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Month: September 2018

War and the Spanish Flu
Military History

War and the Spanish Flu

As the First World War drew to a close, the world was hit by the greatest pandemic since the bubonic plague His aircraft holed and ablaze, Lieutenant Alan Arnett McLeod, just 18 years old, earned his Victoria Cross with bravery and blood in a spectacular aerial dogfight on March 27, 1918, over Albert, France. He stood with one foot on the rudder and one outside on a wing, steeply side-slipping to keep flames at bay, while eight enemy planes peppered his Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8 from all directions. Although wounded, McLeod and his observer Lieut. A.W. Hammond brought down three enemy aircraft before crashing in no man’s land. McLeod sustained another wound helping Hammond to safety under heavy enemy fire. McLeod spent six months in hospital in Europe, then was sent home to ...
Benefits of long-term RCAF study continue
Health, Military Health Matters

Benefits of long-term RCAF study continue

The Manitoba Follow-up Study (MFUS) is one of the longest health research studies in the world, if not the longest. After 70 years, it is still producing useful data. In 1948, it began tracking cardiovascular health of nearly 4,000 male Royal Canadian Air Force veterans. Roughly half remained in aviation for their full careers, either with the RCAF or commercial airlines (and half of those were career pilots). The other half returned to other civilian occupations. Participants had routine medical examinations, including cardiovascular assessments, every five years at first, then at three-year intervals. Since 1978, they’ve filled out annual questionnaires, and now are contacted three times a year. Data on smoking habits, cardiovascular health and physical activity were collected initi...
Ross Mitchell: A sniper from the farm
Front Lines, Podcasts

Ross Mitchell: A sniper from the farm

Ross Mitchell of Douglas, Man., was just 18 when he began infantry training with the Canadian army in 1943. Told he would not be sent overseas until he was 19, he decided to give the airborne a try. He spent the summer of 1944 running around Shilo and jumping off towers in stifling heat, learning how to be a paratrooper. The jumping part was an acquired skill. The killing part, he knew well enough. “I had shot thousands of gophers,” Mitchell, now 93, said recently. “And I’d shot cattle and pigs for my dad when he wanted to slaughter them. So killing didn’t really bother me. “They couldn’t train me now to do what I did then.” What Private Mitchell did then was the job of sniper, picking off German artillery observers from 500 metres using a Lee-Enfield .303 with a scope....

Regina Branch reopens with a new attitude

Regina Branch may be a shadow of its old self, but what a shadow it still casts. The 2,000-square-metre classical moderne-style building was constructed in the heydays after the Second World War, when the branch had more than 2,500 members. Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh attended the official opening in 1951. Boasting an auditorium, cafeteria, lounge, museum, offices and all the storage room the branch would ever need, the place was hopping for decades. Over the years, membership declined, utility costs skyrocketed and in the new millennium, the branch found itself with more building than it could afford. Several schemes for saving it fell through, and eventually the branch was forced to sell to a developer who wanted to put up a parking garage. Still,...
Taking solace in the <br>not-so-little things
Front Lines, Uncategorized

Taking solace in the
not-so-little things

Sometimes, the little things make a big difference. Sometimes the little things add up. And sometimes the little things are all you have. It might be wise to remember this as Canadian troops ramp up their peace operations in Mali, where they are conducting medical evacuations on behalf of United Nations forces trying to intervene in an al-Qaida-driven insurgency. Some say Canada should be doing more. Some say we shouldn’t be there at all. But unlike some previous deployments, Canada’s response in Mali is measured and expectations appear to be contained. Take, for example, Afghanistan. A recent New York Times study revealed that the Taliban control or contest 61 per cent of Afghan districts—largely, the numbers suggest, because opposing government forces are much smaller and weake...
Our American airmen
Home Front

Our American airmen

As Canada rushed to find instructors and aircrew for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, many Americans flocked north.   It was 1941 and Britain and the Allies were losing the war. German Panzers were sweeping across Russia and there seemed to be little to stop them. At home, the United States had not entered the war or even seriously rearmed. Some Americans took note that Canada, not the United States, was the arsenal for democracy. The British Eighth Army was transported on Canadian-made vehicles, and the same army fired Canadian 25-pounder shells from Canadian-made artillery. But the most significant contribution to the Allied victory was not munitions and equipment, it was the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), which President Franklin Roosevelt acknowle...

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