Military History

This series by historian Terry Copp examines many aspects of our military history. Guaranteed to fascinate.

Canada & the Victoria Cross

Canada And The Victoria Cross: Part 1 of 18

Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred Cannon to right of them Cannon to left of them Cannon in front of them Volley'd and thunder'd ­Alfred, Lord Tennyson Lieutenant Alexander Roberts Dunn, VC. ILLUSTRATION: Sharif Tarabay The Battle of Balaclava! An atrocious disregard for human life. The stupidest, most ill-The Battle of Balaclava! An atrocious disregard for human life. The stupidest, most ill-conceived tactical blunder in the annals of military deployment. Nonetheless, this costly debacle moved Queen Victoria to praise "the brilliance of the charge and the gallantry displayed ...
Air Force

The Aries Flights Of 1945: Air Force, Part 1

After her modification for scientific research, Aries sits at a Canadian airport in 1945. Inset: Wing Commander Kenneth Maclure. In the closing months of World War II the Empire Air Navigation School, Shawbury, Shropshire, was more than a school; it was a centre for research into the problems, techniques and tools of aerial navigation. Two particularly outstanding officers were wing commanders David Cecil McKinley of the Royal Air Force, and Kenneth Cecil Maclure of the Royal Canadian Air Force who had been studying the problems of navigation in...

It Began With Fish And Ships: Navy, Part 1

From top: Before she was commissioned as a naval patrol vessel in 1915, Canada saw service as a fisheries patrol vessel. Here she is seen off Bermuda prior to 1910; Crew members of HMCS Niobe pause while on deck in this photo taken before World War I. The cruiser was commissioned in the Royal Canadian Navy in September 1910. A century ago this year Canada ordered its first armed patrol vessels, Canada and Vigilant. The government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier bought them for the Fisheries Protection Service (FPS), but also as the modest beginnings of a p...

The Liberation Of Western Holland: Army, Part 50

Canadian soldiers come to the aid of a comrade wounded by sniper fire near Laren in the Netherlands. The 5th Canadian Armoured Division--Major-General Bert Hoffmeister's Mighty Maroon Machine--began operations in the Netherlands on March 21, 1945 when the Westminster Regiment (Motor) took over a sector of the Nijmegen front from the 12th Manitoba Dragoons. Holland, with "electric light, running water and radios in the forward area," was a new experience for the veterans of the Italian Campaign but cold rain and mud in a flat, flooded landscape was all too familiar to tho...
War Art

Manly MacDonald

Paintings by Manly MacDonald depict work on the home front during World War 1. We often think of rugged northern landscapes when we picture Canadian art, but Manly MacDonald preferred the charm of rural life in southern Ontario. His generous style had a distinctly Canadian spirit, and his large wartime landscapes of women working the fields are a wonderful portion of the Canadian War Museum's collection. MacDonald created big art for a big land. He was born in 1889 at Point Anne, Ont., and studied at the Ontario College of Art, the Albright Art School, Buffalo, N.Y., and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He won a travelling scholarship from the Canadian Academy and visited art galleries in France, Spain and Italy. That trip may have been a contributor to...

The Cruelest Month: Army, Part 49

Private H.E. Goddard of the Perth Regt. advances through a forest near Arnhem, the Netherlands, in April 1945. Canadian military historians have generally paid slight attention to the operations carried out by 1st Canadian Army in April 1945. It is almost as if the great battles of February and March in the Rhineland exhausted the historians just as they wore down the men who fought there in 1945. April is instead remembered as the month of the liberation of Holland, "the sweetest of springs." But April was also the cruelest month, for if the war was ...