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Old enough for war, too young to be a cop

Post by Teentitan on Mon 30 Jul 2012, 10:44

Ottawa Police told the young applicant to come back in a year and try again, because he was not only too young to legally drink, but he was too young to carry a gun.

That was in 1945 and the memory still delights the rejected candidate, now 87.

He is Lloyd Hyde, and he’s sitting near the window of his 20th-floor condominium in Britannia, finding the recall so funny that he has to wipe his eyes. “It was January and the war was almost over. Too young to carry a gun? I had just spent years at the controls of four heavy machine guns.”

He had sent off more bullets with genuine intent to kill than the entire Ottawa Police force would in decades.

Early in the war the Royal Canadian Air Force was accepting applicants at 17, with the understanding they couldn’t go overseas until they were 18. Born July 15, 1925, Lloyd Bernard Hyde was the son of an Ottawa streetcar driver, and one of the first in line. Like his buddies from Ottawa Technical High School, his thinking was split between serving his country and getting a free ride in an airplane.

On the other side of the desk the recruiter would have seen these teenagers as perfect for the job. By the time they were trained and ready, they would still be teenagers. They would do as they were told, and they would ride into the jaws of Hell because being that young, they would believe themselves to be indestructible.

As for being too young to drink or be a cop? Hyde’s suppressed laughter again made his eyes water. The age limit for drinking in the military is flexible. If you’re old enough to kill or be killed, you’re old enough to drink. You are a warrior.

So did he drink? He suppresses laughter, and this time he had to fish out a hanky to wipe his eyes. But his suppressor failed. He has a delightful laugh.

He flew 33 wartime operations as a tail gunner in a Halifax bomber. Or as he says: “I saw the war backwards.”

His worst fright? “During the Normandy landings. We came in low over the beach. Unbelievable numbers of ships and men. I could see men running and falling. Then we started our bomb run and then there was the impact of hits on the airplane. I was convinced we couldn’t survive that many hits and I was sure we were going down. It turned out we were so low we were feeling the blast from our own bombs.”

Most hated assignment? “Those damned 30 seconds. Bomber Command figured too many planes were shortcutting. Dropping their bombs short of a heavily protected target and heading home. So a mission didn’t count unless you brought back film of your bombs falling on the target. That meant you had to release your load, and then fly straight and steady while the camera recorded the drop. It took 30 seconds. We all counted them off in our heads. Thirty seconds is a long time.”

A personal hero? “We were on our way home alone after a mission. We were shot up and flying above heavy cloud cover. Our navigation equipment had been shot away and an engine was out. We were lost and I figured we’d end up in the North Sea. The bomb aimer went into the upper turret and started taking star shots. He shouted down directions, but we didn’t think he could do it. Then he said: “There! Just beyond the cloud cover we’ll see the coast of England! Sure enough. The White Cliffs of Dover.”

The boy that still lives in the old warrior surfaced. “When you got back from a mission first thing on your mind was breakfast. It was a race to the mess, because they’d run out of eggs. If somebody came back after being considered lost, everybody gave them their eggs. We had lots of eggs that morning!”

His crew was led by pilot Peter Lefebvre, who gave up the priesthood to go to war. Was prayer a factor in their survival? “We never talked about it. I wasn’t a Catholic. But Catholic or not, I think we all carried rosaries.” No tears of mirth.

He never really wanted to be a cop. He joined the Canadian Bank Note Co. and spent his career printing money. He outlived two wives and has two daughters. He has been spending his retirement seeing the world.

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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by OldZipperhead on Mon 30 Jul 2012, 18:55

In a sense we still have that attitude throughout Canada, the recruit can still be old enough to join (17), get trained to carry a gun and be sent off to war. Old enough to die for the country, but not old enough to drink, vote or buy cigarettes. If the individual is holding a DND ID card saying they are in the military, then the rules for such should not apply.
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Veteran learns fate of friend 60 years after wartime capture

Post by Teentitan on Sun 05 Aug 2012, 11:43

FOR SIX DECADES, Second World War veteran Roy Walker wondered what happened to the soldier he knew as Moose.

As the driver of a Bren gun carrier, Walker watched helplessly as Moose, the wireless operator and the corporal dived into a farmhouse to avoid two enemy tanks that had pinned the reconnaissance team in an orchard at the Normandy village of Tilly-la-Campagne.

Minutes later, Walker heard gunfire.

“That was July 25, 1944,” the 90-year-old retired truck driver and farmer said in a July 22 telephone conversation from his home in Grandview, Manitoba. “I found out Moose got shot trying to go out another door of the farmhouse, and I figured he was dead, but I didn’t know.”

The Germans nabbed Walker as he disentangled from the driver’s seat. He spent the rest of the war in a prison camp, separated from the rest of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, the regiment where he’d been assigned as a replacement just five weeks earlier.

After the war he went home to the Prairies to drive buses and trucks, work on the oil rigs, and finally settled with his wife on a Manitoba farm where he could indulge his love for the smell of fresh-turned soil.

“All that time, in the back of my mind I thought of Moose,” said Walker, who visited France in the hopes he could find some clue to what happened to his friend. “I could count on my hand all the men I have known in my life that I felt comfortable with, and he was one of them. He was my definition of a friend.”

Meanwhile in Nova Scotia, a war history buff and freelance television producer also thought often of Moose but, to Alan Cameron, the man was his maternal grandmother’s brother, great-uncle Ernie.

Ernest Glenmore Hill, from Point Edward in Cape Breton, was a machine-gunner with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, a regiment that first interested Cameron through his paternal great-uncle Perley Cameron. The younger Cameron established Veterans’ Voices of Canada (www.vetvoicecan.org) to compile and distribute historical information about veterans’ experiences, so far covering the Second World War and Korean war. Then he heard about his great-uncle Ernie, who hadn’t returned from France.

None of his family knew exactly where or how Ernie Hill had been killed, or the location of his grave, but Cameron soon discovered that his great-uncle was buried at Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian war cemetery.

He wrote a story about his quest that was published with a photo of Ernie Hill in Our Canada magazine in November, 2010. Walker recognized the photo.

“That was the first I knew what had actually happened to him,” Walker said. “I didn’t even know his name was Ernie.”

He called Cameron and asked if he knew that his uncle had a nickname.

“Then he said ‘I was there the morning he was killed,’” said Cameron, who now lives in Alberta. “The hair on the back of my neck just stood right up.”

After a lengthy phone conversation, Cameron drove 14 hours to Grandview to visit the Walkers, staying three days to tape interviews with Walker and other veterans in the area.

Earlier this summer Cameron visited Tilley-la-Campagne, where a single tree still grows in the orchard where the Bren carrier was ambushed; and the place where his uncle died is now the mayor’s home. He visited his great-uncle’s grave and interviewed an older resident who remembered dead Canadian soldiers stacked in the ditches awaiting burial.

For both Cameron and Walker, their meeting filled in the blanks in their lives. Walker marvels that he was ever able to solve the mystery that haunted him since 1944.

