Month: March 2021

Bird strike caused fatal Snowbirds crash, report confirms
Defence Today, Front Lines

Bird strike caused fatal Snowbirds crash, report confirms

A single small bird brought down a Canadian Snowbirds demonstration aircraft last year after it was sucked into the plane’s engine and caused a compressor stall, a flight safety report confirmed on March 29. Both air crew escaped the CT-114 Tutor as it went down on takeoff near Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. But they were low and Captain Jennifer Casey—the team’s public affairs officer—was killed after she is believed to have become briefly entangled with her ejection seat and her parachute failed to fully open. The pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall, landed on the roof of a house and was badly injured. “Upon loss of power, the pilot initiated a climb straight ahead and then a turn back towards the airport,” said a Defence Department statement. “During this maneuver, the aircraft ente...
Searching for Tirpitz
Military History, Military Milestones

Searching for Tirpitz

On March 31, 1944, Canadian destroyers HMCS Sioux and HMCS Algonquin left Scapa Flow in Scotland’s Orkney Islands to join Operation Tungsten, the hunt for the German battleship Tirpitz. Tirpitz was a massive ship launched in 1939. It was 251 metres long, had eight 15-inch guns and could carry four aircraft and 2,000 crew. At 39,000 tonnes, it was built to intimidate. During the Second World War, Tirpitz was strategically stationed by the Germans in the fiords of Norway to prevent Allied convoys from reaching the Soviet Union, to discourage an Allied invasion of Scandinavia, and to tie up the Allied navies in a deadly game of cat and mouse. “If it had come out at any time, it could have decimated a convoy,” said Albert Edward Revie of Algonquin, in one of several Memory Project int...
Declassified documents shed new light on notorious sinking of USS Thresher
Defence Today, Front Lines

Declassified documents shed new light on notorious sinking of USS Thresher

At 8 a.m. on April 9, 1963, USS Thresher (SSN-593), the lead boat in its class of nuclear-powered attack submarines, left port at Kittery, Maine, for a series of dive tests in the deep ocean 350 kilometres east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Some 25 hours later, while Thresher was nearing test depth during its first deep-dive trials after a nine-month refit, USS Skylark, the submarine rescue ship that was on station at the time, received a garbled message via underwater telephone. "By mid-afternoon, 15 navy ships were headed to the search area." “Minor difficulties, have positive up-angle, attempting to blow,” came the call, and then a final, even more garbled message distinguished by the number “900” at 9:17 a.m. Sonar technicians reported hearing mysterious “air rushing” noises. The...
Paratrooper medic received the Victoria Cross
Military History, Military Milestones

Paratrooper medic received the Victoria Cross

On the morning of March 24, 1945, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion jumped into heavily defended territory on the east bank of the Rhine River, part of the airborne assault during the Battle of the Bulge. “They called it Operation Varsity,” recalled Herb Harris, a member of the battalion. “Our group of 2,000 men jumped together in six minutes, going out one on top of the other. We landed across the Rhine and we were right on top of the Jerries. It was intense fire—the Germans just opened up on us.” There were immediate casualties—23 Canadians were killed and two were captured. Among the 40 wounded was Corporal Frederick George Topham. “Corporal Topham was our medical orderly,” Harris recalled. “He went forward in intense fire to replace the orderlies killed…as they were trying to ten...
Sombre coverage
Editorial, News

Sombre coverage

The Legionary cover headline in September 1939 was sombre—Canada at War—and the words ‘The Fighting Man’s Magazine’ were added to the masthead.   The magazine’s coverage now included Legion programs for personnel at home and overseas, which included education services, recreation huts, publications, sports and mobile kitchens. The Legionary also had its own overseas correspondent, a Legion welfare officer attached to the 1st Canadian Infantry Division. The July 1940 issue included “The Nazi Bluff,” an essay debunking German invincibility. Improvements and gaps in veterans’ benefits and services continued to be covered, and coverage also reflected concerns of a new generation navigating the bureaucracy to obtain land grants, re-establishment credits, financial aid for higher educa...
Honouring centenarians
Editorial, Our Veterans

Honouring centenarians

Never before have so many Canadians reached the grand old age of 100, and their compatriots are noticing. Among the last of “The Greatest Generation,” many are veterans of the Second World War and Korea, and they have been feted with tributes, news coverage, mailing campaigns, even parades. There’s Fred Arsenault of Toronto (March 6), Harold Freeston of Langley, B.C. (June 24), Armour Hanna of Toronto (July 1), Bill Marr of South Surrey, B.C. (Aug. 25), Winnifred Magor of Calgary (Nov. 9), Robert Spencer of Ottawa (Nov. 9), Gordon Piers of Nicola Valley, B.C. (Nov. 10), David Thiessen of Abbotsford, B.C. (Nov. 11), Jack Coles of Qualicum Beach, B.C. (Nov. 16), Peter Chance of Sidney, B.C. (Nov. 24), Monica Christensen of Toronto (Nov. 26), and George Wilson of Lethbridge, Alta. (Dec....

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