Legion Magazine 2017-11-12

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Mobilized to help

Canada’s 11th governor general, Sir Victor Cavendish,

Duke of Devonshire, stands with members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment which, along with hundreds of doctors, nurses, military medical officers and others, provided emergency services after the Halifax Explosion in December 1917. See page 30

W.G. MacLauglan/LAC/C-006927

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Library and Archives Can Canada nada d /P da/ PA A A--001086 -00108 1 6 1086 108

A hundred years later, the words “VIMY RIDGE” continue to stir Canadian hearts. This victory remains a powerful symbol of Canada’s legacy of bravery, solidarity and sacrifice.  The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge with this limited edition $2 circulation coin.  Hold on to this special commemorative circulation coin as a keepsake that honours the sacrifices of past generations, and those who continue to serve. 


Find it in your change, or get five $2 coins for $10 at


ALL PRICES ARE IN CANADIAN DOLLARS. *Shipping and handling charges will apply unless otherwise specified. Limit of one (1) per household. Offer valid in Canada only. Products may differ from those shown and are not actual size unless specified. While quantities last. © 2017 Royal Canadian Mint. All rights reserved. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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Biblio Bibl Bi iothèque thèque ett Archives Canada/PA-001086

Cent ans plus tard, l’expression « CRÊTE DE VIMY » continue de toucher le cœur des Canadiens. Cette victoire laisse un puissant héritage de bravoure, de solidarité et de sacrifice. La Monnaie royale canadienne est fière de souligner le 100 anniversaire de la bataille de la crête de Vimy avec cette pièce de circulation de 2 $ édition limitée. e

Conservez cette pièce de circulation commémorative en souvenir afin d’honorer les sacrifices des générations passées, et ceux qui servent encore.

Trouvez-la dans votre monnaie ou commandez cinq pièces de

pour 10 $ à




TOUS LES PRIX SONT INDIQUÉS EN DOLLARS CANADIENS. * Des frais d’expédition et de manutention s’appliquent, sauf indication contraire. Limite d’un (1) lot par foyer. Offre valable au Canada seulement. Les produits peuvent différer des illustrations et ne sont pas montrés en taille réelle, sauf indication contraire. Jusqu’à épuisement des stocks. legionmagazine.com > NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 © 2017 Monnaie royale canadienne. Tous droits réservés.

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A collision between two ships in Halifax Harbour in 1917 sets off an explosion unrivalled until the atomic bomb By Sharon Adams


These Canadian soldiers wounded in Afghanistan returned home to face the fight of their lives

Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne


Taking back the French Channel ports was critical to the success of the Allies’ Operation Market Garden in 1944


Pilgrims walk the grounds where so many Canadians fought and fell in two world wars Story and photography by Tom MacGregor

66 THE RELUCTANT DEFENCE OF THE WEST COAST After joining Confederation, British Columbians tried to raise a defensive military unit, while Ottawa’s attention focused elsewhere By Peter Silverman

By Mark Zuehlke



NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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COLUMNS 16  MILITARY HEALTH MATTERS Using nanotechnology to heal wounds By Sharon Adams

21 FRONT LINES The soulless gaze of haters By Stephen J. Thorne

28 EYE ON DEFENCE Is it time for Canada to get anti-ballistic missiles? By David J. Bercuson

58 FACE TO FACE THIS PHOTO Virtually all buildings on this stretch of the Halifax waterfront were destroyed by the explosion of munitions ship SS Mont-Blanc. ON THE COVER The area around Halifax Harbour became a frozen wasteland in the days following the explosion.

Should Andrew McNaughton have been fired following the Dieppe disaster? By Mark Zuehlke and Terry Copp

104  CANADA AND THE COLD WAR The end of the Cold War By J.L. Granatstein

106 HUMOUR HUNT Centurions of Christmas By Terry Fallis

W.G. MacLauglan/LAC/C-019951; LAC/C-019953

108 HEROES AND VILLAINS Red Patch Devils and Green Devils By Mark Zuehlke

110 ARTIFACTS Danger UXB By Sharon Adams

112 O CANADA The last PoW By Don Gillmor

DEPARTMENTS 6 10 14 70 83 103 103 103 103 103


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Work to do


eamus O’Regan, the former television host from Newfoundland and Labrador, was appointed as Canada’s Minister of Veterans Affairs on Aug. 28, replacing Kent Hehr. There have been some important changes to the New Veterans Charter since the last election that will improve the lives of many disabled veterans, but there is still plenty of hard work ahead for the new minister. The animosity and distrust that a vocal minority of veterans had for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) has dissipated, largely due to the reopening of nine district offices, the creation of ministerial advisory groups, the increase in the amount of the disability award (known as the lump sum payment) to $360,000, and the increase of the Earnings Loss Benefit to 90 per cent of pre-release salary. More goodwill was built in 2017 with the announcement of eight new or enhanced benefits, including a tax-free $1,000 monthly caregiver benefit, an education benefit of up to $80,000, allowing medically released veterans and their families access to all 32 Military Family Resource Centres, new funding for research, and plans for a centre of excellence for mental health care. But remaining shortcomings may yet rekindle disgruntlement—particularly a lack of movement on re-establishing lifelong pensions. Simply dividing the disability award into monthly payments is not what veterans have in mind when they think of lifelong financial security. The government’s new plan for spreading out payments—promised in the 2017

budget—still had not been announced at press time. The post-election mandate letter from the prime minister to the Veterans Affairs minister promised a higher standard of service and care. However, delays in disability benefit decisions are the primary complaint to the veterans’ ombudsman, who reports that only 59 per cent of VAC decisions met the department’s standard of 16 weeks. (This does not count the weeks or months veterans may spend gathering information after first contacting the department.) Veterans still complain about customer-service staff shortages, complex eligibility criteria, difficulties transitioning from military to VAC programs, an “insurance company mentality” in dealings with the department, and worry about financial security past age 82. Finally, we hope that the change in the name of the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act (popularly known as the New Veterans Charter) to the Veterans Well-being Act is not a harbinger of ideological change. ‘Well-being’ means comfortable, healthy or happy—something all veterans are entitled to be. But well-being also connotes the paternalistic concept of welfare programs that provide only basic physical and material essentials to people in need. Ill, injured and wounded veterans have earned their benefits. Their rehabilitation, reintegration and fair compensation are sacred obligations and should not be subject to minimalistic thinking—even in titles of legislation. L

Have you heard?


earingLife Canada, the newest partner in The Royal Canadian Legion Member Benefits Package (MBP), is the largest hearing health-care network in Canada, with more than 300 clinics nationwide. Legion members will receive a minimum of 20 per cent off the regular price or 10 per cent off the promotional price of select hearing aids. They receive up to 2,000 Air Miles® Reward Miles with the purchase of select hearing aids, five years of complimentary batteries, and a three-year product warranty. Also, for every Legion member who signs up and takes advantage of these great benefits, HearingLife


Canada will donate five per cent back to Legion programs. Members can register for benefits at www.HearingLifeAdvantage.com/Legion or call toll-free 1-855-566-0036. The MBP offers discounts on specially designed travel insurance packages, retirement living, cellphones, eyewear, funerals and much more. The other MBP partners are Arbor Memorial Services Inc., Canadian Safe Step Walk-in Tub Co., Carlson Wagonlit Travel, IRIS Eyewear, Medipac Travel Insurance, Revera Inc., SimplyConnect and MBNA Canada Inc. The list of MBP partners continues to grow. It is one more reason to join the Legion. L

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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The Royal Canadian Legion



Arbor Memorial

Vol. 92, No. 6 | November/December 2017

Board of Directors CHAIRMAN Tom Irvine VICE-CHAIRMAN Dave Flannigan SECRETARY Brad White DIRECTORS Mark Barham, Bill Chafe, Tom Eagles, Bruce Julian, André Paquette, Angus Stanfield

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Legion Magazine is $9.96 per year ($19.93 for two years and $29.89 for three years); prices include GST. FOR ADDRESSES IN NS, NB, NL, PE a subscription is $10.91 for one year ($21.83 for two years and $32.74 for three years). FOR ADDRESSES IN ON a subscription is $10.72 for one year ($21.45 for two years and $32.17 for three years). TO PURCHASE A MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION visit www.legionmagazine.com or contact Legion Magazine Subscription Dept., 86 Aird Place, Kanata, ON K2L 0A1 or phone 613-591-0116. The single copy price is $5.95 plus applicable taxes, shipping and handling.

Change of Address Send new address and current address label. Or, new address and old address, plus all letters and numbers from top line of address label. If label unavailable, enclose member or subscription number. No change can be made without this number. Send to: Legion Magazine Subscription Department, 86 Aird Place, Kanata, ON K2L 0A1. Or visit www.legionmagazine.com. Allow eight weeks.

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Editorial and Advertising Policy Opinions expressed are those of the writers. Unless otherwise explicitly stated, articles do not imply endorsement of any product or service. The advertisement of any product or service does not indicate approval by the publisher unless so stated. Reproduction or recreation, in whole or in part, in any form or media, is strictly forbidden and is a violation of copyright. Reprint only with written per­mission. PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40063864

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U.S. Postmasters’ Information United States: Legion Magazine, USPS 000-117, ISSN 1209-4331, published six times per year (January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December). Published by Canvet Publications, 866 Humboldt Pkwy., Buffalo, NY 14211-1218. Periodicals postage paid at Buffalo, NY. The annual subscription rate is $9.49 Cdn. The single copy price is $5.95 Cdn. plus shipping and handling. Circulation records are maintained at Adrienne and Associates, 866 Humboldt Pkwy., Buffalo, NY 14211-1218. U.S. Postmasters send covers only and address changes to Legion Magazine, PO Box 55, Niagara Falls, NY 14304. Member of CCAB, a division of BPA International. Printed in Canada.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Govern­ment of Canada, through the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF), for our publishing activities. On occasion, we make our direct subscriber list available to carefully screened companies whose product or services we feel would be of interest to our subscribers. If you would rather not receive such offers, please state this request, along with your full name and address, and e-mail [email protected] or write to Legion Magazine, 86 Aird Place, Kanata ON K2L 0A1 or phone 613-591-0116.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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Tribute for the generations


Comments can be sent to: Letters, Legion Magazine, 86 Aird Place, Kanata, ON K2L 0A1 or e-mailed to: magazine@ legion.ca

hat a wonderful story and tribute you had on Private Ainger Roger Berry, documenting his experiences during the First World War (“Buried alive at the Somme,” September/October). Here it is, 100 years later and his grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many generations to come are able to reflect on his story with absolute Canadian pride and admiration! DIANE HITCHCOX, PORT McNEILL, B.C.

The legacy lives on Everyone is just reading your article about the centennial of the Tuberculous Veterans Section and it really did us justice (“The lonely fight of the tuberculous veterans,” September/ October). We hope you enjoyed your research and learning about how these veterans championed for health benefits and social justice. Their legacy lives on with this sensitive article. SHAREL FRASER, TB VETS, VANCOUVER

Stranded at Camp X I just about fell out of my chair after reading “Bringing gas to Camp X” by Gerry Lukow of Millbrook, Ont. (Letters, September/October). Advertisement

That same story was told to me in November 2015 by an Irishman named Ernie Sievewright, as he was one of the three in the boat that landed at Camp X. I belong to the Cowichan Wheelers in Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, a coffee group that gets together once a month for lunch and a few hours of chat. Most of us are in wheelchairs and belong to Spinal Cord Injury BC, and we help anyone in need who has a disability. Ernie contacted our coffee leader, asking for help as he had spinal stenosis, as well as hip problems, and was looking for a ride to one of our lunches. I phoned Ernie and told him to come up for a visit as he lived only six kilometres away, and I could loan him a wheelchair to get around in while recuperating. We had a great visit and his Irish sense of humour was unreal. We both spent years in Ontario and we both had boats and liked fishing. It was then I asked him if he watched the TV series Camp X, and he told me his story. Sadly, Ernie has passed on, but he was a very likeable, colourful, jovial person, and will be missed by many. We live in a small world. RICK FALKNER, CHEMAINUS, B.C.


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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Proud of his service It was with great interest that I read the article on Camp X in the July/August issue (“The secret life at Camp X”). My interest focused on your highlighting of Charles “Chuck” Gardner. We lived across the street from the Gardners on Fourth Avenue in Niagara Falls, Ont. I went to school with Chuck’s brother and knew the family quite well. I remember Chuck when he was home on leave and wore the uniform of the Canadian Armoured Corps. His mother told my mother that Chuck could not tell anyone where he was stationed or what he was doing. When information on Camp X began to be made public, I often surmised that Chuck was stationed at Camp X. Your article has now confirmed my thoughts over the years.

I am glad to read that recognition was given to Chuck and “Davey” Gardner for their service and I am proud to say I knew an individual who served Canada at Camp X. J.H. DOYLE, BRAMPTON, ONT.

Pilgrimage inspired by article Inspired by Stephanie Slegtenhorst’s wonderful article “Footsteps of the fallen” (July/ August), my wife, Arlene, and I set out for Belgium and France with the intention of visiting many of the monuments and sites featured in her well-written report. What started out as a fact-finding mission became a pilgrimage of sorts as we drove from place to place on country roads to pay homage and to remember those thousands of Canadians whose blood was spilled on that same ground 100 years ago. It is

impossible not to be moved while attending the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, or to stand in the same place where John McCrae wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Fields.” The fact that the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, near Ypres, was being commemorated with many special events in which we could participate made our trip even more meaningful and we were able to get a glimpse of the not-yet-open Hill 70 Memorial in France. We are very grateful to Slegtenhorst for providing us with the necessary information and inspiration to be able to undertake such a wonderful endeavour. JOHN THÉVENOT, DEUX-MONTAGNES, QUE.

Correction HMCS Labrador traversed the Northwest Passage in 1954, not 1953 (“On this date” September/October). L




NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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What’s trending for Legion Magazine

Jim Meyer Great shirts, comrades! Shared New Brunswick team takes the darts trophy

Ron Bates No one can appreciate the monarchy more than Canadians. Comment on: The Royals: The Fight to Rule Canada special issue

@JaneCQuinn1 Treatment for PTSD didn’t work on some of his symptoms because they were not caused by PTSD, but mefloquine toxicity. Shared: Cure or Curse

Bob Neubauer On National Peacekeeper’s Day: [Romeo Dallaire] is probably the only politician I’ve ever admired. Walked away from a Senate seat because of his principles. Wish that would catch on. Shared: Heroes and Villains: Dallaire and Ngeze

@Farragobooks A perfect read for #NationalAviationDay. Bartholomew Bandy: once met, never forgotten. Shared: Discovering Bartholomew Bandy

@Jakkfrostt Just got mine in the mail! Looking forward to reading this one! Shared September/October 2017 cover










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@RemingtonNevin I am proud to be quoted in this excellent article in @Legion_Magazine on mefloquine use in the @CanadianForces. Shared: Cure or Curse


Stan Rockwell On the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid: Operation Jubilee was a tragedy. The courage and skill of the men who went ashore was beyond measure. Their actions command the deepest respect as does their sacrifice. Shared: Escape of the Dieppe Raiders

2017-07-26 3:29 PM

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Ad size: 6.5” x 4.475” h colour Publication: Legion Magazine Format: PDF 300dpi


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November 2017

1 November 1914 Four recent graduates of the Royal Naval College of Canada are among those lost when Germany’s Asiatic Squadron sinks HMS Good Hope. They are Canada’s first naval casualties of the war. 2 November 1869 With a band of 120 armed men, Louis Riel occupies Fort Garry (now Winnipeg). 11 November 1918

3 November 1997 Prime Minister Jean Chrétien destroys the last of Canada’s landmine stocks in Kanata, Ont., to increase awareness of the Canada-sponsored worldwide landmine ban.

The First World War comes to an end; 619,636 Canadian men and women served, 66,655 died and 172,950 were wounded. 12 November 1944 Attacks by RAF squadrons sink the German Bismarck-class battleship Tirpitz.

4 November 1924 The first flight of the Canadian Vickers Vedette prototype takes place in Montreal. 5 November 1914 Britain and France declare war on the Ottoman Empire. 6 November 1917 Canada and Britain launch an assault on the village of Passchendaele, which is captured by the 27th Battalion on the same day.

13 November 1775 Brigadier-General Richard Montgomery’s Patriot army captures Montreal. 8 November 1946 Viola Desmond refuses to leave her seat in a whites-only section of a theatre in New Glasgow, N.S. Her defiance sparks the modern civil rights movement in Canada.

14 November 1940 The British city of Coventry is devastated by German bombers, with 568 citizens killed.

9 November 1951 The Royal 22nd Regiment conducts a raid on Hill 166 in Korea. 10 November 1941 For his attempts to save his pilot after their Tiger Moth crashed and burst into flames, Leading Aircraftman Karl Gravell is posthumously awarded the RCAF’s first George Cross.

7 November 1867 The first session of the new Parliament of Canada opens with a speech read by Governor General Baron Charles Monck. LAC; Cape Breton University, Wanda Robson Collection, 2016-16


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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15 November 1942 While escorting a convoy, HMCS Saguenay is accidentally struck in the stern by freighter SS Azra, which sinks. Saguenay is towed to St. John’s.

November 27 November 1885 Plains Cree chief Wandering Spirit is hanged in Battleford, Sask., for his involvement in the Frog Lake Massacre.

16 November 1857 For actions in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Petty Officer First Class William Hall becomes the first Canadian naval recipient of the Victoria Cross.

28 November 1812 Americans succeed in crossing the Niagara River during the Battle of Frenchman’s Creek. The invasion, however, is later called off, rendering the accomplishment useless.

17 November 2007 Private Michel Lévesque and Corporal Nicholas Raymond Beauchamp are killed when their light armoured vehicle hits a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

29 November 1944 HMCS Sussexvale is commissioned at Quebec City.

18 November 1916 The four-month Battle of the Somme ends. 19 November 1940 An Order-in-Council authorizes the creation of a Canadian air cadet corps. The Air Cadet League of Canada is established on April 9, 1941. 20 November 1943 U-536 is sunk by navy ships Snowberry, Calgary and Nene in the North Atlantic. 21 November 1916 The largest ship lost in the First World War, hospital ship and sister to RMS Titanic, HMHS Britannic strikes a naval mine near Greece, sinking within 55 minutes. 22 November 1943 Group Commander Clarence R. Dunlap assumes command of 139 Wing, the only RCAF officer to command an RAF operational wing.

30 November 1971 Paul Rose receives a life sentence for his part in the kidnapping of Quebec Deputy Premier and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte. 23-24 November 1854 Buffalo, N.Y.-based schooner Conductor runs aground on a sandbar off Long Point, Ont. Resident Abigail Becker wades through icy water to rescue the crew of seven and is later dubbed the Angel of Long Point for her heroism. 25 November 1950 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry sets sail for Korea. 26 November 1915 Trenches on the Western Front are destroyed by three days of icy rain.

DECEMBER On This Date Events Visit legionmagazine.com. The items will appear December 1. Here’s a taste of what to expect.

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6 December 1917 French cargo ship SS Mont Blanc collides with Norwegian vessel SS Imo in Halifax Harbour, setting off an explosion that leaves some 2,000 dead and 9,000 injured.

2017-09-28 12:59 PM


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Researchers at Ohio State University are ready to begin human trials of a new technology that is a potential game changer in treatment of wounds, injuries and a myriad of other health conditions. That’s if TNT—tissue nano transfection—works as well in humans as it does in mice and pigs.

Client: Men’s Health Solutions Project: Legion Ad 1/6 Vertical Date: September 22, 2017 10:08 AM


or more than 150 years, troops have known the abbreviation TNT has stood for an explosive that can wound and kill. In the future, they may instead recognize it as something that can heal wounds, save limbs and regenerate injured brains.

Ohio State University

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“By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced,” Chandan Sen, director of Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell Based Therapies said in a prepared statement. “We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining.” TNT is being hailed as a breakthrough in regenerative medicine, a technique that may one day replace some surgeries, prevent amputations—even heal the brain. In essence, tissue nano transfection uses DNA to transform one type of cell into another. A button-sized pad is placed on a patient’s skin and zapped by a small electrical charge that causes nanochips in the pad to propel DNA into the cells below. That DNA reprograms the skin cells, essentially turning them

into a different kind of cell. The patient feels next to nothing, the pad is immediately removed, and reprogramming of cells begins immediately, said Sen. In the experiments, only one treatment was necessary to reprogram skin cells on a mouse leg to become vascular cells, which replaced damaged blood vessels and healed the leg in a couple of weeks. The reprogrammed cells can go to work repairing tissue where applied, or repairing tissue elsewhere in the body. Cells reprogrammed on the surface of the skin went to work in deeper tissue. Researchers also reprogrammed skin cells to become brain cells, harvested those cells and injected them into the brain of a mouse to replace those damaged by stroke. The beauty of the new nanochip technology is that it requires no

laboratory-based procedures, so it can be used in the doctor’s office, emergency room—or by medics in the field. The reprogrammed cells are recognized by the immune system as the body’s own cells, so anti-rejection medications aren’t necessary. Not that there aren’t questions to be answered. Will the technique work on massive injuries? It’s being touted as non-invasive, but will surgery be necessary to get the technology to internal organs or deep tissue? Will the reprogrammed cells work long enough in the body to complete healing? Will it be cheaper or better or longer-lasting than other treatments? Will it even work on humans? And if so, when will it be available? There’s plenty of buzz about future applications: restoring blood flow for those with peripheral vascular disease, thus saving limbs. Its potential to


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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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regenerate damaged brain tissue may deliver effective treatment for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, or restore more youthful function to aging hearts, livers, pancreases and lungs. It’s not such a leap to see benefits in treating military wounds and injuries or perhaps even finally an effective treatment for brains damaged by post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. The possibilities are endless— could TNT be used to beef up the immune system, replacing the need for some vaccines? Can it be used to speed up healing of broken bones, sprained joints, ruptured spinal discs, wrecked vertebrae— perhaps even regenerate nerves after crippling spinal injury? The researchers are optimistic. “It is difficult to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98 per cent of


the time,” said Sen, who is also executive director of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Wound Center. “With this technology, we can convert skin cells into elements of any organ with just one touch.” The research results from collaboration between Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, College of Engineering and Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center. “The concept is very simple,” said biomolecular engineer L. James Lee. “We were even surprised how it worked so well. In my lab, we have ongoing research trying to understand the mechanism and do even better. “This is the beginning,” Lee said. “More to come.” The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, has been approached to run the human trials, once they are approved. L




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By Stephen J.Thorne

The soulless gaze of haters



ack in 1994, I spent a month in South Africa writing features for The Canadian Press (CP) during the campaign leading to the country’s first democratic elections. I saw South Africa from every perspective I could—black, white, coloured. I regularly visited and ate in the home of my fixer, Noah Makone (above), in Soweto and talked at length with his friends and neighbours about life under apartheid and their hopes for the future. I drove those same neighbourhoods on patrol with a white, two-man unit of the dreaded South African Police (SAP), their pistols stuffed between their legs and the capped box of their white Toyota pickup truck crammed with weapons of every description. It was a very different perspective, and experience. At one point, we found ourselves in the middle of a race riot. The rioters had trashed a white-owned delivery truck, using its own load of bricks to smash it and pummel its black driver. Now dismounted from our vehicle, we were nearly set afire as three Molotov cocktails landed in succession within three metres of us. But the most disturbing experience I had was while covering a parade and rally by members of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), a whitesupremacist, paramilitary organization in some ways like the militias that attended the rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August.

