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Remembering the battle of Kapyong

Post by Guest on Sat 23 Apr 2016, 06:12

In recent months, the Kim Jong-un regime in North Korea has been escalating tensions in Asia and around the world with its nuclear and missile testing and the rhetoric of raining death on the United States and its allies in the region.

Tragically, the regime’s dynastic heritage is replete with provocation toward South Korea, all while suppressing its own people who continue to be deprived of their basic needs, including fundamental rights and freedoms.

On March 2, the United Nations Security Council enacted new sanctions against the regime, imposing some of the strongest measures ever used to pressure the totalitarian state to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Once again, Canada stands with the world in condemnation of North Korean activities.

Just as Canadians stood shoulder to shoulder with the world 65 years ago during the Korean War.

When North Korea invaded the South on June 25, 1950, supported by Russia and China, Canada heard the call from a far-away country most Canadians knew little about.

More than 26,000 Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and from every branch of service, played significant roles in many battles during the war, including the historic Battle of Kapyong (April 22-25, 1951).

The UN counter-offensive between February and April ’51 had been largely successful, with the U.S. Eighth Army pushing the communist forces north of the Han River.

But the North Korean and Chinese leadership had their own plans for the spring of ’51.

The First Chinese Spring Offensive envisioned the total destruction of the U.S. I and IX Corps above the Han, involving three Chinese army groups and three North Korean corps.

With the immediate objective of capturing Seoul, the offensive commenced on April 22 on two broad fronts, with the Chinese 40th Army given the mission of destroying the South Korean 6th Division while blocking any UN reinforcements toward the Imjin River at Kapyong.

The communist all-out attack at Kapyong Valley pushed the South Korean and New Zealand troops into retreat.

Under intense pressure, the Korean 6th Division broke, and the line collapsed.

Soldiers retreated through a gap under protective covering fire from Australians.

Elements of the 27th Commonwealth Brigade, specifically the Australian troops from 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR), and Canadian troops from 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI) were ordered to halt the advance.

In only a few short hours, they managed to dig in on Hills 504 and 677 respectively.

The initial communist attacks at Kapyong engaged the Australians on Hill 504 on the evening of April 23 and throughout the day on the 24th.

Wave after wave of massed Chinese troops kept up the attack.

Having been nearly surrounded, the commander of the 3 RAR ordered a fighting withdrawal from Hill 504.

Now it was the Canadians’ turn, as the entirety of the Chinese 118th Division turned its attention to Hill 677.

At 10 p.m. on April 24, the 118th launched an assault on the Canadians’ right flank.

Throughout the evening the battle was unrelenting, often escalating into hand-to-hand combat with bayonet charges.

At some point during the early morning hours of April 25, 2 PPCLI was completely surrounded and Capt. Mills, in command of D Company, was forced to call down artillery fire on his own position at several times throughout the battle to avoid being overrun.

Being surrounded and now running short of ammunition and supplies, the Canadians resorted to resupply by air drops in order to continue the defence of Hill 677 rather than surrendering the position.

By dawn the communist forces’ attack on the Canadian position had ended, and in the afternoon of April 25, the road through to Hill 677 had been cleared of enemy soldiers, at which time the 2 PPCLI was relieved.

In stopping the Chinese and North Korean advance through the Kapyong Valley, Canada (and her Allied counterparts who fought) proudly earned the U.S. Presidential Citation for their valour.

Sadly, Korea remains divided to this day as we mark the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong on April 22 at the Canadian War Musuem in Ottawa.

Perhaps it’s symbolic that as the Ottawa ceremony takes place and a delegation of Canadian veterans invited by the South Korean government present scholarships to students of Kapyong during a commemorative program, the North Korean regime continues to make aggressive declarations to destabilize the peace on the Korean peninsula.

As was the case in ’51 and is the case today, Canada will stand against North Korean tyranny and aggression and will uphold the sanctions against the regime that would do so much harm in its naked pursuit of nuclear weapons technology.

Lest we forget.


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Civil rights advocates push for equality at Rights and Freedoms March in Vancouver

Post by Guest on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 06:44

On a sunny Saturday morning on False Creek, the famed Tuskegee Airmen, wearing bright red jackets mingled with Chinese Canadian veterans in navy blue. They joined locals who had gathered for the second annual Rights and Freedoms March in Vancouver.

Inspired by the civil rights movement in the U.S., the march is held to celebrate the anniversary of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While Canada ranks as the second best country in the world for quality of life, issues like the suicide crisis on Ontario's Attawapiskat reserve and human trafficking are a grim reminder that not everyone has equal rights in Canada today.

"A lot of people don't know really the history here...particularly recent immigrants," said George Eng, wearing a badge for the Pacific Unit 280. Formed in 1947, Pacific Unit 280 is comprised of Chinese veterans who returned from World War II, only to be rejected from joining the Royal Canadian Legion.

"When World War II started, Chinese Canadians were not considered citizens. And yet, a lot of Chinese — 500 to 600 — volunteered to go fight for Canada. That's a history that can't be forgotten, because it's had a huge impact."

Eng explained that the war veterans, even upon return, then had to fight for their voting rights. For him, the Rights and Freedoms March is a way to commemorate the progress that has been made since then, but also to remember the deep inequality etched in Canada's laws less than 100 years ago.

