Artifacts

Fujita’s blade
Artifacts, Military History

Fujita’s blade

When a Japanese vice-admiral surrendered in 1945, he also handed over his tachi Canadian Navy Lieutenant William Lore was aboard when the British fleet sailed into Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong in August 1945. In recognition of Canadian sacrifices in the Battle of Hong Kong, Lore was chosen to lead the party that liberated the Sham Shui Po prison-of-war camp. In September, he witnessed Vice-Admiral Ruitaro Fujita sign the instrument of surrender. He also saw Fujita surrender his sword to British Rear-Admiral Cecil Harcourt. For the Japanese officer, surrendering his military sword was a national and private humiliation. A military sword in Japan was not just a weapon but had spiritual meaning and was a link to centuries-old traditions.   In Japan, fine swordsmithing stretches...
Poignant remnants
Artifacts, Military History

Poignant remnants

Several steel pieces from the World Trade Center have come to rest in Canada The centrepiece of a ceremony in Gander, N.L., marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, will be a piece of steel recovered from the wreckage. The piece of beam was donated in 2011 by the fire department of Bethpage, N.Y., in gratitude to residents of Gander and surrounding small communities for the support shown to more than 6,500 passengers and crew of four military and 38 passenger flights diverted from U.S. airports on the day of the attack. Newfoundlanders opened their hearts and homes to people stranded for days.  The beam remnant, on display inside Gander Town Hall since the 10th anniversary of 9/11, has been incorporated into the ...
Shot-up polecat
Artifacts, Military History

Shot-up polecat

How a routine mission in Croatia turned critical A battered and bullet-riddled white utility vehicle on display at the Canadian War Museum is testament to the time when the world began to understand that peacekeeping is not a peaceful profession. While on a peacekeeping mission in Croatia, two Canadian soldiers were shot multiple times as they rode in this four-wheel-drive Bombardier Iltis. (Iltis is German for polecat). Nearly 60 bullet holes pepper the vehicle, clearly marked UN. There are bullet holes through the back of the driver’s seat and the windshield has webs of shattered glass, each with a hole in the centre, marking shots taken at the soldiers’ heads.    Since 1991, when Yugoslavia began to break up along ethnic and religious lines, about 40,000 Canadians have ser...
The third bell
Artifacts, Military History

The third bell

A triangle run used by convoy escorts during the Battle of the Atlantic still firmly links Halifax, St. John’s and Londonderry Three ports in Canada and Northern Ireland were connected in common purpose during the Second World War, handling hundreds of convoys carrying millions of tonnes of food, raw materials, war materiel and troops to relieve and support beleaguered Britain. Today, Halifax, St. John’s and Londonderry are linked in common commemoration of the thousands of Allied personnel—including nearly 2,000 from the Royal Canadian Navy, 1,600 Canadian merchant sailors and 850 airmen—who were killed protecting convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic. Naval veterans on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean collaborated to provide each of the three cities with a commemorative Convoy B...
Back on display
Artifacts, Military History

Back on display

A Korean War-era jeep is lovingly restored The jeeps Canadian troops used in the Korean War were all-round workhorses. The four-wheel-drive utility vehicles carried commanders, military police and signal corps dispatch riders, and were used as ambulances, for reconnaissance and for carrying light cargo. Waterproof electrical systems allowed them to cross shallow rivers even when their engines were submerged. They could be hoisted by a helicopter. They towed anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons and could be fitted with 106-millimetre recoilless rifles. In a pinch, their hoods stood in for desktops or dining tables. About 50,000 were made in the United States and Canada for use in Korea, including 2,135 Willys M38s assembled in Windsor, Ont., by the Ford Motor Company in 1952. Th...
Shell‘s bell
Artifacts

Shell‘s bell

After being attacked by Korean shore batteries, HMCS Iroquois wound up with a shiny new ship’s bell unlike any other in the navy The only Canadian ship to suffer deaths due to enemy action in the Korean War, HMCS Iroquois (DDE 217) joined the fight there on June 12, 1952, and was assigned patrol duty on the west coast. “We were always in close proximity to the 38th parallel,” recalled Ron Kirk in a Memory Project interview. The crew had to be ready for action at all times. “We would go on patrols three to six weeks at a time. At night we would anchor out and we had armed guards walking around the upper deck and a 40-millimetre Bofors gun armed. We had to sit by that gun for our four-hour watch and be ready in case there were any problems,” said Kenneth Snider. In late Septembe...

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An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.