Military Milestones

Weekly Military Milestones

Lowering the Maple Leaf
Military History, Military Milestones

Lowering the Maple Leaf

On Dec. 1, 2011, at a quiet ceremony in Afghanistan, the Maple Leaf flag was lowered for the last time in Kandahar as Canadian troops prepared to leave the wartorn region. The combat mission was at its end, but Canadians would continue to serve dangerous missions in the country for three more years. The war on terror began with the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Worldwide attention focused on Afghanistan, where the ruling Taliban regime had provided shelter and support to al-Qaida. Within a month, Canada’s navy was monitoring the Arabian Sea for terrorist activity and two months later Canadian special forces arrived in Afghanistan. A battle group of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry arrived in February 2002 to protect the airfield at Kandahar and support American and British o...
The first peacekeepers
Military History, Military Milestones

The first peacekeepers

In mid-November 1956, 950 men of the 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, were flown to Halifax, where HMCS Magnificent was being prepared to carry troops and materiel to Egypt for one of the first United Nations peacekeeping missions, to quell the crisis at the Suez Canal. The troops were excited and anxious to go; on Nov. 17, there was a parade through Halifax in anticipation of the order to leave. On Dec. 13, the downhearted men were not aboard the Canadian aircraft carrier headed to Egypt, but on a passenger train, headed back to Calgary, victims of brinkmanship diplomacy.   The canal started out as a France-Egypt partnership in the 19th century, but Egypt, beset by financial difficulties, would eventually sell its share to Britain. The canal became, and still is, a...
Killed by a roadside bomb
Military History, Military Milestones

Killed by a roadside bomb

It was a grim November day when medical technician Corporal Dolorès Crampton escorted the body of her partner, Cpl. Nicolas Beauchamp, home from Afghanistan. Beauchamp, 28, and Crampton lived in Pont-Rouge, west of Quebec City; both were with 5 Field Ambulance based in Canadian Forces Base Valcartier. Beauchamp was killed on Nov. 17, 2007, with Private Michel Lévesque, 25, and an Afghan interpreter when their light armoured vehicle hit a roadside bomb in the Zhari district, close to a Canadian forward operating base near Bazar-e Panjwaii. Lévesque, of 3rd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment, in Valcartier, had become engaged earlier that month while on leave to his hometown, Rivière-Rouge, Que., about 200 kilometres northwest of Montreal. The insurgents wanted to end their fall combat se...
Thayendanegea’s legacy
Military History, Military Milestones

Thayendanegea’s legacy

This week, between Indigenous Veterans Day on Nov. 8 and Remembrance Day on Nov. 11, and after observance of the first Truth and Reconciliation Day, it seems fitting to remember one of the country’s first Indigenous military heroes, a man honoured by his own people, colonial allies and Europeans in the 18th century. His traditional name translates to “he who places two bets” or “two sticks bound together for strength”—but his tree of life has so many branches it’s difficult to know which two character traits combined to give him such a strong personality. Warrior/diplomat? Loyalist/rebel? Perhaps it was thriving within two cultures, reflected in the fact he is remembered by two names: Thayendanegea/Joseph Brant. He was a distinguished military leader and accomplished diplomat, an ...
Setting an exact border
Military History, Military Milestones

Setting an exact border

Canada and the United States famously share the longest undefended border in the world—but the exact location of that border has been in dispute many times. One of those disputes ended with Yukon being cut off from sea access by the Alaska Panhandle. It’s a border dispute that Canada lost more than a century ago that has ramifications reverberating to this day. It began with an accord between Russia and Britain that was established before the northwest part of North America had been fully explored and mapped. Both Russia and Britain had colonial interests in the territories today known as Alaska and British Columbia. The two countries signed a treaty in 1825 delineating the border between their territories. The agreement said the border would travel north along Portland Canal t...
The U.S. invasion of Grenada
Military History, Military Milestones

The U.S. invasion of Grenada

The United States invaded Grenada in 1983, its first military action since the Vietnam War. Canada opposed the act alongside the majority of the United Nations. Grenada gained independence in 1974. In 1979, after a coup, the constitution was suspended and Maurice Bishop’s Marxist-Leninist government took power. Allied to Cuba and the Soviet Union, the country began to significantly beef up its small army, causing U.S. President Ronald Reagan concern over a potential Soviet military build-up in the Caribbean. But Bishop wanted to establish a socialist government and encouraged development, particularly of the tourism industry. Communist hardliners disagreed with his approach, urging him to step down or share power. In 1983, Reagan’s concern escalated to alarm when the hardli...

Sign up today for a FREE download of Canada’s War Stories

Free e-book

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