Members of the Tuskegee Airmen, who had come to Canada for the march, had overcome near-impossible odds and systemic discrimination in the struggle for equal rights.

The original Tuskegee Airmen were African-American pilots, navigators and crew, who made history during World War II by disproving a popular belief (backed by official reports) that black people were unfit for flying an airplane. The Airmen took on dangerous missions such as escorting bombers and protecting them from enemy fire. They were praised by the Allies for their role, even as they faced extraordinary prejudice after fighting for their country.

"It's very important to remember this, because even in years prior, with the problems and issues we had — there's still a current of that today," said Michael Webb of the Tuskegee Airmen. "We have to eradicate all of that. Every man and woman should be equal."


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A history of fighters the Canadian army left behind - See more at:

Post by Guest on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 06:39

Unwanted Warriors: The Rejected Volunteers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force

By Nic Clarke

University of British Columbia Press, 256 pp., $29.95

Dave Obee

Times Colonist

It’s a forgotten chapter in the history of the First World War, a subject that did not get much attention even as the war was raging in Europe.

Not everyone who tried to enlist could be accepted for service. They might have had a strong desire to serve their country, but they did not have the physical condition required of a soldier, so they could not join the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Some persistent men tried several times before being accepted, or before giving up. Some made the cut locally, but were turfed out after they arrived in Valcartier, Quebec, Canada’s primary training base.

Those who were not welcome in the forces faced criticism and mockery at home. In some cases, when their physical shortcomings were not obvious, assumptions were made that they were simply slackers. To survive without harassment, they felt the need to band together.

A short article appeared in the Daily Colonist on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 1918, announcing plans for a local branch of a new organization, the Honorably Rejected Volunteers of Canada. A branch had already been established in Vancouver, the Colonist reported.

The Colonist report is a rare one; not much was said about the new association in other newspapers.

That is understandable, since the war was reaching a crucial stage, and the smell of victory was in the air. The newspapers were filled with stories of local soldiers being injured or killed, of them coming home or being moved to convalescent hospitals in England.

As the Colonist said, the goal of the association was “to draw together in a social way all male British subjects who have served or offered to serve the Empire from August 4, 1914, to August 10, 1917, and to promote the welfare and protect the common rights of all its members who have been honorably discharged or rejected from His Majesty’s forces through the Dominion of Canada, and shall be entirely independent of party politics.”

The new group vowed it would work closely with the Great War Veterans Association. Its organizers also tried to distance themselves from “the common slacker” who “has only himself to blame” for choosing not to enlist.

The establishment of the new group followed a report on employment opportunities after the armistice urged that “the man who stays at home in this crisis surrender some of his privileges as a citizen.”

The new group wanted to “stamp out this feeling from the public mind,” the Colonist said, and protect its members from “undue and unlimited discrimination with regard to employment.”

It is an interesting local angle to a national story, one that has been revealed by Nic Clarke, a historian at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Clarke’s interest in the rejected volunteers was triggered by that short Colonist article, which he stumbled upon while researching politics in British Columbia.

At Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, Clarke found records of 3,000 men who had been rejected at Valcartier in August and September, 1914. By the end of the war, more than 100,000 had been rejected.

Unwanted Warriors is the first book to examine the First World War medical examination, and it opens the door to a better understanding of different concepts of disabilities.

Some of the men were rejected because they had poor eyesight, while others had bad teeth, even if they were in excellent physical condition otherwise.

The young men of Canada faced incredible pressure to enlist in the expeditionary force, yet many were ostracized when their efforts to enlist failed.

Clarke’s book shines new light on a forgotten chapter of the First World War — not an easy thing to do, given the number of Great War books in print — and gives us a better understanding of men who became, despite their best efforts, victims at home.

It also should make us think again about disabilities. Able-bodied men who were willing to serve — and could do physical work for 10 hours a day — were not allowed into the expeditionary force. That should give us pause, even a century later.


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Reflections from Cape Breton's Vimy Ridge veterans

Post by Guest on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 16:12

SYDNEY — In April of 1917, the Battle of Vimy Ridge cost almost 4,000 Canadians their lives.

The battle was a quintessential one for the Canadian forces, taking the location from the Germans.

Ninety-nine years later, no one remains to tell first-hand tales of the battle. However, their stories live on through news reports, letters, diaries and those who spoke with the men and women who were there — many of whom were from Cape Breton.

Ronald Caplan had the chance to talk to several Cape Breton veterans of the First World War during his time as editor and publisher of Cape Breton’s Magazine from 1972-1999.

“Those interviews, you couldn’t do them today,” Caplan said. “There’s no one to tell you, no one to talk to.”

In 2014, Caplan compiled his interviews into book form in "Cape Bretoners in the First World War: In Their Own Words," a book that also included letters, diaries and news reports from the war.

“Sometimes I think Cape Bretoners took Vimy Ridge,” Caplan said. “If they didn’t take it then they certainly led the charge.”

Of the dozens of veterans Caplan interviewed, there were only a select few he talked with who were at Vimy Ridge.

