Month: June 2019

Ted Martens: Dutch resistance fighter
Front Lines

Ted Martens: Dutch resistance fighter

Ted Martens did whatever he could to derail the Nazi war machine while serving with the Dutch resistance during the Second World War—then the Nazi war machine derailed him, but only briefly. Martens was captured early in 1942 and came within a hair’s-breadth of torture and execution at the hands of German troops. But the strapping Dutchman staged a daring escape and later joined British forces in the drive to liberate his homeland from Nazi tyranny. The youngest of eight children born on a dairy farm, Martens was just 18 when he and a handful of friends mounted a resistance cell around their village of Neerbosch, less than 20 kilometres from Nijmegen. Martens had a year of small-college education under his belt. But his plans to follow three uncles into law had been ...
The sinking of the <em> Llandovery Castle </em>
Military Milestones

The sinking of the Llandovery Castle

On the night of June 27, 1918, 14 nursing sisters, all but two Canadian, died, victims of a war crime. The Canadian hospital ship Llandovery Castle was on its way back to England after delivering recovering soldiers to Halifax. It was running with full lights, its Red Cross clearly illuminated, when it crossed the path of a German U-boat about 200 kilometres from the Irish coast. Although attacking a hospital ship was against international law as well as the standing orders of the German navy, U-86’s captain Helmut Brümmer-Patzig believed it was carrying troops and ammunition. He launched a torpedo attack, ignoring his right under the Hague Convention to stop and search the ship. It took only 10 minutes for the ship to sink, but in that time survivors were bustled into lifeboats. ...
Honouring Aboriginal veterans
Military Milestones

Honouring Aboriginal veterans

In Confederation Park, just a block or so down the hill from the National War Memorial in Ottawa, the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument was unveiled on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, 2001, the year Canada entered the war in Afghanistan. It was a long time coming, for tens of thousands of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people have served in Canada’s military and the Canadian Rangers at home and abroad, and more than 500 have died. No strangers to war in pre-Columbian history, Aboriginal warriors were drawn into alliances with colonizing European countries. The British estimated they might have the support of as many as 10,000 Aboriginal warriors during the War of 1812. At least 86 of the 367 men recruited for the 1885 Nile Relief Expedition were Indigenous people fro...
Euphemisms, acronyms and outright lies: The language of war
Front Lines

Euphemisms, acronyms and outright lies: The language of war

  For decades, politicians referred to the Korean War as the ‘Korean Conflict,’ as if the soldiers who fought and died on the battlefields of the disputed peninsula were somehow less soldierly or less dead if killed by conflict rather than war. Some 2.5 million people died in the Koreas between 1950 and 1953, including 516 Canadians, and the war is not over yet. The armistice paused the fighting; 66 years later, there still has been no peace treaty signed to end it. Officially, there was no declaration of war in Korea—it was a ‘police action’ (another euphemism)—so, technically, the politicians were correct, though ‘conflict’ suggests something more in the nature of a marital tiff than all-out war. Whoever came up with the phrase probably never saw a day of action in thei...
Indigenous veterans often unaware of their benefits
News

Indigenous veterans often unaware of their benefits

More effort is necessary to overcome geographic, political and cultural obstacles preventing indigenous veterans and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces from receiving benefits and commemoration they have earned, says the Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA). “Confidence that equality in combat will be followed by equal recognition…will be a powerful sign that reconciliation between indigenous people and other Canadians has truly been accomplished,” concludes ACVA’s February report, Indigenous Veterans: From Memories of Injustice to Lasting Recognition. “I am satisfied with the report as long as the work continues,” said President Robert Thibeau of Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones, who added it was good that in addition to public meetings in Ottawa, the committ...
Padre of the Newfoundland Regiment honoured
News

Padre of the Newfoundland Regiment honoured

The legacy of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Nangle, chaplain to the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during the First World War, was honoured at his alma mater, St. Bonaventure’s College in St. John’s, on Jan. 17 with the creation of a new bursary. The Nangle Memorial Bursary is a gift from Nangle’s son-in-law, Neil Galbraith and his wife, Mavourneen (Nangle) Galbraith of New South Wales, Australia. The bursary is for $48,000, the same amount of money publicly raised by Nangle in 1922 to ensure the completion of Newfoundland’s distinctive National War Memorial in St. John’s. Nangle was born in St. John’s in 1889. His father died shortly after and he was placed in the Roman Catholic Orphanage in St. John’s. When Nangle turned 15, he became a live-in boarder at St. Bonaventure’s College, where h...

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