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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....
  • Ernie Verhulst’s first glimpse of the Luftwaffe came on May 10, 1940. He was eight years old and the significance of the Nazi advance across Europe had not been lost on anyone in Rotterdam, Netherlands. His parents and their neighbours in the rowhouses around the...
  • Canada frets while U.S. and Britain acquire F-35 fighters

    January 20, 2019 by David J. Bercuson
    The saga of Canada’s search for a new fighter aircraft to replace the CF-188 (known as the CF-18) continued last fall when, in September, the United States granted permission to Canada to acquire 25 F-18s from the Royal Australian Air Force. U.S. permission was needed...
  • The folly of militarizing space

    January 16, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    It was a sunny, warm Wednesday in September 1962 when U.S. President John F. Kennedy laid down what many still consider the guiding principles of humanity’s great endeavour into space. He was speaking to a crowd of 40,000 at the Rice University football stadium in...
  • Douglas Gordon (Part 2): The troubles with Typhoons

    January 9, 2019 by Stephen J. Thorne
    If the Germans didn’t get you, the Typhoon just might. Flying Officer Douglas Gordon knew it only too well. Between June and August 1944, 19 Allied squadrons—his own among them—lost hundreds of the hulking aircraft and 150 pilots, many of them due to engine or...
  • Douglas Gordon (Part 1): Bail out or glide for England

    December 26, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    Given a choice between parachuting into the frigid waters of the English Channel or nursing his dying aircraft for as far as he could take it, Flying Officer Douglas Gordon chose what he saw as the lesser evil—and it may well have saved his life....
  • Christmas at war: Sent to Korea by mistake

    December 19, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    James Victor (Vic) Johnson was a 25-year-old second lieutenant still in training at the Royal Canadian School of Military Engineering in Chilliwack, B.C., when he was mistakenly tagged to go off to war just before Christmas 1951. The Eston, Sask., native had been in no...
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