One of the veterans he talked with was Angus J. MacDonnell from Port Hood. MacDonnell was a lance-corporal drafted to the 73rd Highlanders and fought at Vimy Ridge.

“(We) were on the machine gun and we were lined up in the front line trench. Then came the signal. Then we headed for No Man’s Land,” MacDonnell said in an excerpt from Caplan’s book. “Then Hell opened up — our side fired everything they had ...When the Germans opened fire with everything they had, the roaring and cracking of the big guns, the sky lit up and it was worse than a severe thunderstorm”

While under fire from the Germans, MacDonnell was hit with a piece of shrapnel. He was left on a stretcher for a full night before being taken to a hospital the next morning, where he had an arm amputated.

“My stump was paining severely. The stitches gave way and the flesh dropped from the bone. My shoulder was so sore that I could not lie on it,” MacDonnell said. “The doctor got a long probe and started driving it back of my shoulder blade and it hit steel. This was a piece of shrapnel.”

In the book, Caplan also profiled one of Cape Breton’s heroes at Vimy Ridge who did not make it home from the war.

Percival W. Anderson was from Big Baddeck and a captain in the 85th battalion. Anderson led "C" Company during the Battle of Vimy Ridge and earned himself a Military Cross for carrying a wounded man back to safety while under fire.

“Captain Anderson was in the lead and although every officer and man around him had become casualties, he rushed up into the German stronghold,” said Lt. Colonel Joseph Hayes in an excerpt from Caplan’s book. “The first Hun officer he met he shot dead in his tracks, the next who was right close to him with hands up he ordered to remove his belt.”

“The German, who knew no English, did not understand and act quickly enough and Captain Anderson grabbed him, tore his belt off and nearly shook the life out of him with his powerful grasp.”

Anderson was made a major after Vimy, but died in the Battle of Passchendale.

Caplan said there is a misconception that veterans of the First World War did not want to share their stories because of the sheer brutality of the war.

“I’m not convinced they weren’t prepared to talk,” Caplan said. “We were afraid to hear some of the things they had to tell us.”

During his interviewing process, Caplan said the veterans were very open and talked at length with him. He said it was harder for him to hear their painful experiences than it was for them to relive them.

“In most cases they had a terrible experience,” Caplan said. “Although there were those who really relished it.”

Caplan said his visits could last for hours and many friendships grew from the interviews he conducted.

“They came home and they were Cape Bretoners again,” he said. “They were making hay and cutting wood and living their lives.”

Caplan hasn’t followed up by talking to veterans of the Second World War and Afghanistan, but has a lot of gratitude for the veterans who were able to talk with him.

Brian Tennyson, an emeritus history professor at CBU, is currently writing a book about Nova Scotians in the First World War.

He says the significance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge to the overall war effort is sometimes overstated, but it is much more significant to Canada for non-strategic reasons.

It marked the first time all four divisions of the Canadian corps fought together. Tennyson says there are many historians who question whether Vimy was when “Canada became a nation,” but from reviewing letters and diaries, he says it is clear the soldiers felt a sense of national unity.

“They had this sense that (the battle) was very special,” Tennyson said. “Not just that they won the battle, but because of Canada’s place as an emerging nation.”

The Battle of Vimy Ridge:

• The battle took place in France during the First World War.

• The battle began on April 9, 1917, which was Easter Monday.

• The combatants of the battle were four divisions of the Canadian Corps and six divisions of the German Corps.

• The Canadians won the battle on April 12, 1917, forcing the Germans to retreat.

• There were approximately 10,000 Canadian casualties during the battle, with almost 4,000 of those resulting in death.

• Vimy Ridge was the first time the entire Canadian corps participated in the same battle, although some were held on reserve.


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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Guest on Mon 04 Apr 2016, 13:28

Canadian Military History Gateway


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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Guest on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 16:54

Life and Times: Travel, teaching and activism filled long colourful life

Muriel Clarke once chained herself to a tree to stop the city from chopping it down and canoed down the Yukon’s Nahanni River when she was 80.

A physiotherapist for Canadian troops during the Second World War, she protested for environmental causes in her later years and was part of Veterans Against Nuclear Armaments.

Clarke, who died March 16 at age 99, shared a similar willingness to stand up for her beliefs as her father Fighting Joe Clarke, the former Edmonton mayor famed for his fist fight in council chambers when he was an alderman in 1914.

But Clarke, who worked most of her life as a teacher, was also influenced by her upper-crust British mother Gwendolyn, says lifelong neighbour Elizabeth Giroux.

“Muriel had some of those tendencies. I go to the same church as she went and she would be very upset with the children making a racket during the service,” Giroux says. “When we were at school, she was upset at kids wearing jeans. It had to be proper.”

Clarke, who never married, loved to travel — her 1937 University of Toronto physiotherapy yearbook citation says she spent her summer vacations as a camp leader “or seeing America in a Ford V-8. ”

She went overseas with the Canadian Army during the Second World War, treating injured soldiers in France and England. After she returned she went back to school.

She attended McGill University and then received a bachelor of education from the University of Alberta in the 1950s, becoming an Edmonton high school teacher.

Giroux, who took Grade 11 English and geography from Clarke at Eastglen High School in the mid-1960s, thinks the career change was motivated by a desire for holidays so she’d have more time to travel.

