Month: June 2020

Friend and foe depicted anonymously in online exhibition
Front Lines

Friend and foe depicted anonymously in online exhibition

The art world is rife with paintings of old men. The halls of power, academia, galleries and museums are festooned with centuries’ worth of portraits of males who supposedly changed the world, a little or a lot. So when it was suggested to artist Catherine Jones nearly 20 years ago that she start painting veterans--old men, all--she recoiled. That genre had been done to death, or so she thought. “I said, ‘oh yeah, right. Old guys on canvas. That’ll get me kicked out of the art world,’” recalls Jones, who to that point had been a conceptual artist. Except that these old men, dispatched by the powerful, really had changed the world—with their guts, their wits and their devotion. They were Second World War veterans, every one, and Jones, who started painting them while recovering fro...
Ordeal at sea
Military Milestones

Ordeal at sea

At 7 p.m. June 25, 1944, at the end of a 10-hour anti-submarine patrol that had taken them 400 kilometres north of Scotland’s Shetland Islands, RCAF Flight Lieutenant David Ernest Hornell and his crew of eight aboard Canso 9754 were thinking of returning to land. The weather was turning bad, with low clouds and rough seas. Should they return to Scotland, or divert to Iceland, more than 800 kilometres away? When the gunner spotted a U-boat below, the choice was taken away. Hornell attacked the submarine, despite jamming the plane’s starboard guns. Instead of diving, U-1225 opened fire, ripping holes in the starboard wing and shattering its engine, which caught fire. Confident they had done in the aircraft, the U-boat crew stopped firing, allowing Hornell to manoeuvre his cripple...
Guarding the Northwest Passage
Military Milestones

Guarding the Northwest Passage

On June 16, 1903, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and a crew of six left home waters in a herring boat names Gjøa to sail to Canada in search of a way to the Pacific Ocean through the Arctic Ocean across Northern Canada. He was the first to navigate the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, reaching the Bering Strait in 1906. The feat was welcomed by merchants, traders and governments on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The passage could cut 7,000 kilometres off the trade route from the west to east coasts of North America via the Panama Canal. But for the next century, ice made the route unfeasible. In 2007, the passage was temporarily ice-free for the first time. Merchants began pressuring to develop the passage for routine cargo transport between Asia and...
New podcasts profile military women
Front Lines

New podcasts profile military women

Eleanor Taylor was just 17 years old when, oblivious to any gender barriers real or imagined, she joined the infantry with a simple plan to find excitement and adventure in the world beyond the small Nova Scotia town where she grew up. Having overcome the challenges of basic training, she would go on to lead combat troops—men, all—travel the world, and push far beyond those first, modest career goals before retiring a lieutenant-colonel after 25 years. Now a wife, mother of two and reserve officer with 36 Canadian Brigade Group in Halifax, Taylor has no regrets. “It’s only in retrospect that I can see that the environment was not as supportive of me in its entirety as it might have been for my brother officers,” said Taylor, one of five women soldiers profiled in a new podcast ser...
Choose our cover for the next issue of <em>Canada’s Ultimate Story!</em>
News

Choose our cover for the next issue of Canada’s Ultimate Story!

– Click on above covers to enlarge – 2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, from July to October 1940. The next issue of Canada’s Ultimate Story explores the furious air defence of the British Isles that pitted Spitfires against Messerschmitts, and the role of Canadians who flew and fought. Help us choose the next cover for “Canadians in the Battle of Britain.” On newsstands across Canada Aug. 3, 2020. Loading…
The “Miracle of Dunkirk” came at high cost
Front Lines

The “Miracle of Dunkirk” came at high cost

British prime minister Winston Churchill called the 1940 evacuation of British and Allied troops from the French port at Dunkirk “a colossal military disaster.” He also called it “a miracle of deliverance.” Somehow, defeat had turned to victory, of sorts. Between May 27 and June 4, a ragtag fleet of 850 barges, ferries, fishing boats, lifeboats and pleasure craft, all summoned by the small-craft section of the British Ministry of Shipping, set sail from Ramsgate and made its way 40 kilometres across the English Channel. Manned by naval officers, ratings and experienced volunteers—mostly fishermen, a few yachtsmen and one legendary seaman—they navigated the shallow waters into Dunkirk and managed to rescue some 338,000 soldiers from advancing German forces. Some acte...

Sign up today for a FREE download of Canada’s War Stories

Free e-book

An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.