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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....
  • Last men standing

    July 3, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    More than a million Canadians served in the Second World War. As of March 31, 2018, just 41,100 of them remained, according to Veterans Affairs Canada. They averaged 93 years old. Some 25,000 Canadians served in Korea. Sixteen months ago, 7,200 survived, average age 86....
  • Ted Martens: Dutch resistance fighter

    June 26, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Ted Martens did whatever he could to derail the Nazi war machine while serving with the Dutch resistance during the Second World War—then the Nazi war machine derailed him, but only briefly. Martens was captured early in 1942 and came within a hair’s-breadth of torture...
  • For decades, politicians referred to the Korean War as the ‘Korean Conflict,’ as if the soldiers who fought and died on the battlefields of the disputed peninsula were somehow less soldierly or less dead if killed by conflict rather than war. Some 2.5 million people...
  • George Alfred Newburn: A soldier of the First World War

    June 12, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    His name was George Alfred Newburn, a labourer from Victoria who was killed during the Battle of Hill 70 in France on Aug. 15, 1917. He was just 18 years old, although Newburn would have you believe he was 20. For almost a century, Private...
  • From Dieppe to D-Day

    June 5, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    In his orders of the day on June 6, 1944, Lieutenant-General Henry D.G. (Harry) Crerar told some 14,500 Canadian soldiers destined for the beaches and drop zones of Normandy that their impending success was thanks largely to the disaster at Dieppe. Almost two years earlier,...
  • James Strachan: Old enough to die; too young to drink

    May 29, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    The grim cost of the D-Day invasion still haunts James Strachan, 75 years after he delivered troops to the beaches of Normandy. Strachan was a signaller aboard a Landing Craft, Infantry (Large), manning the Oerlikon gun as his assault vessel shuttled back and forth across...
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