Although Clarke rarely talked about her war experiences, and could be reserved with people she didn’t know, she was also an engaging raconteur, Giroux says.

“Sometimes she would pick a very boring (classroom) topic. One of the boys would ask, ‘What did you see (travelling) in France?’, and she’d be off on one of her stories, forgetting what she was teaching. It would be very interesting.”

Jean Wells, who taught with Clarke at Queen Elizabeth high school in the 1970s, recalls her as a personable but private person.

“She was pretty near always standing at attention. She was proper, very much a professional teacher, friendly … a very honest, direct and dedicated colleague,” she says.

“The last time I saw her, she was 92 and she was really cross they wouldn’t renew her driver’s licence.”

She was unhappy that stories told about her father revolved more around his “fighting” reputation than his accomplishments during a total of nine years on city council between 1912 and 1937, Wells says. One of the highlights of his political career was travelling to Ottawa as mayor in the 1930s and convincing Prime Minister Mackenzie King, a high-school friend, to lease Edmonton the federal land on which Clarke Park and Commonwealth Stadium now stand.

After he died in 1941, his wife Gwendolyn was elected as a city councillor for two years.

Their daughter remained a lifelong Liberal.

She lived almost her entire life in the two-storey Jasper Avenue house Joe built about a century ago in the triangular Cromdale community overlooking the Kinnaird Ravine and the river valley. Books and maps of her trips to such places as India, the Philippines and China lined the walls.

Family friend Yvonne Brown said during Clarke’s memorial service this week that she could name and describe any plant in her extensive garden and sometimes set up a telescope so people could look at the moon.

As a Girl Guide leader, she once produced a live mouse for her troop so she could explain why the little animals were important.

When the city threatened to chop down a row of poplars across the street because they were infested with ants, Giroux says Clarke chained herself to a tree to protect them. They’re still standing.

She was riding her bicycle when she was 85, but her health started to deteriorate a few years later when she was knocked down by a mugger and broke her hip. At age 96, she reluctantly moved out of her home into the Kipnes Centre for Veterans.

Clarke outlived her sister Gwen, and her brother Bennie died in the Second World War. But she didn’t express regret at not having a family of her own, Giroux says.

“Her kids were the school kids, especially in the geography class.”


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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Guest on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 16:45

Annual Toronto Garrison Officers' Ball to support the Vimy Foundation

Margaret Atwood and others to mark official 1 year countdown to Vimy Centennial

TORONTO, April 2, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - More than 1000 military personnel, business leaders, elected officials, celebrities and students will gather tonight at the Allstream Centre for the Toronto Garrison Officers' Ball in support of the Vimy Foundation, presented by Bell. The proceeds of the dinner are in support of the Vimy Visitor Education Centre and Charities of 32 Signals Regiment Association.

This year, the Toronto Garrison Officers' Ball is being hosted by 32 Signal Regiment. With a noble history dating back to the founding of the unit in 1907, 32 Signal Regiment traces its legacy to the earliest days of signalling in the Canadian Militia. A leading Reserve Force Communications Unit, they served as part of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division in the Canadian Expeditionary Force from 1915 – 1918. With only one year until the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Canada's defining moment of the First World War, supporters will be on hand to help celebrate Canada's military history and announce plans for the centennial commemorations set for 2017.

"It is an honour to partner with the Vimy Foundation on this annual event as both of our organizations are committed to sharing the story of Canada's history and celebrating our military accomplishments," said Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Bergeron, Commanding Officer, 32 Signal Regiment.

"We are thrilled that Canadians continue to embrace the Vimy Foundation's education and awareness programs. This event is no ordinary fundraiser. It will ensure that the Vimy legacy of national unity, sacrifice, innovation, and victory are never lost," said Jeremy Diamond, Executive Director of the Vimy Foundation.

Master of Ceremonies Kevin Newman will be joined by other special guests including General Rick Hillier, Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada, Margaret Atwood, General Richard Rohmer, Consuls General of France and the United States, Helen Vari, Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur of France, as well as currently serving members of the Canadian Forces, who will help celebrate the work of the Vimy Foundation and unveil architectural renderings for the new Vimy Visitor Education Centre, which will open in Vimy, France in 2017.

Those attending will be able to see a wide range of communications equipment and First World War vehicles on display, thanks to presenting sponsor Bell and Veterans Affairs Canada.

At Vimy Ridge, 99 years ago, 100,000 Canadians soldiers gathered for the first time as a united fighting force. Commanded in part by Canadian officers, they achieved the unachievable and took one of the most heavily defended German positions of the entire Western front. It is said by many historians that at Vimy Ridge Canada emerged from a colony to become a nation. It was not simply a battle – it was Canada's coming of age.

The Vimy Foundation is a registered charity founded in 2006. The mission of the Vimy Foundation is to preserve and promote Canada's First World War legacy as symbolized with the victory of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917 - a milestone when Canada earned its place on the world stage. To learn more, visit


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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Guest on Thu 31 Mar 2016, 10:45

Kenora's Lake of the Woods Museum exhibit highlights WWI

Museum showing exhibit from Ottawa, then launching a locally focused online project

The Lake of the Woods Museum in Kenora, Ont. is focusing on the First World War with a pair of exhibits that will be unveiled within the week.