“I’m not a religious man, and I’m not an atheist either,” he said. “But why was I allowed to get closure after that many years?”

Walker expects that many other veterans are still looking for comrades-in-arms, making Cameron’s work to record their stories even more important.

As well as completing a chapter in his own family saga, Cameron’s search for Ernie Hill will form part of his documentary film about the North Nova Scotia Highlanders; a heroic history that Cameron feels is not as well-known as it should be. He hopes to complete the project this fall, hold public showings sometime before Remembrance Day, and provide copies to Highlander units in Sydney, Truro and Amherst.

He is also planning to make prints of a charcoal sketch, by Alberta artist Nathan Evans, of the moment the Bren carrier met the Panzer tank at Tilly. He will donate them to the Highlanders’ archives.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” Cameron said.

And it’s not over yet. Cameron continues to seek photos, film footage, documentation and other information about the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. He can be reached at 403-887-7114 or alcammy@hotmail.com.

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Let’s see some military officers in political office

Post by Teentitan on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 11:31

Roderick Benns

The only two prime ministers of Canada who have had overseas military experience were John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson. Neither had what would be called distinguished military careers.

Diefenbaker suffered what was most likely a nervous breakdown in England and was discharged before seeing action. Pearson served two years as an orderly in a military hospital in Greece. After transferring to the Royal Flying Corps, he survived a crash during his first flight. Two months later, by his own admission, his career ended “ingloriously” when a bus struck him during a London blackout. The accident did not disable him, but he had an emotional breakdown in the hospital and was invalided home in 1918.

Of the four Canadian prime ministers with just militia experience – John A. Macdonald, Mackenzie Bowell, Alexander Mackenzie and John Abbott – only Macdonald and Bowell were actually posted anywhere. Macdonald saw action during the Rebellions of 1837, and Bowell served in Upper Canada at Amherstburg during the American Civil War and at Prescott amid the Fenian incursions of 1866.

Contrast this with the United States, where 31 of 43 presidents have served. Perhaps the U.S. is not a good comparison, for its size and different political system. Instead, consider Australia, where eight of 27 prime ministers have had some kind of military service.

The time is right for Canada’s military to cultivate its best to run for office, as MPs and for party leadership positions. I can think of some excellent candidates. From the retired pool, former chief of defence staff Rick Hillier and lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie. From the active pool, Lieutenant-General Stuart Beare, Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison and Major-General Mike Day.

Some of these men are still at the top of their game. But if they were to put out feelers in advance with whatever party they were most comfortable with, their eventual retirement could yield a political renaissance.

Perhaps the men and women in uniform have little interest in such a career move. Perhaps there is lingering disappointment at the run by retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie, one of Canada’s most famous modern soldiers. He ran for a seat in Parry Sound-Muskoka in 1997 for the Progressive Conservatives but was bested by incumbent Liberal Andy Mitchell. In politics, everything is timing – the PCs were still tremendously weakened after the devastation of the 1993 election.

Having former military leaders in office isn’t just about ensuring that the military is looked after. Successful men and women in uniform have unique skills that would benefit any party or country. A soldier’s work ethic is unparallelled, a soldier’s sense of social justice is usually finely honed, and a soldier’s ability to weigh important decisions with due gravitas is ingrained. Most officers at this level tend to have advanced degrees in history, political science or other applicable subjects. Add international experience in complex situations and de facto diplomacy to get a blend of leader and statesman.

There are relatively few areas of federal jurisdiction in our decentralized country, but a credible military is one of them. The recent experiences of Afghanistan, Libya, Haiti and beyond have given Canada a moment to leverage its credible military leaders into potential political leaders. The only question is whether they will consider the challenge.

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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Guest on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 13:45

do they have to be officers???


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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by F foundry on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 15:59

No you dont have to be an officer but it would help along with a well rounded education with a law degree, a boat load of cash a squeaky clean past and a pictuer perfect family, and a long list of other items oh yah and a great spin doctor. yes it would be a nice change, Hey maybe Rick mercer. sorry not trying to make fun of the idea, the PMO is all about the job from what I see and under stand so who ever gets in always becomes the job sonner or later and seems to forget about Canadians. What would be realy nice would be to see some one in any level of goverment keep their word for a change or to show a little guts when it comes to the little guys as opposed to big buisness and share the wealth when they waste money make them pay dont give us the bill, change for the better would be nice. for real this time....
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D-Day spies galore

Post by Teentitan on Sun 12 Aug 2012, 12:21

Since the end of World War II, there’s been no shortage of tales about individuals of courage, innovation and intelligence whose war on behalf of the Allies was behind the scenes, in the Resistance, or linked with the Intelligence and Espionage.

The clandestine world of Pssst and Shhh.

But until now little has been told of Double Cross – the British “turning” of Nazi agents against Germany and feeding false information that led Hitler to believe an Allied invasion was planned at Calais and Norway, and not Normandy.

A book on five of these double agents -- Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies -- by Ben Macintyre of the London Times, is fascinating for a lot of reasons.

As Macintyre points out, these “turned” German agents “were, variously, courageous, treacherous, capricious, greedy and inspired.” They had to be handled carefully, never fully trusted, but it the end the disinformation they funneled to German Intelligence hoodwinked the enemy and led to the successful invasion of Normandy.

But it was a near thing. Macintyre says Allied casualties topped 6,600 per day for the 77 days of the Normandy campaign, while other sources say it was 3,000 casualties a day. Either way, it was a lot. Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, chief of the Imperial General Staff, worried that the invasion “may well be the most ghastly disaster of the whole war.”

While I (and most readers) have no idea as to the authenticity of Macintyre’s book, it rings true and is loaded with photographs to complement the stories of the five double-crossers, each of which is the stuff of novels and derring-do.

The one that particularly interested me was Lily Sergeyev, who volunteered in Paris to spy for the Germans, with the intent on betraying them. Yet he came close to sabotaging the invasion -- all because of her dog, an apparent Jack Russell terrier named Babs, and the bureaucratic stubbornness of the British who, often in history, seem intent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by their own stupidity.

Lily was French with White Russian roots. At the time (1943) German Intelligence was frantic for spies in England to find info about the coming invasion.

Lily was taught Morse code and spy craft, and assigned to go to England with her dog.

En route through Madrid she dropped in on the British embassy and told Kenneth Benton, Britain’s passport control officer (but also MI6) that she was a spy, and wanted to change sides. After some doubts, she was recruited as a double agent.

Before departing for England she asked one favour from Benton and the British – that her dog, Babs, go to England with her. As she wrote in her diary, Babs was the only creature she could really trust.

Benton told her quarantine laws prevented her dog from going to England with her. Without Babs, she said she wouldn’t leave the continent. “I have worked for you; I will continue to work for you; I don’t ask for any payment. I have one favour to ask: I want to keep Babs with me.”

After much back and forth, Benton said he’d see what he could do.

Lily was adamant. If no Babs, then there’d be no Lily.