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The AWB’s members were A few years later, I was in Kosovo, almost exclusively descendants where NATO forces were supervisof the early Dutch settlers of ing the withdrawal of ethnic Serbs South Africa. Most were poorly after a bloody civil war had driven educated, and many of them much of the country’s Albanian were battle-hardened mercenarpopulation from their homes. ies who had fought against the A brief NATO bombing caminevitable tide of black rule in paign in 1999 had set the stage for Rhodesia, Namibia and elsea graduated withdrawal, by sector, where in southern Africa. and I linked up with an armoured Their symbol Canadian reconwas three sevens naissance group that formed to look like was monitoring it. I HAVE FELT a swastika in black, As first in, last out, SEETHING, white and red. they had a front-line DEEP-SEATED Sevens, I was told, view of the carnage because they oneHATE DIRECTED as it occurred. upped the devil By Day 2 of BOTH AT and his three sixes. the withdrawal, ME AND AT The rally was Albanians were OTHERS—IN right out of 1930s already starting SOUTH AFRICA, to return to their Germany. It was a very emotional IN KOSOVO, IN homes. Frank Gunn, experience for AFGHANISTAN. a CP photographer, me, realizing with and I returned to the the gravitas of Macdonian border first-hand experiand found a family ence that this kind of movement who came from a town “liberated” could still openly exist in the world by the Canadians. after all the effort and sacrifice We followed them home and Frank that had been made to eradiphotographed the mother as she wept cate it between 1939 and 1945. in the rubble of her living room where The AWB wanted a sepathe Serbs had defecated on the floor, rate state in South Africa, an urinated on the walls and smashed exclusively white nation. They or taken everything of value. Other wanted to relocate the Zulus and homes had been booby-trapped, so other native black Africans to that returning Albanians would be “homelands” that were virtually killed or maimed when they arrived. resourceless and disadvantaged. A few days later, I accompanied They claimed not to be racist, a couple of combat air patrols in just pragmatic. But as I rode back underpowered Griffin helicopters to Johannesburg with one of their flown by Canadian air force pilots generals, he explained to me the and manned by Canadian army concept of the African killer bee. observers. We flew over multiple He described how the African burning homes and fields littered killer bee was a hardy breed— with bloated, slaughtered cattle. tough, hard-working and These were Serb homes and Serb productive. He said other strains cattle, destroyed by Serbs who didn’t of bee could not be allowed to want Albanians to reap the spoils of dilute the species or it would no war. I had never seen such hatred. longer thrive. His story was a Finally, a reconnaissance unit sick analogy to his world view. I was with came upon a standoff The hatred in South Africa at an intersection. Before us sat a was immediately evident. The busload of Serb soldiers along with greater story may have been three transport trucks loaded with complicated but, really, the booty. They were surrounded by issue was black and white. troops of the British 7th Armoured

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t’s a typical scenario for Canadians today: You’re headed for retirement, and you’re starting to worry that your savings aren’t going to last your lifetime, or that you’ll carry big debt into your senior years.



For several reasons, the retirement plan that worked for your grandparents may not be such a fail-safe strategy for newer generations. Fewer of us have company pension plans, and low interest rates mean the investments we’ve been trying to build aren’t so robust after all. Plus Canadians are living a lot longer. Right now, if you’re 65, there’s a 50-50 chance you or your spouse will live to at least 92. On the other hand, many of us are living in a house or condo that’s partially or fully paid off. A reverse mortgage is a loan specifically for Canadians age 55 or older, secured against the equity in the home. It’s a loan with no monthly mortgage payments and that you don’t have to pay back until you move out and sell the house, or until you pass away. Reverse mortgages have been offered here in Canada for 30 years, but there are still a lot of myths about them. The truth is, a reverse mortgage may not be for everyone, but it may be for you. Here are 5 of the most commonly held myths about reverse mortgages.

Is a Reverse Mortgage for you? First, forget the myths.






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Many people worry that getting a reverse mortgage can lead to getting kicked out of their home or giving up ownership, but this isn’t how it works. You keep the title to your house, and you aren’t ever forced to sell or move. Your obligations are to keep paying your property tax and insurance and keep your house in good shape. Not only are you at no risk of losing your home, a reverse mortgage can be the solution that allows you to stay in it for as long as you wish.

In Canada, the only company to offer reverse mortgages is HomEquity Bank. Because it’s a bank, it’s strictly regulated and supervised by the federal government. Canada’s banking system is considered one of the safest in the world. HomEquity Bank has been in business for 30 years and takes a very conservative approach to lending; for instance, your reverse mortgage will never exceed the value of your home. So you aren’t getting swindled, and in fact HomEquity regularly receives referrals from other banks and mortgage brokers.

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MYTH A Reverse Mortgage Comes With Expensive Fees This myth probably originated in the U.S., where reverse-mortgage lenders haven’t been tightly regulated and have commonly charged $10,000 or more in fees. Certainly there are fees in Canada too, because in order for the bank to process your reverse mortgage it must conduct title searches, prepare documents and retain legal services. But here, these administrative costs are fixed, and don’t usually exceed $1,500 at the most. Your home also needs to be appraised, but that shouldn’t cost more than $400. Before signing the mortgage documents, all homeowners are required to get independent legal advice (usually costing $300 to $600) to ensure they understand the terms and are protected.

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Division—Montgomery’s fabled Desert Rats—who had their .50calibre guns trained on the vehicles while their commander stood talking to his Serbian counterpart. I walked over and introduced myself to the British commander and asked: “So, are these the guys who’ve been doing all the lootin’ and burnin’ around here?” The Brit nodded to the Serb and said: “Why don’t you ask him, he speaks perfect English.” I didn’t miss a beat. I turned to the Serb and said: “Well?” “It’s a complicated story,” he said. “There’s a lot more to this than meets the eye.” He went on to reference a multitude of wrongs he said were committed by Albanians against Serbs over centuries and centuries of conflict. It was more than a brief interview could comprehend, the stuff of post-doctoral studies. The point was, it wasn’t black and white, the Serbs may have looked like the bad guys at that particular point but they had been wronged too. Memories are long, and I wasn’t there to judge. You can watch all the Second World War and Vietnam documentaries you want, I just knew—and still know—that I had never experienced first-hand hatred of that depth or magnitude before. Or since. In Afghanistan, it was different. The guy who was your friend by day, who opened his home to you and served you tea and nuts, may just as easily slit your throat or plant an IED by night. There was hate, but by the hospitable tenets of the Pashtun culture from which the Taliban arose, you rarely felt it and, when you did, it was evident in the soulless gaze of the haters whom you knew could just as well kill you as look at you. In Kandahar, I would regularly pass by people in the street who would look at me and slowly run

their index finger across their throat. And mean it. I greeted a man at a meat stand in a small village north of Kabul once with the words “As-salāmu ‘alaykum” (peace be upon you), expecting the standard reply, “wa‘alaykumu as-salām” (and upon you, peace) and instead received the wordless stare. We were on our own—my fixer, a driver and an off-duty policeman I’d hired for the day. We had gone to see some buzkashi (Afghanistan’s national sport) played on the open plains in northern Afghanistan. Now we were headed back. Almost immediately, my bodyguard came running to fetch me, hustling me back to our vehicle and out of there at high speed. It was a Taliban village, it turned out, and word had come down that a posse was forming up to come get us. Or me, more like it. I’m not sure many of the haters knew what or why they hated—I know some I was able to talk to weren’t even aware of the 9/11 attacks—but that lack of connection, that hateful, unreachable gaze from somewhere so deep is always unnerving. I have seen it several times. And I have felt seething, deepseated hate directed both at me and at others—in South Africa, in Kosovo, in Afghanistan. It doesn’t go away easily or quickly. There is only so much we, as a so-called civilized society, can do when confronted with it in other parts of the world. The history is just too much. One thing is for sure: like it or not, we are a continent of immigrants and we don’t want that hatred here. That is the way it is. There is no going back. L

> For more of Front Lines, go to legionmagazine.com/frontlines.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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2017-09-29 1:45 PM


By David J. Bercuson

Is it time for Canada to get anti-ballistic missiles?


ith North Korea launching two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) over the summer and the continuation of its nuclear development program, many observers believe that the “hermit kingdom,” as it is often called, is within 18 months of being able to deploy nuclear-tipped ICBMs aimed at the continental United States. This crisis spans some four presidencies, with the North Koreans making steady progress toward both a useable nuclear weapon and a workable ICBM. It is a gross exaggeration to lay the blame at the feet of the current occupant of the White House, and there is literally

nothing that Canada could have done to intercede in North Korea’s steady march to nuclear status. For a decade at least, Canada has studiously avoided comment on these developments and action by way of asking to join the United States in its Anti-Ballistic-Missile (ABM) umbrella, which is stationed in Alaska and has been under development for a long time. How much longer will we hold ourselves back from joining the U.S. ABM effort? Almost no one is certain that an ABM system would work. There have been numerous tests and simulated tests conducted by the U.S. with its own system—with mixed results. Some have worked; others have not. With all the technological advances of the past two decades, it is still exceedingly hard to hit a Advertisement bullet with a bullet that has been fired at an intercontinental target. There are some systems that work. At the most primitive level is the Israeli/American Iron Dome system that proved itself extremely effective Terrance Hall, during the last Israel-Hamas war B.Comm., LL.B., LL.L., LL.M., M.A. around the Gaza Strip in 2006. But the missiles that Iron Dome targeted were short-range, low-rise and Available softcover $18.99, ebook $6.99 at relatively slow tactical missiles which http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore were easily tracked and just as easily or from author: send $25 to intercepted in almost every case. 802-421 Dalhousie St., Then there is the U.S. NavyAmherstburg ON N9V 3L2 or designed Terminal High Altitude call 519-551-3871 Area Defense (THAAD) system,

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2017-09-28 1:16 PM


Canadian Unit, Formation, and Command Histories series

AN ICBM RISES WELL INTO SPACE, ACHIEVES AT LEAST 27,000 KILOMETRES PER HOUR AND PLUNGES BACK INTO THE ATMOSPHERE AT A SHARP ANGLE. It Can’t Last Forever A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched in a test at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska.

which has been deployed and tested aboard U.S. warships. For the most part, THAAD works, as shown by a variety of successful tests. But THAAD is most useful for intermediate-range missiles which, again, are fired at a relatively low angle and, although they may reach the boundary between Earth and space, do not rise above the atmosphere and do not achieve astounding altitudes and speeds before re-entry. In contrast, an ICBM rises well into space, achieves at least 27,000 kilometres per hour and plunges back into the atmosphere at a sharp angle. At best, an ICBM must be intercepted above the atmosphere before it begins its descent. That is why success is so difficult to achieve. The U.S. has placed its ABM interceptors in Alaska because it is on the Great Circle Route from North Korea to the west coast of the United States; that is the best place to intercept incoming ICBMs. Could Canada offer a second line of defence by giving the United States access to land in northern or even central British Columbia where a second battery of interceptors could be based? The cost to Canada could be kept to a minimum because all we would

be offering is territory on which to base a second set of interceptors. In return, Canada could be asked to formally “join” the ABM program, get in on the science and technology and help monitor the deployment of the system. In effect, we would be in a position to propose that the ABM system, now a part of the United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM), be integrated as well into North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad), something that could not be done now because Canada is not part of the ABM system. Another benefit to Canada is that the slow bleeding of priority in the U.S. defensive system from Norad to NORTHCOM might be staunched. We are well past the stage we were at when Canada first rejected joining the ABM system. Now there is a real threat that is growing every day. It is cold comfort that North Korea may be aiming at, say, Chicago, when we know that one of its nuclear-tipped ICBMs might come down somewhat short of its target and hit Canada. Our new defence policy studiously ignores Canada joining the U.S.’s ABM system. Now the time to dither is getting dangerously short. L

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n Part I: The collision The First World War turned Nova Scotia’s bustling port of Halifax into a boom town. Its ice-free harbour was the perfect departure point for ships carrying troops to Europe and the wounded back home, its secure Bedford Basin ideal for assembling convoys laden with war matériel for the front and relief supplies for civilians.

The permanent population swelled to 50,000 by 1917, in addition to thousands of temporary army and navy personnel at the garrison, navy yards and aboard ships. Many civilian newcomers drawn to work at the busy factories and foundries settled in the Richmond neighbourhood overlooking the bustling waterfront, convenient to workplaces and close to schools, churches and shops. Thursday, Dec. 6, 1917, dawned clear and crisp as residents of Richmond began their busy day. In the adjacent Narrows—the

Moment of detonation A clock recovered from the wreckage marks the time of the explosion, which caused a smoke plume more than three kilometres high. The blast blew the SS Imo (top) across Halifax Harbour to the Dartmouth shore and obliterated the munitions ship SS Mont-Blanc (above).

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Total destruction Dockyards, railyards, houses, factories— the entire north end of Halifax was flattened.

strait connecting Bedford Basin to Halifax Harbour—the Belgian relief ship SS Imo, outbound for New York to pick up cargo, and the French munitions ship SS MontBlanc, inbound to join a convoy headed for Europe, collided. Mont-Blanc’s holds were stuffed with explosive trinitrotoluene (TNT), guncotton and picric acid, and highly flammable benzol was in drums on deck. Yet it flew no flag to indicate it was a munitions ship, due to fear of attracting the attention of patrolling German submarines. Mont-Blanc’s hold was pierced, fire started and ignited vapours from the benzol. In minutes the drums on deck were aflame. When the benzol reached its boiling point, the drums began launching like a series of rockets into the air, trailing smoke and bursting into fire aloft. People on land were drawn to watch the fireworks. Crowds gathered in the streets, people stood at the windows of homes, schools and workplaces and climbed to rooftops for a better view as Mont-Blanc, flames shooting up 30 metres, drifted toward shore as a thick plume of black, oily smoke rose. The fire chief, his assistant and volunteer firefighters sped to the scene with two fire engines and a hose wagon, fearing the fire might spread ashore.


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On the water, Mont-Blanc’s captain ordered the crew to abandon ship; they shouted warnings as they rowed furiously for shore, but crews of nearby vessels did not understand—the words were spoken in French. The fire superheated MontBlanc’s hull, increasing pressure in the sealed holds—and on their deadly cargo—2.6 million kilograms of explosives.

Part II: The explosion At 9:04:35 a.m., a massive explosion all but wiped out Richmond, wrecked houses in neighbouring Africville and across the harbour, heavily damaged Dartmouth and obliterated Turtle Grove, a small Mi’kmaq community. The blast lifted the more than three-million kilogram Mont-Blanc 300 metres into the air, flung nearby tugs and ships onto the land and deposited several tonnes of rock from the harbour bottom onto the superstructure of one ship. Much of Mont-Blanc became shrapnel. The shank of the anchor, weighing more than 500 kilograms, flew 3.5 kilometres. Smaller fragments fell in a deadly iron rain. A supersonic blast wave killed more than 1,600 people instantly, destroying their internal organs

or throwing them like rag dolls against brick and stone walls, fences and trees, or mortally wounding them with flying shards of glass, wood and metal. Buildings and houses were blown apart. Whole families were killed as their houses collapsed one storey onto another. People were crushed and battered and slashed, on the street, in schools and factories, foundries, breweries, rail yards and dockyards. Sailors on ships were killed by the dozen. Aboard HMCS Niobe, Able Seaman Bert Griffith saw Mont-Blanc vanish, then “an awful noise [and] all kinds of things falling. It was shrapnel and bits of the side of the ship,” he wrote in a letter to his wife, quoted by grandson John G. Armstrong in a 1998 article in The Northern Mariner. On shore, the blast wave was followed by a vacuum that sucked the air out of houses and buildings. Windows exploded outward into the streets. Contents were sucked out of stoves and furnaces, cupboards, closets and drawers, clothing off people. Then a blast wind filled the low-pressure area, blowing back toward the harbour, wreaking yet more havoc. Even in Lawrencetown, 20 kilometres away, people “felt something like a blow in the face and

Pages 30-31: U.S. National Archives/31478074; Nova Scotia Museum/Maritime Museum of the Atlantic/N-15,066; Nova Scotia Archives/N-138; NSM/MMA/N-4,395E. Pages 32-33: W.G. MacLauglan/LAC/C-019948; LAC/C-019953

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For 800 metres around the blast site, all the buildings were obliterated and everything within 1.5 kilometres was destroyed. Ships and shore White-hot shrapnel from Mont-Blanc peppered the harbour, killing sailors and citizens, damaging ships and starting fires.

then a sort of recoil or pull back in the opposite direction,” wrote Graham Metson in The Halifax Explosion: December 6, 1917. A 5,000°C fireball vaporized water around the Mont-Blanc and created a six-metre wave that flung ships ashore and swept sailors to their deaths. It swamped the land, climbing about 18 metres above the high-water mark, drowning survivors and causing buildings to collapse like grain before a gust of wind, as one witness described it. For 800 metres around the blast site, all the buildings were obliterated and everything within 1.5 kilometres was destroyed. The blast smashed railway cars and mangled the rails. Glass shattered even in city neighbourhoods farthest

away. The explosion was heard in Charlottetown and on Cape Breton Island, nearly 300 kilometres distant—and far, far out to sea. Some 1,600 houses had been demolished, 9,000 people were left homeless, and 25,000 others were without adequate shelter, wrote Laura M. MacDonald in Curse of the Narrows: The Halifax Explosion 1917. Some 200 sailors died; nearly 90 children were killed while walking to school; more than 120 died at Richmond Printing Company, Hillis & Sons Foundry and the rail yards; the sevenstorey Acadia Sugar Refinery collapsed; Wellington Barracks was heavily damaged, a dozen personnel were killed and nearly 400 were injured.

Along the shore “amidst the ruins wandered a few dazed creatures, blood-stained and in rags”—the few survivors of the military guard nearest the explosion, recalled Royal Navy Rear-Admiral Bertram Chambers, the port convoy officer, in an article in Naval Review. Survivors wandered, their faces “chalk-white with terror…black with the ‘black rain’ and smeared with blood,” wrote Metson. “The dead, the dying and the severely injured lay about the streets, amid ghastly, bleeding fragments of what had been human beings’ heads and limbs.” More than 80 crew of cargo ships Curaca and Calonne, loading horses at piers 8 and 9, were killed, as were nearly 70 aboard the SS Picton at the sugar refinery wharf.

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With the railway telegraph down, George Graham of Dominion Atlantic Railway and W.A. Duff of Intercolonial Railway each walked to the undamaged Rockingham Station on Bedford Basin to wire requests for trains with doctors and nurses as soon as possible. Unknown to them, help was already on the way. Canadian Government Railways dispatcher Vince Coleman’s final message warned Truro, N.S., 100 kilometres away, to delay trains. His message was relayed to stations along the line. When the telegraph line went dead and the blast was felt and heard in Truro, an emergency train was assembled, carrying doctors, nurses and volunteer firefighters. It arrived shortly after noon.

Part IV: The military

As the initial response played out, Deputy Mayor Henry Colwell (the mayor was out of town) knew help was needed to organize rescue efforts and make longer-range plans for survivors, soon to face the privations of winter. And to identify and bury the dead. Colwell turned to the military; 5,000 army personnel were stationed at the garrison, and there were hundreds of naval crew on ships and shore. “For the Garrison, the explosion was in some ways their finest hour…and they proved their mettle under conditions as trying as anything experienced by their battle-hardened comrades,”


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5,000 army personnel were stationed at the garrison, and there were hundreds of naval crew on ships and shore. wrote James F.E. White in The Garrison Response to the Halifax Disaster, 6 December, 1917. Colwell appealed to Colonel W.E. Thompson, commander of the No. 6 Military District Headquarters. Within the hour, troops were distributing blankets, providing axes and shovels and labour for the rescue effort, and later commandeering vehicles for hospital runs. Soldiers and sailors, many themselves injured, working “in utter disregard for their own safety, immediately started pulling people out of the ruins of their homes,” a soldier from Philadelphia wrote home. Early in the afternoon, extra help arrived from the Americans: the mushroom cloud had been seen at sea, and US ships Tacoma and Von Steuben rushed to help. Their captains volunteered their 1,200 men for rescue, relief and guard duty. “We…had to improvise stretchers and take the injured to tugs… to be carried to the hospital ships,” Carl Moulton, one of 150 army

recruits tapped for rescue work, wrote in a letter quoted by John G. Armstrong in The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy: Inquiry and Intrigue. “There was little confusion, for the military took hold of the situation,” he wrote to his girlfriend in Connecticut. Evelyn Lawrence was at St. Joseph’s school when she was severely injured and trapped on the second floor until she was coaxed by soldiers to jump to safety. “They had those great big nets, so we did. We jumped,” she recalled on the halifaxexplosion.org website. Another soldier later “grabbed me and put me in the back of the truck. I was bleeding, and he took me to Camp Hill Hospital” where doctors were persuaded not to amputate her arm. She found her mother and brother at the hospital, which Razed and ruined Most houses in the Richmond neighbourhood were destroyed or uninhabitable.

