Day: November 18, 2020

Spy was great Canadian hero
Military Milestones

Spy was great Canadian hero

On Nov. 18, 1942, Canadian spy Gustave Bieler and his wireless operator were parachuted into France to begin work behind German lines. It was an inauspicious beginning—Bieler seriously injured his back when he landed on some rocks and he spent six weeks recovering in hospital under an assumed name. But he refused to return to England, and soon had set up one of the most successful spy rings in northern France, known as the Musician Network. Bieler, who emigrated to Canada at the age of 20, spoke European French and was serving as a regimental intelligence officer when he was recruited by the Special Operations Executive, which established networks in occupied countries to foil Germany’s war efforts and gather intelligence. The 25 teams in Bieler’s network were made up of French Re...
The Fence: Documentary exposes Japan’s wartime abuses
Front Lines

The Fence: Documentary exposes Japan’s wartime abuses

There is a scene an hour into Viveka Melki’s documentary The Fence in which George Peterson, the last surviving soldier of the Winnipeg Grenadiers imprisoned by the Japanese during the Second World War, cannot go on. It is, perhaps, one of the most poignant living testaments to Second World War suffering that exists anywhere, a Canadian’s first-person account of the abuses their Japanese captors inflicted on them after the fall of Hong Kong in December 1941. “I wasn’t injured during the war at all,” says the 96-year-old veteran. “But mentally, I think everybody was.” Speaking publicly about his four-year ordeal for the first time, he then starts to relate what happened on his first night as a PoW and the “one thing” that happened that he says he will never divulge. “That’s betw...