Heroes And Villains

Osborn & Sakai
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Osborn & Sakai

Sacrifice and atrocities in the Battle of Hong Kong WARRANT OFFICER JOHN OSBORN In October 1941, the Winnipeg Grenadiers joined the Hong Kong garrison as part of ‘C’ Force. British-born Warrant Officer John Robert Osborn was 42. He had been gassed on the Western Front in the First World War. This left him with lingering chronic respiratory issues.  Emigrating to Canada in 1920, he settled in Winnipeg, married, and by the start of the war was the father of five children. Age, marital status and questionable health could have excused him from active overseas service. But having joined the Grenadiers in 1933, Osborn was determined to do his part.  Known as a fair but spit-and-polish, highly disciplined and stern non-commissioned officer, Osborn had an instinct for training soldiers. In ...
Heroes And Villains: Bush & bin Laden
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Heroes And Villains: Bush & bin Laden

George W. Bush’s war machine proved unable to eliminate Osama bin Laden GEORGE W. BUSH Just 45 minutes after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks started, President George W. Bush responded publicly from Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., where he had been reading to a second grade class.  “The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts.” “Today, we’ve had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.”  Returning to Washington aboard Air Force One, Bush worked feverishly on a national address to deliver that evening from the White House.  “The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts.” They would be brought to justice, he promised. “We will ma...
Harry Crerar & Benito Mussolini
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Harry Crerar & Benito Mussolini

In Italy in 1943, both leaders failed at command Even heroes have flaws. General Henry (Harry) Crerar rose to lieutenant-colonel of artillery in the First World War, then commanded divisions and corps in the Second World War. Shortly after the December 1943 Ortona bloodbath, he visited the front north of the town. Studying the battlefield’s splintered olive trees and vineyards and water-filled shell craters, he muttered, “Just like Passchendaele.” Having come to Italy in late October 1943, Crerar was to expand the Canadian presence there from a single division to a corps comprised of 1st Infantry and 5th Armoured divisions, 1st Armoured Brigade and a corps headquarters with supporting units—approximately 75,000 men. Crerar was determined the corps would be distinctly Canadian and run a...
Commodore James Yeo & Commodore Isaac Chauncey
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Commodore James Yeo & Commodore Isaac Chauncey

Victory in the War of 1812 depended on which side controlled Lake Ontario James Yeo joined the Royal Navy when he was 10 and earned a rapid rise in promotions spurred on by a stunning series of military successes.  In 1810, King George III knighted him. Just 31, Yeo assumed command of the Provincial Marine in Upper Canada on May 5, 1813. His daunting task was to wrest control of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain from American Commodore Isaac Chauncey’s fleet. Previously under army command, the Provincial Marine had been manned by local sailors. Despite adding 465 Royal Navy officers and ratings, Yeo still considered his force woefully insufficient “to man the squadron” on Lake Ontario. Yet, it was essential that “a general action must take place as every military operation or success...
Sophie Scholl and Roland Freisler
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Sophie Scholl and Roland Freisler

Scholl and the White Rose Group gave their lives defying the Nazis On Feb. 18, 1943, Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans brought a suitcase full of anti-Nazi leaflets to the University of Munich. After depositing most outside lecture rooms, Sophie threw the remaining leaflets from a third-floor window into a courtyard. Seeing her, building superintendent Jakob Schmid—a Nazi Party member—reported Sophie to the Gestapo. The two siblings were quickly arrested.  About a year earlier, Sophie, Hans and three other University of Munich students had formed the White Rose group in response to the mass murder of Polish Jews and deportation of thousands of others to concentration camps. At great risk, the five acquired ink, paper and mimeograph equipment to print leaflets denouncing the Nazi r...
HEROES AND VILLAINS: Syngman Rhee vs Kim Il-sung
Heroes And Villains

HEROES AND VILLAINS: Syngman Rhee vs Kim Il-sung

Hero: Syngman Rhee “The new UN proposal is unacceptable to this government.…We can no longer survive a stalemate of division.” —Syngman Rhee on June 6, 1953, stating his opposition to peace talks between the UN, the North Korea People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. Japan’s defeat in 1945 brought an end to the Second World War and its 35-year occupation of Korea. The East Asian nation, however, was immediately divided at the 38th parallel by the Soviet Union and the United States. In 1948, the U.S. proposed a United Nations-sponsored vote for Koreans to determine the peninsula’s future. When the Soviets rejected this, South Korea formed its own government. Syngman Rhee, then 73, was elected president by 180 of 196 national assembly votes. He had been president of th...

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