W.G. MacLauglan/LAC/C-006968; Nova Scotia Archives

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with military efficiency had posted names of everyone it treated so relatives could find one another. “Wherever there were soldiers, there was organization,” wrote Metson, who reserved his highest praise for convalescing veterans. “They gave up their beds in the hospitals and served as nurses and stretcher-bearers. Men who were not fit to work at all ‘carried on’ until they literally dropped.” Ralph Proctor, 20, had suffered two destroyed vertebrae, a leg injury and a lung wound at Vimy Ridge. He dug his car out from the ruins and took the injured to hospital, driving over wreckage on flat tires, even persevering when his wound reopened and when beams from a burning building fell across the car. Overnight, a blizzard hit. “Troops now had the added tasks of shovelling snow…and of digging through deep drifts covering the ruins,” wrote Janet. F. Kitz in Shattered

City: The Halifax Explosion and The Road to Recovery. Troops were assigned to recover bodies well into January. They also did guard duty, strictly controlling who was allowed into the devastated area to prevent looting. As these events played out, longer-term plans were being made. Colwell and others in public office met at 11:30 a.m. Within an hour, they had established committees to handle transportation, food, shelter, donations, reconstruction—and began work that day. The Halifax Relief Committee was formally constituted Dec. 9, eventually overseeing a dozen subcommittees. At city hall, a food bank was set up and the shelter committee office matched those needing and those offering accommodations. The mortuary committee was headed by former mayor Robert MacIlreith, who had been in office in 1912 for the identification and

Recovery effort St. Mary’s Parish Hall on Barrington Street was used for relief, employment and reconstruction efforts. burial of RMS Titanic victims. The mortuary was set up in a damaged school cleaned up by military engineers. Later, military personnel were tasked with cleaning the faces of the dead so they could be identified, and digging graves. Military bands played at funerals. Civilian and military officials worked together from the start. Garrison commander MajorGeneral Thomas Benson and Royal Navy Rear-Admiral Bertram Chambers, the port convoy officer, attended a 3 p.m. city council meeting “held in the shattered town hall amidst splintered woodwork and floors covered with broken glass,” Chambers reported to the

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Combing the wreckage Sailors, soldiers and civilians teamed up to search for survivors and recover bodies.

admiralty. Some present “had been at work since the explosion without even an opportunity to ascertain whether their nearest and dearest were in safety.”

Part V: The hospitals The legion of injured posed an immediate problem. The area’s hospitals and infirmaries were almost immediately overwhelmed, despite the help of surgeons and medical teams from ships and local doctors working in their own homes, stitching, tending burns, setting broken bones. “There were very few in the city whose face and hands were not cut with flying glass that came with the force of bullets,” soldier Alex Chisholm wrote to his parents. “All the hospitals were soon filled.” “Management of the wounded… was a triumph for the Military Medical Service in Canada,” wrote Sir Andrew MacPhail in his 1925 official history of the service. “All military hospitals were instantly opened to civilian patients and the district medical stores supplied every need.” Camp Hill Hospital alone admitted 1,400 patients the first day, though it had only 280 beds. Army engineers, the ordnance corps


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and medical service personnel, with help from American sailors, he said, transformed an officers’ mess into a fully equipped hospital for the Massachusetts Medical Unit of the U.S. National Guard. Lieutenant-Colonel Frank McKelvey Bell, chair of the medical relief committee, told a reporter he had never seen anything on the battlefields to compare with the devastation in Halifax. (He had been with the first medical unit serving in France.) He oversaw the establishment of emergency hospitals by the Canadian Army Medical Corps, the distribution of military medical stores, and a system for allocating patients to hospitals. After a tour of the wreckage, military engineer Colonel Paul Weatherbe established dressing stations, a dispensary and medical supply depot. The medical corps, engineers and ordnance corps were also involved in establishing eight emergency hospitals, including facilities for out-of-province medical teams that began arriving by train on Saturday: the Bellevue Building housed the Massachusetts Medical Unit; the Halifax Ladies’ College hosted the State of Maine Unit; the Bellevue and Halifax Infirmary was cleaned up for a group from Rhode Island.

Trains were organized to transport wounded to hospitals in Truro and New Glasgow, N.S. Medical teams went door-to-door to tend the wounded. Civilian and military doctors and nurses in Halifax were augmented by more than 200 volunteer surgeons and more than 450 nurses who came from across the province, Canada and the northeastern United States, as well as military medical officers and nursing sisters from nearby military districts and 200 orderlies who had been waiting to ship out to Europe.

Desolation Women from Africville survey the damage.

City of Toronto Archives/Fonds 1244, items 2449 and 2444

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Part VI: The aftermath

Emergency shelters were urgently needed, especially as temperatures started to plummet with the overnight blizzard. In some hospitals, whole families shared a mattress and some people slept on the floor under beds. Shelters were set up in the Salvation Army Citadel, theatres, church halls, a monastery, and the bunkhouse of an oil company in Dartmouth. Private citizens took in friends, relatives—even strangers. Niobe provided cots and blankets for 50 families sheltering in the Knights of Columbus Hall. Nearby military districts supplied stretchers, straw mattresses, blankets, sheets and pillowcases. Forty cities offered shelter for the homeless and homes for the many orphans. Donations of goods and money poured in. The Halifax Relief Commission, established by the dominion government under the War Measures Act in January, handled nearly $30 million (worth half a billion dollars today) in financial donations. And there were thousands upon thousands of individual donations. Food for the soup kitchens came in from farms and restaurants. Everything needed to re-establish a household—stoves and furnaces, clothing and furniture, linens

and cutlery—were donated. The Halifax-Massachusetts Relief Committee warehouse and Sir John Eaton’s supply depot gave the dispossessed free supplies to re-establish themselves. Colonel Robert Smith Low, head of the reconstruction committee and who had built military camps in several provinces, appealed to former workers to come help. He was soon head of an army of tradesmen that managed in one month to build enough apartments to house nearly 1,000—with more to come. Military and civilian crews worked feverishly in the cold to build emergency shelters and repair houses, putting tarpaper over gaping windows and installing glass as it became available. The military commandeered supplies of tarpaper to ensure it was fairly distributed, and took over management of a nearby window company to speed supplies of glass. Emergency harbour repairs happened quickly, as the port was too valuable to the war effort to be out of commission for long. A funeral was held for soldiers and sailors on Dec. 11, just before the first convoy for the front, originally scheduled to leave the day after the explosion, sailed, escorted by Highflyer. It took years to rebuild the neighbourhood (no longer called Richmond) and the nearby garrison and navy yards. But the scars remain to this day: in monuments to victims peppering the city, and the sorry harvest of metal and glass from gardens and construction sites. L

Laying blame While the work of individual soldiers and sailors was much appreciated, an outraged public, looking for someone to blame and punish, settled on the navy. Halifax was an important hub in the First World War, it was the navy’s major base, and it was the war that brought Mont-Blanc and Imo into the harbour. An inquiry concluded in February 1918 that violation of the navigation rules led to the blast, and fixed blame on Mont-Blanc’s captain Aimé Le Médec, its pilot Francis Mackey, and the Royal Canadian Navy’s chief examining officer in charge of the harbour, gates and anti-submarine defences, Commander F. Evan Wyatt. Appeals went all the way to Britain’s Privy Council (Canada’s last court of appeal at the time), which concluded that both ships were at fault. Following the inquiry, Le Médec, Mackey and Wyatt were charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence. The charges against Le Médec and Mackey were subsequently dismissed, and a jury acquitted Wyatt.

DISCOVER MORE! Visit our WEB EXCLUSIVE for the extended story, including rare photos, archival videos and an interactive map. Go to legionmagazine.com/HalifaxExplosion.

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“I was on the dark side. It is my time to feel that I am back.” —Gorden Boivin

These Canadian soldiers wounded in Afghanistan returned home to face the fight of their lives

THEY LIVE, but no small part of them has died.

They endured the trials and labours of physical suffering and mental anguish. They persevered. And they travelled the long road back. They rose from the deepest depths of darkness and cast off doubt and uncertainty, fear and despair, their lives transformed, their way illuminated by the light of wisdom born of all that they have overcome. They go forth with the knowledge that they have not been defeated, more confident with each new step, grateful for the smallest things. Rebirth. Redemption. And bittersweet triumph. Much has been lost, the sacrifices have been many, the changes profound. It’s taken years. Some struggle


still. The physical and psychological wounds of war are but pieces of the challenges they have faced and the burdens they will forever carry. Many have felt the deep cuts of shame, disappointment, rejection and heartbreak, long after the battles have been fought. And some have known the comfort and the glory of unbounded love and uncompromising devotion. Others never got there. They joined their brothers and sisters in that place some soldiers call Valhalla. None, living or dead, has asked for more than they have earned, and many have settled for less. At the very least, they have earned our thanks and respect. They are the wounded. Remember them.

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“I’ve never met a cook who hasn’t been burnt in the kitchen. It comes with the territory and I think I was ready for that. It could always have been worse.” —Justin Brunelle

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“To this day, every single week, there are new challenges. It never stops. We just take it as it comes. She’s seen me at my worst, and she was okay with that.”— Mike Trauner with his wife Leah Cuffe


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“She’s always been supportive… since Day 1.”—Billy Kerr with his wife Tracy

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“I was looking at my leg and I could see my foot was gone. They found it in the roof with my boot, my brand-new Converse boot. My foot was still inside.” —Étienne Aubé


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“Rugby changed everything. It gave me back a quality of life that just wasn’t there—total independence, total confidence in myself and my abilities.” —Chris Klodt

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“(The duty officer) told me right over the phone. I just fell to the floor. And then, a couple of hours later, the same guy called and said they had amputated his other foot. It just broke my heart.” —Joanne Fisher-Mitic with her son Jodi Mitic


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“It doesn’t help anyone by being depressive, by being angry, by being soulless. It doesn’t help my situation; it doesn’t help my legs grow back; it doesn’t help me recover; it doesn’t stop the pain of the day. You have to figure out what works and what doesn’t. And, generally, complaints and negativity don’t work.” —Paul Franklin

“At the very basis of it, I lost my legs for all the right reasons. And that was going to the assistance of somebody in need. Does it make it easier? I suppose, if you sit and think on it, it does. But it doesn’t take the sting out of everyday life.” —Mark Campbell

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“They say ‘sound of mind, sound of body.’ Everybody up until that point was like, ‘Oh, you poor guy.’ And I was thinking: ‘You don’t know where I’ve just come from and the things we’ve been up to; I’m not just some poor guy.’” —Andrew Knisley with his fiancée Erin Moore


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“To me, Martin is, of course, a son and a friend, but he’s also a brother in arms. We literally fought the enemy together, and I will never let him down.” —André Renaud and his son Martin

> For more in this series of portraits, go to www.legionmagazine.com/TheWounded.

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Le Havre, Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk—

taking back these Channel ports was critical to the success of the Allies’ Operation Market Garden in 1944, and Canadians were in the thick of it By MARK ZUEHLKE


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the lead-up to Operation Market Garden—the Allied military operation to encircle Germany’s industrial Ruhr district in September 1944—British Army Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force General Dwight D. Eisenhower took a calculated risk and assigned First Canadian Army to open the North Sea port of Antwerp, Belgium, to Allied shipping. But the operation

would not be possible until France’s Channel ports were won. First Canadian Army crossed the Seine on Aug. 30, 1944, to begin opening the French ports. The far larger harbour of Antwerp was won by the British on Sept. 4, but German control of the 80-kilometre-long Scheldt estuary denied the Allies its use. By Sept. 4, II Canadian Corps and I British Corps had isolated the northern French ports and

Ken Bell/DND/LAC/PA-183593; Alamy/CYPFRW

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Gunners with the Royal Canadian Artillery dig a breech pit for a captured gun during the weeklong attack on Dunkirk, France, in September 1944.

American General Dwight D. Eisenhower (left) confers with British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in 1944.

liberated Ostend, Belgium. In what would prove common practice, Ostend’s port facilities were largely destroyed by its German garrison. Montgomery wanted the French ports opened, but he could not fully supply First Canadian Army while providing sufficient matériel for Market Garden. So First Canadian Army was put on a strict ammunition and fuel diet. As a result, the Canadians nicknamed themselves the Cinderella Army—not

only undersupplied but given the unglamorous port-clearing task while British and American troops swanned toward Germany. Despite orders to fight to the last man, the German garrison at Dieppe, France, withdrew before the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division arrived on Sept. 1. However, the other French ports—Le Havre, Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk—remained heavily

defended, each requiring besieging with support from most of the 21st Army Group’s heavy and medium artillery regiments and the 79th British Armoured Division’s specialized equipment. The division’s “Funnies”—modified armoured vehicles—included flamethrower-mounted Churchill Crocodiles, mine-detonating flails (with horizontally rotating drums fitted with heavy chains ending in steel balls), tanks carrying bridging gear, and the bunker-busting Petard, with its short-barrel, 12-inch gun firing 40-pound rounds. Forty-four Kangaroos—modified American M-7 self-propelled guns stripped of armament to create room for infantry—were deployed by the 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron to protect troops crossing open ground. Lacking this specialized support would ensure failure, a lesson the 2nd Canadian Division learned at Dunkirk in a weeklong attack starting on Sept. 7. After repeated repulses, the German garrison in Dunkirk was finally contained by the 1st Czechoslovak

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ENGLAND Wimereux


Düsseldorf Ostend Dunkirk





Le Havre Caen




Jersey Island






Cap Blanc Nez

London Portsmouth


Cap Gris Nez


Independent Armoured Brigade, with the 2nd Canadian Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment under its command. The Germans here only surrendered on May 9, 1945. Operation Astonia, the Allied effort to capture Le Havre, was assigned to I British Corps. It was preceded by three bomber raids dropping 4,000 tonnes of explosives. Most of the city was destroyed, 5,126 citizens were killed, and another 31,000 were left homeless. The bombs damaged some German defences, but concrete positions were mostly

unscathed while extensive craters and rubble in the streets impeded the British advance. On Sept. 10, Britain’s 49th (West Riding) Division attacked. Despite deep mud and dense minefields, armour and infantry advanced quickly out of the east. That evening, the 51st (Highland) Division thrust in from the north. Blundering along flail-cleared lanes through the minefields, the division’s brigades reached the assigned objectives before dawn. Sept. 11 saw a methodical elimination of German strongpoints

The Novas eliminated 20 pillboxes using infantry-carried flamethrowers and Petard fire.

outside the city, and the following day, the British mopped up “with vigour.” By 10 p.m.—slightly more than 48 hours after the attack’s start—the last outpost fell. Of the 12,000-man garrison, some 600 were dead and the remainder were prisoners. British losses numbered just 388. Boulogne-sur-Mer was next—the attack opened on Sept. 17. Le Havre had fallen to two infantry divisions, two armoured brigades and the 79th Armoured Division’s Funnies. With most of First Canadian Army diverted to the Scheldt estuary, only two 3rd Canadian Division brigades remained, supported by Fort Garry Horse tanks and 79th Armoured Division units. Expansive artillery and bombing backed the operation. The city’s defences were anchored on two heights—Mont Lambert and Herquelingue—both more than 150 metres high and studded with gun emplacements protected by trenches, weapon pits and pillboxes. The defensive system was deep with mutually supporting strongpoints often linked by underground passages. Several large coastal guns could fire inland. Wire and minefields blocked all approaches. The garrison numbered about 10,000. Ideally, an attacking force should enjoy a three-to-one advantage, but the two Canadian brigades together numbered only about 7,000. MajorGeneral Daniel Spry hoped aerial and artillery bombardment would tip the equation to his advantage. For Operation Wellhit, Spry said, the “air component is a requisite.” Sept. 17 dawned clear as 800 bombers unleashed 3,232 tonnes

A bomber raid strikes Mont Lambert near Boulogne on Sept. 13, 1944.


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German prisoners march on a rubble-strewn road near Boulogne on Sept. 21, 1944.

of ordnance. This was followed by the artillery barrage. Bombs still falling, the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment assaulted La Trésorerie battery well north of the main defences. As the bombing ended, however, the Germans manned their machine-gun positions and pinned down the two leading companies. As dusk fell, A Company succeeded in occupy-

Highlanders and the North Nova Scotia Highlanders led the 9th Brigade’s attack. Mounted in Kangaroos, the Glens swept through a gap north of Mont Lambert to open the way for armoured columns formed by Funnies, Fort Garry Horse tanks, and a single Canadian infantry platoon to punch through the city to bridge crossings on the Liane River. By 4:30 p.m., the Glens had opened a path through which two armoured columns attempted “to smash through to the river.” Each column penetrated Boulogne’s rubbleclogged streets, but both halted short of the river at dusk and were soon reinforced by the Glens. The North Novas, meanwhile, assaulted Mont Lambert. In a long day’s fight, the Novas eliminated 20 pillboxes using infantry-carried flamethrowers and Petard fire. At nightfall, they were strung out just below the summit. South of Mont Lambert, the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa—a support battalion now fighting as regular infantry— tested Herquelingue’s defences.

When Stothart’s team appeared in their midst,

200 Germans surrendered.

ing half the battery complex. Meanwhile, at 9:55 a.m., Operation Wellhit’s full might struck to the southeast. Despite thick minefields and sporadic resistance, the 8th Brigade’s Le Régiment de la Chaudière and The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada made good progress. By nightfall, the Queen’s Own was poised to drive into Boulogne at dawn. To the left of the 8th Brigade, the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry

LAC/PA-174462; LAC/PA-137309

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Finding 150 to 300 men guarding two 155-millimetre guns, a plan was set to take this position on the night of Sept. 18-19. At dawn on Sept. 18, the Canadians struck hard. Sharp fighting at La Trésorerie was followed by a surrender demand, which yielded 450 prisoners. The Chaudières’ A and B companies slogged through intense 88-millimetre fire toward the village of Bon Secours while the Queen’s Own drove into Boulogne’s Saint-Pierre district—their advance slowed more by bomb damage than resistance. On Mont Lambert, the North Novas carried the summit by noon and then joined an armoured column’s advance to the Liane. At Boulogne’s heart is a large citadel. During the morning, Lieutenant-Colonel Roger Rowley with the Glens’ D Company found its heavy doors closed and barred. A French civilian, however, offered a secret entrance. Major Jim Stothart and a platoon followed him through a tunnel. When Stothart’s team appeared in their midst, 200 Germans surrendered. Only the defences south of the Liane still resisted. Crossing the river on a badly damaged bridge, the 9th Brigade’s Highland Light Infantry of Canada (HLI) established a narrow bridgehead. That

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The Highland Light Infantry entered a fierce street fight, facing “murderous fire

from all directions.”

night the Cameron Highlanders attacked Herquelingue—eliminating five concrete positions, killing seven Germans and taking 164 prisoners at a cost of one man killed and 13 wounded. At dawn, the HLI entered a fierce street fight on the bombed-out southern outskirts, facing “murderous fire from all directions” in the heaviest action it ever experienced. Engineers were finally able to open a Bailey bridge at 2 p.m. to enable reinforcement by an armoured column. As the column exited the southern outskirts, it was stopped by coastal gunfire from nearby Le Portel. Having suffered 64 casualties, the Highlanders could not continue alone. Late in the afternoon of Sept. 19, the Glens joined the fight—carrying Mont Soleil and taking 165 prisoners. Sept. 20 dawned to dull rain. Backed by the 3rd Canadian AntiTank Regiment’s M-10 self-propelled guns, the North Shores seized Wimille in hard fighting. Then on Sept. 21, they reached Wimereux. South of Boulogne, the HLI slogged through German defences, finally declaring the harbour secure by the evening of Sept. 21. Operation Wellhit entered its final phase the following day. At Wimereux, the North Shores were reinforced by Petards and Crocodiles and a general surrender followed. That left only Fort de la Crèche and Le Portel. Supported by M-10s, the Queen’s Own reached the old fort’s gates and 500 Germans surrendered at about the same time as an armoured column and the HLI closed on Le Portel. Here, Boulogne’s German commandant


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officially surrendered the garrison. The six-day battle ended with 9,517 prisoners taken. Allied casualties numbered 634. Canada’s six infantry battalions suffered most, with 462 killed or wounded. Spry’s division marched on to Calais, where surrounding low-lying marshes had been extended by blowing gaps in canal banks. Behind these water barriers, a defensive network bristled with pillboxes, anti-tank guns and infantry posts. Germany’s Calais garrison numbered about 7,500. Some 20,000 civilians had refused evacuation. Belle Vue Ridge offered the best approach, but it was heavily defended by minefields, concrete pillboxes and wire obstacles extending from the coast to its crest. The ridge was assigned to the 7th Brigade while the 8th Brigade was to seize two coastal batteries, one beside Noires Motte and the other at Sangatte. Poor flying weather caused several postponements. On Sept. 25, despite low clouds and high winds, almost 900 bombers arrived. Many targets were obscured, and only 303 aircraft released 1,321 tonnes of bombs. Returning the following day, 191 bombers struck Calais and 341 hit Cap Gris Nez with 3,468 tonnes. At 8:45 a.m., a 90-minute artillery bombardment began. Then the 8th Brigade’s North Shores advanced behind two mine-flail units toward Noires Motte. After gaining the summit, D Company was driven back by intense fire. To the left, the Chaudières brushed aside light resistance to close on gun batteries at Cap Blanc Nez. A brief negotiation

convinced the battery commander to surrender his 200 men. Negotiations also saved the North Shores a costly fight when the Noires Motte and Sangatte commander surrendered 285 men at noon on Sept. 26. To the right of the 8th Brigade, the 7th Brigade’s Regina Rifles and Royal Winnipeg Rifles advanced alongside tanks and Funnies. The Reginas reached the ridge crest at 1:30 p.m., at a cost of 10 dead, 61 wounded and 2 missing. They took 140 prisoners. To their right, Winnipeg’s “Little Black Devils” also advanced and all their objectives fell by 10 p.m. In the late afternoon of Sept. 26, the Canadian Scottish Regiment passed the Reginas on Belle Vue Ridge, but were stopped cold descending the slope. A night patrol discovered a gap in the German line through which the Canadian Scots slipped at dawn on Sept. 26 to win Sangatte. It was about 4.5 kilometres from Sangatte to Fort Lapin on Calais’s outskirts, with the coast road defended by a string of concrete blockhouses. The Canadian Scots reached Fort Lapin at 6 p.m., where they met stiff resistance. On the morning of Sept. 27, 342 Lancasters hammered the western outskirts of Calais with 1,718 tonnes of ordnance. As the bombers departed, the 1st Hussars C Squadron pounded Fort Lapin and surrounding fortifications with 75-millimetre rounds. Unable to tee up supporting artillery, however, Canadian Scot commander Lieutenant-Colonel Desmond Croft delayed renewing the attack until after dark in the hope of surprising the enemy. When A Company penetrated the wire obstacles surrounding the forts, all—including Fort Lapin—fell quickly. Not a single Canadian Scot died and only six were wounded in an action yielding 150 prisoners. Sept. 27 also saw the Winnipeg Rifles attack on Fort Nieulay in, the regiment’s diarist wrote, “an unusual

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battle” where all “the science of modern warfare…assembled to capture an ancient fort, with stone wall, a moat, and a drawbridge.” At 7 p.m., the Little Black Devils gained a foothold before the bridge was crossed by three pioneer platoon’s Wasps, flamethrower-equipped versions of the ubiquitous Universal Carrier. “Everything happened so fast,” remembered Rifleman Harold Prout. “We just burst through… and…the Wasps…started to burn everything in sight.” A surrender quickly followed. At 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 27, the Regina Rifles A Company waded into the inundated fields—guided by a French resistance fighter— toward Calais’ industrial sector. Major Ronald Shawcross struggled through “salt water, brown sewer water and canals…. The water in places came up to my shoulders and we didn’t smell pretty when we started. And when we finished… we probably smelt even worse.” But the company had slipped in through the city’s back door. Soon the rest of the battalion joined it. During the morning of Sept. 28, Bomber Command again visited Calais and Cap Gris Nez with a two-pronged raid—194 bombers struck the city, while 302 hit the cape in support of a 9th Brigade assault the following day. Soon after this bombing, Oberstleutnant Ludwig Schroeder sought a ceasefire to evacuate Calais’ remaining 20,000 civilians.

