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Japan's politicians can't shake memory of war criminals

Post by Teentitan on Mon 19 Aug 2013, 08:43

OTTAWA -- It took the Japanese army less than a week to defeat Canadian, British and Indian soldiers at Hong Kong in December, 1941.

But the war crimes committed by Japanese soldiers against Canadians started before the surrender.

Four Winnipeg Grenadiers were executed after surrending at Jardine's Point and another was shot on the forced march to the North Point POW camp. Two members of the Royal Rifles of Quebec and some Canadian medical staff were killed after surrendering an aid station housed in a Catholic mission. One Canadian, Capt. Overton Stark Hickey of the Royal Canadian Army Services Corp, was killed as he tried to prevent Japanese soldiers from raping Chinese nurses. The nurses were shot as well.

Ken Pifher was a 20-year-old rifleman with the Royal Rifles when he was captured by the Japanese, one of 1,689 Canadians made prisoners-of-war during that awful December who would then spend the rest of the war trying to survive the harsh and brutal regime in the Japanese camps. More than 260 Canadian POWs would not survive and perished in the camps.

"It was hell," Pifher told me when I met him last Remembrance Day at the cemetery in Hong Kong where nearly 300 Canadians who died defending Hong Kong are buried.

Pifher is now 92 and I thought of him and other Canadian veterans of Hong Kong as I learned of the shameful decision last week by two members of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet to visit a shrine that honours all Japanese war dead, including convicted war criminals. The visit was made on the 62nd anniversary of Japan's surrender.

That decision by those cabinet ministers to fail to note the difference between those who died serving their country in an honourable way and those who sanctioned, ordered and committed torture, mass killings, and rape enraged the governments of China and South Korea who promptly summoned Japanese ambassadors in Beijing and Seoul and gave them an earful.

Canadian diplomats weren't prepared to raise the same official stink with the Japanese the way the Chinese and the Koreans did. They would prefer, instead, to focus on that fact that, in 2011, the Japanese government formally apologized to those Canadians, like Pifher, who suffered terribly during their imprisonment by the Japanese during the Second World War.

Pifher, too, said he would prefer to focus on the apology when I spoke to him by phone this weekend. Though he lives in Grimsby, Ont. now he was in Winnipeg attending the bi-annual gathering of the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association.

"The apology should serve as the sure thing," he said.

Of course, Canadians were not the only victims of Japanese atrocities. There were Chinese, Australian, Dutch, British, Kiwi, Korean and many other nationalities who were victims of mass killings, officially sanctioned rapes of so-called "comfort women," human experimentation, and torture of POWs committed by or sanctioned by Japan's Imperial Army during the Second World War.

Pifher, to me, is being graceful and respectful when it comes to modern Japanese politics.

I worry, though, that the decision by Abe's ministers to visit the shrine where war criminals are treated just like any other soldier or sailor who died in the service of the Emperor of Japan will lead to perverse historical revisionism. Many members of Abe's nationalistic, right-leaning Liberal Democratic Party have long been on record as preferring to remember Japan's Second World War history differently or to forget certain aspects altogether.

And so, if we wish to remember and honour the sacrifice of Pifher and millions of others who fought against tyranny in the Pacific and in Europe against the Nazis, we must confront anything that hints of whitewashing Japan's imperial past.

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The then Minister of VAC confirms the first British Colonial Soldier to win the VC was a North West Mounted Policeman.

Post by Whisky45 on Thu 29 Aug 2013, 16:14

The following is an exerpt of my follow up letter to then Minister Blaney and the following was about the history lession I gave Blaney personally in Kingston last Novemeber. The link to his letter is at the end. The complete letter I sent is on the RCMP and Police Services Threat.

Mr. Blaney
We met at the Canadian Military & VETERAN Health Research seminar at the Ambassador Hotel and Conference center in Kingston on November 27, 2012 . You were sitting with three of your aides in the coffee shop prior to your speech at 0830 hours that morning. I was the RCMP veteran wearing the RCMP patrol jacket with my medals from my three UN tours that I gave to Canada i.e. Cyprus 1980/81 (Miltitary), Croatia 1992/93 (RCMP human rights monitor) and Kosovo 1999/ 2000 (RCMP to enforce law).