The museum will show an exhibit from the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa that highlights the ground battles in Belgium and France — including the experience of facing mustard gas — from the perspective of Canadian soldiers. Following the opening of the exhibit in Kenora, an online resource called the Kenora Great War Project will be launched.

Museum educator Braden Murray told CBC News the online exhibit goes live on April 2. The national exhibit opens in Kenora on Tuesday.

"It's something that impacted all aspects of life," he said of the war and its bloody battles, like Ypres and Passchendaele.

"The really big events, the really big battles that people were involved with — either they knew someone who was involved with it or they knew someone who was killed there."

The museum worked with the Ancestor Seekers of Kenora and the Kenora Public Library on the online exhibit.

An 'amazing public history project'

The Kenora Great War Project is the collation and online presentation of all the research done to identify and uncover information about the soldiers from the Kenora area, whether they were born, lived in or worked there.

"All these different places, all these different people that were so crucial to the growth of town," he said.

"[There were] many who didn't come back, so it's a huge databank of biographies, it's an amazing public history project."

Murray said it's important to remember the war a century later, adding that it helped shape Canada as something more than just a part of the British Empire, but also brought a great loss of life.

"It is something that has profoundly shaped our society, it's a huge trauma in the history of Canada," he said.

"We sent these men and women to France and Belgium and had 60,000 never come back, and we had 160,000 come back permanently injured or hurt from their experience."

Murray said the museum is also working toward another exhibit, slated to open in 2018, which will focus on the war's effect on the Kenora-area home front.


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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Guest on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 07:07

The Great Escape March 24/25 1944

The place was near Sagan, in Lower Silesia, Germany (now Zagan Poland) and in March 1944 it was still cold with snow on the ground.

But during the night of 24-25 March, one of the most amazing and daring escapes in history took place.

Commonwealth flight crew in Stalag Luft III, a Luftwaffe prisoner of war camp, had been digging tunnels and planning for a mass escape for almost two years. The camp was supposed to be escape proof. It was deliberately built over an underlying deposit of yellowish sandy soil and the huts were raised so guard could look underneath. Any disposal of the yellow sand from tunnel digging would be quickly seen on the somewhat greyish surface soil.

Nevertheless, tons of the dirt from deep underground was slowly distributed and mixed in the surface dirt with incredible ingenuity and over a period of several months, led by Canadian tunnel diggers, Canadian document forgers, Canadian scroungers, and many others in a variety of roles, some 76 prisoners made a break in that cold March night.

There was an understood awareness that most would be captured and the purpose was really more to simply disrupt and occupy vast numbers of German forces as it was to actually make it back to England.

The first objective was successful with thousands of military personnel hunting down the escapees, and while three PW’s made it back to England, 50 of the recaptured escapees were later assassinated in cold blood.

The exciting and entertaining 1963 Hollywood film starring American and British actors did portray the escape relatively well, except for the major flaw which angered many Canadian veterans; there were in fact no Americans involved in the Great Escape.


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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Dannypaj on Sat 27 Feb 2016, 08:09

Laughing at the word dignitaries (which are politician with no military experience with big mouths and suits), they shouldn't be there in the first place ( I smiled at the last sentence "There were no fancy cars, dignitaries or floats; just lots of military vehicles filled with veterans accompanied by marching bands and current members of the armed forces".  Smile

Until they fix our PA they shouldn't be invited by us commoners to our military ceremonies. Politicians with proven military service record maybe exempted.
Grab the bull by the Horn Ladies and Gentleman.

Frustrating reading stories, posts, pleads, news articles, you name it and it is about Veterans being in legal actions against its own government.  
Where is the leadership on this and who are they besides all the other hundred upon hundreds of non-Veterans being paid by VAC.

Last edited by Dannypaj on Sat 27 Feb 2016, 08:11; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : UPON HUNDREDS)
CSAT Member

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Reliving local's military history

Post by Guest on Fri 26 Feb 2016, 19:34

Reliving local's military history

ARBORFIELD - The daughter of an Arborfield World War II veteran has retraced some of her father’s footsteps through Europe,

ending with the liberation of Holland towards the end of the war.

Jo-Anne Pauls, who is the daughter of Edmour L’Arrivee, and her husband Ron Pauls toured parts of Europe during April and May of last year, visiting sites in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

“Dad never talked about the war. He was in the War, that was all we knew. He was in a tank,” said Jo-Anne Pauls. “He didn’t start talking about it until we were all gone from home.”

It was his grandchildren learning about the war in school that got him started, Jo-Anne explained.

“He talked more about it to his grandkids than he ever did us,” she said.

L’Arrivee was still too upset by his experiences to be able to discuss the past. But by the time his grandchildren were old enough to start asking questions, his regiment was also having reunions and they would get together to talk about old times.

He and Ray Robertson joined the war effort in 1941 thanks to some flat tires on a motorcycle. They couldn’t afford to keep heading to the Calgary Stampede, their original destination so instead, they enlisted in the army in Saskatoon.

After training, L’Arrivee was sent to northern Africa and then to Italy where they stayed until March of 1945. From there, they were sent to France, then Belgium in preparation for the battle in Holland. He returned to Canada during Christmas of 1945.

