Artifacts

ARTIFACTS: Cool idea?
Artifacts

ARTIFACTS: Cool idea?

Aircraft carriers were a great innovation in protecting convoys out of range of land airbases during the Second World War. But aluminum and steel were in great demand. Could another material be used? Geoffrey Pyke, a researcher with Britain’s Combined Operations Headquarters, knew how difficult it is to destroy an iceberg, and he wondered: what about an airfield on the levelled top of a berg? Problem was that only about 10 per cent of an iceberg is above the surface, so one large enough to accommodate a runway would need hundreds of metres of ice below water and be impossible to tow. Besides, icebergs have a tendency to melt in mid-Atlantic. Enter pykrete, a mixture of water and wood pulp which proved amazingly strong after freezing. Invented by polymer chemists but named for Pyke...
Discarded Medals
Artifacts

Discarded Medals

It is oh, so easy for a veteran’s service and sacrifice to be forgotten. Veterans themselves may not tell their stories—perhaps to avoid painful memories or to spare loved ones from experiencing, even second-hand, the horrors of war—and this chapter in the family history, and its importance, is not passed along. Perhaps that’s how some First World War medals were nearly consigned to the rubbish heap in Winnipeg in the early 2000s. A family clearing out an apartment after a death put out boxes of unwanted stuff and invited other residents to help themselves. One neighbour picked out a small box containing a crest with the initials KOSB, and four medals, three from the First World War. Mistakenly discarded, he thought, but a family member told him they were not wanted. He kept them, not ...
The winged ship: HMCS <em> Bras d’Or </em>
Artifacts

The winged ship: HMCS Bras d’Or

Legion Magazine sat down with Lt. (N) Jason Delaney, Naval Historian at the Directorate of History and Heritage for the Department of National Defence, to discuss Canada’s hydrofoil project of the 1960s – HMCS Bras d’Or. During sea trials in 1969, the vessel exceeded 63 knots (117 km/h; 72 mph), making her the fastest unarmed warship in the world at the time. The project was ultimately scrapped, but lots can be learned from it. This is part 1 of 2 videos on Canada’s Hydrofoil. Browse our previous artifacts video interviews here. During the Cold War, fast and deadly Soviet nuclear-powered submarines were deployed along the North American coast, capable of launching a nuclear weapon attack practically without warning. Tasked with anti-submarine duties by the North Atlantic Treat...
Box of memories
Artifacts

Box of memories

  In early March, a large number of military artifacts from a little-known Canadian engagement was nearly lost to history. A boxful of photos and documents, leftovers from an estate sale, ended up donated to a Goodwill store in Port Colborne, Ont., which recognized its historic importance and turned it over to the Niagara Military Museum. “It’s a treasure trove,” said Jim Doherty, president of the museum. Inside the box were artifacts documenting the deployment of Colonel Frank Campbell to Vietnam in 1973. He was a member of the International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICCS) delegation. A briefcase, albums, documents, photographs and mementoes of his military career were in the box. When the United States withdrew from Vietnam, it asked Canada to participate i...
Goggle-eyed lifesaver
Artifacts

Goggle-eyed lifesaver

Legion Magazine sat down with Tim Cook, author and historian at the Canadian War Museum, to discuss the introduction of gas warfare in the First World War and the invention and evolution of Gas Masks used to save the soldiers’ lives. The first gas mask issued to British troops after the Germans unleashed the devilish new weapon in 1915 was devised by a doctor from Newfoundland.  On April 22, 1915, German troops on the Western Front released 160 tonnes of chlorine gas, which turned into a yellow-green cloud six kilometres long and half a kilometre wide. It drifted on the wind over Canadian and French lines and, heavier than air, settled in low areas—turning trenches into death traps. When chlorine contacts moisture in the eyes, nose and lungs, it turns to an acid that blinds...
Tew’s sword
Artifacts

Tew’s sword

 Seized as a battlefield trophy, then displayed by an Ottawa regiment for a half-century, a U.S. Civil War weapon is returned As long as there has been war, warriors have taken trophies from vanquished enemies: helmets, caps, badges, guns, knives and—most highly prized—swords. One such, which found a lengthy but temporary home in Canada, was carried into the U.S. Civil War Battle of Antietam in Maryland on Sept. 17, 1862. More than 23,000 men were killed, wounded or captured in this bloody battle, including Confederate Colonel Charles Courtenay Tew, shot in the head as he rose to tip his hat when command of a brigade passed to him after a general’s death. A Union veteran reported in 1874 that he had buried Tew and taken a silver cup, a gift from cadets at the Hillsborough Mili...
WATCH NOW
close-link