I asked you if you knew who the first British colonial Recipient of the Victoria Cross was and you did not have a clue. I stated that it was ;
Sgt. A.L. RICHARDSON , North West Mounted Police, regimental number 3058 who showed valour and courage at the battle of Wolve Spruit in 1900 during the Boer War. THE FIRST BRITISH COLONIAL SOLDIER TO RECEIVE THE VICTORIA WAS A NORTH WEST MOUNTED POLICEMAN who served under the command of Lt/Col. Samual Beneford (Steele NORTH WEST MOUNTED POLICE) who created the Lord’s Strathcona Horse to fight as cavalry in the Boer War at the request of Lord Strathcona himself. Sgt. Richardson was with the RCMP from 1894 to 1907.

I ask you Mr. Blaney, when did the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and its predecessors the North West Mounted Police and Royal North West Mounted Police STOP being veterans???

Was it when Sgt. Richardson saved a comrade pined under a wounded horse during the Boer War? Was it during the First World War when the Royal North West Mounted Police served as a cavalry regiment in France and Flanders (A and D Squadrons)? Was it when the Royal North West Mounted Police 1917 were instrumental in creating the Canadian Provost Corps? Was it when the Royal North West Mounted Police served as Cavalry in Siberia ( B Squadron) with the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force during the Russian Revolution in 1919? Was it when King George V in 1921 bestowed upon the Royal Canadian Mounted police, the military distinction and honour of being a Military REGIMENT OF DRAGOONS in order to display a Dragoons Guidon (Military Battle Flag) displaying the previous and future BATTLE HONORS)? Was it was when the Number One Provost Corps RCMP served in World War Two in Italy ( some of these RCMP officers are still alive today)? Was it when Canadian Government asked for volunteers from the RCMP to serve overseas in Namibia in 1989 and numerous other United Nations Missions to date? Was it when the Canadian Government asked for RCMP officers to volunteer, train, and be equipped by the Canadian military with gear and weapons to serve in Afghanistan at the start of the combat mission in 2007 to the end of the combat mission in 2011 and are still there to date? Was it when an RCMP Sgt. was critically wounded by a suicide bomber in 2010 in Kabul Afghanistan?, Was it when two RCMP officers were killed during the earthquake in Haiti in 2011? Was it when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were bestowed the honor to replace the Queen’s Life Guard during the 2012 Olympics the second time in British and Canadian history, the first time during the coronation of King George Vl in 1937 as a Regiment of Dragoons?
Mr. Blaney when did the Paramilitary organization called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the officers who have served since the beginning of Canada, stop being veterans? To deny the Royal Canadian Mounted Police its status as veterans with the Canadian Military is to dishonor the memory and valor of Sgt. A.L. Richardson NWMP V.C. again the first Canadian and British Colonial recipient of the VICTORIA CROSS for Valor not to forget all those Mounted Policeman who gave their lives and sacrificed for Canada both here in Canada and abroad???

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Unidentified remains may be missing Canadian soldier

Post by Teentitan on Wed 18 Sep 2013, 14:45

Trying to stay cool in the muggy heat of France may have resulted in a Canadian soldier joining the enemy — and remaining there for the past 69 years.

The likely answer to a mystery dating back to the Second World War was exhumed in France last week, when forensic scientists pried open an old fibreglass box to reveal the bones inside — bones that were long assumed to be those of an unidentified German soldier.

Standing just metres away from the enigmatic remains, officially listed as a German killed on Aug. 13, 1944, was Medicine Hat lawyer Lawrence R. Gordon — and it’s his firm belief the nameless warrior is in fact his namesake uncle, Lawrence S. Gordon.

“It was a bit of an eerie feeling — the boxes aren’t very big, and each one holds an individual soldier. All of the bones are in there,” said Gordon.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that we’ve got the right person — I’m satisfied that we’ve got Uncle Lawrence.”

DNA testing, now underway at the University of Wisconsin, will provide the final proof in about three month’s time — meanwhile, compelling physical evidence suggests the remains previously known as soldier ‘X-3’ are in fact Private First Class Gordon, a Saskatchewan farm kid who joined the U.S. Army while working in Wyoming.

PFC Gordon vanished on Aug. 13, 1944, after his armoured car — part of a U.S. Reconnaissance Company scouting in Normandy, France — came under attack, and its occupants were all killed.

But when it came to recovering the bodies, there was no Private Gordon, just a corpse without dog-tags, wearing a few items of German military clothing and equipment — hence, the assumption it was a dead German.