The Pauls’ trip was a commemorative tour of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Holland and was emotionally draining.

“With Dad having served in all of those countries, and finishing off his war career during the liberation, I was anxiously looking forward to it,” Pauls said during a presentation of her experiences at the Arborfield Library on February 12. “I knew this would be very emotional trip as feeling history is much different than reading about it.”

They started out in France which, surprisingly was full of blooming fields of canola and grazing cattle in fields with no sign of the battlefields 70 years ago.

The first graveyard they stopped at in Bretteville-sur-Laize had 2958 graves, mostly Canadian.

“Our group was very overcome and we sang O Canada as we got ready to leave,” Pauls said. The graveyards are beautifully kept and were placed where ever there was a major battle. France, or other countries, donated the land for the cemeteries but they are maintained by the country’s whose dead are buried inside them.

“We were able to track the battles just by following signs for the cemeteries,” she explained.

Following that stop, they headed to the site of the D-Day landings, Juno Beach for the Canadian soldiers.

“It was basically a slaughter as the German’s had control of the beaches and anyone trying to go ashore was ambushed,” Pauls explained. They stopped at the Beny-Sur-Mer cemetery, the site of burial for Stephen Holdstock, also of Arborfield who died on D-Day in Dieppe.

Pauls said being on the beach at Dieppe was “eye-opening”, the beach is rocky rather than sandy and the tour group tried running up them with great difficulty.

“Within a span of 10 hours, there were 3300 casualties and 1900 prisoners of war,” she said. Of the 6000 soldiers that attacked Dieppe, 5,000 were Canadian.

Some of the sites the group visited were WWI battle sites, but are significant to Canada and many to soldiers from Saskatchewan so they stopped there to pay respect.

In Holland, the end of the tour, the Pauls took part in the70th anniversary of the Remembrance of the Dead on May 4 at Dam Square in Amsterdam.

The ceremony marks the sacrifice of all Dutch people who have died in war or in peace keeping efforts since the start of WWII and is attended by the Dutch royal family.

“Hearing the silence in a crowd of 20,000 was quite stunning,” Jo-Anne explained.

On May 5, the group ended their tour with the celebration of the liberation of Holland, starting in Apeldoorn, where they found the city draped in Canadian and Dutch flags.

After that, they went to Waginegan, where on May 5, 1945, a Canadian general accepted the surrender of the Germans in the Netherlands.

“After the solemness of the previous 10 days, this was a day of celebration,” Jo-Anne said.” This was not what you would think of in a typical parade.”

There were no fancy cars, dignitaries or floats; just lots of military vehicles filled with veterans accompanied by marching bands and current members of the armed forces

Last edited by trooper on Mon 14 Mar 2016, 18:35; edited 2 times in total


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Lest we overlook the ‘Asian Holocaust’

Post by Guest on Fri 26 Feb 2016, 19:31

Many millions died at the hands of Imperial Japan and there are growing calls for redress

Canadians often say one of the most shameful acts in our history was the internment of Canadians of Japanese ancestry during the Second World War.

Virtually every Canadian is aware of the camps, which held roughly 20,000 Japanese in B.C. Thousands of books, courses, public inquiries and movies have detailed Japanese-Canadians’ disturbing loss of wartime rights and property.

Nearly every Canadian knows the government fearfully ordered the internments in 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong. Many are also aware in the 1980s the federal government gave each Japanese-Canadian survivor $21,000.

A growing group of educators who support compensating interned Japanese-Canadians, however, also want people in the West to realize there are other horrible things about the Second World War in Asia that have too long been overlooked.

As the Asian population of B.C. grows and eyes turn more to the Pacific Rim, the voices of ethnic Chinese and Korean people are emerging to draw attention to a history rarely discussed in Canada — the shocking story of Japanese war aggression.

Nazi Germany’s invasions and the Holocaust have been thoroughly exposed through an avalanche of books and movies. Germany’s leaders have repeatedly apologized and offered redress. And the German people, including the young, carry the guilt of their forebears’ atrocities.

That’s not the case when it comes to Japan’s war crimes.

Eugene Sledge, a U.S. professor and veteran who advised Ken Burns on his documentary, War, has said: “The best kept secret about World War II is the truth about the Japanese atrocities.”

The full horror of Japanese aggression began manifesting itself first in 1937, when Japanese soldiers launched a brutal, sexually sadistic invasion of the Chinese city of Nanking.

Peter Li, an historian at Rutgers University, continues to think Canada and the U.S. have to be held responsible for Japanese internment camps. But he also doesn’t want the world to turn a blind eye to the devastation wrought by Japan.

“As Auschwitz has become a symbol of the Jewish Holocaust and Nazi atrocities in World War II, the ‘Rape of Nanking’ has become the symbol of the Japanese military’s monstrous and savage cruelty in the Asia Pacific War from 1931 to 1945,” Li says.

“But in comparison to the Jewish Holocaust, relatively little has been written about the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese military in China, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia, where close to 50 million people died at the hands of Japanese aggression. In China alone, an estimated 30 million people lost their lives.”