Despite her considerable value as a pipeline into German Intelligence, the British would not bend on their damn fool quarantine rules for dogs-- not even in a war for survival. Benton promised to do his best to bend rules, but it was all words.

Lily believed he’d promised to get Babs to England.

She went to Gibraltar en route to England and left Babs to follow later. He never did. In Gibraltar she met an American pilot who was puzzled at British intransigence and offered to fly the dog to England, since no one checked the Americans.

His flight was diverted to Algiers, where Babs was off-loaded.

In England, Lily sent phony messages to the Germans about invasion plans. When she learned Babs had been taken to Algeria, she was furious.

Before coming to Britain, German Intelligence had arranged a “control signal” in Mores code in case the British caught her and forced her to sent disinformation. Abwehr Intelligence trusted her implicitly.

If the British reneged on what she thought was their promise to deliver Babs, Lily was prepared to send the signal to alert the Germans to the false invasion plans. All because of British inflexibility about a dog entering Britain and avoiding six months quarantine.

Lily’s code name with the British was “Treasure,” (the Germans knew her as Solange, or Trap) and her British control was one Mary Sherer who was tough, demanding, but sympathetic.

Lily wrote in her diary that she found the English “cold, uncommunicative, undemonstrative, impenetrable.” MI5 was even considering sending a submarine to Algeria to pick up the dog and deliver it illegally to placate their volatile double-agent.

By Christmas Eve, 1943, Mary was threatening not to work unless her dog arrived. Then she received word that in Algiers that Babs had been run over and was dead – “probably the only thing Lily had ever truly loved, the only creature to have shown her unconditional love.”

Lily believed Babs had been sacrificed by MI5 – had been killed as a convenient solution to Lily’s nagging and threats about ceasing to mislead German Intelligence.

The code which would inform the Germans that Lily had been caught was two dashes in the text of her messages. She intended this as revenge and wrote in her diary: “I was ready to love the British, so eager to help them. I admired them; I trusted them; I had faith in British fair play. I worked readily for them; I took risks on their behalf. In return I asked only for one thing: to keep my dog. It wasn’t asking much, but it was too much for them . . . . I’ll hand them over everything . . . except for the dash. A dash that will enable me to destroy all my work, all their work, the minute I want to . . . . I have them at my mercy!”

Never underestimate the vengeance of a betrayed dog-lover!

British Intelligence was fed up with their star Double Cross agent’s temperament. While German Intelligence was praising her work, the Brits were charging her rent, expecting her to take the subway rather than driving her to assignments, refusing to reimburse her 128 pounds for a lost suitcase, and belittling her.

“She has no legal claim,” said her superiors. “She is trying to bully us. We owe her nothing .” Marty Sherer was appalled and noted that “Treasure” (Lily) was not a money grubber, had accomplished everything asked of her, and that her grudge against the department was based on their crummy behaviour towards her.

And Lily had the two-dash Morse code signal that would tell the Germans that the expected D-Day landing on Calais was fake.

After seeing a movie (Gone With the Wind) with Mary Sherer, Lily was convinced she had a terminal kidney illness, and confessed she had a control signal to alert the Germans. She wouldn’t tell what it was, but the British decided to fire her and threatened to turn her over to French authorities. After D-Day she told Mary Sherer of the two-dash signal would alert the Germans.

She never exercised her threat.

After the war she had British Intelligence “in a lather” by saying she intended to write a book – which she never did. She married, moved to Detroit where her neighbors “had no inkling that Mrs. Collings, the excitable French woman with many dogs . . . was really Agent Treasure, a spy of the highest value whose life, in her own words, had been one of ‘unbelievable reality’”.

Lily died in 1950 of Kidney failure.

Her story is unusual, but British perfidy in her case, was typical.

The moral: Never underestimate the vengeance of a betrayed dog-lover.

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Japanese POW cannot forget, cannot forgive

Post by Teentitan on Sun 12 Aug 2012, 23:02

By Dave Brown, The Ottawa Citizen

There was barely a rumble as the Aug. 9 anniversary of the 1945 destruction of the Japanese city of Nagasaki by atom bomb rolled by last week, but the impact of that event was still strongly felt in a retirement home in suburban Ottawa.

In it sat a 90-year-old man who is living proof that an old proverb: Time heals all wounds. is wrong.

John Franken, Dutch-born Canadian and survivor of 1,288 days as a wartime slave of Japan, is still wounded in that he can’t forgive. The reason for that, he says, is that he can’t forget.

“As long as I live I can serve as a reminder that everybody, including nations, has to be accountable.”

For the last 16 years, I’ve chronicled Franken’s pilgrimages of protest from his home in Montreal to Ottawa, twice a year, to stand as a silent reminder in front of the Japanese Embassy on Sussex Drive. His time points were Pearl Harbor Day (Dec. 7) and Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bombs Aug. 6 and 9. He recently moved to the capital to be near family.

He was preparing to return to embassy Monday for one last kick at the issue. He would personally drop off his last letter of protest.

“I’m getting too old for this,” he said.

In December last year in Tokyo, Japan formally apologized to a delegation from the Hong Kong Veterans Association of Canada. That organization started asking for an apology in 1947. It was made up of Canadian soldiers captured at the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941. More than 1,600 became prisoners of war, and more than 30 per cent of them didn’t survive the brutal conditions and slavery.

The HKVA accepted the apology, and if Japan thought it was over at last, they forgot about John Franken and his memories of wartime “comfort stations” where he was put to work as a teenager, cleaning up the messes left by institutional rape. Women in conquered countries were rounded up and forced into service in comfort stations, a plan to keep Japanese soldiers relaxed. Franken says they were rape stations, and he has never been able to stop the memories of the screams.

Japanese scholars put the number of such women at 20,000, but Chinese scholars claim it was close to 410,000. Whatever the number, the academics seem to agree that three-quarters of them died, and most of those who survived were infertile due to sexual trauma.

Franken always insisted that his protests were not aimed at the Japanese people, but the country. Governments carry a different kind of responsibility, he said. Japan caused horrific suffering not only to its enemies, but to its own people.

Pressure from Canadian survivors of Japanese enslavement finally got government reaction in 1998, but many believe it was from the wrong government. Canada’s government compensated Hong Kong vets by a lump sum average of $24,000 each.

By then it was hard to back away, because the government of Brian Mulroney had compensated the families of 23,000 Japanese Canadians moved into internment camps during the war. It cost Canadian taxpayers $200 million.

Many Hong Kong vets said it showed a government trying to do the right thing, but Japan still refused. The vets wanted pressure to continue to seek payment from the country that benefited from their years of slavery.

In preparation for his last appearance at the Japanese Embassy, he asked for an appointment to have his protest officially received. As usual, he was treated with polite acceptance. On occasion in past protests, usually the winter ones, the embassy has invited him in for tea and a chance to warm up.

The same cordial treatment has been offered this writer who has been asked more than once to accept that war issues were long gone and should no longer be of interest to a news organization.