Gordon was gone, but the Canadian’s wallet, bloodstained and burned, somehow made it back to Saskatchewan with a letter explaining he was missing in action — how it arrived home remains a mystery, because there was no name or address in the billfold, just a photo of the family farm.

The lack of closure haunted the Gordon family, who spend six decades wondering what happened to their relative — the fate of his brother bothered Gordon’s dad so much the younger Lawrence made a promise to someday visit the graves in France where unknown Americans are buried.

Lawrence R. Gordon kept his promise, going to France in 2000 — but then in 2012, he received a call that suggested his visit was probably a few miles off the mark.

It was an American war historian named Jed Henry, whose grandfather had served beside the Canadian.

Henry had tracked all 44 causalities from the 32nd Armored Regiment of 3rd Armored Division, finding the resting places for all but one: PFC Gordon.

He wanted to find the missing soldier — and of course, Gordon wanted to find his uncle.

And so the sleuthing began. Poring over old records, they learned the unidentified remains from his uncle’s battle were sent to a temporary U.S. cemetery, and one soldier, because he had some German gear, had been transferred to a crypt for unidentified German soldiers.

German clothing on an allied soldier? Not impossible, given the oppressively heavy wool of their own gear.

That and a shortage of clothing may have convinced PFC Gordon to borrow from the enemy, never imagining it would lead to him joining the German army in death.

“The U.S. hadn’t issued their summer uniforms by August, so they may have scavenged what they could to stay cool,” said Gordon.

It seemed like a promising lead — and so, with the permission of French and German officials, they were allowed to conduct DNA testing on soldier X-3.

But Gordon, who attended the opening of the German ossuary with his brother Sam and Jed Henry, among others, doesn’t need DNA to convince him.

A unique feature recorded on his uncle’s war record was a lower jaw missing key teeth, in a very specific order.

After the crypt was opened and the fibreglass box brought out, Gordon says his first look at the jaw bone gave him the answer — it was an exact match.

“I look at that and think, that’s not going to happen very often, and to have two people with that exact tooth pattern killed at the same time and same place on the battlefield is really stretching it,” said Gordon.

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Jules Paivio, last surviving Canadian veteran of the Spanish Civil War, dies

Post by Teentitan on Fri 20 Sep 2013, 00:04

Last week, an important but often overlooked era in Canada’s history came to a close with the death of Jules Paivio, the last surviving Canadian veteran of the Spanish Civil War.

A member of the Canadian Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, Paivio travelled with volunteers from all over the world to Spain in 1937 in an effort to help a beleaguered republic gripped in a brutal civil war.

Regarded by many as the opening salvo of the Second World War, the Spanish Civil War saw the fascist forces of Francisco Franco—aided by dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini—rise up against the democratically elected Popular Front government of Spain.

A broad coalition of left-wing interests, the Popular Front brought together socialists, trade unionists, communists, and anarchists in a brittle political alliance backed by theSoviet Union.

With foreign volunteer troops raised by the Moscow-based Comintern network and organized into the International Brigades, more than 30,000 international volunteers were recruited. In all, more than 1,500 Canadians made their way to fight in Spain.

One such volunteer was the then 19-year-old Paivio of Sudbury, Ontario. An ardent anti-fascist, Paivio shipped out to Le Havre, France and made his way over the snowy Pyrenees to Spain on foot, where he was eventually assigned to the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion.

In the spring of 1938, Paivio was part of what later became known as "The Great Retreats" after the Republican army lost their stronghold in Aragon with the fall of Teruel. Under withering and continuous assault, the International Brigades, as well as Spanish troops, fell back to the Mediterranean to regroup in Valencia and Catalonia.

On March 31, 1938, Paivio and members of his patrol were captured by Italian fascist troops near Gandesa and lined up against a wall to face a firing squad. Just as they were to be shot, an Italian officer drove up and dismissed the firing squad, realizing that his international prisoners could be exchanged for fascist prisoners-of-war.

After spending more than a year in a P.O.W. camp and surviving the Fascist victory in the civil war, Paivio was released and shipped to France, where he made his way back to Canada.

Upon his return, there were no parades, and no federal veterans benefits—in fact, there was no official recognition at all for the men who had first faced down fascism. Distrusting the political inclinations of the members of the Mackanzie-Papineau Battalion, the Canadian government kept them under close surveillance and often limited their activities.