Spry agreed to cease hostilities until noon on Sept. 30. Meanwhile, at 6:35 a.m. on Sept. 29, 9th Brigade assaulted the Cap Gris Nez coastal batteries. There were three main batteries protected by minefields, electrified fences, anti-tank ditches, 88-millimetre anti-tank guns, and 20-millimetre anti-aircraft guns. Following another aerial prebombardment and drenching artillery fire, armoured columns helped the infantry move forward. The columns advanced across ground rising gradually to the cape’s 15-metre high point. Two North Nova companies approached the batteries left of the cape. Getting among these battery positions, infantry chucked grenades through several massive gun ports, Petards pounded positions and Crocodiles spewed flame. By 8:30 a.m., the Germans here surrendered. To the right of the North Novas, the Highland Light Infantry and supporting flails struggled over ground riddled with bomb craters. But as they closed on the battery by Floringzelle, the Germans surrendered without fighting. Quickly reorganizing, both battalions moved on. Mines before the North Novas were so thick that 11 flails were disabled getting the infantry to within 200 metres of the objective. A quick dash yielded another surrender. The HLI, meanwhile, drove

toward the summit battery at 2 p.m. Seeing the other batteries fall, the Germans here gave up as well. The two Canadian battalions had 8 killed and 34 wounded, while taking 1,600 prisoners. Sept. 29 brought the civilian evacuation of Calais, with both Canadian and German transport helping. Precisely at noon the following day, an aerial bombardment renewed hostilities even as a German delegation sought to surrender the entire garrison. As the Queen’s Own Rifles penetrated the eastern defences, they reported being “completely surrounded—with white flags.” Germans also surrendered in droves on the western flank. Then, at 6:30 p.m., Schroeder officially yielded Calais. By 9:00 a.m. on Oct. 1, the city was secure, with about 7,500 Germans taken prisoner. Canadian casualties were less than 300. The day after the surrender, the 3rd Division marched northward to join the Scheldt estuary campaign. Although First Canadian Army continued to suffer manpower shortages to the war’s end, its true Cinderella days were over. Hereafter, it engaged in critically important Allied operations until victory came. A more detailed account of the First Canadian Army’s advance toward Germany appears in Mark Zuehlke’s latest book, The Cinderella Campaign: First Canadian Army and the Battles for the Channel Ports (Douglas & McIntyre). L

Canadian troops on the march to Boulogne. After opening the French Channel ports, the Canadians moved north to join the Battle of the Scheldt.

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Is It Time to Fall Proof Your Parent’s Home?

s she advanced through her 70s, Sahar Whelan’s mother became less and less mobile due to a heart condition. Eventually, her activity became so restricted she couldn’t get up to answer the front door. Bathing became a monumental challenge. “She had to sit on the edge of the bathtub with a seat propping her up and me sitting there to ensure she didn’t fall backwards,” recalls Whelan, a Toronto-area pharmacist. “All we could do was pour water over the areas of her body we could reach and quickly clean.” Whelan’s father also faced bathing challenges. Home adjustments are key to accident prevention Ilene Cohen-Ackerman, an occupational therapist with the Arthritis Society, encourages seniors to stay as fit as possible. “I advise them to maintain muscle strength and balance through exercise and activity. If they are strong, they can potentially catch themselves before they fall.” One critical step in preventing accidents at home is to

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“ I want to make their home a wonderful place for them. They took care of me. Now it’s my turn.” The couple’s lives improved when they had a walk-in tub installed. “They can now sit comfortably in the tub and pour water using a handheld device. It’s a huge relief,” says Whelan. The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that falls are the leading cause of injuries among Canadians 65 years and older. In fact, 95 percent of all hip fractures are directly attributed to them. And approximately half of all falls among seniors occur at home. Like Whelan’s parents, many seniors with mobility challenges have discovered that, with some adjustments to their home, they can continue to live there safely and happily. Cohen-Ackerman also advises seniors to add some items to their homes. It’s important to have hand railings on the stairs, for example, because many accidents occur when seniors walk up or down the stairs holding onto the wall. The stairs should not be slippery because seniors with limited use of

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says Cohen-Ackerman. “They should try to shift their thinking and to see adjustments as a positive step, because it will allow them to stay active longer.” Cindy Leonard of Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. adds that a risk assessment will determine what adjustments should be made. “Seniors advance through three stages: the ‘gogo’ stage, the ‘go-slow’ stage, and the ‘no-go’ stage. If they get a walk-in tub in the first stage it will prevent accidents later on,” she says. “That will allow them to stay in their homes longer.” Whelan feels relieved since improving the safety of her parents’ home. “My parents’ lives are much more comfortable now so they won’t have to move somewhere else. I want to make their home a wonderful place for them,” says Whelan. “They took care of me. Now it’s my turn.” RANDI DRUZIN

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Should Andrew McNaughton have been fired following the Dieppe disaster? Mark Zuehlke says


n Sept. 29, 1941, Lieutenant-General Andrew McNaughton described the more than 124,000 Canadians in Britain as “a dagger pointed at the heart of Berlin.” It was, however, a dagger increasingly dulled by inaction. Knowing this, McNaughton attained authorization from Ottawa to commit troops to “minor” raids the British were beginning to organize. This authority enabled him to green-light 527 Canadian troops participating in the August 1941 raid on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. This successful raid yielded not a single fatal casualty. In November 1941, McNaughton fell ill and returned to Canada to convalesce. In his absence, Lieutenant-General Harry Crerar assumed corps command almost simultaneous to Vice-Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten taking over Britain’s Combined Operations Headquarters. Mountbatten rapidly expanded the raiding agenda and in January 1942 locked Dieppe in his crosshairs for a June divisional-scale raid. Citing the “great stimulus” to be gained from “making a name for…raiding activities,” Crerar meanwhile had been sending a barrage of letters up the British command chain seeking Canadian employment. When McNaughton returned to Britain at the end of March 1942, a large detachment of 2nd Canadian Infantry Division was engaged in amphibious assault



training. This was followed on the night of April 21-22 by Canadian involvement in a botched raid on Hardelot, south of Boulogne. The Canadian contingent failed to get ashore and there were no casualties. By this time, McNaughton’s enthusiasm for raiding had waned, even as Crerar’s continued to grow. McNaughton, now heading up the newly formed First Canadian Army,

had already selected 2nd Division. Together Montgomery and Crerar had neatly boxed McNaughton into a corner. Hours before the Montgomery-McNaughton meeting, Crerar had issued Training Instruction No. 9, creating a “security cover for training for Operation ‘Rutter,’” as one army report noted. McNaughton could do little but consent. As the Dieppe raid’s scope exceeded McNaughton’s authority to undertake “minor” raids MONTGOMERY AND without Ottawa’s approval, CRERAR HAD NEATLY he cabled Chief of General BOXED McNAUGHTON Staff Lieutenant-General INTO A CORNER. Ken Stuart and reported being asked to commit troops “on a scale which cannot wanted to keep the army intact be classed as minor.” Expanded for the inevitable invasion. Still, authority was quickly granted. he saw value in training alongside When bad weather derailed Rutter, naval and air personnel to develop the raid was reborn as Jubilee and competency in amphibious landings shifted to August. Some would and advances from beachheads. argue that McNaughton could then Crerar’s efforts, meanwhile, had have withdrawn 2nd Division, but borne fruit. On April 27, Majorit was now integral to the plan, the General Bernard Montgomery British government wanted a raid of Britain’s South-Eastern of consequence, and only Dieppe Command—under which First could be mounted on short notice. Canadian Army served—asked if So, Jubilee proceeded and ended in Crerar wanted the well-advanced disaster with 907 Canadian dead Dieppe raid. He readily nominated and 1,946 others taken prisoner— 2nd Division. Having secured the single most costly day suffered Crerar’s agreement, Montgomery by the nation in the Second World only visited McNaughton on the War. If anybody should have morning of April 30 to say he felt been fired over this tragedy, it is Canadian “troops were those Crerar. It was his scheming behind best suited.” As an afterthought, McNaughton’s back that ensured Montgomery mentioned Crerar Canadian involvement. L

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MARK ZUEHLKE is a military historian and author of the 12-book Canadian Battle Series as well as The Canadian Military Atlas. He received the 2014 Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media: The Pierre Berton Award. TERRY COPP is director emeritus of the Laurier Centre for Military and Strategic Disarmament Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Canada’s role in the two world wars.

Terry Copp says YES


he 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid has been overshadowed by the Vimy centenary and Canada’s 150th birthday, but the scale of the Dieppe tragedy still provokes debate. A review of the planning for the raid demonstrates that Lord Louis Mountbatten’s Combined Operations Headquarters had to balance the often-conflicting interests of the navy, army and air force while pursuing its own mandate to conduct experiments in amphibious warfare. Unfortunately, while the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force representatives pursued their own agendas, army spokesmen—including the Canadians— seemed unwilling to challenge the other service leaders. The RAF supported the raid in the belief that it would force the German air force into a large air battle that Fighter Command thought it could win. It would also allow the RAF to prove that it could protect a naval flotilla from air attack. However, when Bomber Command refused to divert resources to bombing the Dieppe defences, the planners accepted the veto. They also failed to question the assertion that “cannon fighters” attacking “the beach defences and high ground on either side of Dieppe” could neutralize the German defenders during the landing. The navy was willing to cooperate as long as there was no

Illustrations by Greg Stevenson/i2iart.com

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risk to its battleships or cruisers. Two minesweeping flotillas, landing ships and landing craft as well as eight small destroyers with four-inch guns were made available, but Mountbatten’s request for a naval bombardment was met with the comment “battleships in the Channel, you must be mad, Dickie.” After the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse by landbased Japanese aircraft north

McNaughton, to approve the commitment of Canadian troops. McNaughton was technically responsible to the Canadian government through Minister of Defence James L. Ralston, but McNaughton had sought authority to approve “operations of limited scope” without consulting the government in Ottawa. McNaughton’s reputation was based on his achievements in the First World War, when he developed the Canadian Corps’ counter-battery AFTER THE RAID, artillery to destroy the McNAUGHTON ACCEPTED enemy’s guns before they could stop an FULL RESPONSIBILITY. infantry advance. To approve a plan that provided no of Singapore, few wanted to risk effective means of dealing with another battleship. But one or two the enemy batteries protecting heavy cruisers with eight-inch guns Dieppe was a violation of could have been used. Imagine the everything McNaughton knew difference cruiser fire directed at about war. After the raid, he the cliff faces and gun batteries accepted full responsibility, but would have made on Aug. 19. insisted he would resign if there Lieutenant-General Harry was a parliamentary investigation. Crerar, the Canadian Corps His role in the Dieppe tragedy commander, and Major-General strengthened Ralston’s belief John Hamilton Roberts, that McNaughton was the commander of the 2nd Canadian wrong man to command the Infantry Division, which was Canadian Army. This certainly— selected for the operation, dutifully and justifiably—contributed accepted the outline plan and to his dismissal in 1943. L began filling in the details. > To voice your opinion on But it was up to one man, this question, go to www.legion First Canadian Army commander magazine.com/FaceToFace. Lieutenant-General Andrew

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Clockwise from top left: Gordon MacKenzie of Manitoba-Northwestern Ontario Command points to the name of D.C. Bowes; the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France; pilgrimage leader Angus Stanfield prepares to recite the Act of Remembrance at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium; poppies remind visitors of John McCrae’s poem; pilgrims view a machine-gun bunker on the Leopold Canal in northern Belgium; Buster Rogers of New Brunswick pauses while visiting a cemetery.



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Names Live On Story and photography by Tom MacGregor


I found the name I was looking for on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, Belgium, along the stairway where moments earlier school groups and regimental representatives had placed wreaths. The name, under the 44th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, was simply D.C. Bowes. Clifford Bowes was killed at Passchendaele in 1917. Though he was buried at the time, by war’s end the grave could not be found and he is commemorated here— one of 54,616 Commonwealth dead who fell in Belgium and have no known grave. It was a discovery for me, similar to ones made by 10 of the pilgrims on The Royal Canadian Legion’s 2017 Pilgrimage of Remembrance in the various military cemeteries visited throughout France and Belgium. The pilgrimage is a two-week coach tour organized by the Dominion Command Poppy and Remembrance Committee to give participants a chance to walk the ground covered by Canadians in two world wars. The July 8-22 pilgrimage was headed by Dominion Vice-President Angus Stanfield. Dominion Secretary Brad White, assisted by his wife Therese Canuel, acted

as tour co-ordinator while John Goheen, who has guided the pilgrimages for more than 20 years, was the tour’s historical expert. Ten pilgrims, one from each command, were chosen for the trip and would participate in the formal ceremonies planned along the way. With 43 people in the delegation, it was the largest group since the pilgrimage’s inauguration in 1989. Originally an annual trip, it has taken place every second year since 1997. The command pilgrims were John Archer of British Columbia/Yukon Command, Bobbi Foulds of AlbertaNorthwest Territories Command, Dwane Burke of Saskatchewan Command, Gordon MacKenzie of Manitoba-Northwestern Ontario Command, Ena Newman of Ontario Command, Michael Fitzgerald of Quebec Command, Buster Rogers of New Brunswick Command, Gilles Painchaud of Prince Edward Island Command, Marion Fryday-Cook of Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command and Sarah Lawrence of Newfoundland and Labrador Command. With them were partners, family and members of the public who had their own reasons for joining. Notable among them was Whitey

Bernard of Tofino, B.C. The 82-yearold has found fame in recent years as the boy in New Westminster, B.C., seen running away from his mother toward his father who is parading with troops coming down a hill in the iconic photo called “Wait for me, Daddy.” The photo was used in a Veterans Affairs Canada poster for Veterans Week and has been used on a postage stamp, a coin and was the model for a statue recently unveiled in New Westminster. Paul Kavanagh, a dental surgeon from Laval, Que., was another participant. He helped develop the Canadian War Museum’s program that ships crates full of artifacts to classrooms so students can feel and learn history from their contents. Each of the command pilgrims was given the name of someone from their province whose grave was in a cemetery we would visit. Using the Library and Archives Canada’s website where attestation papers are posted and Veterans Affairs Canada’s Virtual War Memorial, they were able to build a profile of the person. In many cases, the pilgrims have gone to the person’s home or where they once lived. As Sarah Lawrence put it in describing Richard Madigan, who is buried in the Y Ravine Cemetery at

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Pilgrims (above) walk along the pebbled beach at Puys, one of the three beaches where Canadians landed during the Dieppe raid in 1942. The dressing station (right) where John McCrae tended the wounded has been preserved as a memorial for the author of “In Flanders Fields.”

Beaumont-Hamel in France: “If you were in the parade at the dominion convention in St. John’s [in 2016], you walked right past his house.” I had decided to look for three boys whom I came to know in 2013 when Legion Magazine was given a box of photocopied letters written to and by three Bowes brothers from Boissevain, Man., who served and died in the First World War. I had edited 103 of the letters into a blog, which was posted twice a week for a year. Clifford Bowes was the oldest of the three and had joined up first. He was by far the most prolific author in the collection, writing regularly to his mother and younger sister Vivian. It was Vivian’s daughter, Marilyn Griffith, who retained the letters. Clifford’s two younger brothers Jim and Fred signed up together, served in the same battalion, and in a cruel act of fate, suffered fatal wounds from the same grenade as they prepared for the battle of Vimy Ridge. After settling into a hotel in Caen in northern France, the group travelled to the beaches of Normandy, where on June 6, 1944, 14,500 Canadian soldiers came ashore on an eight-kilometre stretch code-named Juno Beach.


Pilgrims visited each of the three sectors where the Canadians came ashore. At Bernières-sur-Mer, we saw Canada House, the white house near where the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada landed, which can be seen in the background of many historic photos of the assault. Later, we visited Pegasus Bridge, named for the emblem of the British Airborne, which landed in gliders in the wee hours of the morning and successfully captured and held key bridges to help the advance. While the original bridge has been replaced, it still stands nearby at the Pegasus Bridge Museum devoted to the story of those early landings. The next day was devoted to the first few days that followed D-Day. The more chilling side of the invasion came to life as we visited the Abbaye d’Ardenne, which served as the regional headquarters for the 12th SS Panzer Division. Twenty Canadian soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, the 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment and the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders were captured and brought to the abbey. Each was questioned but refused to divulge anything other than their name, rank and serial number. They were then taken, one at a time, into the garden and murdered. Each man shook hands with his remaining comrades as he walked toward the steps leading into the garden. “This was not a reactionary battlefield murder,” said Goheen. “This was done under orders.”

It was in the garden that the first formal ceremony of the trip was held. The second formal ceremony was held later that afternoon at the Bénysur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, where some of the murdered soldiers are among the 2,048 headstones marking the graves of those who fell on Juno Beach and shortly after. The formal ceremonies included two pilgrims carrying the Canadian and Legion flags, and a sergeant-atarms marching them on. One person recited the Act of Remembrance and another placed a wreath. The ceremonies began with “O Canada” and continued with “The Last Post,” two minutes of silence, the lament and “The Rouse.” Participants formed up in two single-file lines and, two by two, walked to the wreath to place their poppies. The ceremony ended with “God Save the Queen.” The tour moved on from Normandy to Dieppe where, in 1942, Canadians were involved in a disastrous raid. Huge chalk cliffs, then heavily fortified by the Germans, loom over the pebble beach. Walking along the beach, it is easy to see how the landing soldiers were caught in crossfire while the pebbles made it difficult to move forward. The Canadians suffered 3,367 casualties, including 907 killed. The pilgrims walked to the end of Dieppe’s long pier to perform an informal service to remember those lost at sea. After the Act of Remembrance was recited, a wreath was dropped into the ocean.

