Day: March 23, 2021

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...

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.