One of the reasons I couldn’t was Len Birchall, one of Canada’s most decorated warriors of that war. He spent the same years as Franken in captivity, after he radioed the location of a Japanese invasion fleet heading for Ceylon. Although he knew his signal would result in his being shot down, he sent it, and his Catalina flying boat was quickly pounced on by fighters.

A resident of Kingston and a former commandant of the Military College there, he died in 2004. Although the two men never met, they used the same words to explain why they wouldn’t stop.

“I remember, so I can’t stop being angry.”

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Brown+Japanese+cannot+forget+cannot+forgive/7079102/story.html#ixzz23OKzMKtj
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Rileys veteran returns to scene of 6 hours of ‘hell’ at Dieppe

Post by Teentitan on Thu 16 Aug 2012, 10:58

Fred Engelbrecht makes a little joke about how many times he’s been to Dieppe since he took part in the disastrous 1942 raid that cost 1,000 Allied servicemen their lives and saw 2,300 captured by the Germans.

He is returning to the beaches of the French town this Sunday — the 70th anniversary of the raid — as a guest of the Canadian government, and says it will be his fifth time there. He was there twice before for memorial services.

“The other time I was there was in ’42,” notes the 92-year-old former corporal in the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. “They didn’t invite me that time.”

But, the humour doesn’t impugn the seriousness he sees in the trip, and his experiences in the raid, which saw him dodging gunfire, mortars and artillery and watching friends die in the carnage that morning. He describes it as six hours of “hell” and he ended up being captured on the beach, along with 173 other members of the Rileys.

The attack was one of a series of raids to answer calls, especially from the Russians, to open a second front and help ease the pressure in fighting the Germans on the Eastern front. The 6,100-strong Allied force consisted of 5,000 Canadians, including 600 members of the Rileys, who were largely between the ages of 18 and 25. The raid, called Operation Jubilee, was overseen by Lord Louis Mountbatten.

The Rileys had trained with their tanks and equipment to land on sandy beaches. The Dieppe beach was covered with shingle rock and tanks bogged down. About 200 Rileys were killed. Naval support and aerial bombardment were dropped as part of the raid.

After his capture, the Germans put Engelbrecht and others in a large courtyard and surrounded it with heavy-machine guns. The Hamilton Mountain resident recalls he broke down and cried for hours.

“I went into shock,” said the retired Hamilton firefighter who was, after all, just 22 at the time.

“People keep asking me ‘Why are you going back?” he said, choking up. “That seems to be the main question. Why are you going back? I owe it to the people I left behind. I owe it to the ones who didn’t come home.”

Engelbrecht was a PoW for three years, escaping once for a week. He was also one of the Dieppe prisoners shackled by the Germans for many months in response to reports the British had tied up German PoWs.

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Documentary Puts the Ghosts of Dieppe to REST

Post by Teentitan on Thu 16 Aug 2012, 20:36

MONTREAL - “This wasn’t a raid. This was a slaughter.”

Ron Beal, Royal Canadian Regiment. Dieppe Raid survivor.

From the documentary Dieppe Uncovered.

Date: Aug. 19, 1942

Time: 5 a.m.

Location: stone beach on the northern coast of France.

Operation: More than 6,000 Allied-forces infantrymen attempt to penetrate a German stronghold.

Outcome: Unmitigated disaster. Less than six hours later, 60 per cent of the infantrymen were dead, injured and/or captured; 907 Canadians died.

Why the Allied forces allowed the poorly planned Dieppe Raid to move forward has been a mystery for decades. Until now.

Montrealer David O’Keefe has solved the mystery, and in the process has rewritten a defining moment in military history.

O’Keefe, a military historian by profession, is featured in the History Television documentary Dieppe Uncovered, which airs Sunday — the 70th anniversary of the disastrous raid. The documentary is produced, directed, written, edited and shot by History Television veteran Wayne Abbott.

It took O’Keefe 15 years to piece together what actually was intended to happen in the wee hours of Aug. 19, 1942. And it is the stuff of spy novels.

He did so by poring over 100,000 pages of secret, top-secret and ultra-secret documents released in bits and pieces by the British military over the years.

“There wasn’t one big ‘eureka!’ moment,” O’Keefe said the day before leaving with a contingent from Veterans Affairs Canada to attend the film’s premiere in Dieppe on Saturday. “It was more like detective work with a series of small ‘eureka!’ moments. A bit like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. To see it all come together is a rush.”

Over the years, historians have floated various theories about the motivation behind the raid. Was it a push to establish a Western front? Was it a dress rehearsal for a major assault on another German stronghold?

O’Keefe’s research has revealed that the raid was launched as a diversionary tactic designed to provide cover for a commando unit ordered to penetrate German naval headquarters — believed to be housed in the town’s Hôtel Moderne — and to board certain boats in the harbour, all in a bid to steal German code books and a code machine. In military parlance — and only at the very highest levels of command — the Dieppe Raid was dubbed a pinch operation. The head of the commando unit was none other than Ian Fleming, a Second World War British intelligence officer and the creator of spy extraordinaire James Bond.

O’Keefe presented his research to British naval authorities two years ago, and they admitted to the operation’s true motive.

“It changes our understanding of what Dieppe was all about,” O’Keefe said. “It was their admission that made all the time and effort worthwhile. The cat was finally out of the bag.”

It took Abbott more than a year to shoot, structure and pace the story. The battle is re-enacted by a French group specializing in re-enactments of scenarios involving Canadian soldiers. Computer-generated images flesh out the chaos and devastation.

“It was haunting shooting on the exact beach, but we had to. You can’t fake Dieppe,” Abbott said. “The visuals were a challenge. It’s a story about an ultra-secret operation. There was no archival footage, no embedded journalist to interview.

“I wanted to do the research justice, but I also wanted the story to unfold in dramatic fashion, like peeling the layers off an onion.”

Discovering the motivation behind the raid doesn’t change the fact that hundreds of men were slaughtered as a result of poor planning and bad luck. (The troupes arrived 17 minutes late, which meant losing the cover of pre-dawn darkness.) But the research does allow survivors and military historians to attach a clear purpose to the failed operation.

“It was still an absolute failure, but at least there was a purpose. A clear intent,” Abbott said. “And it happened like it was something right out of a Hollywood movie.”

O’Keefe was profoundly moved by the drama and the emotion when, during the shooting of the documentary, he walked the beach in Dieppe.

“It was like walking with ghosts,” O’Keefe said. “It was almost overwhelming. A great pride in being Canadian welled up.”

The film’s premiere in Dieppe will take place in a theatre 75 yards from the Hôtel Moderne.

Dieppe Uncovered airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on History Television, with a repeat broadcast Monday at 8 p.m.

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Weighing Dieppe: Our labour. Our loss. Our lesson

Post by Teentitan on Sat 18 Aug 2012, 23:31

Three brothers from Holland, a small farming town west of Winnipeg, were in the thick of it.