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The day ended with a formal ceremony at the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery. While the cemetery has the distinctive headstones of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), it is different in that many of the graves are placed head to head instead of in separate rows as they are in most CWGC cemeteries. This is because the soldiers were buried by the Germans. While the CWGC replaced the original markers with their own, the graves were not disturbed. Before the group left the next morning, many joined Goheen down by the water at 5:20 a.m., the time when the Canadians were scheduled to come ashore, and drank a toast to “the men of Dieppe.” Before settling in Belgium, the group took a morning trip into the Netherlands to the Bergen-opZoom Canadian War Cemetery. There are 1,118 graves, including 63 Royal Canadian Air Force aircrew. The rest of the trip focused on the First World War. Throughout the war, the Allies held the Ypres Salient, a deadly inroads into the enemy lines where they were surrounded on three sides. Ypres was in ruins but it never fell. The skeleton of the bombed-out tower of the Cloth Hall remained standing and could be seen by the Allies for miles around. Following the war, the residents rebuilt their city, including many of the gothic structures dating back to the Middle Ages. Foremost in the market square is the Cloth Hall, which now houses the In Flanders Fields Museum. The Menin Gate was built as a monument to the Commonwealth soldiers. Every night at 8 p.m., traffic through the busy arch stops and volunteer firefighters arrive with bugles to play the Last Post. Throughout the year, various regiments and

school groups participate in the ceremony. The pilgrims would have that honour on their final night in Ypres. All those participants with Legion uniforms marched into the gate and lined up at the opposite end from the buglers. Stanfield read the Act of Remembrance and a wreath was placed while a visiting school choir from Georgetown, Ont., sang. Among the places visited was Essex Farm, where there was a dressing station during the Second Battle of Ypres in April and May 1915. Major John McCrae, a Canadian doctor originally attached to the Royal Canadian Artillery, worked here tirelessly, seeing to the

Walking along the beach, it is easy to see how the landing soldiers were caught in crossfire while the pebbles made it difficult to move forward. wounded. At the time, the dugout was supported by timber but it was later reinforced with concrete. It remains today and gives visitors a sense of the cramped conditions. Essex Farm was where McCrae wrote his famous poem, “In Flanders Fields,” supposedly in 15 minutes, after presiding over a funeral service for his friend and fellow officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer. Thinking of that poem, we stopped by the massive Brooding

Soldier at the Saint Julian Memorial at Vancouver Corner, featuring the image of a soldier wearing a helmet in a rest position leaning on his reversed rifle. The statue marks the Canadian position when they first encountered a gas attack. Not having gas masks, the troops did what they could to protect themselves, including wrapping urine-soaked handkerchiefs around their mouths. Nonetheless, they held their position, although casualties were high. We also visited Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, where a smaller memorial marks the sacrifices of the Canadian Corps. Although the battle itself began on July 31, the Canadians only became involved in October and were tasked with taking the village. The Canadian Corps commander, General Sir Arthur Currie, did not want the assignment. He estimated that it would cost 16,000 casualties. When ordered to proceed, Currie insisted on time to build proper platforms for the artillery and for the officers and men to rehearse taking their objectives on a mock battlefield behind the front line. In the end, the attack was a success, but Currie’s prediction was eerily accurate, with the Canadians suffering 15,654 casualties, approximately 2,600 of them fatal. Many of those casualties are buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest British military cemetery in the world. There are 11,956 Commonwealth dead buried there, including 1,011 Canadians. A curved wall is inscribed with the names of nearly 35,000 men who have no known grave. It was here that Ontario pilgrim Newman talked of Sgt. Robert Barr of Oxford Mills, Ont. While moving from Ypres to Arras, France, the group spent time at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. It features a bronze statue of a caribou, the emblem of the Royal Newfoundland

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The caribou statue on the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial stares directly at the enemy lines.

Regiment, staring steadfastly at the enemy position. Although all is green now and covered with trees native to Newfoundland, the grounds were left intact, with deep trenches and craters caused by artillery fire. Berkley Lawrence, Sarah’s husband and now the president of Newfoundland and Labrador Command, told the group of his grandfather, Stephen Lawrence, who was wounded in the shoulder and survived the battle, which virtually wiped out the regiment on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Although his grandfather recovered, he was wounded again in the same shoulder later in the war at Gueudecourt and invalided back to Newfoundland. The tour visited other places associated with the Battle of the Somme, including Courcelette British Cemetery, where Fitzgerald spoke about Emile Beaulieu of the 22nd Battalion, who was from Quebec City. “I tried to find his house but it is not there anymore,” he said. “It is in the poorer side of Quebec City. I don’t know if he joined up out of a sense of duty or just as a way to be better employed.” At the Sun Quarry Cemetery near Arras, Painchaud spoke of Jerome Arsenault from Summerside, P.E.I. “I imagine he would have felt very much at home here. As we drive around and see the rolling hills and fields growing wheat and


potatoes, it looks very much like where he and I come from on the western part of the Island,” he said. A highlight of the tour was the stop at Vimy Ridge. It was there, 100 years ago, that the Canadian Corps was brought together for the first time and assigned to take the vast ridge with its commanding view of the front lines. Under the command of Sir Julian Byng, the battle was meticulously planned. Tunnels were dug in the soft chalk to plant mines under the enemy and to build passageways from which the Canadians could emerge when the battle started. After suffering heavy losses early in the war, the Canadians wanted to do things differently. The attack was rehearsed so that every man knew what his particular role was. Maps were given

After suffering heavy losses early in the war, the Canadians wanted to do things differently. to the men, so they knew where they were, even in the fog of war. Then on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, the battle commenced after a brutal shelling of the enemy. A new tactic called a creeping barrage was used. As the men issued out of the tunnels, the artillery fired just in front of them, offering protection as they advanced.

Most of the objectives were taken that morning but the fighting continued for four days until the last high point, known as the Pimple, was taken and the Canadians were fully in charge of the ridge. The final formal ceremony of the trip was held at the base of the mammoth Vimy Memorial, unveiled in 1936 and featuring two huge pylons representing Canada and France and the looming figure of a mother brooding over the graves of the valiant dead. The ceremony was conducted under menacing skies. Just as the pilgrims began to approach the wreath to place their poppies, rain came pouring down. That did not stop the pilgrims from completing the ceremony. Ironically, the rain stopped just as the colour party marched off the colours. On the final night, each participant on the pilgrimage spoke of his or her own experiences. “There is still important work for each of you to do,” said Stanfield. “With the youth, in your branches, wherever you are speaking to people, you have to tell people of what you saw from your own perspective.” While at Vimy, I thought of the two younger Bowes brothers, Jim and Fred. They were part of a work crew preparing for battle in February when they were hit by a grenade. Jim died of his wounds that day and is buried in Villers Station Cemetery. Fred, who never fully gained consciousness, died the following week in a hospital and is buried in Barlin Communal Cemetery. We didn’t get to those two cemeteries. “There are hundreds of small cemeteries all over this part of the world,” said Goheen. “Some of them are never visited. It is nice when you go to one and see that people are there paying their respects.” The two Bowes brothers are in such cemeteries. I like to think, in this 100th anniversary of the battle they did not live to see, some Canadians stopped by to pay their respects. L

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After joining Confederation, British Columbians tried to raise a defensive military unit, while Ottawa’s attention focused elsewhere The history of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery’s C Battery and the effort to establish a military force on Canada’s West Coast echoes the history of the Canadian Militia—complete with neglect, competing priorities and ill-conceived recruit planning.


Enacted a year after Confederation, An Act respecting the Militia and Defence of the Dominion of Canada aimed to muster 40,000 well-trained and equipped soldiers from existing regiments of non-permanent active militia, to be backed up by imperial troops. But the reality was different. With training for only eight to 16 days a year, a lack of equipment, and patronage and favouritism rife among the officers, the capability of the militia left much to be desired. In 1871, the War Office in London, under pressure to cut

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in the force, saying: “It being necessary in consequence of the withdrawal of Imperial regular troops...to secure the establishment of Members of C Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery, gather at Beacon Hill in Victoria Schools of Military before Christmas 1887. Instruction...it shall be lawful for Her Majesty to raise one troop of cavalry, three batteries of artillery (of which three shall be A, B and C Batteries now embodied), and not more than three companies of infantry—the whole strength not to exceed 750 men.” However, founding a military unit does not automatically make it battle-ready, especially given the parsimony of the federal government in supporting the militia. So why a militia at all? Fears of an American invasion had been laid to rest by the rapprochement between Britain and the United States in 1895–1915. Who else could threaten the dominion? As Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier told The Earl of costs, withdrew its garrisons that were scatDundonald, the newly appointed general tered throughout Canada, leaving only the officer commanding the Canadian Militia, troops stationed at the Royal Navy bases “You must not take the militia seriously; for in Halifax and Esquimalt, B.C. With suitit is useful for suppressing internal disturable pomp and ceremony, the garrisons bances, it will not be required for the defence departed, taking with them the expertise of the country, as the Munroe Doctrine and training capability that the militia badly protects us from enemy aggressions.” needed. Britain’s remaining contribution The Munroe Doctrine, set out by U.S. was to appoint a senior army officer to the President James Munroe, warned European position of general officer commanding the nations that the United States would not Canadian Militia. This continued until 1904. tolerate further colonization or puppet Canada had to replace those departed monarchies in the Western Hemisphere. troops with its own. In October 1871, the However, the conclusion that America would Royal Canadian Artillery’s A and B batteries defend Canada against foreign aggresbecame the base of Canada’s regular force. In sion was not shared by all Canadians, 1883, a new Militia Act called for an increase particularly those on the West Coast.

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Xenophobic and racist fear of a tide of Japanese and Chinese immigration to Canada was not uncommon in Western Canada, and would eventually lead to an anti-Asian riot in Vancouver on Sept. 7, 1907. This was one justification for having an active militia in the West. The Esquimalt Royal Naval Dockyard was another factor: for British Columbia, the base was important—socially, with all those dashing navy officers; economically, as a market for lumber, coal and food; and strategically, with Esquimalt being the only Royal Navy naval base in western North America. On top of that, the coal mines of Vancouver Island were essential to the Royal Navy. There was another often-stated justification—labour unrest. British Columbia had a resource-based economy: mining, logging and fishing. These dangerous, tough occupations led workers to join labour unions with the usual response from the owners— strike-breaking using the militia as enforcers (“The militia and the coal miners’ strike,” July/August 2016). The Red Ensign represented security to the population concentrated in the lower mainland and on Vancouver Island, so much so that British Columbia had inserted into the articles of confederation with Canada in 1871 that “the influence of the Dominion Government will be used to secure the continued maintenance of the naval station at Esquimalt.” There was a caveat, however: Canada would have to provide ground troops and resources for the defence of Esquimalt, not something that Ottawa took seriously. Ottawa was facing the cost of building the transcontinental railway—a major benefit to imperial



defence, Ottawa maintained—and had few funds to recruit, train, equip and maintain a militia capable of defending the base. “Owing to the isolated position of Victoria,” noted the Annual Report of the State of the Militia 1878, “the very limited number of its population and the high rate of wages paid for labour, special and almost insurmountable difficulties are placed in the way of the establishment of anything like an efficient force.” Subsequent reports emerged time and again citing the challenge of raising a sufficient force of volunteer militia. Still, initial recruiting for the volunteer artillery had established 50 members of all ranks, as Lieutenant-Colonel C.F. Houghton, the deputy adjutant-general, noted. Apparently, artillery drill was more to the liking of young men and the colourful uniform had its own appeal. The gunners’ enthusiasm remained high, but came with a cost as the unit “established a school of arms, renting a building for the purpose [of] lessons in broad sword, single stick, fencing and boxing…. The necessary materials [were] imported from England… and the expense of the purchase as well as the rent, fuel and pay of instructors etc. was provided by members of the battery.” The new recruits quickly learned that the joy of soldiering was not cheap. Pay was miserly—$2 a day. The gun batteries were short of ammunition, their mountings and platforms were rotting, and the weapons were sadly outdated. Pleas by the deputy adjutant-generals to Ottawa for more funding were ignored. Ottawa, subsidizing the railway, had little money for the B.C. militia. In his annual report about the battery at New Westminster, B.C., LieutenantColonel J.G. Holmes wrote, “How the officers and men managed [to retain their enthusiasm], with their obsolete weapons mounted on rotten carriages, I can hardly imagine.”

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Successive annual reports on the state of the militia included proposals to authorize a permanent force school of artillery at Victoria to impart professionalism and provide instructors to match the relative success of A and B batteries at Kingston, Ont., and Quebec City. More importantly, they would help man the fortifications of the Esquimalt navy base. This new C Battery would be composed of a few non-commissioned officers and men from A and B batteries as well as 50 retired gunners. Little came of this suggestion. As a letter from the deputy adjutant-general to the Canadian Militia’s general officer commanding, Major-General F.D. Middleton, signalled: “I hope that you will believe me when I say that the department gives up all hopes of raising C Battery here [in B.C.] no matter what scale of pay…. It would be much better to give up the idea altogether than to attempt what will result in total failure.” In 1884, however, Captain J.R. East of the Royal Navy wrote to Canada’s Minister of Militia and Defence, Adolphe Caron, that B.C. was an excellent place for Royal Navy and Royal Marine pensioners to settle. These men would, if necessary, help in the defence of the province. East was sure they would be unlikely to desert and lose their pensions. East’s suggestion was approved with the proviso that Royal Artillery pensioners be included in the total strength of 109 all ranks. Canada’s High Commissioner, Sir Charles Tupper, was assigned to the launch of C Battery. The Colonial Office and the Admiralty approved, but before a single pensioner was recruited, the cost of transportation to the West Coast loomed large. The Admiralty demanded that Canada pay £300, later haggled down to £100, for the Britain-to-Halifax leg. Ottawa was unmoved, and insisted the defence of the naval base concerned the Admiralty far more than the dominion, so it should pay. Compromise was finally achieved, prompting the posting of handbills soliciting volunteers. Unfortunately, a printing error turned into a very large problem. The handbills asked for single men. Since the pensioners were mostly married, the response was not overwhelming. In fact, it was nil. The failure of the recruiting effort in both Britain and British Columbia forced the

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Canadian government to admit defeat and accept the transfer of 100 men from A and B batteries to comprise C Battery. At 4:15 p.m. on Nov. 4, 1887, C Battery left Kingston for B.C. Six days later, it arrived at Victoria to a warm welcome from members of the militia and the civilian population. A warm welcome, however, would not solve the lack of barracks. The men were quartered in the agricultural hall, while married men had to rent their own accommodations. Barracks were only partially completed three years later, despite the work carried out by the men of C Battery. Soldiers and politicians alike should have heeded the (politically incorrect) warning from Edgar Crow Baker, member of Parliament for Victoria: “I am sorry to say that I do not know any men who will undertake to become permanent soldiers in C Battery for the same amount of remuneration that Chinamen and Indians are getting out here.” Ottawa’s attitude was one of benign neglect. Requests were noted and filed away. It displayed little interest in supporting the militia, and was little concerned over the plight of C Battery. Baker’s prediction became the reality. Low pay meant that the men of the battery could hardly maintain themselves. Ottawa was willing to add a paltry 10 cents to the men’s pay. Desertion was rampant. Those who tolerated the low pay could not stomach the miserable state of the barracks. Uniforms were shoddy and the battery’s guns were outdated. By 1890, the battery was down to seven officers and 40 other ranks. Re-enlistments by men who had served three years were few and were surpassed by the 22 desertions. Only 30 men were recruited locally, and drafts from A and B batteries did not suffice. It was Major-General Ivor Herbert, the general officer commanding the Canadian Militia from 1890 to 1895, who conceded that C Battery was untenable. He convinced Ottawa to support Royal Marines to operate Esquimalt’s defences. C Battery would be transferred to Quebec. In 1894, the Canadian Horse Artillery received the prefix Royal, and the gunners went on to serve gallantly in South Africa and the wars of the 20th century. The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery is now stationed at Canadian Forces Base Shilo in Manitoba. L

C Battery forms up at Beacon Hill in 1890.

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A track meet not to be missed





By Cameron Cathcart

80 B.C. BRANCHES AID IN WILDFIRE RELIEF By Stephanie Slegtenhorst




Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne

is an event Flying Angels Academy just can’t miss. For almost a decade—since the Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships opened competition to non-Legion athletes—the Toronto club has made the trip, wherever that might take them. This year, it took them on a 26-hour marathon to Brandon, Man. Ten teenage athletes and four coaches piled into two vehicles, cranked up the music and hit the road to join 637 other athletes 17 years old and under for three days of competition. Food, gas and bathroom breaks were the only stops, with some of the coaches’ old-school gospel and Motown music offering occasional respite from the relentless hip-hop beats. By the time they left the Prairie city of 50,000 on the banks of the Assiniboine River, they had won two golds, a silver and three bronzes.

“Tokyo 2020!” declared Angels sprinter Nnenna Ibe, a gold medallist in the 4 x 100-metre relay. Flying Angels Academy, with about 200 athletes of all ages at nine locations around the Greater Toronto Area, competes throughout the United States and Caribbean, but assistant head coach Justice McInnis said the Legion meet is a can’t-miss. “It’s important because you want to be ranked in the country and in order to be ranked, you have to compete against the top athletes in the country,” said McInnis. “That’s why we come. It gives us a working point throughout the year. “This is a highlight of the season. So, we make a trip out of it.” Athletes from all provinces and territories travelled to the Brandon Community Sportsplex, newly renovated to the tune of $1.2 million. Almost half the athletes—317—were sponsored by Legion branches. The rest represented clubs like


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opposite page: Athletes parade onto

the track at the Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships in Brandon, Man. Marcus Renford (above, right) earns a gold medal crossing the finish line in the under-16 100-metre race.

adversity on two polar treks. The stands were replete with scouts watching for new and promising talent. Over three days of competition, they weren’t disappointed. The Legion’s male athlete of the games, 15-year-old Marcus Renford from Team Ontario, won four golds and a silver. He ran the only two sub-11-second 100-metre dashes in the under-16s (10.96 in preliminaries and 10.97 in the final, his first under-11s). Renford also leaped to a personal best 6.76 metres in the long jump. It was his second time at the Legion meet. “Marcus is a very talented athlete with a very, very good future in both jumps and sprints,” said Jamal Miller, a coach at Toronto’s Extreme Velocity Track Club. “He’s definitely on the right path. I see him doing great things.” The Legion’s female athlete of the Games, Trinity Tutti, swept CANA D A’ S





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competed in the Legion nationals, including Charmaine Crooks, Angela Bailey, Robert Esmie, Glenroy Gilbert and Melissa Bishop. There were motivational and educational speakers: Athletics Canada sent Olympian Alex Genest from Montreal to relate the circuitous route he took to steeplechase silver at the Pan American Games; sports psychologist Kirsten Worth explained the role mental processes play in athletic performance; Sarah Dentry, a veteran doing post-doctoral research on mental and physical toughness in extreme environments, described how she overcame


the Flying Angels. These included the Airdrie Aces from Alberta, Golden Ears Athletics from British Columbia, Dynamique de Laval from Quebec, Quill Plains Track and Field from Saskatchewan, Prairie Storm Athletics from Manitoba, Saugeen Track and Field from Ontario and Nova Scotia’s Pictou County Athletics. Both the opening and closing ceremonies were laced with the traditions and historical context that only the Legion can offer, especially in this year, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Banners around the track proclaimed Olympians who had



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clockwise from bottom left: B.C.’s Alexa Porpaczy makes a winning high jump; Trinity Tutti of Ontario throws the shot; Shamir Khan of Ontario wins the under-18 long jump; Grace Fetherstonhaugh (right) wins the women’s under-18 2,000-metre steeplechase; Zachary Wyatt of B.C. takes the lead in the men’s under-18 2,000-metre steeplechase; Nnenna Ibe of the Flying Angels Academy in Toronto hands off to teammate Cassandra Garcia in the under-18 4 x 100-metre relay.

her three throwing events, setting two national records along the way—17.05 metres in her favourite event, the shot put, and 49.25 metres in discus. Her hammer throw at 56.32 metres was a personal best. These three golds brought her total medal haul over four Legion meets to 10, including seven gold. “It was a good way to finish,” said the Welland, Ont., native, who is in her final year of high school, where she also plays basketball and volleyball. “I’m excited. Exhausted. Happy. I love this meet. I’ve enjoyed



it every single year. There’s always really good competition and new people. It’s awesome.” Myles MisenerDaley, 16, of Hamilton Olympic Club swept the under-18 men’s speed events, taking gold in the 100-, 200- and 400-metre sprints. He clocked the fastest time of the meet during the 100metre preliminaries, a 10.74. The women’s high jump came down to British Columbia teammates Alexa Porpaczy and Trinity Hasma. Porpaczy, 17, came out on top at 1.75 metres. Nova Scotia’s Bella Willett took bronze. B.C. coach Laurier Primeau described the Legion meet as one of the most important events of the year, both for the competition and the social/cultural experience.

“I don’t think I can overstate the value of this event on the pathway to junior national teams, senior national teams and ultimately world championships and Olympics,” he said. “If you look at some of the banners around here bearing some of the names that started at the Legion championships and moved on to great things for Canada, it’s an incredible list. “Athletics Canada and those athletes owe much to the Legion for its sponsorship and continued support over the years.” The country’s top-ranked female high-jumper under 18, Porpaczy says she loves the sport as much for the camaraderie as the competition. She, Hasma and Willett are close friends, largely due to their experiences together at the Legion championships over the past four years. “The atmosphere at the track is so nice,” said the White Rock, B.C., native. “You make friends really easily with everyone and the sport


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The 41st Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships, in Brandon, Man., by the numbers: Athletes – 647 Coaches – 123 Volunteers – 240 Officials – 70 Events – 108 Medals – 324 Meet records – 10 National records – 4 Fastest – 10.74 seconds (100-metre, Myles Misener-Daley, Hamilton Olympic Club) Highest – 4.20 metres (pole vault, Liam McRae, Unattached, Ontario) Longest – 61.39 metres (javelin, Jarrett Chong, Team B.C.) Facebook Live views – 50,686 Facebook comments – 2,497 Facebook likes – 3,623 Legion budget – $452,000 City of Brandon site renovations – $1.2 million






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2017-09-28 1:55 PM

easily with everyone and the sport is really technical, so you’re always able to build off of what you do.” Added Willett: “When they said in the speeches…that you’ll make friends that’ll last a lifetime, they really meant it. I know these girls will be with me till the end.” The Legion’s roots in youth sport date back almost to its beginning, when First World War veterans got together to discuss what they could do for the children of soldiers killed in action. Sports had a long, wide reach. Dominion Command Sports Chairman, Angus Stanfield, said the Legion was primarily a social club at the time. Youth sports, he said, was “step one to [the Legion] becoming a service organization.” It started as a coaching camp in the 1950s, evolved into a small track meet, and in 2009, it was opened to non-Legion-affiliated groups. “It has been a real evolution to where it is now,” said Stanfield, adding that awareness is spreading. “There is nothing else in Canada for kids of that age to compete with one another at the national level. Nothing.” Brandon signed on to the event in a big way. The Brandon Sun ran two front pages from the meet, included an insert and gave it wide coverage. The local Ford dealership laid on a fleet of vehicles and a security company staffed the meet. A crew from Banfield Agency from Ottawa streamed about eight hours of live coverage on social media, garnering more than 50,000 views on Facebook. Each year, Legion athletes stay an extra day after competition concludes, taking part in activities and attending a banquet, where this year Stanfield gave them a



Trinity Tutti (left) of Ontario receives the Leroy Washburn Award for the top female athlete from Washburn; Marcus Renford of Ontario receives the Jack Stenhouse Award for the top male athlete from Dominion Command Sports Committee Chairman Angus Stanfield.

