Military History

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

War Art

Francis Forster

Stevedore. Travel and adventure have been a big part of war artist 's life. Born in 1907 in Calcutta, India, he and his family immigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto in 1928. He studied art in London, England, and Paris and held teaching positions in Ontario before his life took another significant turn in 1943. That's when the National Gallery of Canada asked him to paint a merchant navy convoy from Halifax to Jamaica. Forster went into the job with enthusiasm, believing it would pave the way to more opportunities. In October 1944, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. The works created during his earlier run with the merchant navy served as a bridge to his commission as a war artist in November of that year. However, before For...

The Battle For Kapelsche Veer: Army, Part 41

Personnel from the Lincoln and Welland Regiment's canoe commando party train for the January 1945 assault on Kapelsche Veer. On Nov. 2, 2001 a large delegation of Canadians as well as many Dutch citizens gathered at the Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery for the long-delayed funerals of Charles Joseph Beaudry and George Robert Barritt. Both men, privates in the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, had been reported "missing, presumed dead" in January 1945 during the battle for Kapelsche Veer. Their bodies and that of Private Victor Howey, uncovered the year before, had been found by Dutch engineers clearing mi...
War Art

Robert Hyndman

Wing Commander D.J. Williams. Robert Hyndman's paintings depict the men and machines of the air force. Robert Hyndman has been a professional artist for more than 65 years. Born in Edmonton in 1915, he began his career after graduating from the Toronto Central Technical School where he studied under two men who went on to become official war artists in World War II: Charles Goldhammer and Carl Schaefer. Like so many of his peers, Hyndman graduated and headed to Europe where he worked as a freelance illustrator and continued his studies at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, England. After joining the Royal Canadian Air Force in June 1940, he learned to fly and then served as a flight instructor at Uplands Airport in Ottawa from 1941-­43. In July 1943, Hyndman returned ...

Bomber Command Strategy: Army, Part 40

A church service is held in Normandy, France, in August 1944 for members of an RCAF Typhoon fighter-bomber wing. Petrol tins and ammunition boxes were used instead of pews. A new biography on Bomber Harris, written by the former head of the Royal Air Force Historical Section, Henry Probert, is re-opening debate on many aspects of the strategic bomber offensive in World War II. Interest is also heightened by the apparent success of the bombing option in the Persian Gulf War in 1990­91 and the war against terrorism in Afghanistan. Probert's portra...
War Art

George Pepper

War artist George Pepper produced an impressive array of paintings. Above: Dead German Paratroopers. George Pepper painted with a quick intensity that seems consistent with his life. His days were filled with adventure and experience and he followed the call of his art through war and peace with equal enthusiasm, painting all the way. Born in Ottawa in 1903, Pepper moved to Toronto and studied at the Ontario College of Art. Restless, he went off to paint and further his studies in England, France and Italy. He eventually returned to Toronto and in 1930 he began teaching at the Ontario College of Art. In March 1943, Pepper answered another call. He enlisted as a war artist and served with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division in Northwest Europe. In the fie...

Advancing To The Maas: Army, Part 39

    A recent battlefield tour of Belgium and the Netherlands was greatly enriched by the presence of World War II veterans, including two who served with the Algonquin Regiment in the battles to liberate the Low Countries. Georges Paquette and Ernie Hilts shared their memories with the group and encouraged us not to overlook the 4th Canadian Armoured Division and the "green centre line" marking its route. We began at the Algonquinstraat, a narrow lane on the Moerkerke side of the double canal line that protected the once water-soddened territory in the Netherlands kn...