Given the hot spotlight on Nazi Germany, it’s little wonder those who want to shift the attention of resistant Westerners to Japan’s war crimes often use the term, “the Asian Holocaust.”

Why have Japan’s war outrages lacked the scrutiny directed at Germany?

The University of Victoria’s John Price is among those who argue one reason for the silence has been U.S. strategy since the war. After Japan surrendered in 1945, the U.S. occupied the country and turned it into an ally in its conflicts with Communist China, Korea and elsewhere. Needing a “friend” in Asia, the U.S. and other Western powers, Price suggests, have not found it in their interest to rub Japan’s nose in its iniquities.

The second reason lies in Western guilt over dropping atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Those explosions helped force Japan to surrender, but at the cost of roughly 100,000 civilian lives.

As a result, in East Asia, controversy burns openly over whether Japan should more fully apologize for starting the war. But in Canada the question rarely comes up.

That’s despite Canada sending thousands of young soldiers to the Asian war, where many were killed or injured or suffered torture and mistreatment.

A person needs a strong stomach to read even a basic Wikipedia page about “Japanese war atrocities.”

Japanese military leaders often ordered troops to “Kill all captives,” says Li, editor of Japanese War Crimes: The Search for Justice. Japanese troops were routinely ordered to decapitate, rape or pour gasoline on citizens and prisoners of war.

When Japan’s soldiers weren’t burying humans alive, they were told to build their courage by plunging 15-inch bayonets into unarmed people. “Killing was a form of entertainment,” says Li. The indignities performed on corpses of victims of rape are too gruesome to cite.

Grassroots efforts to draw attention to the need for fuller Japanese apologies and redress have faced a mountain of obfuscation and denial.

Unlike in Germany, Japan’s responsibility for the war “is not clearly established in the minds of many Japanese today,” says Li. “The Japanese people have introduced the notion of ‘a good defeat’ … and they rarely invoke an enemy, or hatred for the enemy. Somehow the war has become an ‘enemy-less’ conflict.”

Last year, on the 70th anniversary of the war, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his “profound grief” for his country’s actions.

But Abe continues to send mixed messages, since he has also visited the Yasukani Shrine, which contains graves of Japan’s worst war criminals. And accounts of war atrocities remain slim to non-existent in Japanese textbooks.

Even though most people in the West rarely give a thought to the issue, a mini-campaign to seek redress for the invasion of China gained momentum more than a decade ago through a dogged journalist, Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking.

Even though the Taiwanese-American author committed suicide in 2004, many have carried on her legacy. A bronze statue of Chang stands today in the Nanking Massacre Memorial Hall.

Thousands of petitioners, inspired by Noam Chomsky and others, also once launched a campaign to have the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Japanese professor Saburo Ienega, who filed lawsuits against his own government for falsifying its history textbooks. Ienega died in 2002, however, which made him ineligible for the honour.

In Canada the movement for redress and reconciliation in regards to both internment camps and Japan’s aggression carries on through a small, vibrant organization called ALPHA Canada (Association for Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia).

Under the direction of Metro Vancouver’s Thekla Lit, ALPHA has gained the ear of politicians and Canadian teachers who have held large symposiums and created high-school study guides to encourage students to stretch their historical knowledge beyond the war in Europe.

“We are here to remember the millions of victims of the Asian Holocaust committed by the Japanese Imperial soldiers,” said Hong-Kong-raised Lit, describing one of the aims of ALPHA.

“We are here to remember in anguish the rape victims and the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery, the so-called comfort women. We are here to remember the hundreds of thousands of victims of biological and chemical warfare … and the many millions of victims of forced labour, including POWs, Canadian Hong Kong veterans, civilians and even children.”

Focusing on long-term justice and peace for all who suffered in Asia and beyond from the war, Lit includes those terrorized by the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima among the victims of Japanese militarism.

“Some want to close this chapter in history. But those countries which suffered from Japan’s aggression will never forget this dark period, just as the Japanese will never forget the horrible A bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Lit says.

“The best way to honour Asian Holocaust victims and learn lessons from history is through education.”


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African Heritage Month celebrates men who fought to fight in WW1

Post by Guest on Wed 03 Feb 2016, 13:41

As the First World War erupted across Europe, many Canadians rushed to join the armed forces and fight overseas.

Most soon found themselves serving on the front lines as the Allies crashed into the Central Powers, but some were told they couldn't fight.

But they fought to fight, and Nova Scotia's Black Loyalist Heritage Centre is now celebrating the 100th anniversary of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, the all-black unit they formed.

Beverly Cox, site manager at the centre, will host the celebrations in Birchtown at 11:30 a.m. on Friday. Her great-great grandfather, Private William Isaac Clemens, signed up for the battalion.

He's featured in Calvin Ruck's book The Black Battalion 1916-1920: Canada's Best Kept Military Secret.

"It's a story of triumph. These men were told they couldn't serve because of the colour of their skin and they continued to rattle the chains and make noises and finally they decided that, yes we are going to make this battalion of black people," Cox says.

In 1916, the battalion was formed. The men, almost 1,000 strong, came from across Canada and the United States, including many Nova Scotians. Their work was hard: they dug trenches, built roads and bridges overseas.