“WHEN THEY SAID IN THE SPEECHES… THAT YOU’LL MAKE FRIENDS THAT’LL LAST A LIFETIME, THEY REALLY MEANT IT. I KNOW THESE GIRLS WILL BE WITH ME TILL THE END.” moment they’ll not likely forget. Stanfield’s grandfather, Donald Kennedy, an immigrant born in Scotland in 1892, played the bagpipes with the Cameron (Winnipeg) Highlanders Regiment on that April day in 1917 when Canadian troops advanced on Vimy. Starting when he was six, Stanfield learned to play the pipes under Kennedy’s tutelage and, at the banquet in Brandon, the grandson played the very Henderson pipes that Kennedy had been issued when he joined the regiment in 1915. Stanfield played a medley, concluding with a particularly moving rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Young athletes all over the room, wearing suits and gowns in stark contrast to their track attire, quietly wept. Each team dispatched a male and female athlete to the dais to deliver thanks and tributes in French and

English. Félix Thérien, a middle-distance runner from Quebec, delivered a moving tribute and led a moment’s silence for a former Legion games athlete, Hubert Chevrette-Bélisle of Repentigny, Que., a hurdler and captain in the Royal 22nd Regiment who died on July 24 at age 27. He was “someone we all know in Quebec,” Thérien said. “He was one of the ambassadors of my track club.” On a lighter note, the handsdown funniest speaker was Levi Moulton, a distance runner from Newfoundland and Labrador attending his final Legion meet. He riotously likened the Legion games experience to the stages of teenage dating, from the awkward first date through the disillusionment of two subsequent dates. “For this year—the fourth date—I trained like crazy, prepared myself the best I could, got here and realized: no matter what I do, there’s always a boy from Ontario who’s better.” The Legion nationals return to Brandon next year. L



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New membership portal proves popular IN THE NEWS


embers and branches are embracing the Legion’s new membership portal at www.legion.ca. About 50 per cent of branches logged on to the portal in the first six weeks of the launch. The new portal launched in late June. “We’re ushering in a new era for Legion membership,” said Randy Hayley, manager of member services at Dominion Command. “There are new tools and options that can be used by all those involved in membership, including the members, the branches and provincial commands.” A member just clicks on a link at the top of the page that says “For members and branches” and from there can create an account. Everything is password protected. Once registered, a member has

access to his or her profile and can update information such as a change of address. “If a member does not receive his copy of Legion Magazine, he can check right away to see if the correct address is being used,” said Hayley. Members now also have the option of signing up for the annual auto-renewal program. The portal also provides branches with access to membership records. Renewal options save branches most of the paperwork that is currently involved. Provincial commands also have up-to-date information on their membership numbers and status. All this is tied to the new plastic membership cards that were mailed to branches over the summer. The new cards are given to members

Dominion President Dave Flannigan presses the button to make the new membership portal go live in June.

paying their 2018 membership dues. The red cards, which feature an image of the National War Memorial, will last a minimum of five years. Members will receive a sticker when they renew for subsequent years. “All these are optional,” said Hayley. “The branch can still do its membership work the way it has in the past. But if they need help with the new portal, they can always call us and we will be glad to help.” Contact the Dominion Command Membership Department at 855-3303344 or [email protected]. L

O’Regan named minister


aking over the portfolio midway through his government’s first term, new Minister of Veterans Affairs Seamus O’Regan has miles to go and promises to keep. First elected in 2015 as member of Parliament for the riding of St. John’s South-Mount Pearl in Newfoundland and Labrador, O’Regan’s earlier political experience was at the provincial level, as a minister’s executive assistant and as a senior policy advisor to the Newfoundland premier. He is perhaps best known for his decade as host of a network television morning show. Late in 2015, O’Regan entered



into a wellness program following an intervention by family and friends, and has been alcohol-free since. Many of the improvements veterans were seeking to the New Veterans Charter prior to the 2015 election have been achieved, but it remains to be seen if the novice minister can fulfill veterans’ most desired unmet goal—the option of lifelong pensions for ill, injured and disabled veterans. Improvements in 2016 included increasing the disability award and Earnings Loss Benefit and reopening the nine Veterans Affairs Canada regional offices. However, The Royal Canadian

Legion and Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent have identified items from the prime minister’s postelection mandate letter that remain unmet, and inaction on many recommendations from veterans’ advocates and advisory groups. When people put their trust in you, O’Regan said in a CBC interview 40 days after he began his life of sobriety, “you owe it to them to be your best self.” Now, O’Regan has the country’s 700,000 veterans trusting he will be just that. L



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65th Newfoundland

and Labrador Convention

Community outreach and a rate increase


By Eric Harris

nexpectedly clear blue skies greeted delegates at the 65th Newfoundland and Labrador Command Convention in Stephenville on Aug. 26-30. Proceedings got underway on a sunny Sunday afternoon with a parade from Blanche Brooke Park to the cenotaph. A remembrance ceremony followed, with wreaths placed by Lieutenant-Governor Frank Fagan, Silver Cross Mother Agnes Gillam Bishop, member of Parliament Gudie Hutchings, provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment Eddie Joyce, Newfoundland and Labrador Command President Frank Sullivan, Dominion First Vice Tom Irvine and other officials. The convention took place at Stephenville Branch, formerly the officers’ mess of Ernest



Harmon Air Force Base, which the United States Air Force operated here from 1941 to 1966. In the opening ceremony, Fagan expressed gratitude on behalf of all Canadians: “Thank you very much for the work you do on behalf of our veterans and for our veterans, and the work you do in remembrance programs to remember those who have gone and who have sacrificed.” Business started on Monday with a credentials report, counting 59 delegates, 13 provincial executive council (PEC) members, three past presidents and 16 proxies, for a total of 91 potential votes. Thirty-three of the province’s 46 branches attended, representing 3,944 members. In his president’s report, Sullivan noted that he was going to focus on two incidents that occurred during

his tenure which were not included in his written report. First was a proposal by retired general Rick Hillier and The Rooms CEO Dean Brinton to repatriate soil from the BeaumontHamel battlefield to be placed in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Gallery at The Rooms museum in St. John’s. The PEC was “unanimously opposed,” Sullivan said. “They were bringing back soil which probably had human DNA in it, putting it into The Rooms, where they charge $10 to enter. Basically, they were commercializing human DNA.” Following an intense exchange of letters and phone calls, Sullivan reported, the proposal was dropped. “But I guarantee you,” he said, “it’s going to come up again.” The second incident occurred in France during the ceremony for the 100th anniversary of the

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opposite: Dominion First Vice Tom Irvine (at left) joins new provincial command executive

members and district commanders. New president Berkley Lawrence (below) addresses delegates.

Newfoundland Regiment’s role at Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. “It was a disgrace, to say the very least,” Sullivan said. “The Newfoundland government contingent wasn’t even recognized. The minister wasn’t afforded an opportunity to speak. There were hundreds of Newfoundlanders there who were insulted.” Sullivan said he sent a letter to Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr, asking for a working group to be formed “for making decisions dealing with our memorial park at Beaumont-Hamel.” The proposal was accepted by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), as was a template for future commemoration ceremonies modelled on those held annually in St. John’s. In his Dominion Command report, Irvine highlighted the demographic challenge facing the Legion. “Close to 80 per cent of our members are 55 and older,” he said, “We have to do something about this. And we are.” He then outlined several initiatives aimed at strengthening Legion membership: marketing efforts targeting younger veterans, currently serving military and RCMP members, and their families; revamping the membership-renewal process through a new online portal; switching from paper to plastic membership cards with renewal stickers; expanding e-mail communications with members; and stressing the importance of positive customer service in the branches.



Treasurer Ian Walsh reported that in 2016, provincial command had revenues of $353,818 and expenditures of $313,831, leaving an excess of $39,987, the highest in the past four years. The provincial Poppy Trust Fund had revenues of $135,475 and expenditures of $104,890, leaving an excess of $30,585, again the highest in the past four years. Three concurred resolutions were voted on, the most significant being an increase in the provincial per-capita tax portion of annual membership from $12.10 to $14, effective in 2018. This was the first provincial rate change since 1997. Three guest speakers made presentations to the delegates. Lee Marshall, VAC’s area director for Newfoundland and Labrador, outlined recent changes to benefits and programs. George Borgal, chair of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust’s Battle of the Atlantic Place project, sought moral support from the Legion for the construction of a museum and memorial on the Halifax waterfront that will serve as a home for HMCS Sackville and a testament to Canada’s pivotal role in the Battle of the Atlantic. Sarah Lawrence, a provincial command-sponsored pilgrim, gave a moving photo presentation of the 2017 Pilgrimage of Remembrance to battlefields, memorials and cemeteries in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Irvine and Dave Flannigan, provincial past president and current Dominion president, both spoke with passion about the Legion’s work for the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL), which supports 108 veterans and 87 widows in the Caribbean, including Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana. Following the presentation,

delegates donated and pledged $37,450 in funding to the RCEL. Reporting on the province’s youth track and field program, co-ordinator Barry Furlong introduced three athletes recently returned from the national meet in Brandon, Man. Holly Brochu, Denver McConnell and Nick Butt described their experiences, then delegates opened their wallets again to donate and pledge $13,588 to the track program. Provincial executive council and district elections were chaired by past president Ross Petten. First Vice Berkley Lawrence of Carbonear Branch was acclaimed president and Ian Walsh of Dr. William Collingwood Memorial Branch in Placentia was acclaimed treasurer for another term. In the race for first vice, David Johnson of Stephenville Branch defeated Ron Earl of Labrador City Branch. It took three ballots to elect a second vice, with Nathan Lehr of Pasadena Branch prevailing over Ed Fewer of Grand Falls Branch, Nelson Granter of Eastport Branch and Shirley Hodder of Burin Branch. Granter then ran for provincial chair alongside past president Aiden Crewe of Bonne Bay Branch and Lesley Forward of Cpl. Matthew Brazil Memorial Branch in Spaniard’s Bay, with Crewe elected on the second ballot. Newly installed President Berkley Lawrence ended the convention with a challenge to delegates: “We need to let our communities know what the benefits of being a member of the Legion are all about and what work the Legion does. Not only in your community, but in Canada and in the Caribbean—the more people know about what we do, the more likely they are to come and join us.” L



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Cloverdale Branch revitalized by anniversary By Sharon Adams


rom humble beginnings in a tarpaper shack, Cloverdale Branch in Surrey, B.C., has become a fixture in the community—surviving hard times, a fire, moves and multiple renovations and expansions. The branch decided to take advantage of the buzz surrounding its 90th anniversary to spread the word about Legion good works, to attract new members and to improve its finances so it will still be here to celebrate its centenary. “We decided it wasn’t just a oneday plan for a birthday party,” said Ron Sveinson, chair of the anniversary committee. “We decided we’re going to do things all year that will bring people into the branch.” In addition to regular events— darts, pool, cribbage and weekend dances, the branch invited the community in for special events. An amateur boxing match fundraiser brought in about 300 spectators. People were also attracted by themed dances, concerts, screening of popular films, and advertising a new menu and regular family pancake breakfasts. “We gave out complimentary three-visit cards to invite people in,” said Sveinson, who is also the branch’s second vice-president. The branch also spread the word in the community with an information booth at the market and placards on its parade float in the Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair. “We want the community to know what we’ve



been doing for 90 years,” said Anne Sharkey, former president. “We serve our veterans and our community.” Sveinson said many people have joined as a result of these efforts. The branch and ladies auxiliary have raised many millions of dollars over the decades. In the past five years, more than half a million dollars has been contributed to local causes, including hospitals, seniors’ centres, five cadet groups, bursaries and veterans’ support. The effort has paid off with new members making up for those lost to age or relocation; membership has grown to about 1,700. That is a number the 15 founders could only have dreamed of attracting when they had their first meeting in the Opera House in 1927. “It started out modest,” said Mike Cook, son of a branch founding member. He and his wife Judy, daughter of Jack Jolleys, dominion president from 1991-94, have been members of the branch for 48 years. For years, members met in the shack and entertained at the Opera House, then, wanting a canteen, they bought and renovated a former general store. After the Second World War, a new two-storey branch was built and opened in 1948. It had a 600-seat auditorium, canteen, billiards room and Department of Veterans Affairs office. In 1956, a blaze destroyed the building. Within a month, temporary homes were found for

branch activities and plans were underway for a new building. Within the year, a new building opened, an auditorium was added in 1959-60, an upstairs poolroom in 1968-69, games room in 1985, and in the early 1990s the kitchen, office and bar were enlarged and modernized. “The branch was built in sections,” said Cook. Nevertheless, time and years of service took their toll. When a deal fell through to trade Legion land for new digs in an adjacent housing development, members decided to undertake a major renovation, with help of a Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program grant. “We refurbished the auditorium, put down new flooring, took off the old façade,” said Cook. Next on the agenda is a new sign, buying paint and finding volunteers to paint the building. However, the branch has to make up for financial losses over the past three years. “At the rate we were going, the lifespan of the branch was going to be approximately four years,” said President Barry Zuk. Costs for utilities, supplies and wages all increased, but the branch tried to absorb those increases. A new plan was needed. “We caught it just in time.” Expenses were trimmed, prices increased, belts tightened. “We’ve turned it around,” said Zuk, adding that the branch will be around to collect its 100th anniversary certificate. L




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Canadian veterans’ graves IN THE marked in California NEWS By Cameron Cathcart


trolling through the Inglewood Park Cemetery, east of Los Angeles, in 2003, Charles Brechin, then the president of California Branch of The Royal Canadian Legion in Vista, California, struck up a conversation with a cemetery groundskeeper. He was told that “about six” Canadian veterans were buried nearby in unmarked graves. Brechin asked for a list of veterans in unmarked graves, but the cemetery administration was unable to provide one. Then in 2009, Western U.S. Zone Secretary Douglas Lock, at Brechin’s request, renewed the challenge of securing the list. Lock was determined to get the task completed and soon a cemetery employee, Joan Francis, was assigned and the search for names began. By the following year, a list of 202 names was available. Further investigation by Legion members raised the total to 227 unmarked graves of British and Canadian veterans from the First World War and the Second World War dating from 1923. The executive was astounded at the number and felt it was essential that the veterans’ resting places be identified. However, funds for more than 200 individual markers far exceeded the financial resources of the zone. Instead, the zone thought that a single plaque to honour all



those resting in unmarked graves would be appropriate. Many Commonwealth veterans moved to California after the First World War, attracted by the weather and well-paying jobs. Another wave of veterans came after the Second World War, when there was plenty of work in aircraft plants and shipbuilding yards. The U.S. economy was booming and many Canadians settled there and raised families. British veterans came to escape continued wartime rationing and a struggling economy. While working on wording for the plaque, Lock connected with the Last Post Fund in Canada. In 2011, the Last Post Fund began working with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to help verify names and service records of the Canadians buried in unmarked graves at the cemetery. The Last Post Fund, a charitable organization created to ensure that veterans have a dignified burial and marker, will erect headstones for Canadian veterans whose graves have been unmarked for more than five years. This work continued and in 2014 the ordering of headstones began. During the following year, the first group were set in place. In total, 124 Canadian veterans buried at the cemetery now have marked graves.

Western U.S. Zone executive members (from left) Douglas Lock, Charles Brechin and Robert Edmonds stand by the cenotaph at Inglewood Park Cemetery.

Some of the ground-level stones include several names, as the ashes are buried together in one plot. One newly marked grave is that of David Stewart, who served with the 37th Artillery Battalion in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War. His granddaughter, Sharon Shambaugh, knew where he was buried but his



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name was not included on an existing marker. Unable to modify that marker, the Last Post Fund had a new stone installed that includes Stewart’s name. Shambaugh attended the 2017 Memorial Day ceremony and saw that her grandfather’s grave is now marked. One hundred unmarked graves remain at Inglewood Park Cemetery. Still to be honoured are

about 70 British veterans because no organization like the Last Post Fund exists in Britain. If a British group does not step forward, a plaque honouring all British veterans buried in unmarked graves at the cemetery will be erected. Western U.S. Zone Commander Robert Edmonds has been involved with the veterans’ section at Inglewood Park Cemetery

since 2003, when Britain handed over management of its veterans’ graves to the Legion’s Western U.S. Zone. Britain had purchased cemetery plots in the 1920s and ’30s for veterans’ use, a project formerly managed by Britain’s consular office in Los Angeles. Today, Edmonds continues to authorize interment of Canadian and British veterans at Inglewood. L

B.C. branches aid in wildfire relief By Stephanie Slegtenhorst


egion branches across British Columbia were out in full force to aid those affected by the wildfires that spread through the province this summer. In a letter to branches in July, Sandy Reiser, executive director of British Columbia/Yukon Command, sent out a call for help: “We do not know how long this state of emergency will last. However, the Legion should be prepared to render assistance for at least several weeks.” Reiser added that poppy funds could be used to contribute to wildfire relief efforts, as a Special Use Expenditure in accordance with the poppy manual. Branches unable to hold a general meeting to approve the expenditure of poppy funds “might consider



holding a fundraiser with the explicit goal of helping those displaced by the wildfires.” “Our command so far has raised $112,000 for the B.C. wildfires,” said B.C./Yukon Command Events and Marketing Co-ordinator Penny Aujla. With these funds, grants were approved for Prince George, Kamloops, Ashcroft and Williams Lake branches to aid in their disaster-relief efforts. At press time, Aujla was waiting to hear from a few more branches for grant requests. Several branches held fundraisers. Agassiz Branch held a burger and brew barbeque in July, and Tofino Branch hosted a barbeque fundraiser in August, which included a raffle, silent auction and 50/50 draw. The latter raised $5,400 for those impacted by the wildfires.

Ashcroft Branch also pitched in. Volunteers at the branch prepared two meals a day for firefighters, workers and anyone in the area who needed a meal. While the branch initially used its own funds to support the meal program, monetary and food donations helped ease the burden and replenished its food stock. Several Legion branches also opened their doors to provide shelter and reception centres for evacuees in neighbouring areas, including Prince George Branch, Agassiz Branch and Clearwater Branch. From April 1 to Sept. 1, there were 1,154 wildfires in the province. Some 4,000 firefighters and other personnel helped combat the fires and more than 2,000 people were evacuated. L

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IN THEMerle Tingley


Wartime cartoonist and longtime contributor to The Legionary, Merle Tingley died June 4 at Parkwood Hospital in London, Ont. He was 95. Known by his byline of Ting, Tingley began his career as a cartoonist with the Canadian Army magazine Khaki. During the Second World War, he went overseas and drew for The Maple Leaf. He created the comic strip This Doggone Army that made fun of army life and culture. After the war, he crossed Canada looking for work as an editorial cartoonist, eventually getting a job with The London Free Press where he worked from 1947 to 1986 and where his work earned a National Newspaper Award.




He also became a contributor to The Legionary, the precursor of Legion Magazine. At first, he contributed a strip called Postwar Pappy, which contrasted the soldier’s life with civilian life he was suddenly thrust into. Later his cartoons were singlepanel political cartoons. Tingley was inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame in 2015 and the annual Ting Comic and Graphic Arts Festival in London is named in his honour. Tingley is survived by his son Cameron and a grandson. He was predeceased by his wife, Gene, and son Hartley. L

SERVING YOU is written by Legion command service officers. To reach a service officer, call toll-free 1-877-534-4666, or consult a command website. For years of archives, visit www.legionmagazine.com

Mental health counselling available


What is the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Assistance Service? The VAC Assistance Service is a counselling and referral service, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a toll-free number to veterans, former RCMP members, their families and caregivers. The VAC Assistance Service is a voluntary and confidential service delivered through a nationwide team of mental health professionals.

When you phone, you will speak to a mental health professional who will ask you questions to determine your needs and your location, and then match you up with a local mental health professional for face-to-face counselling. There is no cost for the services provided. What types of counselling are available? The VAC Assistance Service can provide up to 20 sessions of counselling in a number of areas,

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including work-related issues, health concerns, family/marital problems, psychological difficulties and other problems in which the well-being of veterans, former RCMP members, their families and caregivers is affected. Bereavement services are also available. You can reach the VAC Assistance Service by calling 1-800-268-7708. For the hearing impaired, dial 1-800-567-5803 (TDD). L


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SNAPSHOTS Volunteering in the community Alberta-Northwest Territories New Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador Nova Scotia/Nunavut British Columbia/Yukon Prince Edward Island Saskatchewan Dominion Command Ontario Correspondents’ Addresses

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ISSUE Legion branches donate more than

$368,900 to their communities

Members of Strathmore, Alta., Branch place wreaths at the cenotaph following a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge with a tour of military museums.

Pincher Creek, Alta., Branch President Dennis Warren (left) and service officer Lorne Pultz (right) present awards to poster and literary contests winners from Matthew Halton High School. TYLER RYAN OF SHOOTIN’ THE BREEZE

The Strathmore, Alta., Branch colour party, consisting of (from left) Sgt.-at-Arms Doug Earnshaw, Bruce Westgard, Teresa Stark, Pte. Gabriel Honsinger-Lefebvre and Julien Boucher, raise the flags for the opening ceremonies of the town’s Canada 150 celebrations. JENNY SCHUMANN

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Volunteering in the community

Dean Tough (left) of Smoky Lake, Alta., Branch receives his 50 Years Long Service Medal from Hector Dalpé, honours and awards chair.

Smoky Lake, Alta., Branch honours and awards chair Hector Dalpé presents piper Milton McCrea with the 50 Years Long Service Medal.

A wreath is placed at sea from HMCS Goose Bay in Caraquet, N.B., to honour those who died during the Battle of the Atlantic. Holding the wreath are (from left) Mayor Kevin Hache, Lt.-Cmdr. Robert Tucker, Caraquet sea cadet corps representative Celine Lanteigne, Robert Branch and Caraquet Branch President Armel Lanteigne.