Pte. Clifford Stewart, Pte. George Stewart and their foster brother Pte. Charlie Erickson were at a place called Pourville four kilometres west of Dieppe, a French coastal holiday town before the war.

Seventy years ago tomorrow, it was the scene of one of the fiercest battles of the Second World War.

What the three young soldiers from Winnipeg's Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders saw and did that day is mostly unknown, although Erickson was wounded and later singled out for bravery by his superiors.

The Cameron's job that day, in support of the South Saskatchewan Regiment, was to land on the beaches and advance inland. They were supposed to capture a German airfield and then connect with other Allied troops to attack a German headquarters before pulling back to shore, getting back on waiting landing craft and heading to England 110 kilometres away.

It didn't go as planned. Nothing really did.

Much like everything else that happened Aug. 19, 1942, the Canadian-led attack at Dieppe and its neighbouring beaches faltered before it began. The Germans got warning the Canadians were coming when one of their boats bumped into the Allied convoy.

The Stewart brothers and the wounded Erickson barely escaped with their lives.

They were among the nearly 5,000 Canadians who stormed the pebble beaches at Dieppe and neighbouring landing zones, tumbling out of landing craft into the murderous machine-gun sights and heavy guns of the waiting and battle-hardened German army. More than 65 per cent of the men who made it ashore were killed, wounded or captured. No major objectives were achieved.

Dieppe is Canada's Balaklava, where the light brigade charged into the valley of death, into the mouth of hell.

Also on the beaches that day was 28-year-old reporter Ross Munro, a war correspondent with the Canadian Press.

In today's parlance, Munro was embedded with Canadian commando troops when they hit the stony beach directly in front of the port town of Dieppe. The landing craft he was in was machine-gunned by the Germans as it attempted to approach the shore.

"I spent the grimmest 20 minutes of my life with one unit when a rain of German machine-gun fire wound(ed) half the men in our boat and only a miracle saved us from annihilation," he wrote in his first-hand account of the raid, a story that ran Aug. 20, 1942, in newspapers across Canada, including the Free Press.

"An officer next to me was firing his Sten gun. He got off a magazine and a half, killed at least one Nazi, and then was hit in the head. He fell forward, bleeding profusely."

Munro's lengthy account -- it had passed through military censors -- of the eight-hour attack gripped Canadians, who until then had been largely untouched by the war in Europe. Relatively speaking, only a few families in Canada had experienced the war's grim toll by the summer of 1942, most notably the families of the Winnipeg Grenadiers and Quebec's Royal Rifles, who had been killed or taken prisoner during the ill-fated defence of Hong Kong the previous Christmas.

Until Dieppe, the war was largely being fought somewhere else by someone else.

Munro's reports and other news about the war quickly changed that in two ways.

First, it brought the message home to Canadians that to drive the Nazis from Europe and the Japanese invaders from the Pacific, some hard choices had to be made by each man, woman and even child.

"Today's exploit brings to Canadians at home a realization that we also shoulder a heavy responsibility," then Canadian defence minister James Ralston said in a bulletin to the nation in the hours after the Dieppe raid.

"It is our duty to be worthy of our young men, of the youths who fought today at Dieppe and who, with the same ardour and stoutness of heart, face with confidence the battles of the future. So it must be said of us that we never gave them cause to falter."

Second, as the long casualty reports came in, it compelled Ralston to explain within a month to the nation why so many of those "young men" had been killed and what went so wrong with the mission -- Canada's first major battle on European soil since the First World War and our victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917.

"You can't really hide a disaster like that," says University of Calgary military history professor David Bercuson. "I think that's part of the explanation why they turned it around so quickly."

Bercuson also says war correspondents like Munro were asking questions and not initially mentioning what they already knew in their earlier reports. Munro and other correspondents were censoring themselves so as to not hurt the war effort. That quickly changed as family after family across the country learned their sons were dead or captured.

"It's Dieppe that really hits home," Bercuson says. "All of a sudden, it really comes home and hits you what's going on. Before that, it's largely a matter of demonstrating patriotism and signing up for the boys. Then along comes Dieppe and all of a sudden this pall of doom hits. People see this is going to be long and it's going to be hard and everybody better buckle down.

"We've got to do whatever we've got to do to get this over and done with and we'll fix up everything else later."

Dieppe has also become the central point to Canadians in our narrative of the Second World War.

While an unqualified military disaster, it’s also viewed by some as the first time the different arms of the military services worked together in a co-ordinated attack. The navy, army and air force each played a role. The ships delivered the troops and tanks to the shore while aircraft above protected the fleet from German warplanes. Both ships and planes also provided supporting fire to the soldiers on the beaches. That had never happened before on such a large scale.

What was learned from Dieppe was honed afterward for the Allied invasion of North Africa the following November and the massive D-Day landings at Normandy in June 1944.

Historian Jack Granatstein, a senior research fellow of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, says some the stuff about "lessons learned at Dieppe" is just pure PR spin.

"There was a prepared plan for a failure by the military that said, 'Oh yes, it was terribly bad, but we learned all sorts of valuable lessons,' " Granatstein says. "That line is followed to the present.

"All the great lessons were things that everybody knew already. That's the extraordinary point. All the lessons that we learned that made D-Day successful, that you needed to land somewhere where the enemy wasn't and that you needed surprise, that you needed a lot of gunfire support, that you needed heavy air support, that you needed big guns firing from the sea -- all those things had been learned for years.

"There were no lessons learned, other than you needed better training. Everything else was common knowledge."

So why did things go so badly for the Canadians?

Canada had declared war against Adolf Hitler's Germany on Sept. 10, 1939, a week after Britain and France.

In the three following years, thousands of young Canadian men signed up and shipped overseas to bases in England to wait for their crack at the Huns -- the Stewart brothers and Charlie Erickson among them.

Meantime, the Germans had conquered Europe and rolled unchallenged through North Africa. In 1941, Hitler attacked Russia and, on the other side of the world, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour.

The Canadians waited in England.

By the summer of 1942, the Americans were also gearing up for war against Germany. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was putting pressure on Britain's Winston Churchill and other Allies to open a second front in Europe. The Germans were advancing on Stalingrad and Stalin's army needed help.

At the same time British Chief of Combined Operations, Rear Admiral Louis Mountbatten, was pressuring Churchill for a large-scale hit-and-run raid against the Germans along the French coast. There had already been small commando raids. Now it was time to see if the infantry could do it.

The Canadians wanted in. They'd sat long enough and wanted to see some action before the Americans stole the show. Canadian General Harry Crerar pleaded with his British masters that his soldiers should be the vanguard of the Dieppe attack force.

The Brits agreed.

General John Roberts, born in Pipestone, Manitoba, was assigned the task of preparing the Canadian 2nd Division to attack. The target date for the seaborne raid was early July, but it was postponed because of bad weather.

