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...
  • Winston wets his whistle: Churchill’s indulgences

    August 1, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    In December 1941, just days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, United States president Franklin Delano Roosevelt informed his wife Eleanor that a guest, or guests, would be coming to stay at the White House. “He told me I could not know who was coming,...
  • It’s telling that the finalists for the most prestigious prize in photojournalism were all connected to some form of conflict, yet the principal subjects in all six photographs were civilians. For the first time in its 61-year history, the esteemed World Press Photo (WPP) competition...
  • Canadian kids learn of RAF’s rich history

    July 18, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    The Jack Tars of the Royal Navy may have ruled the seven seas in the 19th century, but Royal Air Force pilots owned the skies over Britain in the 20th. Indeed, Britain’s “finest hour,” as Prime Minister Winston Churchill called it, came mainly thanks to...
  • Reinhard Hardegen: Last of the U-boat aces

    July 11, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    He ranked No. 24 on the list of Germany’s Second World War U-boat aces but, in sheer chutzpah, few could compare with Reinhard Hardegen. Hardegen died in Germany on June 9 at age 105, the last of a breed both reviled and respected for preying...
  • The Snowbirds backstage

    July 4, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    It’s July 1. Nine pilots are seated around the table in a small boardroom at the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport, 18 kilometres from Parliament Hill as the Snowbird flies. The room is a sea of Canadian red, for these are the iconic Canadian Forces Snowbirds, 431...
  • On Nov. 13, 1821, Captain Barnabas Lincoln and his crew, including a Newfoundlander, set sail from Boston aboard the schooner Exertion. They were bound for the Cuban town of Trinidad loaded with foodstuffs and furniture. They had no idea what they were in for, but...