Month: October 2019

Spain and Britain settle a trade war
Military Milestones

Spain and Britain settle a trade war

Spain and Great Britain once nearly went to war over what is now a part of Canada. The Spanish were the first Europeans to explore and claim the Pacific Northwest. In 1493, Pope Alexander VI granted Spain a claim to any lands they discovered west of the Azores not already held by a Christian prince. The Spanish took a liberal interpretation of the papal bull as they explored South and North America, naming geographical features after Spanish explorers, sailors and nobles. In 1775, they reached what is now British Columbia, which explains why its many islands, bays and straits have Spanish names. In 1778, a British expedition searching for the Northwest Passage landed about 100 kilometres north of Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Captain James Cook’s ships were wel...
Raeder’s defence: German admiral fights for his doomed fleet
Front Lines

Raeder’s defence: German admiral fights for his doomed fleet

Nazi Germany’s top naval commander mounted an epic defence of his sailors and their ships before an outraged Führer in January 1943, boldly predicting catastrophe if Hitler followed through on threats to scrap his high-seas fleet. Documents seized by Allied forces at the end of the Second World War cast a light on the continuing struggle Hitler’s senior military officers had in waging war and reasoning with their wilful boss. The dictator was already fed up with what he felt was the Kriegsmarine’s underperformance in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic, but his anger reached the breaking point after a failed attack on an Allied convoy in the Barents Sea in December 1942. He ordered Grand Admiral Erich Raeder to submit a plan for docking the navy’s big ships. Raeder came back day...
Effects of mefloquine use still questioned
News

Effects of mefloquine use still questioned

A report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA) shows a division among members of Parliament in how to approach addressing the problems of veterans who may be suffering long-term effects of exposure to the anti-malaria drug mefloquine. While the majority of the committee back the cautious approach in the report, the Conservative Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party MPs on the committee filed reports containing dissenting opinions. In 1992-93, Canadian Armed Forces members were instructed to take mefloquine to protect against malaria while they were deployed to Somalia, before Health Canada approved it for sale, ostensibly as part of a clinical trial. But the soldiers were not asked for informed consent nor were their adverse reactions monitored,...
The Life of John McCrae
News

The Life of John McCrae

 John McCrae—doctor, gunner and poet—was shaken by the battlefield death of a friend in May 1915, and wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” in tribute. The poem took on a life of its own, and remains today a renowned symbol of remembrance. As a surgeon, McCrae also saved the lives of countless Canadian soldiers, wounded in the fierce battles on the muddy, cratered fields of Belgium’s Flanders region. This tribute paid to Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae highlights some of the many facets of the man behind the famous poem, “In Flanders Fields.” With our newest edition of Canada’s Ultimate Story, we offer our readers the the opportunity to explore McCrae and his life, work and legacy. Order your edition of John McCrae and the Battles of Flanders, written by Tom MacGregor, on our online...
Landmine removal efforts lagging in Afghanistan as casualties mount
Front Lines

Landmine removal efforts lagging in Afghanistan as casualties mount

Old landmines, unexploded ordnance and abandoned munitions claimed more than 20,000 casualties in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2018, the vast majority of them civilian, says a new report that serves as a damning indictment of coalition pledges to clean up after of four decades of war in the beleaguered country. More than 20 years after 122 states signed on to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty to eradicate and clear antipersonnel mines, known as the Ottawa Convention, the area of Afghanistan contaminated by landmines and what are known as explosive remnants of war (ERW) has almost tripled, says the Brown University report. The document, published by the Costs of War Project at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs in Rhode Island, estimates the amount of Afghan territory made u...
RCAF’s first Distinguished Flying Cross
Military Milestones

RCAF’s first Distinguished Flying Cross

On Oct. 22, 1940, Squadron Leader Ernest McNab of Saskatoon was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the first member of the Royal Canadian Air Force to be decorated (excluding those Canadians serving with the Royal Air Force). Commanding officer of Canada’s first fighter squadron, McNab was also the first to see combat. He shot down a German Dornier bomber on his first foray with the RAF during the Battle of Britain on Aug. 15, 1940, during a training mission to gain battle experience. He bagged the Dornier, staying on its tail as it rolled and corkscrewed, attempting to get away. As the plane steadied for a moment, McNab sprayed it with machine-gun fire. A second blast shortly afterward brought it down. McNab was a superb pilot, described as “a helluva scrapper who is a handful ...

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