Defence Today

Words of war
Front Lines

Words of war

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, show us here The mettle of your pasture; let us swear That you are worth your breeding. From Henry V by William Shakespeare The briefest, if not the greatest, wartime speech ever was not really a speech at all. It was a one-word message written in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, one of the last German offensives of the Second World War. Weather was preventing resupply drops. United States paratroopers were cold, hungry and starved for ammunition when Brigadier-General Anthony McAuliffe, acting commander of the 101st Airborne at Bas...
The VC heroes of Hill 70
Front Lines

The VC heroes of Hill 70

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 Hanna, a company sergeant-major in the 29th Battalion (British Columbia Regiment), bayonetted three Germans “and brained the fourth,” thus capturing a position and silencing a machine gun. All this took place under heavy fire during one of the least-recognized but most challenging Canadian operations of the First World War. The hill named for its elevation above sea level was located outside the French coal-mining town of Lens, just 10 kilometres from the ridge at Vimy where four months before the Canadians had...
Unfounded sexual assault cases reopened
Defence Today

Unfounded sexual assault cases reopened

As part of ongoing efforts to eradicate inappropriate sexual behaviour, the Canadian Armed Forces has established a team to conduct annual reviews of investigations of sexual assault complaints deemed unfounded by military police. In September, the CAF announced it was reopening nearly two dozen investigations after reviewing 179 cases of sexual assault reported in the 18 months ending in July 2018. That review followed an earlier finding that nearly a quarter of cases reported between 2010 and 2016 were labelled unfounded, compared to 19 per cent of civilian cases. The 2018 Auditor General’s report provided some context. Lack of support, untimely response and witnesses reporting before victims were ready to come forward, contribute to victims’ lack of confidence in the system, leadi...
Eight Cantleys and one Cantlie in the First World War
Front Lines

Eight Cantleys and one Cantlie in the First World War

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 Cantlie. According to their service records posted online by Library and Archives Canada, some were born overseas, yet they hailed from a wide swath of their adopted Canada, enlisting in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Manitoba. From bridge-builder to prospector to railroader, they reflected the core trades and values of a growing, developing country of fewer than eight million people. Most were privates, earning a mere $15 a month—about $500 today. Two brothers made officer, another was a decorated lieuten...
Women to support women on gruelling Arctic trek
Front Lines

Women to support women on gruelling Arctic trek

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 Nunavut with 24 other women, seven of them currently serving in Canada’s military. Four guides, two Inuit, a military doctor and a photographer will complete the lineup. The expedition aims to raise $1 million for women’s programs supported by True Patriot Love, a charity devoted to bridging gaps in government funding for serving military, veterans and their families as well as backing related health research. The 58-year-old executive is the oldest of 12 business mentors on the we...
The golden days of peacekeeping have not returned
Eye On Defence

The golden days of peacekeeping have not returned

The Canadian contribution to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) officially began on Aug. 1, 2018. The mission consists of three Chinook helicopters equipped for medical evacuation as well as transport missions, five Griffon helicopters to fly escort for the bigger Chinooks and about 250 personnel to fly missions, provide ground support, and generally to guard the helicopters between missions. Last fall, Ottawa announced that there would be no extension to the mission, which is scheduled to end in July. Thus, Canada will have completed its first UN peacekeeping mission of any substance for a long time. The days are long gone when Canada had a substantial presence in UN peacekeeping operations. Many younger Canadians—too young to rememb...
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