Marlene Perry (right) of Ponoka, Alta., Branch presents a donation to Capt. Michelle Comeau of the Ponoka air cadet squadron.

L.A. President Juanita Gaudet of Gladstone L.A. in Fredericton Junction, N.B., presents a bursary to Madison Byram.

Vice-president Roger Nason of Gladstone Branch in Fredericton Junction, N.B., presents a bursary to graduate Stephen MacDonald. President Wayne Spires (left) of St. Croix Branch in St. Stephen, N.B., and poppy committee chair Leon Savoie present bursaries to graduates (from left) Evan Gullison, Taylor Gullison, Rhea Davis, Seth Woodside, Sam Huys and Gaige Russell-Richards.


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President Eugene Godin (right) of Herman Good VC Branch in Bathurst, N.B., accompanied by Wilmond Turbide (left) and committee member Michael White, presents scholarships to (from left) Meghan Grace Mainville, Robyn Yao Abnett, Kaitlin Oliver and Danielle Yvette Lagace.

St. Croix Junior L.A. in St. Stephen, N.B. presents graduates with $500 bursaries. At the presentation are (from left) acting bursary chair Gail Savoie, Sophie Caldwell, Kyle Bedford, Mallory Pittman and L.A. Second Vice Dianne Kenney.

Lancaster Branch in Saint John, N.B., presents $2,000 to the Saint John West army cadet corps. At the presentation are (from left) Sgt.-at-Arms Allan Wickens, Capt. Robin Wickens and CWO Tiana McKinney.

Don Green (left) and Lewis Estabrooks of Sackville, N.B., Branch are presented with the 50 Years Long Service Medal.

The New Brunswick Provincial Command Community Service Fund donates $500 for new signage for the Portage Creek Trail. Former presidents (from left) Terry Campbell and Bill White and President Joe Stack of Peninsula Branch in Clifton Royal, N.B., present the cheque to MacDonald Consolidated School principal Ellen Whittaker-Brown.

Fredericton Branch presents bursaries to local students (front, from left) Madaline Johnston, Kalie Smith, Brook Billings, Katelyn Caverhill, (rear) Luke Appleby, Margaret Schriver, Spenser Watt and Bailey Samms.

Gina Spencer is congratulated for placing first in the intermediate provincial and national poetry contest by (from left) Sgt.-at-Arms Paul White, First Vice Albert O’Connell and President Denis Parizeau of Corner Brook, N.L., Branch. legionmagazine.com > NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

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Volunteering in the community

Members of Whitney Pier Branch in Sydney, N.S., volunteer for the annual children’s picnic. DONNA McRURY

Rita Harroun (right) of Uniacke Branch in Mount Uniacke, N.S., is presented with the Legionnaire of the Year award by Nina MacDonnell. PAULETTE FOLEY

President Mabel McCarthy (left) and bingo chair Joan Hayden of Alan MacPherson (left) is presented with Uniacke Branch in Mount Uniacke, an assistive reading device from Colchester N.S., present $1,750 to Uniacke Branch in Truro, N.S. At the presentation are District School principal Darlene (second from left) President Adrian Armsworthy, Walker for the school breakfast service officer Bill Heron and Wilson program. PAULETTE FOLEY MacDonald. SAM DILL, PR

National primary colour poster contest winner Scarlett Robinson, 10, of Davidson Road Elementary School north of Kelowna, B.C., and vice-principal Jarret Atkins display plaques marking the achievement. Robinson’s poster, along with other first-place works, are on display at the Canadian War Museum.

April Hamelin receives a bursary from Alberni Valley L.A. members Evelyn Theriault (left) and Shirley George. STIRLING IMAGE


Cranbrook, B.C., Branch executive member Cynthia Stuart (centre) presents $500 to superintendent Lynn Hauptman (left) and principal Darcy Verbeurgt for the School District 5 Breakfast Club.

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The Carolyn Lee Memorial Scholarship is presented to Mariah Netzer by President Tim Murphy of Alberni Valley Branch in Port Alberni, B.C.

Bursaries and scholarship recipients (from left) Hannah Cheetham, Erica Senger, Ryan Wong and Dominic Tremblay are congratulated by Alberni Valley Branch President Tim Murphy in Port Alberni, B.C. STIRLING IMAGES


At the presentation of $1,000 from Cranbrook, B.C., Branch to the Kimberly Pipe Band are (front, from left) Brenna Baker, First Vice Tammy Richert, (rear) Jim Webster, Jock MacDonald and Jim Warriner.

At the presentation of a $2,070 defibrillator to North Shuswap Health Centre from Chase, B.C., Branch are (from left) donations director Paul Osadchuk, health centre secretary Carol Hoffman, President Paul Lamoureux, Gail McNeil-Oliver and Dr. Mark Hickman.

Winners of the poster contest from Mamquam Elementary School are congratulated by Nelson Winterburn (left) and Ed Robertson of Diamond Head Branch in Squamish, B.C.

Principal Angela Yuren, Nelson Winterburn (left) and Ed Robertson of Diamond Head Branch in Squamish, B.C., congratulate local winners of the poster contest.

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Volunteering in the community

At the presentation of $2,500 from ASM Branch in Abbotsford, B.C. and $250 from the L.A. to Lamont French (second left) of the Military Police Motorcycle Ride are (from left) Past President Robert Rohrer, President Heinz Kempf, branch administrator Cathy St. John and L.A. President Jacquie Vickeroy. The branch hosted a barbecue for the Ride, which is raising money for the blind.

ASM Branch in Abbotsford, B.C. has named Margaret Vines as the Legionnaire of the Year.

Students Jesse Champion (centre left) and Liam Gilks receive West Prince Zone bursaries from poppy chair Alan Leard (left) and President Dave Gosse of Saint Anthony Branch in Bloomfield, P.E.I..

P.E.I. Command President Stephen Gallant (left) presents bursaries to students Hilary Smallman, Nataiya Horne, Logan Bernard, Emily Boyles, Megan Embling, Haley Ellis, Jesse Champion, Liam Gilks, Jason Bernard and Dawson Sellick, variously sponsored by O’Leary, Ellerslie, Saint Anthony and Tignish branches.

Members of Saint Anthony Branch in Bloomfield, P.E.I., and students place flags on veterans’ graves.


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Foam Lake, Sask., Branch provides the music and the lead float for the Canada Day parade. GLENN CREAMER

Marianne Hunchak of Foam Lake, Sask., Branch presents $1,500 to volunteer firefighter Darren Chorney to help with the purchase of a new rescue van. The branch also donated $1,000 to Foam Lake Museum and $500 to Foam Lake Handi-Van. GLENN CREAMER

President Darrell Webster of Robert Combe VC Branch in Melville, Sask., presents the Media Award to Jason Antonio, writer for the Melville Advance. GERALD HACK

Veteran Gordon Matthews of Robert Combe VC Branch in Melville, Sask., presents a $1,000 scholarship to Parkland Regional College student Akashdeep Singh. GERALD HACK

Dominion President Dave Flannigan (right) greets Norman Cash at the Vimy Memorial in France during the commemoration service for the 100th anniversary of the battle. Cash, a veteran of the Second World War from Toronto, was the Legion’s official delegate for the service. Pte. Joe Waters Branch in Milton, Ont., presents $6,000 to the Lorne Scots army cadets corps. At the presentation are (from left) cadet liaison officer Bob Elliott, poppy chair Kathleen Blane, President Bob Williams, support committee chair Cindy Coffin and Capt. Brent Cross. legionmagazine.com > NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

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Volunteering in the community

Richmond Hill, Ont., Branch presents $6,500 to the MacKenzie Health Foundation on behalf of the Ontario Command, Branches and L.A. Charitable Foundation. At the presentation are (from left) Past President Paul Ducharme, MacKenzie Health Foundation senior major gifts officer Tammy Bucci, director Joyce Frustaglio, public relations officer Michael Ostafichuk, Second Vice Bev Ducharme and service officer Terri O’Connor.

At Milton Wesley Branch in Newmarket, Ont., District E Deputy Commander Crystal Cook (left) and membership chair Linda Hautala welcome new members Nelson Griffin (second from left) and Brian Mallett.

Haliburton, Ont., L.A. presents $1,000 to the Haliburton Highlands Health Services palliative care wing. Holding the cheque is executive director Dale Walker (left) and L.A. President Cheryl James.

Frontier Branch in Fort Erie, Ont., presents quilts to veterans.


Bowmanville, Ont., Branch service officer John Greenfield presents $5,000 to Community Care Durham administrator Sallie Barrie for the Meals on Wheels program.

Bob Chapdelaine (left) of Veterans Memorial Branch in Grand Bend, Ont., is presented with the 50 Years Long Service Medal by District A Commander Ron Crown.

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Milton Wesley Branch in Newmarket, Ont., congratulates Ariella Amancio (centre) for placing first in the intermediate colour poster contest at the national level. Congratulating her are (from left) teacher Julee Colucci, Zone E youth education chair Donna Twigg, District E Deputy Commander Crystal Cook, youth education chair Karen Sawyer and principal Bernie Smith.

Jan Simon (second from right) of Douglas Hatch Branch in Wilberforce, Ont., is presented with the Legionnaire of the Year award by (from left) Zone F-5 honours and awards chair Dan Bulpit, Zone F-5 Commander Mary Dunne and President John Glassey.

Service officer John Greenfield (left) and First Vice Gary Switzer (right) of Bowmanville, Ont., Branch present $4,000 to Maj. Lorne Jewer of the Salvation Army.

Public relations chair Peter Whittaker (left) of Valley City Branch in Dundas, Ont., accompanied by poppy chair Jim Byron present $15,000 to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation development officer Helaine Ortmann. The money will go toward a new SPECT/CT camera.

Sgt.-at-Arms Keith Wettlaufer (rear, left) and President John Kollen of Hanover, Ont., Branch welcome new members (from left) Tyler McDonald, Crystal McDonald, Lori Anne Horst, Casey Woods and Robert Richardson.

Col. Tom Kennedy Branch in Mississauga, Ont., presents $35,000 to the Trillium Health Partners Foundation. At the presentation are (from left) poppy chair Carsten MacKay, secretary Alice Dods, President Vince Wadden, senior development officer Kathleen Cymek and Second Vice Rob Rowe. legionmagazine.com > NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

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Volunteering in the community

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cobourg, Ont., Branch building and Harbor Breeze condominium saw a large turnout of Legion, L.A. and local dignitaries including (from left) Ontario Command Past President Brian Weaver, Ontario Command Vice-President Robert Buchanan, Cobourg Branch First Vice Iris Milne, District F Commander Don Ramsey, Zone F-2 Deputy Commander Wayne McKinnon, developer Amit Sofer, Mayor Gil Brocanier, Cobourg Branch President John Aitken, L.A. Past President Linda Bevan and L.A. President Edie Lean.

A time capsule is prepared to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Chatsworth, Ont., Branch. Assembling it are (rear, from left) Ed Dupon, Richard Hanna, Russ Hornseth, Sandy Miller, Al Burgess, (front) Terry McKay and Jim Wallace.

Dominion Chairman Bill Chafe (from left), Zone A-1 public relations chair Gloria McKibbin, District A Deputy Commander Mark Rogers and District A constitution and laws chair Ed McDowell examine the Legion display at the 2017 Memorial Cup hockey tournament in Windsor, Ont.

Tobermory, Ont., membership chair Rick Lane (right) initiates new members.


Wanda Stephens (centre) of Bay Ridges L.A. in Pickering, Ont., is presented with the Legionnaire of the Year award by President Gail Vaillancourt (right) and honours and awards chair Gerry Debois.

President Marika Booton of Streetsville Overseas Veterans Branch in Mississauga, Ont., presents $5,000 to Heart House Hospice director of development Lisa Hoekstra.

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President Jim Simpson of Strathcona Branch in Ottawa presents $6,890 on behalf of the Ontario Command, Branches and L.A. Charitable Foundation, to Hospice Care Ottawa manager of fund development Susan McIntosh for two electric beds.

Merritton Branch, in Napanee, Ont., players (from left) Mac Leveque, Ian Hawke, Brendan Clark and Brayden Hall are the provincial junior darts champions.

Gen. Wingate Branch in Toronto presents $2,000 to the Rouge Valley Health System Foundation. At the presentation are (from left) President Shelley Rosen, Dr. Stephen Gallay, First Vice Morris Polanski, Al Rubin, Second Vice Ethel Sacks, Dr. Joel Lobo and treasurer Stuart MacPherson.

Pembroke, Ont., Branch cadet liaison officer Bernie Locke (left) presents $2,500 to CWO Chase Stewart (centre) and Capt. Dylan Longpre of the 42nd Field Regiment (Lanark and Renfrew Scottish) army cadet corps.

Chatsworth, Ont., Branch youth education chair Murray Stahlbaum, accompanied by teacher Erica DeHann, presents awards to Arianne Sikkema, who participated in the primary black and white poster contest.

Zone C-4 Commander Dean Weir (second from left) presents a certificate to Meaford, Ont., Branch President Steve Rice recognizing the branch’s 90th anniversary. Accompanying them is Sgt.-at-Arms Tony Bell and past District C Commander Patty Sargent-Gibson.

East Toronto Branch celebrates its 90th anniversary. Ontario Command Vice-President Wes Kutasienski (centre) presents the commemorative certificate to President John Dufort while June Smith looks on. legionmagazine.com > NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

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Volunteering in the community

President Danny Moore of West Lincoln Branch in Grimsby, Ont., presents the third-place provincial-level senior poem award to Anneke Brink.

Trenton, Ont., Branch President Doug Duff (left), accompanied by ways and means chair George Meloche (right), presents $250 to Quinte West Community Policing representatives Bill Trumley and Carolyn Stevenson. The money is for bicycles and helmets for the children’s bicycle rally safety program.

Cadet liaison officer Bob Elliott (left) and poppy chair Kathleen Blane of Pte. Joe Waters Branch in Milton, Ont., present $2,000 to Maj. Melanie Fox of the Chris Hadfield air cadet squadron and support committee chair Lisa Boehmer.

Poppy chair Jim Byron of Valley City Branch in Dundas, Ont., presents $15,000 to St. Joseph’s Villa for the funding of three lift devices. Accompanying him is Jennifer Banks.


Second Vice Brad Butt of Streetsville Overseas Veterans Branch in Mississauga, Ont., presents $2,000 to Chamber Music Society of Mississauga representative Linda Thomas to assist with programs for seniors and veterans.

John McMartin Memorial Branch in Cornwall, Ont., presents $500 bursaries to (from left) Danika Tessier, Amber Granger and Alexander Brunet. Presenting the bursaries are President Ray Leduc and First Vice Bernadette Heagle.

Forest, Ont., Branch presents the North Lambton Community Health Centre with $6,500 on behalf of the Ontario Command, Branches and L.A. Charitable Foundation. At the presentation are (from left) President Bill Fraser, L.A. President Shirley Mann, poppy chair Steward Burberry, board chair Mac Remond and senior administrator Cathy Bresett.

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Barrhaven Branch in Ottawa donates $10,000 to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. At the presentation are (from left) President Ed Schelenz, executive vice-president John Ouellette, Monique Desmarais, Ellie Schelenz and Danny Desmarais.

Slicing the cake for attendees of the Canada Day barbeque hosted by Pembroke, Ont., Branch are (from left) L.A. members Karen Tunn and Mary Ellis, assistant youth education chair Laurette Halliday and President Stan Halliday.

Rockland, Ont., Branch presents $1,710 to Groupe Action Family Centre. At the presentation are (front, from left) First Vice John Morgenson, representative Gilles Fournier, President Bob Cleroux, (rear) Second Vice Peter Smith, Past President Doug Dinsmore and secretary Guy Ouellet.

Tara, Ont., L.A. cribbage team players (from left) Laura Dredge, Mary Louise Reid, Brenda Funston and Peggy Ruff are the provincial cribbage champions.

L.A. President Jo Anne Lane, along with President Doug Smith of Tobermory, Ont., Branch, present $2,500 on behalf of the Ontario Command, Branches and L.A. Charitable Foundation to Tobermory Hyperbaric Facility medical director Dr. George Harpur to support the facility’s hyperbaric chamber.

In Cornwall, Ont., District G Commander Ken Heagle (left) receives $17,847 from 1st Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Formation Sicily Unit vicepresident Dan Delage for the homeless veterans program.

Forest, Ont., Branch celebrates Canada Day with the unveiling of the Second World War veterans carving. Attending are carving committee members (from left) Carolyn Vanderheyden, Patty Hopper, Leo Vanderheyden, Bill Fraser, Paul Hopper and Ron Dodge. legionmagazine.com > NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

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Volunteering in the community

South Carleton Branch in Manotick, Ont., commemorates the opening of Manotick Remembrance Park. Rideau-Goulbourn Councillor Scott Moffatt assists 101-year-old veteran Arthur Buss in unveiling the statue of a veteran holding the hand of a young girl. G. NEWTON

In Port Hope, Ont., Brig.-Gen. G.H. Ralston members (from left) Gerald Zealand, President Wayne Byers, Arlene Pettipas, Jean Kimball and Will Gagnon ride the float leading the Canada Day Parade.

Phyllis Kutschke of Massey, Ont., Branch receives congratulations from Zone H-4 Commander Sandy Ross (left), honours and awards chair Victor Stresman and President Wesley MacDonald (right) on receiving the Legionnaire of the Year award.


President Lloyd Cull (left) and poppy chair Cliff Waterhouse of H.T. Church Branch in St. Catharines, Ont., present $6,718 to Hotel Dieu Shaver Foundation executive director Mary Jane Johnson.

Lion’s Head, Ont., Branch presents $2,426 to the Peninsula Family Health Team on behalf of the Ontario Command, Branches and L.A. Charitable Foundation for the purchase of two Dermascopes. At the presentation are (from left) L.A. President Jean Shearer, President Kim White, Dr. Jonathan Thomas, executive director Pam Loughlean, Dr. Faris Elsadin and Ken Diebel.

H.T. Church Branch in St. Catharines, Ont., presents $6,718 to the Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Foundation. At the presentation are (from left) board member Rick Sherk, chair Norma Medulun Burke, Jean Bremner, President Lloyd Cull, service officer Sam Doak, poppy chair Cliff Waterhouse, secretary Barbara Earle and (in front) patient Helen Lane.

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President Paul Eramian (left) and poppy chair Al Howse of Gen. Nelles Branch in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ont., present $3,000 to OneFoundation for Niagara Health System development officer Mary Sergenese.

St. George, Ont., Branch Past President Joe Muldoon (left), alongside President Steve Schmitt (third from left) stand with branch members in front of the new stoneware poppy garden, created to honour the 75 men from St. George and South Dumfries Township killed in both world wars.

Executive members of Haliburton, Ont., Branch present $20,000 to Haliburton Highlands Health Services executive director Dale Walker (third from right), Don Popple and Sandra Daoust.

At the veterans barbecue at Richmond Hill, Ont., Branch, Eunice Wong presents a framed copy of her poster to Tom MacRae (left), youth education chair Sheelagh MacDonald and William Harris.

First Vice Brogdan Procyk (left) of West Carleton Branch in Woodlawn, Ont., accompanied by Second Vice Jim Wilson, present $4,800 to Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Foundation development officer Delphine Haslé.

Goderich, Ont., Branch President John Allin MacDonald (right) and Past President Dennis Schmidt present Ontario Command Assistant Executive Director Juanita Kemp (left) with socks and plastic mats made from milk bags for the homeless veterans program.

Port Elgin, Ont., Branch perpetual care and cenotaph committee chair Mike Atkinson (left) and President Dan Kelly admire the new memorial that honours those who have served.

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Volunteering in the community

Falconbridge-Garson Branch in Falconbridge, Ont., supports Quartz Ridge Sanctuary with a $5,000 donation. Membership chair Marie Bardswich (left), bingo chair Marlene Bilsborough and Sgt.-at-Arms Peter Franolla present the cheque to Eric Coup (right).

The 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge is commemorated at St. George, Ont., Branch. Among those participating are Zone B-2 Commander Mona Eichmann (second from left), County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy (third from left), and President Steve Schmitt (third from right).

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of Dieppe, master of ceremonies Mike Atkinson (left) observes as Port Elgin, Ont., Branch President Dan Kelly places a wreath.

Polish Veterans Branch in St. Catharines, Ont., presents $7,000 to the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation. At the presentation are (from left) Stefan Mierzwa, Yvonne Glowacki, Richard Mor, development officer Helaine Ortman and Mira Ananicz.


Lambeth Branch and Byron-Springbrank Branch, both in London, Ont., each donate $20,000 to the Operational Stress Injury Clinic at the Parkwood Institute. Members of both branches attend the presentation, along with director of veterans care Heather Tales (left), Operational Stress Injury Clinic co-ordinator Bev Van der Heide, and patient care vice-president Roy Butler (right).

Canada Day celebrations at Victory Branch in London, Ont., include a special cake created by Anna Koevoets, who prepares to slice and serve it to waiting members.

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CORRESPONDENTS’ ADDRESSES Send your photos and news of The Royal Canadian Legion in action in your community to your Command Correspondent. Each branch and ladies auxiliary is entitled to two photos in an issue. Any additional items will be published as news only. Material should be sent as soon as possible after an event. We do not accept material that will be more than a year old when published, or photos that are out of focus or lack contrast. The Command Correspondents are: BRITISH COLUMBIA/YUKON: Graham Fox, 4199 Steede Ave., Port Alberni, BC V9Y 8B6, [email protected] ALBERTA–NORTHWEST TERRITORIES: Bobbi Foulds, Box 5162, Stn Main, Edson AB T7E 1T4, [email protected] SASKATCHEWAN: Jessica McFadden, 3079–5th Ave., Regina, SK S4T 0L6, ­[email protected] MANITOBA: Vanessa Burokas, 563 St. Mary’s Rd., Winnipeg, MB R2M 3L6, [email protected] NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO: Janice Pampu, 44 Penfold St., Thunder Bay, ON P7A 3J7, [email protected]

Brock Township Councillor Cyndi Schaffer (left) and Mayor John Grant receive a Vimy Oak sapling and certificate of authenticity from Beaverton, Ont., Branch member Terry Needham (centre), President Joyce Summers and Blair Kelly.



