Elmer Cole: “I don’t think we’ll make it back to the pub tonight”

Trooper Elmer Cole spent nine hours driving a Churchill tank at Dieppe on Aug. 19, 1942, trying to hold off German forces and find a way past the obstacles inland. The stone beach was already littered with dead Canadians and disabled tanks from the King’s Own Calgary Regiment of the 1st Canadian Tank Brigade...
  • Reginald Wise: Saviour of Easter Sunday, 1945

    November 28, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    It was Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day, 1945—the day that Corporal Reginald Wise, who was no fool and no martyr either, would cheat death. More than once. Wise and the rest of his Royal Marine commandos were advancing on a German position in Northern...
  • The seizing of Europe’s bells

    November 21, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    The bells that rang out across allied nations after the First World War ended what for many had been a four-year silence enforced by regulation in some places and imposed by confiscation in others. In Germany and across Europe, tens of thousands of bronze bells—some...
  • Inside Afghanistan: Politics, war and buzkashi

    November 14, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Few can claim a national game as violent or influential as Afghanistan has in buzkashi. The country in which Canadian soldiers fought for 13 years is home to a deceptively complex society. And buzkashi (pronounced ‘BOO-skeh-shee’), which dates to the times of Genghis Khan, is...
  • Inside Afghanistan: Remember the Afghan translator

    November 9, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    The night letters started arriving at his parents’ home in Afghanistan’s Helmand province soon after Ahmad Sajad Kazimi took a job translating for Canadian and other NATO forces fighting the war on terror. “Tell your son to quit his job and stop working for coalition forces,” one said....
  • Inside Afghanistan: Life and the art of the barter

    October 31, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Over the course of three Canadian army tours in their parched and war-ravaged homeland, Alex Watson came to know and respect the long-suffering Afghan people for their courage, resilience, devotion and unfailing courtesy. As a CiMiC (civilian-military co-operation) officer and later as a company commander...
  • John Stewart Hart:
    “The Spitfire every time”

    October 24, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Ask Canada’s last-surviving Battle of Britain veteran which aircraft he preferred, the Supermarine Spitfire or the North American P-51 Mustang, and the 102-year-old fighter pilot doesn’t bat an eye. “The Spitfire every time,” says John Stewart Hart, a Second World War squadron leader who flew...
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