A second date was set for Aug. 19. In the hours before the landings, ships and troop carriers amassed in English ports to ferry the mostly Canadian force across the English Channel. Troops and tanks would land at Dieppe and nearby flanking beaches just before sunrise while British and American commandos would support them by taking out known German gun positions along the nearby cliffs.

But Operation Jubilee, as it was called, had been scaled back from the original plan. There would be no parachutists landing behind enemy positions, no pre-aerial bombardment or heavy naval guns blasting the French coastline. The fear was too many French civilians would be killed.

As the Allies chugged towards the French coast, they also lost any element of surprise when they accidentally encountered a small German naval convoy.

The result on the beaches was predictable. The main assault at Dieppe saw the Allies, the Essex Scottish Regiment and Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, supported by 27 Churchill tanks of the 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment from Calgary, caught out in the open by German gunners. On the stony beach, the tanks barely operated because of the gradient. Their tracks spun uselessly in the stones.

"The thing that's amazing is that they land at that beach in front of Dieppe, which is a tourist destination for people from England for about 500 years, it's as if they didn't know what was there," Granatstein says. "It's as if they didn't think the Germans would be up on the cliffs commanding the beach. The whole thing was screwed up."

At neighboring Puys, the Royal Regiment of Canada from Toronto was pulverized by the German defenders. Only 60 men out of 543 got off the beach when the retreat sounded about six hours later. At Pourville, the South Saskatchewan Regiment and the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders landed off course or late. The Cameron's commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Gostling, was killed by a sniper as he stepped off a landing craft.

The Highlanders did penetrate further inland than any other troops, but were quickly forced back to the landing craft by German reinforcements. Their progress turned into their punishment: Every step they took inland, they'd have to retrace to get back to the beach on time to get picked up.

"I will forever remember the scene in that craft," correspondent Munro reported on the attack.

"Wounded lying about being attended by medical orderlies oblivious to the fire; the heroism of the Royals as they fought back and strove as desperately as any man could do to get on the beach and relieve their comrades still fighting ashore; the contempt of these men for danger and their fortitude when they were hit. I never heard one cry out."

In the bloody aftermath, Canadians left behind and too injured for immediate medical care from the Germans -- they treated their own wounded soldiers first -- were executed where they lay, put out of their misery, according to some accounts.

Days after the raid, as the casualty lists took over much of Canada's front page news, defence minister Ralston promised to tell Canadians why things went so badly.

He did that in a 4,000-word statement printed Sept. 18, 1942, in newspapers across Canada. Officially, the chance encounter with the German trawler in the English Channel was partly responsible. Other factors were the inability of commandos to destroy German gun batteries near Dieppe and the Royal Regiment of Canada's 20-minutes delay in landing at its beach east of Dieppe, resulting in the manoeuvre taking place in broad daylight instead of semi-darkness. The Royals also failed to take out German gun positions in support of the main landing.

Despite this, Canadian military historian Terry Copp of Wilfrid Laurier University says Dieppe should not be considered a total military failure.

Copp says it was the first time the British navy landed an amphibious force under fire, after clearing a minefield, and then were on time to bring the survivors off the beaches and back to England. The air force also succeeded in bringing the Luftwaffe into the sky to fight them for air superiority to protect troops on the ground.

"Dieppe is the largest air battle of the war between single-seat fighter interceptors," Copp says.

"Our casualties to both aircrew and aircraft were higher than the Germans, but the real thing we pay the air force to do is protect the people on the ground, to provide air cover. The air force was completely successful at that. There was no significant interference from the Luftwaffe on the troops landing on the beaches and even during the withdrawal phase."

Copp says what went wrong is none of the key German gun positions surrounding Dieppe -- artillery, mortar and machine gun -- was neutralized.

"It doesn't matter that there were relatively few German troops defending Dieppe. What matters is that their guns are all zeroed on the beach. None of those positions was taken out and there was no real way for people to get off that beach."

Copp also said the timetable of the Dieppe raid -- they could only spend six hours ashore -- was unrealistic for accomplishing any major objective other than scooping a few German prisoners.

The Canadian generals should have known that. Most certainly, the average soldier knew their task was impossible.

"As in life, the world of business and, God knows, in the world of universities, when a project gets far underway, it is really, really hard for anybody to say: 'This is not going to work. Let's not do it.' And that in some ways is one of the most important issues raised by Dieppe," Copp says.

"Canadians always assume that we are brilliant soldiers, that we don't need extraordinary training to do it," Granatstein adds. "Whatever we do, we do extremely well. When things go bad, we're sort of shocked and outraged -- it must be someone else's fault.

"If we had our heads screwed on right, we would have said it was a crazy idea."

Erickson and the Stewart boys probably knew the mission was doomed, too, as they cleaned their guns in the darkness of the boat heading towards France.

Each got safely back to England. Their mom, Mrs. E. Stewart of Holland reported as much to the Free Press in its Sept. 10, 1942 edition.

The newspaper and military archives are silent on what happened to Clifford and George Stewart after Dieppe. Erickson went back into the fight and was wounded a second time in the summer of 1944 during the Allied breakout from the Normandy beaches.

It's not known if he healed in time to go back to Dieppe when the Canadians returned Sept. 1 of that year, liberating the French town from the Germans without much of a fight: They had abandoned the town as having no military value. It's certain he rejoined the fighting in the fall: On Oct. 27, 1944, Erickson, then 25, was killed in the Battle of the Scheldt, the fight to open the port of Antwerp to Allied supply ships. He's buried near where he fell, in the Bergen Op Zoom Canadian war cemetery in southern Holland.

Copp and Bercuson say if Canadians really want to know about their soldiers in the Second World War, they'd do well to put the disasters of Dieppe and Hong Kong aside and read about victories such as the Battle of the Scheldt and the liberation of Holland in 1944.

"The Battle of the Scheldt estuary took close to three months," Bercuson says. "It was a major Canadian victory of the war. The Germans were fighting hard and we were undermanned and were fighting for every flooded field in Holland. It wasn't easy, but it's looked upon as one of our most significant contributions to the Allied victory."

"People today are much less likely to want to pick scabs over defeats," Copp adds.

"They're much more likely to want to talk about things that Canadians did well. Dieppe has somewhat slipped its central role in the Canadian psyche."

Canadian Units Participating in the Raid on Dieppe

Canadian Army Fatal Casualties:

■Headquarters and Miscellaneous Detachments: 5
■14th Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment (Tank): 13
■Royal Canadian Artillery: 13
■Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers: 27
■Royal Canadian Corps of Signals: 9
■The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada: 4
■The Royal Regiment of Canada: 227
■The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment): 197
■Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal: 119
■The Essex Scottish Regiment: 121
■The South Saskatchewan Regiment: 84
■The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada: 76
■The Calgary Highlanders: 0
■The Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG): 1
■Royal Canadian Army Service Corps: 1
■Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps: 4
■Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps: 2
■Canadian Provost Corps: 1
■Canadian Intelligence Corps: 3
■Total: 907
In all, 913 Canadians (including the aircrew who were killed) died on the beaches, in German captivity, or of their wounds after returning to England.