Private Ottus Farmer from Shelburne County volunteered. His great-great grandson Jason works at the heritage centre in Birchtown, which shows photos and attestation papers of the men who volunteered.

He's proud of his great-great grandfather and the recognition the battalion is finally getting.

"It took 100 years, but finally these men can be recognized for crashing down barriers here in Canada," he says, looking at black-and-white photos of the warriors.

Friday's event will include the Grade 2 class from Hillcrest Academy in Shelburne. The students studied the soldiers' stories and will present them on Friday. The students were struck by the men's bravery.

"It's important that people know about this history and it's been forgotten," says Cox. "They felt they were Canadians and they wanted to fight for their country and they were denied that right at first and they still volunteered and risked their life for their country."

Canada Post has issued a postage stamp to honour the No. 2 Construction Battalion.

The centre's own roots trace back to the many people held as slaves in the U.S. who chose to fight for Britain in the American Revolutionary War. After the war was lost, many migrated into what would become Canada to take the freedom they'd earned.

Veterans Affairs Canada says black soldiers fought through discrimination to serve in the War of 1812, the Upper Canadian Rebellion (1837-1839) and overseas.

In 2010, Nova Scotian William Hall received a Victoria Cross medal for bravery for his heroics in India in 1857. He later had an Arctic patrol ship named after him.

It was only during the mayhem of the Second World War that black Canadians were allowed to serve alongside white Canadians.


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This Week in History: Homeless Veterans occupy the old Hotel Vancouver in 1949

Post by Guest on Mon 01 Feb 2016, 19:33

When the war ended in August, 1945, the housing shortage got even worse, because of all the veterans returning from overseas

VANCOUVER -- There was a housing shortage across Canada during the Second World War, and many families were forced to double up and live in substandard dwellings. When the war ended in August, 1945, the crisis got even worse, because of all the veterans returning from overseas.

In downtown Vancouver, many saw a solution in the old Hotel Vancouver at Georgia and Granville. Opened in 1916, it had been the city’s most opulent hostelry before the current Hotel Vancouver was built in May, 1939, two blocks west at Georgia and Burrard.

During the war, the old hotel was commandeered by the military for offices and barracks, and many thought that should continue. But the hotel’s owner, the Canadian Pacific Railway, wanted to tear it down and sell the land.

On Jan. 26, 1946, some veterans took matters into their own hands.

“In a move that caught all authority, military and civil, by complete surprise, the veterans seized the hotel Saturday afternoon,” reported The Vancouver Sun.

“Thirty men and women — the shock troops — led by Bob McEwen, New Veterans’ sergeant-at-arms, walked into the hotel at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and announced to a lone army guard they were taking over the hotel.

“By Sunday night, at least 150 veterans and their wives were registered guests. Through their spokesmen they announced they were staying until they were thrown out bodily.”

The veterans had held a rally at Canadian Legion headquarters on Seymour Street before marching to the hotel.

“Maybe we’ll run (the hotel) at a loss, but we’ll have apartments at least,” McEwen said at the rally.

“To heck with the rent. Once we get in maybe some organization will want to take it over and run it for us, but this thing has been kicked from pillar to post for the past six months so we’re just going to move in.

“If you’re game, we’ll go and take it over now. I’ll be the person who is thrown in jail if anyone is. But veterans in jail, just because they want houses — the Canadian people won’t stand for that.”

By Monday morning, 700 homeless vets had registered at the hotel, which was run with “rigid” house rules.

“When registering, applicants for rooms must produce their discharge papers and undergo a polite but thorough grilling,” The Sun reported.

“If a man and wife are registering, they must present proof of their marriage. Elevators may not be used. Single men, single women and married couples will be separated by floors.

“No liquor will be allowed on the premises. Intoxicated persons will not be admitted.”

The army ordered the veterans to leave, but they refused. By Jan. 29, a group called the Vancouver Citizens Rehabilitation Council was formed to operate the hotel as a hostel for a year, with the city and federal government kicking in $70,000 apiece to subsidize the hotel.

Public sympathy was with the veterans, and building new housing was a big political issue. The Labor Progressive Party took out an ad in The Sun headlined “Quit Stalling, Start Building!” It demanded the federal government “spend $1 billion on 250,000 subsidized low-rental homes in the next five years.”

The LPP had been formed by left-wingers after the Communist Party had been outlawed in Canada in 1940. The presence of LPP member Austin Delaney on the occupation committee led for a demand to remove the “Communist element” by Lewis McDonald of the Mount Pleasant Legion.

McEwen declined, noting that the committee contained vets from across the political spectrum — two Liberals, two Conservatives, two members of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, one from Social Credit and one from the LPP.

Some vets stayed in the hotel for a couple of years before permanent accommodation was built. When they were finally gone, Eaton’s department store bought the building in 1948. It announced it was going to demolish the hotel, but the Vancouver Board of Trade asked Eaton’s to find another buyer who would run it as is. Eaton’s said nobody made an offer, and it was torn down in 1949.

Bob McEwen’s trucking company hauled some of the demolished hotel away. The site of the grand old hotel became a parking lot until construction on Pacific Centre began in 1969.


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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Guest on Wed 09 Dec 2015, 16:22

whiners lol ole tommy was a freak lol best CQ i ever had


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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

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