Month: October 2018

Clearing the Scheldt
Military Milestones

Clearing the Scheldt

Overnight on Oct. 31, 1944, Canadian troops fought to establish a foothold on Walcheren Island, the last obstacle to opening the port of Antwerp, Belgium, to Allied shipping. The Allied invasion moved so quickly that by September, supplies had become a problem. What could be delivered through Allied-held ports or by air was insufficient to support an invasion of Germany. Antwerp, about 100 kilometres inland on the Scheldt River, was in Allied hands and could handle 1,000 ships at a time, but the Germans commanded the river approaches in the Netherlands. The First Canadian Army was tasked with liberating the Scheldt, supported by British and Polish troops. The gruelling campaign began on Oct. 2 to clear the Breskens Pocket and Leopold Canal and secure the islands on the river d...
Juno Beach Centre launches dog tag campaign
News

Juno Beach Centre launches dog tag campaign

The Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France, has launched a fundraising campaign featuring dog tags to commemorate the 5,500 Canadians killed in action during the Battle of Normandy in 1944. The money will support commemoration and educational activities as the centre marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing in 2019. For a $100 donation, participants will receive two dog tags, one red and one green. The green tag will feature the name of one of the 5,500 Canadians killed in the summer of 1944 and buried in Normandy. The tag will show the person’s name, rank, regiment or unit, hometown, age and date of death. The red tag can be customized to each individual donor. It can pay tribute to a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and can include name, rank, military un...
Inside Afghanistan: Life and the art of the barter
Front Lines

Inside Afghanistan: Life and the art of the barter

Over the course of three Canadian army tours in their parched and war-ravaged homeland, Alex Watson came to know and respect the long-suffering Afghan people for their courage, resilience, devotion and unfailing courtesy. As a CiMiC (civilian-military co-operation) officer and later as a company commander attached to an Afghan National Army battalion, Watson became intimately acquainted with the citizens and culture Canadian troops were sent to protect. In Kandahar in 2002, he was a young captain with the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry battle group. He was among the first Canadians charged with the task of reaching out to Afghan villagers, fostering trust and cultivating a network of informal allies, not to mention watchful eyes and ears. Th...
A call to remember
Editorial

A call to remember

More than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in the Second World War. More than 45,000 were killed and another 55,000 were wounded. Only 41,100 of them remained as of March 2017, according to Veterans Affairs Canada. Nearly all are now in their 90s. Many, if not most, Second World War veterans were reluctant to recount their wartime experiences (except while sitting with their comrades in Legion halls across the country), choosing instead to suppress the horror of it all as they built new postwar lives back home. Some, of course, did put pen to paper after returning. One of Canada’s best known is Farley Mowat, whose And No Birds Sang and The Regiment are first-hand accounts of his experiences with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division in Italy. Legion Magazine’s own library ...
The dispute that saved the Welland Canal
Humour Hunt

The dispute that saved the Welland Canal

– Illustration by Malcolm Jones – For most Canadians, the Great War, an ocean away and a century ago, is a distant horror. We know of the tragic valour of Canadian soldiers on the battlefields of France from Ypres to Artois to the Somme. The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is a fitting monument to the battle that helped define our nation. It’s hard to imagine anything amusing emerging from that terrible war from 1914 to 1918. But there is at least one incident that, with a century of hindsight, seems at least mildly amusing. In the early part of the last century, the Great War actually came to North American shores as a clandestine conflict. Ken Cuthbertson, a veteran journalist and historian, recently published a wonderful book about the Halifax Explosion, appropriately entitled Th...
Bells of Peace will sound the Armistice
News

Bells of Peace will sound the Armistice

The Royal Canadian Legion is hoping to mark the centennial of the end of the First World War with the solemn sound of church bells ringing in communities throughout Canada on Nov. 11. “The Dominion Executive Council wanted us to find a way to appropriately mark the centennial of the Armistice,” said Deputy Director of Corporate Services Danny Martin. “There were several suggestions made. We wanted to find something in which the entire Legion could participate.” The program that was accepted is known as the Bells of Peace. The intention is to encourage communities to make their church bells toll 100 times at the setting of the sun on Remembrance Day. With seven different time zones in Canada, the ringing will be staggered as the sunset occurs, east to west. “We invite communities to b...

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