NEW! Canadian Military History Trivia Challenge

Day: February 22, 2022

Aubrey Cosens and the Victoria Cross
Military History, Military Milestones

Aubrey Cosens and the Victoria Cross

Aubrey Cosens was already a battle-hardened soldier when he earned the Victoria Cross three months shy of his 24th birthday. He’d had a hard life. He was born in 1921 in remote Porquis Junction in northern Ontario, a town reachable only by train. His father was a railwayman. After his mother died when he was four years old, Aubrey was raised by a neighbour. He left home in 1938, during the Great Depression. After an unsuccessful attempt to join the air force in 1939, he enlisted in the army in 1940, at 19. He’d attained the rank of corporal by D-Day and joined the Normandy campaign as a reinforcement in July, fighting with the Queen’s Own Rifles in the Battle of the Falaise Pocket in northern France and in the Netherlands in the Battle of the Scheldt. “The word responsibility is a b...
TV series tells story of Canada’s Black sleeping car porters
Defence Today, Front Lines

TV series tells story of Canada’s Black sleeping car porters

  Despite oppression and discrimination in their day-to-day lives, hundreds of Black men volunteered for service in the Canadian Expeditionary Force between 1914 and 1918, only to be met with another uphill battle simply to go to war. Most were rejected for service in local fighting units. About 800 eventually ended up in No. 2 Construction Battalion, a segregated support element commanded by mostly white officers. Still others—some 700—managed to join regular infantry units. Those who made it home returned to a postwar life in Canada similar to the one they left. They were still treated as second-class citizens and, even for those with university degrees, job opportunities were limited. Many were relegated to menial jobs, and one of those carved out for predominantly Blac...
Danger Close
Defence Today, Front Lines, Military History

Danger Close

Private Jess Randall Larochelle and the rest of 9 Platoon, Charles Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, had just arrived at a remote strongpoint in southern Afghanistan when all hell broke loose.  A Taliban force attacked their position. Two RCR soldiers were killed and several wounded, including Larochelle. The events of Oct. 14, 2006, forever altered the lives of the 24-year-old private and those who fought with him. In addition to soldierly excellence, Larochelle displayed “moral courage, an overwhelming sense of duty” to his fellow troops, said retired lieutenant-general Omer Lavoie, the battle group commander who was in the firefight that day. The attackers came so close that when Lavoie, then a lieutenant-colonel, summoned an artillery strike, he called “danger...
Biscuits in Bed
Humour Hunt

Biscuits in Bed

Many Canadian soldiers arriving in Britain at the start of the Second World War found themselves billeted at Aldershot, which had been a training ground for more than 80 years. The Canadians were issued mattresses which came in three pieces called biscuits, which they suspected dated back to the opening of the camp. The biscuits were hard and filthy, impregnated with soot from the coal-burning stoves that heated the barracks. The Canadians soon dubbed them “sons of biscuits.” ­­ During the Gulf War, a hotel in Dubai became a home base for a collection of Canadian war correspondents and military personnel, including public affairs officers and staff members. There was no bar, but the hotel did offer a mini bowling alley for entertainment and the Canadians tended to congregate there in th...

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