Day: January 30, 2019

Invisible injury
Military Health Matters

Invisible injury

If a soldier’s moral conscience is damaged, the problem and the solution can both be hard to find   For almost a decade, Canadian Armed Forces reservist James (not his real name) has been haunted by memories from one of his three tours to Afghanistan—haunted by something he did not do.  An Afghan civilian reported to him that a member of the Taliban had set an improvised explosive device (IED) along a route travelled by patrols returning to base. The informant said he could see the terrorist lying in wait, ready to blow up the next military vehicle to come by. Although he was in radio contact with a Canadian convoy using that road, James had been ordered to pass such information only up through the chain of command, where it would be verified and orders issued. He was warne...
Ernie Verhulst (Part 2): Growing up fast in occupied Holland
Front Lines

Ernie Verhulst (Part 2): Growing up fast in occupied Holland

This is the second of two stories on Ernie Verhulst’s childhood in occupied Holland. To read part one, published on Jan. 23 click here. A wide-eyed boy when the occupation of the Netherlands started, Ernie Verhulst had witnessed widespread atrocities, death and destruction. The sound of streams of Allied bombers passing overhead on their way to targets in Germany—Americans by day; British and Canadians by night—had become so commonplace he rarely bothered to look up anymore. By the fourth year of Germany’s occupation, the Dutch youth’s Jewish neighbours had been hustled off to concentration camps, suspected resistance members had been shot, suicide victims floated down the Maas River and in this, the “Hunger Winter” of 1944, 20,000 Dutch would die of starvation. Indeed, Verhulst’s...
A Mountie is killed by the Mad Trapper
Military Milestones

A Mountie is killed by the Mad Trapper

On Jan. 30, 1932, Albert Johnson, known as the Mad Trapper of Rat River, sealed his fate by killing RCMP Constable Edgar Millen. Surly and unfriendly, Johnson built a cabin in the summer of 1931 at prime trapping grounds along the Rat River in the Northwest Territories—but he never got a licence to trap. When trapping season started, members of the Loucheux First Nation found someone interfering with their traps—and the only new person on the scene was Johnson. They complained to Millen at Fort McPherson, south of Inuvik. Millen sent out two investigators, who trekked a week to Johnson’s cabin. Met with surly resistance, the constables went to Aklavik for reinforcements and a search warrant. When the expanded party of four reached the cabin again on Dec. 31, 1931, Const. Alfred Ki...

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