Betty Metcalfe: “I lost my brother to a Nazi executioner”

The last words Betty Metcalfe’s brother Jack ever spoke to her still haunt her almost 80 years later. It was 1940 and the Metcalfe family of Glace Bay, N.S.—mother, father, their two girls and two boys—had just spent their last Christmas together. Betty and her younger sister Yvonne would join the Women’s Army Corps....
  • Words of war

    April 3, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. . . . Be copy now to men of grosser blood, And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman, Whose limbs were made in England,...
  • The VC heroes of Hill 70

    March 27, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines the verb “brain”—as in to “brain” someone—as “dash out the brains of” or “strike hard on the head.” In a particularly graphic description of his Victoria Cross-earning feats on Hill 70, the London Gazette of Nov. 8, 1917, said Robert...
  • Eight Cantleys and one Cantlie in the First World War

    March 19, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Of 619,636 Canadians recruited during the First World War, there were 7,432 Smiths and 148 Smyths, 2,965 McDonalds and 1,646 MacDonalds, 2,342 Johnsons and 1,532 Johnstons. There were 1,797 Stewarts and 294 Stuarts, 1,220 McLeans and 310 MacLeans. There were just eight Cantleys and one...
  • Women to support women on gruelling Arctic trek

    March 13, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    As vice-president of training, learning and development at Mackenzie Investments, Libby McCready spends her days in meetings, on the phone, corralling e-mails and delivering presentations. If all goes as planned, in a month’s time she will be completing a 100-kilometre trek across Baffin Island in...
  • I’ve got your back

    March 6, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    There is an adage that is embraced by all the military, but especially the infantry: I’ve got your back. It’s fundamental to any successful endeavour against an enemy in battle. But who’s got your back when the battlefield is life and the enemy is yourself?...
  • The medic’s trauma book

    February 27, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    “They cannot knock on your house door, take you by the hand and bring you to the clinic. If you don’t ask for help, nobody will come.” Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne As a member of 5 Field Ambulance in Afghanistan, medic Macha...
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