Artifacts

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...
The Flying Fox versus the Desert Fox
Artifacts

The Flying Fox versus the Desert Fox

Charley Fox grew up in Guelph, Ont., and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in the spring of 1940. He initially worked as a flight instructor and finally saw action in 1943 as a lieutenant with No. 412 Squadron, whose duties included bomber escort and dive-bombing, where they strafed enemy targets. In the course of his two-year flying career, Fox personally destroyed or damaged 153 vehicles—many of them trains—and several enemy aircraft. Flying Spitfires, Fox was a deadly marksman. But dive-bombing the enemy came with risks; in 222 operational flights, the planes he flew were damaged 14 times from enemy ground fire, usually badly enough for them to be considered unusable. On D-Day—June 6, 1944—he flew three operational sorties over Normandy, protecting ships and men. In the course of h...
Peace at last
Artifacts

Peace at last

We sat down with Gary Luton, Director of Treaty Law at Global Affairs Canada to discuss the most famous treaty of the 20th Century, the Treaty of Versailles. The signing of the Armistice at 5:45 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, ended the fighting between the Allies and Germany, but it was the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, that ushered in peace. It also helped Canada take a step toward sovereignty. Sir Robert Borden was prime minister on Aug. 4, 1914, when a telegram informed him his country was at war. Britain had declared war on Germany. Canada, as a dominion, was automatically also at war. And Canada answered enthusiastically, contributing volunteers, food, money and materials. Borden was a champion of Canada’s right to handle its own affairs, separate from and ...
Washed ashore
Artifacts

Washed ashore

Somewhere off the coast of Florida on Feb. 25, 1958, Canadian navy pilot Lieutenant Barry Troy, 29, of Campbellton, N.B., was lost at sea. Troy was with No. 871 Squadron at HMCS Shearwater, then the naval aviation base in Nova Scotia. But he and three other pilots were flying McDonnell F2H Banshees from Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, Fla., to land on Canada’s aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure about 64 kilometres out at sea. The four jets ran into an unexpected fog bank; three pilots turned right and emerged into clear sky. Troy, flying only about 150 metres above the water, turned left, presumably to avoid colliding with the other aircraft. It is thought he became confused while flying by instruments and hit the sea. Some floating wreckage was recovered, but a sea...
Artifacts: Scale model
Artifacts

Artifacts: Scale model

 Legion Magazine’s Stephen J. Thorne sat down with Erin Gregory, Assistant Curator at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, to discuss what is perhaps the most divisive Canadian project and program of the 20th century - The Avro Arrow. A component of the Artifacts feature series by Sharon Adams. Please turn up the volume! A technical error occurred with the microphone during recording. A masterwork of aircraft design, the Avro Arrow had a short life. Last year, an early prototype was recovered from Lake Ontario   Generations of Canadians have been awed by the elegant sweep of its delta wings, the space-aged pointed nose promising to punch a hole in the sky. Alas, the object of their fascination, the Avro Arrow, has been dubbed the greatest aircraft never to fly. ...

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