Month: May 2019

5 Ways D-DAY Changed the World
Military History

5 Ways D-DAY Changed the World

Three-quarters of a century have passed since American, British and Canadian forces landed on the Normandy coast on June 6, 1944, in the greatest seaborne invasion in history. The attack began the liberation of Western Europe, the defeat of Nazi Germany and the events that followed led to Europe being divided between democracies and totalitarian communist regimes. But the democracies eventually prevailed and by the 1990s, almost all of Europe was led by freely elected governments. It all began with D-Day.      1.The impact on Canada D-Day mattered greatly to Canada and Canadians. The Second World War had been underway for almost five years and the first Canadian soldiers had landed in England before the end of 1939. The air force had been in action since 1940, the navy since the start...
James Strachan: Old enough to die; too young to drink
Front Lines

James Strachan: Old enough to die; too young to drink

The grim cost of the D-Day invasion still haunts James Strachan, 75 years after he delivered troops to the beaches of Normandy. Strachan was a signaller aboard a Landing Craft, Infantry (Large), manning the Oerlikon gun as his assault vessel shuttled back and forth across the rolling English Channel, ferrying seasick soldiers in and dead and wounded out during history’s greatest seaborne invasion. A native of Selkirk, Scotland, Strachan came to Canada at age five. After joining the Royal Canadian Navy at 17, he sailed in a corvette, landing in England then training in combined services operations along the sea-swept shores of his homeland. During the invasion, he landed troops along three Allied sectors of the French coast—Juno Beach in the Canadian sector, Sword Beach in the Brit...
Billy Bishop’s early morning raid
Military Milestones

Billy Bishop’s early morning raid

In the first two months of Billy Bishop’s flying career, from the end of March to the end of May 1917, the flying ace had brought down 22 planes and earned the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross. And his most famous exploit was yet to come. On June 2, he took off in his Nieuport 17 aircraft from the home base of No. 60 Squadron in northern France, deliberately early in the morning, intending to destroy an aerodrome. “Dawn was the hour I considered advisable, as there would be very few machines in the air, and I would have a great chance of evading trouble on the way to the aerodrome,” he wrote in Winged Warfare. He flew over enemy lines and, when his original target proved unsuitable, spotted, near Cambrai, a group of canvas hangars and six aircraft, some with their e...
Peace at last
Artifacts

Peace at last

We sat down with Gary Luton, Director of Treaty Law at Global Affairs Canada to discuss the most famous treaty of the 20th Century, the Treaty of Versailles. The signing of the Armistice at 5:45 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, ended the fighting between the Allies and Germany, but it was the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, that ushered in peace. It also helped Canada take a step toward sovereignty. Sir Robert Borden was prime minister on Aug. 4, 1914, when a telegram informed him his country was at war. Britain had declared war on Germany. Canada, as a dominion, was automatically also at war. And Canada answered enthusiastically, contributing volunteers, food, money and materials. Borden was a champion of Canada’s right to handle its own affairs, separate from and ...
Preventing broken bones
Health

Preventing broken bones

The Canadian Armed Forces takes broken bones very seriously indeed. Personnel suffered more than 4,200 fractures in 2014-16, an examination of military and civilian medical records revealed. Annually over the period, fractures resulted in 34,000 to 81,000 workdays lost, $12.5 million to $30 million in wages lost, and an average cost of $5.6 million in medical care. Fractures reduce troop strength and threaten individual careers through increased risk of second fractures, development of a disability and medical release, it was reported at the 2018 Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research Forum in Regina.  “Research shows that 80 per cent to 95 per cent of all injuries are preventable,” says the CAF booklet Injury Reduction Strategies for Sports and Physical Activit...
Eisenhower & Rommel
Heroes And Villains

Eisenhower & Rommel

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER In the end, everything depended on the weather. On the evening of June 3, 1944—with 150,000 men, nearly 12,000 aircraft and almost 7,000 sea vessels awaiting his command—Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower had to measure the reliability of his chief meteorologist. The Normandy invasion was to have launched on June 5, but now Group Captain J.M. Stagg predicted that a storm would create seas too rough for launching landing craft and thick clouds would prevent the preparatory air bombardment. Reluctantly, Eisenhower decided on a day’s postponement. The following evening, a Sunday, Eisenhower, his senior commanders, and Stagg’s weather team gathered again at 9:30 in the conference room of Southwick House in Plymouth on England’s southern coast. S...
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