On this date: October 2020

1 October 1917
Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Bent of Halifax is killed while leading a successful counterattack to regain lost positions at Polygon Wood in Belgium. He receives a posthumous Victoria Cross.

2 October 1535
Jacques Cartier arrives at Hochelaga (now Montreal) on his second voyage to North America.

3 October 1914

The Canadian Expeditionary Force’s first contingent of 30,000 sails from Quebec to join the war effort in Europe.

4 October 1944
HMCS Chebogue is torpedoed by U-1227 in mid-Atlantic and seven sailors die. The ship is towed 1,400 kilometres to Wales.

5 October 1970
British Trade Commissioner James Cross is kidnapped in Montreal by the Front de libération du Québec, beginning the October Crisis (see page TK).

6 October 1939

Invading German and Soviet Union forces gain full control of Poland.

7 October 1918
The Spanish Flu claims its first victim in Montreal. The pandemic kills approximately 50,000 Canadians and an estimated 7 million to 50 million worldwide.

8 October 2008
After an ambush in Afghanistan, Master Corporal David Richard Tedford leaves his vehicle in a hail of bullets to clear a jammed cannon. He is awarded the Medal of Military Valour.

9 October 1943
German sub U-220 lays 66 magnetic mines 24 kilometres off St. John’s Harbour.

10 October 1970
Quebec Labour and Immigration Minister Pierre Laporte is kidnapped and later murdered by the Front de libération du Québec.

11 October 1899
The Second Boer War—between the British Empire and two independent Boer states in South Africa—begins.

12 October 1957
Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson receives the Nobel Peace Prize for establishing a peacekeeping force during the 1956 Suez Crisis.

13 October 1812
British Major-General Sir Isaac Brock is killed at the Battle of Queenston Heights.

14 October 1918
A Royal Newfoundland Regiment platoon captures four machine guns, four field guns and eight prisoners in the Battle of Courtrai. Private Thomas Ricketts is awarded the Victoria Cross, the youngest VC army recipient in a combatant role.

15 October 1976
Canada announces an agreement to purchase 127 West German-made Leopard I C1 tanks to replace aging Centurion tanks. Most are stationed in Germany during the Cold War.

16 October 1690
The Battle of Québec—between the colonies of New France and Massachusetts Bay, then ruled by France and England, respectively—is the first test of Quebec’s defences.

17 October 1944
HMCS Prince Henry and HMCS Prince David land liberation forces in Greece.

18 October 1929
Women are included in the legal definition of “persons,” opening the way for increased participation in public and political life. However, the ruling did not include all women, excluding Indigenous women and women of Asian heritage and descent.

19 October 1943
British ore carrier Penolver and American freighter Delisle hit mines laid by U-220 off St. John’s Harbour.

20 October 1671
Bachelors in New France are ordered to marry filles du roi (King’s Daughters)—800 young French women who immigrated in 1663-73 in a program sponsored by King Louis XIV—or else lose their hunting, fishing and fur-trade rights.

21 October 1916
The 4th Canadian Division launches the first of three attacks on Regina Trench.

22 October 1940
In thick rain, HMCS Margaree collides with M/V Port Fairy in the North Atlantic; 142 RCN sailors are killed.

23 October 1911
The world’s first aerial reconnaissance mission is completed by Italian pilot Captain Carlo Piazza over Turkish lines.

24 October 2003
A British Airways Concorde lands at Heathrow Airport in London on the supersonic jet’s final commercial passenger flight.

25 October 1982
Two of Canada’s new McDonnell Douglas CF-18s fly over Ottawa and, soon after, are delivered to 410 Squadron at Cold Lake, Alta.

26 October 1917
Canadian Corps joins the Battle of Passchendaele and, despite heavy rain and shelling, captures the ridge in less than two weeks.

27 October 1918
Lieutenant-Colonel William Barker shoots down an enemy two-seater over France. Seriously wounded, he shoots down three more enemy aircraft before crash landing near Allied lines. He is awarded the Victoria Cross.

28 October 1943
U-220 is sunk by depth charges dropped by aircraft from the carrier USS Block Island. Fifty-six crew die; there are no survivors.

29 October 1952
HMCS Athabaskan leaves Esquimalt, B.C., on its third tour of duty in Korea.

30 October 2009
An improvised explosive device kills Sapper Steven Marshall of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment while on foot patrol southwest of Kandahar, Afghanistan.

31 October 1944
The Canadian Army attacks the causeway to Walcheren Island on the Scheldt Estuary in the Netherlands.

CANADA AND THE
VICTORIA CROSS

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