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On This Date: April 2015


APRIL 1, 1999
Canada creates a third territory called Nunavut, carved out of the Northwest Territories. Nunavut covers one-fifth of Canada and the Inuit make up 85 per cent of the population.

APRIL 2, 1885
Soldiers from Eastern Canada travelling west by train encounter incomplete stretches of track and so must continue on through deep snow by foot and open sleighs, fighting exhaustion and bitter cold.

APRIL 3, 1669
The Canadian Militia is officially formed as the governor of New France organizes his men in Canada into companies for military training under the orders of King Louis XIV.

APRIL 4, 1942
While flying a PBY-5 flying boat, Squadron Leader L.J. Birchall and his crew spot a Japanese naval force headed toward the island of Ceylon and warns the island’s defenders of the impending attack.

APRIL 5, 1943
Bombs rain down on the town of Mortsel, Belgium, during a raid by the United States 8th Air Force, killing 936 people and injuring many more. Their intended targets were the Erla factories nearby where Germany maintained Luftwaffe planes.

One of the craters at St. Eloi. [LAC/PA-004394]

One of the craters at St. Eloi.

APRIL 6, 1916
In the Battle of St. Eloi Craters, German battalions recapture ground in the early morning as Canadians struggle to retaliate with grenades, but are disoriented and obstructed by mud and heavy rain.

APRIL 7, 1995
The HMCS Nipigon supports Fisheries and Oceans and Coast Guard ships during the turbot dispute between Canada and Spain over the illegal overfishing of Greenland turbot on the Grand Banks.

Personnel of PPCLI boarding Buffalo amphibious vehicles to cross the Ijssel River. [LAC/PA-133332]

Personnel of PPCLI boarding Buffalo amphibious vehicles to cross the Ijssel River.

APRIL 8, 1945
Canadians capture Zutphen, Holland, in the final offensive to liberate The Netherlands.

Cold, muddied and tested by battle, Canadian soldiers take a breather, 1917. [LAC/PA-001101]

Cold, muddied and tested by battle, Canadian soldiers take a breather, 1917.

APRIL 9, 1917
Despite driving wind, snow and sleet, and heavy German defences, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps fight together to capture Vimy Ridge, the entirety of it secured on April 12. Four Canadians are awarded the Victoria Cross for their roles in the battle.

APRIL 10, 1937
Trans-Canada Air Lines is created as a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway.

APRIL 11, 1921
The first Canadian Air Force flying death occurs when Squadron Leader K. Tailyour crashes in an Avro 504 aircraft at Camp Borden, Ont.

APRIL 12, 1867
Parliament passes The Indian Act, the oldest legislation to govern First Nations in Canada, which addresses the system of reserves, land use and status.

APRIL 13, 1975
In the streets of Beirut, Lebanon, militiamen from the Christian Phalangist Party open fire on a Palestine Liberation Organization bus carrying Palestinian refugees. Called the Bus Massacre, it sparks the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War.

APRIL 14, 1912
Four days into her maiden voyage, RMS Titanic strikes an iceberg. It sinks two hours and 40 minutes later with more than 1,000 passengers and crew still on board.

APRIL 15, 1941
No. 402 Fighter Squadron carries out the first offensive operation by a Royal Canadian Air Force unit over enemy-held territory in France.

Survivors of the minesweeper HMCS <em>Esquimalt</em>. [LAC/PA-157033]

Survivors of the minesweeper HMCS <em>Esquimalt</em>.

APRIL 16, 1945
Canadian minesweeper Esquimalt is torpedoed by German submarine U-190 off Halifax and sinks before it can send a distress signal. Forty-four Canadian sailors die.

APRIL 17, 1918
As the number of Canadian reinforcements begins to dwindle, the House of Commons is told in a secret session that the Allied armies face possible defeat. A new conscription bill is passed two days later.

APRIL 18, 2007
Master Corporal Anthony Klumpenhouwer, 25, is the first Special Forces member to die while on duty in Afghanistan after an accidental fall from a communications tower in Kandahar.

APRIL 19, 2011
Fidel Castro, 84, officially resigns as leader of the Cuba Communist Party and is succeeded by his 74-year-old brother Raúl Castro.

APRIL 20, 1989
In Ottawa, the last green $1 bills roll off the press at the Canadian Bank Note Company. They are officially replaced by the loonie.

APRIL 21, 1953
Brigadier J.V. Allard replaces Brigadier M.P. Bogert as the Commander of the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade.

8th Battalion headquarters after the Second Battle of Ypres. [LAC/PA-004705]

8th Battalion headquarters after the Second Battle of Ypres.

APRIL 22, 1915
In the Second Battle of Ypres, poison gas is used by the Germans as a new, deadly weapon. Yellow-green clouds of chlorine gas drift toward the unsuspecting French who flee or suffocate.

APRIL 23, 1922
Flight Lieutenant H.L. Holland is the first Canadian Air Force officer to die on operations. He is killed in an Airco DH.4 biplane crash near Brantford, Ont., while on a photo mission.

Battle-scarred France after the Battle of St. Julien. [LAC/PA-005759]

Battle-scarred France after the Battle of St. Julien.

APRIL 24, 1915
The 100th anniversary of the Battle of St. Julien, during which Germans release chlorine gas across no man’s land toward Canadians. Urine-soaked handkerchiefs offer little protection and many are blinded or suffocated.

APRIL 25, 1915
The 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli. The first Allied troops land in Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula, later joined by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, to begin months of trench fighting against the Ottoman Empire. During four months of fighting, the Newfoundland regiment loses 40 men.

APRIL 26, 1986
An explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine releases radioactive particles into the atmosphere which spread over western USSR and Europe. Classified as a Level 7 event, the Chernobyl disaster exposes thousands to high levels of radiation and subsequent long-term effects.

George McKean, VC [Sharif Tarabay]

George McKean, VC
Sharif Tarabay

APRIL 27, 1918
Lieutenant George McKean of the 14th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, earns the Victoria Cross for his actions near Gavrelle, France. He threw himself headfirst into a German trench, killing two before capturing the remaining enemy with the support of his men.

APRIL 28, 1937
The Canadian Coronation Contingent embarks for Great Britain to attend the coronation of King George VI, which takes place on May 12, 1937.

APRIL 29, 1940
The first students of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, a program for training allied air crews during the Second World War, report to the No. 1 Service Flying Training School at Camp Borden in Ontario.

APRIL 30, 1945
Having agreed to a truce to open Holland to Allied food deliveries, Nazi and Allied leaders choose 10 zones where burlap sacks of food can be dropped over the next 10 days to feed the starving Dutch.


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