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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....
  • Christmas at war: A cabin in the Hurtgen Forest

    December 12, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    It was Christmas Eve 1914. The Tommies of Britain’s Queen’s Westminster Regiment had returned to the frigid trenches the previous day, relieving regular troops after four days of rest. Suddenly, in the stillness and cold, the voice of a young farmer’s son, Edgar Aplin, rose...
  • Jaye Edwards: A woman pilot in wartime Britain

    December 5, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
    As a child, Stella Joyce (Petersen) Edwards was always pushing boundaries. She grew up in Kent, England, the third daughter of an Australian trader, and whether it was scaling walls, climbing trees or riding her bicycle off into the countryside, Jaye, as she became known...
  • Citizens of War

    December 1, 2018 by Stephen J. Thorne
      The faces of the long-suffering people of Afghanistan reflect their resolve and resilience   Kabul, 2004. Afghan mothers comfort sick and dying children in a hospital all but void of equipment and medicine. Across the street, fathers, banned by convention from the wards, sleep...
  • 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...
  • Scattering Canada’s armed forces

    November 27, 2018 by David J. Bercuson
    The Canadian military seems to be spread all over these days. During its deployment in Afghanistan, most of Canada’s non-North American military effort, especially that of the army, was focused almost exclusively on that mission. That was in keeping with the views of then Chief...
  • 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...
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