When the Second World War broke out, Paivio joined the Canadian Army, but was not allowed to travel overseas due to his association with the Soviet-backed International Brigades. For the duration, he taught map-reading to troops during their training in Canada.

After the war, Paivo studied architecture and later went on to teach at Ryerso nUniversity. He remained active in social causes, recently telling a journalist that citizen involvement was something close to his heart.

Two years ago, at a ceremony at the Spanish Embassy in Ottawa, Paivio was honored by the Spanish government and given full Spanish citizenship in return for his military service.

“It is difficult to thank them with the intensity they deserve,” said Spanish ambassador Eudaldo Mirapeix, “through him we honour them all.”

At the time of his death, Paivio was 96 years old.

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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by RobbieRoyal on Sat 21 Sep 2013, 08:43

i honestly love a history lesson thanks Mr. Paivio. RIP por el pais
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Post by Teentitan on Wed 04 Dec 2013, 16:45

KINGSTON, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 12/03/13 -- Veterans of the famous Devil's Brigade, serving and retired members of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM), all gathered this evening at Canadian Forces Base Kingston for a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte (Mount) La Difensa.

The Devil's Brigade, also known as the First Special Service Force (FSSF), was a joint US/Canadian force formed during the Second World War in response to the need for a specially-trained unit capable of unique or "special" operations. Upon arrival in the Mediterranean Theatre, the FSSF was given the extremely difficult mission of taking the German-held, 963-metre mountain protecting the approaches to Rome, Italy.

Monte La Difensa, officially known as Hill 960, was the first major battle for the FSSF. The Forcemen, as members of the FSSF were known, battled rain, fog and snow during the night of December 2-3, 1943 to scale the treacherous northern side of the mountain as part of their surprise attack against the German positions. After an intense battle, despite sustaining severe casualties on the mountain, the members of the force were successful in taking their objectives.

"Canada is proud to recognize the devotion of the Forcemen of the First Special Service Force and their accomplishments seventy years ago during the Battle of Monte La Difensa," said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. "It is appropriate that we take the time to recognize these soldiers and the contributions they made during the Italian Campaign and the Second World War."

The FSSF was a unique combined US/Canadian military formation from the Second World War whose creation underscored the longstanding military, political and social cooperation that exists between our two countries. The FSSF was a truly "combined" military organization that witnessed Canadians and Americans serving side-by-side as a single formation with a unified internal chain-of-command. The organization was so closely knit that it was difficult to differentiate Canadian from American.

"The historic actions of the men of the First Special Service Force cannot be forgotten. As the first unit of its kind, and with a significant record of success, Canadians should be proud of the outstanding accomplishments of the FSSF," said Brigadier General Denis Thompson, Commander of CANSOFCOM. "Anniversaries such as this allow personnel both within CANSOFCOM, and the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole, to learn of their history from the men that actually fought the battles - it is imperative that we capture their stories and learn from their experiences."

Currently the FSSF legacy and battle honours are perpetuated by the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) and the United States Special Forces (USSF).

Notes to editor / news director:

A CANSOFCOM documentary video of the 70th Anniversary of the Battle for La Difensa will be posted in the Canadian Forces Imagery Gallery.

Contact information:

For more information or for interview requests with CANSOFCOM personnel and/or FSSF veterans on the topic of the 70th Anniversary of the battle of Monte La Difensa, please contact Major Steve Hawken, Senior CANSOFCOM Public Affairs Officer, at Office 1-613-945-2209, Cellular 613-797-6249 or steven.hawken@forces.gc.ca

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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by RobbieRoyal on Tue 11 Mar 2014, 15:29

for my Airborne brothers whoa
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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Ex Member on Fri 31 Jul 2015, 07:15

Just seen this piece served with Tommy late 70's/80's in gagetown. A good man funny to, a transport hit a moose in front of us we were on a exercise in petersville he got out with a shovel and tried to remove a hind quarter funny as hell as tommy is almost as wide as he is tall but a real power house of a man a dull shovel against tough flexable moose hide he got his exercise but not his moose steaks.

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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by johnny211 on Fri 31 Jul 2015, 11:55

teentitan- That is awesome. Well written, and describes what we went thru, felt. I served 77-01, as a Rad Op, and I can relate to all of that. I could feel it, smell and taste it all again. Now I am, like alot of you an old soldier, but we would do it all again, if we wern't all busted physically and mentally.
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Re: History / Topics & Posted Articles

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

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