Of the 4,963 Canadians who went on the mission, only about 2,200 returned to England and many of them were wounded. More than 3,350 Canadians became casualties, including about 1,950 taken as POWs.

Other Forces

In addition to the Canadian troops taking part in the raid, there were 1,075 British troops (52 fatalities), 50 members of the 1st U.S. Ranger Battalion (one fatality) and 20 members of the No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando.

Sea support was provided mainly by British forces. The Royal Navy suffered 75 casualties with an additional 269 missing or captured.

-- source: Veterans Affairs Canada

The raid on Dieppe is viewed as one of the largest air battles of the Second World War. It also showed how fighter aircraft like the famous Spitfire were vulnerable to much faster and more nimble German fighters like the Focke-Wulf.


Spitfire: the main British-made single-seat fighter aircraft of the Allies, made famous in the Battle of Britain and used to support ground troops and as a fighter interceptor.

Hawker Hurricane: a British-made single-seat aircraft also used to defend Britain in the summer and autumn of 1940, used more at Dieppe as a fighter-bomber to support ground troops.

Hawker Typhoon: a British-made single-seat fighter-bomber used for ground attack and as an interceptor.

P-51 Mustang: The U.S.-built single-seat fighter used for strafing runs at the Dieppe landing zones, reconnaissance and as an interceptor.

Bristol Beaufighter: a double-engine British fighter-bomber used for tactical bombing.

Douglas Boston III: a U.S.-made medium bomber used for tactical bombing and smoke-laying.

Bristol Blenheim: a British light bomber used for smoke-laying and tactical bombing.

B-17: The U.S.-built heavy bomber flown to attack the nearest German airbase at Abbeville.


Messerschmitt 109: a single-engine German fighter.

Messerschmitt Bf 110: a twin-engine heavy fighter.

Focke-Wulf: a single-engine German fighter.

Junkers 88: a twin-engine fighter and dive bomber.

Dornier Do 217: a twin-engine dive bomber.

Stuka: a single-engine, two-man dive bomber.

More than 2,500 sorties were flown by the Allies, operating out of bases along the English coast, over the Dieppe landing zones. The Luftwaffe was largely prevented from interfering in the landings or evacuation. Plus, more than 200 Allied ships and landing craft operated throughout the day with only minor losses from air attack.

But there was a cost.

The Royal Air Force lost 106 aircraft and 81 pilots and aircrew, 17 of who ended up in prisoner-of-war camps. The Royal Canadian Air Force lost 13 planes and 10 pilots. Most of the aircraft lost were fighters. Six bombers were also lost in action. It was the highest single-day total of the Second World War.

The Allies estimated German losses at 96 aircraft destroyed with 27 probables and 76 aircraft damaged.

However, the Germans recorded 48 aircraft destroyed and 24 damaged with just 13 pilots killed or missing and seven wounded.

Main weapons used by ground forces
Allies: the Sten Gun, a light submachine gun, sometimes awkward to fire because of the side placement of its magazine. It also fired accidently if dropped. Soldiers called it the Plumber's Nightmare because of its appearance. Its rate of fire was about 550 rounds per minute. It could also use captured German 9mm ammunition.

Germans: The Maschinengewehr 34, or MG 34, an air-cooled machine gun that used both magazine-fed and belt-fed 7.9mm ammunition. Its rate of fire was 800 to 900 rounds per minute.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 18, 2012 J1

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CBC stated the RCMP are a civilian police service during the London Olympics, King George V said different.

Post by Whisky45 on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 09:22

Recently I could not believe a CBC reporter in London covering the London Olympics stated that it was a real honour for the RCMP, a civilian police force to replace the Queens Life Guard at Buckingham Palace. A civilian police force? The reason as a lot of RCMP vets know, we are not a civilian police service because King George V said different in the 1930’s . King George V bestowed to the RCMP by royal assent the distinction of being a Regiment of Dragoons because of service during time of war. The RCMP have the distinction of being a Regiment of Dragoons in order to have a Regimental Guidon with Battle honours hence being given the honour of replacing the Queens Life Guard a Military Regiment. Its pretty sad that the British know where we stand and appreciate the RCMP for our contribution to the British Monarchy but a lot of Canadians like this CBC report do not know why the RCMP march in the parade with the Canadian Military on Remembrance day and stand with the Canadian Military on the National Cenotaph. The CBC and their obvious ignorance of the RCMP’s history as a paramilitary organization with battle honours only helps to spread this ignorance to the Canadian Public. Investigative journalist? Not doing to well in the history department. Thank God the Queen and the British know who the RCMP are by giving the RCMP the honour of replacing the Queens Life Guard during the London Olympics

I recently spent 3 days at the National Archives doing research on the Royal North West Mounted Police and their contribution to the first world war. To Know that we have two members that are the recipients of the Victoria Cross for valour, one during the Boer War and the other during the First World War is something to really be proud of. The true to life stories I have encountered of Mounted Policeman doing their duty with honour and dedication makes me even more proud to have served in RCMP. We as the old guard have a duty to keep their stories of duty and honour alive and to educate the public about the proud history behind the red serge especially the CBC

I love the idea of this thread there are a lot of history out their that is untold in some cases. This is the place to bring it out.
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Military History Of The RCMP

Post by Whisky45 on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 09:37

Military History Of The RCMP
Research done by Eric Rebiere (Former Cst. RCMP 37515 and CAF Veteran)
Member War Pensioners of Canada

1870/71 American incursions into the western territories of Canada in particular those based at Fort Whoop-up resulted in lawlessness due to the sale of crude n whisky to local Assiniboins Indians led by Chief Little Stony Spirit. This activity by the American whisky traders resulted in the Cypress Hill Massacre in 1871 with the murder of approx thirty men, women and children from the Assiniboins tribe.

As a result of this disturbing occurrence and the treat of loosing sovereignty of western part of Canada it was proposed that mounted troops needed to be sent to deal with lawlessness. The original proposal for the name of this new mounted force was the “North West Mounted Rifles” which was rejected because of objections by the United states of having the appearance military troops on their boarder and the reaction of the native tribes in western part of the Dominion. The name chosen for the soon to be formed mounted troops was the “North West Mounted Police “and organized “along the lines of a cavalry regiment in the British Army and was to wear red”. The first NWMP Commissioner, Lt. Colonel George A French formerly of the Commandant of the school Artillery in Kingston, based the new regiment on the Royal Irish Constabulary paramilitary force.

On August 30, 1873 an Act of Parliament (36 Vic, ch 35), May 23, 1873; Order in Council 1134, submitted by Prime Minister Sir John A MacDonald to Queen Victoria who gave Royal Accent for the formation of the North West Mounted Police.

July 8, 1874 Lt. Colonel French led his Mounted Force of 22 officers, 287 men, horses, wagons and provisions and two 9-pounder field guns. The other ranks were now titled as constables and sub constables under the supervision the soon to be famous Sargent Major S.B Steele . The March West had began and law and order was established as well as securing the sovereignty in the western part of the Canadian Dominion.

