rioters demanding—and receiving—resignation of the prime minister over corruption allegations. 6 APRIL 1942 The First Canadian Army is established in Britain. 7 APRIL 1994 Lt.-Gen Roméo Dallaire reports on Hutu massacre of Tutsis in Rwanda. 8 APRIL 1951 2PPCLI attacks enemy positions across the 38th parallel in Korea. 9-12 APRIL 1917 Canadian troops seize Vimy Ridge,...
Hush-hush heroes
Remembrance

Hush-hush heroes

Montrealer Gustave Biéler spent the Christmas of 1943 in France. It was likely to be his last. The Nazis had launched a manhunt for him and his comrades in the French Resistance. The spy, known only by his code name Guy, wrote a few lines on the back of a photograph and handed it to his host, Camille Boury. “If misfortune overtakes me some day, write to this address.” His pre-war employer could contact Biéler’s wife, whose name was also kept secret, to prevent reprisals against family. “Tell her how I spent Christmas…tell her how I thought of them.” Three weeks later, the Nazis did catch him. They tortured him for information, and when he gave none, tortured him some more. For months. They beat him, broke a kneecap, nearly drowned him. Sent him to Flossenbürg concentration camp in G...

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