Month: October 2017

On this date: November 2017
On This Date

On this date: November 2017

1 November 1914 Four recent graduates of the Royal Naval College of Canada are among those lost when Germany’s Asiatic Squadron sinks HMS Good Hope. They are Canada’s first naval casualties of the war. 2 November 1869 With a band of 120 armed men, Louis Riel occupies Fort Garry (now Winnipeg). 3 November 1997 Prime Minister Jean Chrétien destroys the last of Canada’s landmine stocks in Kanata, Ont., to increase awareness of the Canada-sponsored worldwide landmine ban. 4 November 1924 The first flight of the Canadian Vickers Vedette prototype takes place in Montreal. 5 November 1914 Britain and France declare war on the Ottoman Empire. 6 November 1917 Canada and Britain launch an assault on the village of Passchendaele, which is captured by the 27th Battalion on the sam...
November/December 2017 issue now available!
News

November/December 2017 issue now available!

What’s inside?   THE HALIFAX EXPLOSION A collision between two ships in Halifax Harbour in 1917 sets off an explosion unrivalled until the atomic bomb THE WOUNDED These Canadian soldiers wounded in Afghanistan returned home to face the fight of their lives THE CINDERELLA CAMPAIGN Taking back the French Channel ports was critical to the success of the Allies’ Operation Market Garden in 1944 THEIR NAMES LIVE ON Pilgrims walk the grounds where so many Canadians fought and fell in two world wars THE RELUCTANT DEFENCE OF THE WEST COAST After joining Confederation, British Columbians tried to raise a defensive military unit, while Ottawa’s attention focused elsewhere MILITARY HEALTH MATTERS Using nanotechnology to heal wounds FRONT...
A war story told in flowers and scents
Front Lines

A war story told in flowers and scents

As he crossed the battlefields of France in 1915 and 1916, George Stephen Cantlie, a colonel in the 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, picked flowers and sent them with simple notes to his baby daughter Celia in Montreal. Almost a century later, those handwritten letters and flowers emerged in a red satin-covered box still in their original envelopes, and now form the basis of a unique touring exhibition, which opened last week at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. “Dear Wee Celia,” says one bearing pressed daisies and dated At the Front, 28.6.16. “From the trenches and shell holes with much love from Daddy.” Another, written on field message paper, imparts “much love” with pressed poppies picked “At the Front, Flanders, 1916.” Cantlie wrote two letters nightly—one to...
The prince with a common touch
Front Lines, Invictus Games

The prince with a common touch

Mike Trauner was a prisoner in his own home until a few inspiring words from Prince Henry of Wales, better known as Harry, set him free. As a master corporal with 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, Trauner lost both legs and sustained other major wounds in a 2008 double bomb blast in Afghanistan. In May 2016, he was recovering from yet another surgery when he met Harry at the official launch leading to the Toronto Invictus Games. Trauner had been “trapped” at home since his last operation—one of 18—and, after a long year of slow recovery, was feeling frustrated and depressed. Then 2017 Invictus Games CEO Michael Burns invited him to Toronto. Prince Harry, founder of the Invictus Games and himself a war veteran, approached Trauner at a reception, introduced himself and asked t...
Canada’s man in Havana
Memoirs

Canada’s man in Havana

The story of a young Canadian diplomat spying on the Soviets in Cuba on behalf of the CIA with the blessing of our prime minister is improbable, but no more so than its context. This was the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, when the world came within a hair’s breadth of a nuclear holocaust. The context extends to the immediate and still-perilous aftermath of that drama in which my miniscule role was played. Incidental to the story, but relevant to present-day missile rattling, is the memory of how hubris and stupidity almost brought the planet to its worst modern disaster and how, in the end, strength of character and human values on the part of the two foremost protagonists reeled the world back from the edge of the precipice. The protagonists were, of course, Nikita Khrushchev and Jo...
Buried alive at the Somme
Memoirs

Buried alive at the Somme

When I was a young child of four or five, my grandfather would say to me in his cockney accent, “Swee’ar’, fetch me legs for me,” and I would dutifully bring him what he called “his legs”—steel rods screwed into the heels of his shoes for support with a leather cuff at the top which would rest just below the back of his knees. When he lifted up his pant legs to put on these supports, it revealed gaping holes in his calves. One hole was so large I could see from one side of his calf right through to the other. Somehow, I knew I wasn’t to ask any questions but that image has stayed with me all these years. My grandfather, Ainger Roger Berry, the oldest of seven children, was born on March 15, 1879, in London, within the sound of Bow Bells. As a boy seaman in the Royal Navy in the early 1...

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