In 1885 the North West Mounted Police assisted in the effort to put down the North West Rebellion as a military force and suffered heavy losses during the Battle of Duck Lake.

In December, 1899 NWMP Commissioner L.W. Herchmer was authorized to start recruitment for the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles which consisted of 13 RNWMP officers and 118 NWMP non commissioned officers and men that were given leave of absence to contribute to the desperate need for cavalry in the Boar War. On January 27, 1900, Commissioner L.W. Herchimer who was in command of the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifle Regiment was given the military rank of Lt. Colonel and sailed for Cape Town South Africa from Halifax with the 2nd CMR. Two weeks after the departure Superintendant S.B. Steele was asked by his patriarch Lord Strathcona to form a regiment in his name that he would fund and that Lt. Colonel Samuel B. Steele would command. The Lords Strathcona Horse (LDSH) was raised consisting of 114 officers and men. Sergeant A. H. Richardson (NWMP) who served with the Lord Strathcona Horse was the recipient of the Victoria Cross the British Empires highest award for bravery.

On June 24, 1904 as a result of the distinguished service during the Boar War, King Edward Vll honored the NWMP by changing the name of the North West Mounted Police to the Royal North West Mounted Police.

In late 1917 early 1918 during World War 1, the Royal North West Mounted Police Cavalry Squadron joined the Canadian Corps Cavalry with men forming D Squadron one of four cavalry regiments forming the Canadian Light Horse consisting of the 19th Alberta Dragoons, 1st Hussars and the 16th Canadian Light Horse. A and D Squadrons served valiantly until the end of the war on November 11, 1918. In late 1917,The Royal North West Mounted Police were instrumental in the establishment of the Canadian Provost Corps which was established France.

In 1919 the Royal North West Mounted Police B Squadron became part of the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force.

In 1921 King George V bestowed the title to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which was changed in 1920 from the Royal North West Mounted Policed and awarded the RCMP the status of a Regiment of Dragoons in order to display a Regimental Guidon with battle honors won which are as follows;

North West Canada 1855 (Rebellion)
South Africa 1900 to 1902
The Great War France and Flanders 1918
Siberia 1918 -1919

In 1935 as a Regiment of Dragoons, the RCMP took part in the roll of the Kings Life Guard at the Horses Guard’s Parade in 1937 as leading up to the coronation of King George Vl. A true honor for the RCMP.

In 1937 The first Regimental Guidon was presented to the RCMP

During the Second World War the RCMP provide volunteers as in all past conflicts and served with distinction as the Number One Provost Company and received the battle honor which was added to the RCMP Regimental Guidon.

On September 21, 1957 at Parliament Hill, the RCMP was presented with the badge of the Canadian Provost Corps in regards to the contribution to the Canadian Provost Corps during WW11 which was added to the RCMP Regimental Guidon.

In 1998 the RCMP provided volunteers for the first time since World War ll to the United Nations one of the beginning of numerous deployments to Special Duty Areas which has become part of the RCMP mandate.

In 2007 The RCMP again provided volunteers for service during the Afghan War working and training with the Canadian Military and Afghan National Police and are still serving there to date.

Websters on line dictionary Link:

Victorian Soldier, History and Uniform of the North West Mounted Police, 1873-1904by Jack L. Summers and Rene Chartrand Ottawa: Canadian War Museum, 1981http://www.militaryheritage.com/nwmp.htm

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police by R.C. Fetherstonhaugh 1938

The Story of South Africa by Clark Ridpath and Edward S. Ellis Copyright 1889
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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Teentitan on Fri 31 Aug 2012, 11:52

What were the rank and names of the RNWMP that recieved the VC? If you could a short bio and why they got the VC would be cool to read.
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Little left of PoW camps that dotted northern Ontario 70 years ago

Post by Teentitan on Fri 31 Aug 2012, 11:56

LAKE OF THE WOODS, Ont. - Birds circle in silence above Prisoner of War Bay like a snow dome for hundreds of metres back into the swamp.

Partly because of the richness of life that surrounds it, there isn’t much left to see on the site that was used as a German prisoner-of-war camp from 1943-1945.

Even now, it’s easy to tell why the site was chosen.

The nestled cove in the dark woods of northern Ontario feels like it’s the last refuge from the weather at the very edge of the Earth.

Fast-growing deciduous trees are rooted deep in the fields where wooden cabins once held 120 men working in a makeshift logging camp. Seven decades later, the conifers they cut for the Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company have yet to return.

By almost all accounts, the 33,798 Germans sent to 26 camps and base camps throughout Canada during the Second World War were treated with strict adherence to the rules of engagement laid out in the 1929 Geneva Conventions. Soldiers maintained rank “within the wire” of capture and were able to choose to work, learn or volunteer to head across the vast country to camps like those on Prisoner of War Bay near Lake of the Woods, Ont.

C.M.V. Madsen and R.J. Henderson wrote in their 1993 book, German Prisoners of War in Canada and Their Artifacts: “In one sense, German PoWs recreated Germany in Canada. These men lived on small military cultural islands in a very strange enemy land.”

The Lake of the Woods camps were islands in a literal sense.

“I liked it very much because we were out of the barbed wire,” said Johannes Lieberwirth, who volunteered to be imprisoned here in what was then called Red Cliff Bay, back in 1944. The former broadcaster for South German Radio has passed away into history, just like the buildings that once stood here but his is the clearest story of life in this forest’s captivity. He enjoyed his time on Lake of the Woods so much that he returned in 1977 and has been the subject of almost every news and magazine article ever written on the camps.

Making 50 cents a day cutting wood to buy cigarettes, sweets or fishing gear was a snap after a while and he recalled the men swimming, carving, and canoeing through the summer’s days.

Lieberwirth and others described their fellow soldiers to be so close to their captors that they adopted a father-son relationship, leading to some remarkable situations. The supervisors would take the prisoners hunting, for example. There was one occasion where taking two prisoners to the dentist in Kenora, Ont. the guards became so inebriated at a local pub that the captives even held their rifles as they boated their captors back to camp.

He told the Daily Miner and News in 1990: “We came as temporary enemies in war and we left as permanent friends in peace.”

Down the lake, a finger-like river reaches out of Yellow Girl Bay. In the shelter of the rocks, remnants of camp Camp 52 have been protected from decades of storms on the Canadian Shield. Tools and bones are scattered on the site, amid the skeleton of a cabin whose logs are on their last step before returning to earth.

“I was homesick to Canada and to the lake,” German sailor and Oak Bay prisoner Hans Kaiser said of his 1953 return to Kenora, where he met two comrades who had already immigrated to the area. The carpenter worked in the local mill until his retirement.

“There was nothing there, just wilderness,” Kaiser recalled in a 1993 issue of Our Community Magazine. “It all had to be built.”

Those words echo down the channel as the wilderness takes all that was built back to nothing.

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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

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