Rita Connors has taken over the position of Command Correspondent for Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command. Submissions and news items can be mailed to her at: 30 Lennox Dr., Lower Sackville, NS B4C 3B2, or by e-mail, [email protected].

Uniake Branch in Mount Uniake presented the Cadet Medal of Excellence to PO2 Allie Kell of the Wolf sea cadet corps. The branch presented the Friendship Award to Roger Grondin and Lieut. Michelle Grondin. Amherst Branch presented Fred Tower with the 50 Years Long Service Medal.

Calais Branch in Lower Sackville presented the Friendship Award to Catherine Metzler.



Whalley Branch and L.A., donated a total of $109,000 to various schools and community organizations as well as Legion projects, including the George Derby, Brock Fahrni and the Amos Gordon Ferguson Society long-term care facilities for veterans. Chilliwack L.A. President Pat Broome presented $5,000 to the branch.

ONTARIO: Mary Ann Goheen, Box 308, Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1T7, [email protected] QUEBEC: Len Pelletier, 389 Malette, Gatineau, QC J8L 2Y7, [email protected] ­ arianne Harris, NEW BRUNSWICK: M 115 McGrath Cres., Miramichi, NB E1V 3Y1, [email protected] NOVA SCOTIA/NUNAVUT: Rita Connors, 30 Lennox Dr., Lower Sackville, NS B4C 3B2, [email protected] PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: Dianne Kennedy, Box 81, Borden-Carleton, PE C0B 1X0, [email protected] NEW­FOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR: Brenda Slaney, Box 5745, St. John’s, NL A1C 5X3, [email protected] DOMINION COMMAND ZONES: EASTERN U.S. ZONE, Gord Bennett, 12840 Seminole Blvd., Lot #7, Largo, FL 33778, [email protected]; WESTERN U.S. ZONE, Douglas Lock, 1531 11th St., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, [email protected]. Submissions for the Honours and Awards page (Palm Leaf, MSM, MSA and Life Membership) should be sent directly to Doris Williams, Legion Magazine, 86 Aird Place, Kanata, ON K2L 0A1 or [email protected]. TECHNICAL SPECS FOR PHOTO SUBMISSIONS DIGITAL PHOTOS—Photos submitted to Command Correspondents electronically must have a minimum width of 1,350 pixels, or 4.5 inches. Final resolution must be 300 dots per inch or greater. As a rough guideline, colour JPEGs would be between 0.5 megabytes (MB) and 1 MB. PHOTO PRINTS—Glossy prints from a photofinishing lab are best because they do not contain the dot pattern that some printers produce. If possible, please submit digital photos electronically.

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LOST TRAILS COX, PTE. CHARLES—812179, 50th Battalion (Alberta Regiment), CEF. Killed in action at Vimy Ridge, May 6, 1917. Name listed on Vimy Memorial. Relatives sought by greatniece. Louise Paull, 25 The Millards, Somerton, Somerset, TA11 7NR, United Kingdom, [email protected]. JMAEFF, GEORGE AND STURDY, ALAN— Families sought of Canadians killed in Vietnam War for an exhibit on Canadians in the Vietnam War at the Military Museums in Calgary. Canadians were from Osoyoos, B.C. and Calgary, respectively. James Baldwin, 5223 Veronica Rd. NW, Calgary, AB T3A 0T4, [email protected]. MacLEAN, MWO DONALD ALEXANDER— RCEME, IE Tech. Last known posting at CFB Rockcliffe in Ottawa. Friends from Comox, B.C., area trying to locate him. Michael Beggs, 3925 Saltair Rd., Ladysmith, BC V9G 2A7, [email protected]. McGILL, JAMES ANDREW—80th Squadron, RAF of Holland, Man. Killed Sept. 6, 1918. Searching for descendants of his brother, David McGill, 1924 Olympic Games participant and believed to have moved to West Coast to study medicine, to present certificate for the naming of McGill Creek near Holland, Man. Les Farris, Box 221, Holland, MB R0G 0X0, [email protected]. SULLIVAN—Owner of 1942 Canadian helmet belonging to “C” or possibly “G” 242722 TRO Sullivan. Looking to return helmet to family. Tim C. Van Horlick, Box 3545, Carstairs, AB T0M 0N0, 403-337-9992, [email protected].

WATSON, FLT. LT. JAMES ANDREW— 622 Squadron, RCAF. Killed during bombing mission over Germany on April 28, 1944, age 21. Buried at Choloy War Cemetery, France. Son of Robert Scott Watson, MC, and Mary Kathleen Watson of Hamilton, Ont. Seeking family to return war medals. Liz Nolan, 675 Riverbend Drive, Kitchener, ON N2K 3S3, 519-772-8800, [email protected].



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By J.L. Granatstein

The end of the Cold War Canada played a small but significant role in the dismantling of the Soviet Union


he Cold War ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Between 1989 and 1991, the Berlin Wall came down, borders in Eastern Europe opened, free elections ousted Communist regimes, and the Warsaw Pact collapsed. With stunning speed, the Iron Curtain was lifted and the Cold War came to an end. There were many reasons for these events. Marxism was a false god, and the Soviet Union had enforced its policies and practices with an iron fist. The USSR’s economy faced huge difficulties as Soviet planners continued to pour money into the military. The invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 had led to a long, costly war. In effect, the USSR had become a nation with a First World military and a Third World economy. Civilian living standards were poor and not improving, Russian goods were shoddy, and the USSR’s satellites in Eastern Europe had become


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increasingly restive, fearful of their fate if a nuclear war with the West began. The Soviet system was breaking down rapidly in the 1980s, and Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, knew change had to come. All this was true, and undoubtedly these factors led to the end of the Cold War. But there was a Canadian connection to these events, and only a few academics know of it today. In 1973, a Soviet official named Alexander Yakovlev was posted to Ottawa to become ambassador to Canada. He had been the head of the Communist Party’s Department of Ideology and Propaganda from 1969 to 1973, and he was sacked for publishing articles critical of Russian nationalism and Soviet policy. His appointment to Canada was in effect a punishment, one that lasted for 10 years. Highly intelligent and much less dogmatic than many Soviet figures, Yakovlev and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau met at the

Peter Bregg/The Canadian Press

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urging of Ivan Head, one of Trudeau’s key foreign policy advisers. The two men hit it off. As Trudeau said later, he would invite Yakovlev to 24 Sussex Drive to talk about NATO’s “two track” policy of détente and strong defence, human rights and other subjects of the day. For his part, Yakovlev would invite Trudeau to dinner when visitors such as Georgy Arbatov, head of the USA and Canada Institute in Moscow, came through Ottawa. Trudeau liked caviar, he said, so he went. Yakovlev was always loyal to the party line and had good arguments, but when he didn’t have to defend the Soviet system, Trudeau recalled, he was open-minded. Yakovlev clearly came to understand the Canadian leader’s ideas, and he formed a clear sense of Canada’s weight in the world, limited but not insignificant. He could watch as Canadian living standards rose year by year, a stark contrast to those in the USSR. And he appreciated Trudeau’s dynamism and openness to ideas, again something that stood out when compared to the USSR’s sclerotic leadership. Thus, it was Yakovlev who encouraged Moscow to dispatch Mikhail Gorbachev, in charge of agriculture in the Soviet Union, on a visit to Canada in May 1983. Gorbachev was then 52 years old and widely considered to be a fast-rising star in the Politburo. He met Trudeau and then spent three weeks touring Canada with Eugene Whelan, the Liberal agriculture minister, seeing its farms and agricultural production. Whelan took Gorbachev to a supermarket during this visit and noted later that the Russian thought he had been shown a stage-managed production. Whelan offered to take him to other nearby supermarkets, and Gorbachev became convinced of the difference between Russian and Canadian living standards. The visit had its impact, but the key event of the trip took place on Whelan’s farm at Amherstburg, Ont., while Yakovlev and Gorbachev waited for their host to arrive for a planned dinner. “At first, [we] kind of sniffed around each other and our conversations didn’t touch on serious issues,” Yakovlev said later. “And then…we had a lot of time together. So, we took a long walk…and, as it often happens, both of us suddenly were just kind of flooded and let go. I somehow, for some reason, threw caution to the wind and started telling

him about what I considered to be utter stupidities in the area of foreign affairs.” Prime Minister The two men talked about “a lot of other Pierre Trudeau things,” said Yakovlev. “And he did the same greets Soviet ambassador thing. We were completely frank. He frankly Alexander Yakovlev talked about the problems in the internal after he presented situation in Russia. He was saying that under his credentials to these conditions, the conditions of dictatorGovernor General ship and absence of freedom, the country Roland Michener would simply perish. So, it was at that time, on Sept. 24, 1973. during our three-hour conversation, almost as if our heads were knocked together, that we poured it all out and…we actually came to agreement on all our main points.” Two weeks after the visit, as a direct result of Gorbachev’s intervention, Yakovlev was recalled to Russia to become Director of the Institute of GORBACHEV World Economy and International WAS WIDELY Relations of the USSR Academy CONSIDERED of Sciences. Two years later, when Gorbachev became General Secretary TO BE A of the Communist Party of the Soviet FAST-RISING Union, Yakovlev was appointed his STAR IN THE top adviser. From 1985 to 1990, POLITBURO. Yakovlev was Minister of Ideology, and he created the framework for both perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). As a senior adviser to Gorbachev and a member of the Politburo from 1987, Yakovlev played a part in shaping Soviet foreign policy by helping to end the Soviets’ war in Afghanistan and by advocating non-intervention in Eastern Europe. He also accompanied Gorbachev on his five summit meetings with President Ronald Reagan, which did much to end the threat of nuclear war. Yakovlev’s liberalizing influence was such that he was attacked by Russian nationalists who accused him of advocating “capitulation before the imperialists.” In other words, he was denounced for wanting the end of the USSR as a great power and yielding to Western democracy. Whether that was true or not, Yakovlev played a huge role in ending the Cold War. His time in Ottawa and his conversations with Trudeau and his tour with Whelan and Gorbachev had been significant. Canada had been present at the beginning of the Cold War—when the defection of Igor Gouzenko in September 1945 revealed Soviet spy networks in the West—and it again played a role in shaping the glasnost and perestroika that helped end it. L

> Beginning with the January/ February 2018 issue, this column will be reborn as “Canada and the New Cold War.”

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By Terry Fallis

Centurions of Christmas


here’s a photo that hangs in our church taken in the early 1940s. It’s a big church in Toronto—it seats about 800 or so—with one of the largest United Church congregations in Canada. The photo was taken from up in the east side gallery looking down on the main sanctuary. Every pew below is packed to the gunnels with Canadian servicemen in uniform. It was a special service for them on the eve of their departure for the war in Europe. I look at that framed photo whenever I am in the church and it never fails to move me. I’ve attended that church for more than 50 years (I was in kindergarten when I started) and have still not been thrown out. Other than in that photo, the only other times I’ve ever seen the church filled to capacity is every Dec. 24 at 3 and 5 p.m. for the annual Christmas pageant, a spectacle of unsurpassed…um…pageantry. For the past 28 years, our church has put on a rather unusual Christmas pageant. By unusual, I don’t mean that we’ve added new characters or changed the ending of the greatest story ever told.


Rather, it’s unusual because ours features live animals and a cast of more than 100 of our congregation who bring more in enthusiasm than in acting prowess. Yes, you read that right, live animals. I don’t just mean that some of the cast bring their dogs and cats to add some colour to the performance. We actually have several goats and sheep in the chancel that have an unerring knack for loudly bleating and baaing at the most dramatic moments in the show—like when the Angel Gabriel, high in the gallery, is imparting his divine message to an anxious Mary. There’s also a braying donkey that carries Mary up the aisle in search of a room for the night—to clarify, it’s Mary who is in search of the room for the night, not the donkey. Finally, the highlight of the show—other than the birth of you-know-who—there’s Skyhigh the camel. Yes, a very large camel traipses up and down the centre aisle at two different points in the show. You might think Skyhigh is his name because he’s so tall. You’re partly right. But I’m convinced the “high” part of his name refers to his astonishingly pungent aroma. I have first-hand knowledge of this assault on the nasal passages. You see, for every performance of the Christmas pageant over the past 28 years, my identical twin brother, Tim, and I have loyally served as the chief

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centurions. And escorting the camel is apparently far too onerous a responsibility for the lesser centurions and lowly legionnaires. It must fall to the chief centurions. If I win the coin toss, I march in front of the camel and my brother brings up the rear. I don’t usually win the coin toss, hence my deep knowledge of “essence de camel.” Being the chief centurions is almost certainly the closest we’ll ever come to serving in the military—and that’s a good thing. I have little doubt that my brother and I are both not cut out for it. I suspect we would push back the frontiers of military ineptitude. If I have not made myself clear, Canada’s best interests would not be served by our enlistment. In fact, if Canada had any enemies, the government may wish to have my brother and me go undercover and attempt to enlist in their armies. But each Dec. 24, we do our duty and lead a ragtag regiment of centurions and legionnaires ranging in age from six to 75. As we march up the aisle in ragged formation, we shout a very topical military chant that we have written, sometimes moments before showtime. There were many references to Donald Trump in this year’s chant. Let’s just say we’re supposed to be the comic relief in the performance. And sometimes we actually are.


Illustration by Malcolm Jones

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Matching our longevity in the cast is our senior minister. Every year, he fervently reprises his role as the evil King Herod. Some of our parishioners are a little concerned that he seems so perfectly at home in this megalomaniacal role. For 28 years, we’ve marked the season with two full-house performances on Christmas Eve. It’s exhausting, fun, and funny. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. All the best of the season to you and may all your Christmas camels be pine-scented. L

> For more of Humour Hunt, go to legionmagazine.com/en/category/ blog/humour-hunt.

legionmagazine.com > NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017


2017-10-03 2:12 PM


By Mark Zuehlke

1st Canadian Infantry Division soldiers on a self-propelled howitzer in Italy in 1944.


Red Patch Devils

n July 10, 1943, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division—about 18,000 men—stormed ashore in Sicily as part of Operation Husky and filed into the island’s mountainous heart. The division had been the first Canadians to deploy to Britain in December 1939. Now they marched to battle. As they pushed toward Mount Etna, German resistance stiffened, but their unflagging tenacity prompted the Germans to nickname them the “Red Patch Devils” after their divisional shoulder patches. The first brush with the 1st Fallschirmjäger Division—Germany’s elite paratroopers— came on Aug. 2, when the 3rd Brigade’s West Nova Scotia Regiment was repulsed at Mount Criscina by the German division’s 3rd Regiment THE PARATROOPERS in a bloody clash that cost Canada 19 lives SLUGGED IT and 26 wounded. OUT WITH THE Several more bitter CANADIANS IN AND firefights between AROUND ORTONA. the Canadians and paratroopers followed, but nothing of divisional scale before the Allies won Sicily. The first division-versus-division showdown came when the paratroopers relieved the 90th Panzer Grenadier Division on Dec. 13, 1943, at the Gully and then slugged it out with the Canadians in and around Ortona. Despite having been in constant combat


since Dec. 6 and having suffered heavy casualties, the Canadians persevered and denied the paratroopers a desired stalemate. During the night of Dec. 27-28, the German division withdrew from Ortona’s ruins. Roles reversed in May 1944, when the Canadians deployed in the Liri Valley to breach the Hitler Line. Again they faced the paratroopers, who had been badly chewed up in months of previous fighting defending Monte Cassino. However, during a set-piece attack on May 23, the heavily entrenched Germans tore the 2nd Infantry Brigade asunder. But the 3rd Infantry Brigade shattered the German defences in front of it and again the paratroopers had to retreat. A rematch came on Aug. 25, when the Red Patch Devils crossed the Metauro River in a drive toward the last major German defences in Italy—The Gothic Line. Some Allied journalists declared the paratrooper division to be the best in any army—Allied or enemy. Major-General Christopher Vokes heatedly refuted this, pointing out that whenever the 1st Infantry Division “met the parachutists, the latter had the worst of it.” A hard, bludgeoning fight running to Sept. 6 and the fall of Rimini proved his case. January 1945 found the 1st Infantry Division facing the 1st Fallschirmjäger Division across the Senio River outside Ravenna. Another slugging match ensued that ended with the Germans again retreating after both sides suffered heavy casualties. But again, the Red Patch Devils stood victorious. L

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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During the Second World War in Italy, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division squared off against the 1st Fallschirmjäger Division in five major campaigns


n April 1943, Germany’s 1st Fallschirmjäger Division was formed from elements of the 7th Flieger Division, which had fought in almost every German theatre of war since the September 1939 invasion of Poland. Consequently, most of the division’s paratroopers were hardened veterans—earning the nickname “Green Devils” early in the war. Stationed in Avignon, France, when the Allies invaded Sicily on July 10, the division immediately deployed to Italy. On July 12, one of its three regiments jumped onto an airfield outside Catania to block the British Eighth Army’s advance. Within 45 minutes, 1,400 paratroopers were ready for action. As the rest of the division arrived, it was organized into a fire brigade with elements racing to wherever the fighting was hottest. This was a familiar role for the paratroopers and one at which they excelled. As the campaign turned against the Germans, the division served as a rearguard covering the retreat and were the last to leave the island on Aug. 17. The division continued its firebrigade role in Italy with a piecemeal deployment against the United States Fifth Army landings at Salerno. In December, they raced across the Apennine Mountains to prevent the 1st Canadian Infantry Division from seizing Ortona. After withdrawing on the night of December 27-28, German Corporal Karl Bayerlein wrote: “The enemy gained

DND/LAC/PA-184998; Wikimedia

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1st Fallschirmjäger Division paratroopers with a Mauser MG 42 in Italy in 1943.

Keep your eyes wide a destroyed city. We left undefeated.” Majoropen. Tune yourself General Christopher Vokes boasted that to the utmost pitch. his Canadians gave the parachute division Be nimble as a “a mauling…it will long remember.” The greyhound, tough Germans did remember, and considered the as leather, hard as Canadians to be Eighth Army’s shock troops. Krupp steel. You Whenever the Canadians appeared in future shall be the German engagements, a bitter battle was assured. warrior incarnate. After Ortona, the paratroopers deployed —Maxim of the to Monte Cassino in defence of the German 1st Fallschirmjäger Gustav Line. Here they engaged in fierce fightDivision (ABOVE) ing from January to May 1944, being pitted variously against American, Polish, Indian, Agile, Versatile, Ready. British, New Zealand and, finally, Canadian —Motto of the troops. In March, at the height of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division (OPPOSITE) 1st Fallschirmjäger’s defence amid the ruins of the Abbey of Monte Cassino, Field Marshal Harold Alexander told HIS CANADIANS Winston Churchill that he doubted GAVE THE “there are any troops PARACHUTE DIVISION in the world who “A MAULING…IT WILL could have…gone LONG REMEMBER.” on fighting with the ferocity they have.” Withdrawing to the Gothic Line, the division again tried unsuccessfully to stem a Canadian break> To voice your through on the Adriatic coast. It then fell opinion, go to back to the rivers near Ravenna for a final legionmagazine. battle with the Canadians. On May 2, com/HeroesAnd 1945, the paratroopers surrendered along Villains. with all other German forces in Italy. L

legionmagazine.com > NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017


2017-09-28 4:26 PM


By Sharon Adams

Danger UXB An unexploded bomb more than two centuries old has been unearthed in a Quebec City construction site

C The bomb found by construction workers dates back to 1759, when the British besieged New France’s principal city.


onstruction workers in Quebec City unearthed this artifact at a building site in the city’s historic centre in July. They believed it was a cannonball; turns out, it is a 258-year-old, 90-kilogram bomb. And it still holds explosives. It is likely a relic of the Seven Years War, one of nearly 10,000 incendiary bombs and 40,000 cannonballs that wrecked the city during the two-month siege of the city in the summer of 1759. The bomb didn’t explode when it was meant to, and moisture and time

have whittled away the risk of an explosion, but it could still be dangerous, said an army munitions technician from CFB Valcartier sent to investigate. “Our intent is to certify the item ‘free from explosives,’” said Canadian Armed Forces public affairs officer Lieutenant (Navy) Éliane Trahan. The historic item will then be returned to the city for preservation. The siege was part of the British plan to seize the garrison situated atop steep cliffs on the St. Lawrence River, behind stone walls and housing several thousand troops. Hoping to draw French forces out from the fortress, the British put the city under siege, burned crops and destroyed farms. At the beginning of the siege, the British fleet of 49 ships included three bomb ships, expressly designed for bombarding targets on land. Mortars mounted near the bow were aimed high to propel bombs weighing 100 kilograms or

more as far as two kilometres over defensive walls or up hills. The British also established batteries at Pointe-Lévy, directly across the St. Lawrence from the city, despite shelling from the French garrison and gunboats during construction. Bombs were made from the same cast iron as cannonballs, but moulded with a hollow core into which explosive powder was poured and a fuse fixed. Incendiary chemicals were added if it was meant as a fire bomb. The siege began July 12 and lasted all summer, cannon and mortars targeting not the French battery, but the city. Nun Marie de la Visitation reported more than 50 lower town houses and, more importantly, food stores were destroyed. Famine soon stalked the city. The firing intensified as the month progressed. Lower town lost 167 houses on Aug. 9. At the end of August, 29 pieces of artillery were raining more than 100 bombs and

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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Weight of the bomb, in kilograms


Age of the weapon, in years


Estimated number of incendiary bombs fired at Quebec City


Estimated number of cannonballs fired


Number of outlying farms destroyed during the siege


Estimated population of Quebec City in 1760

“During the whole Siege, from first to last, 535 Houses were burnt down, among which is the whole eastern Part of the lower Town…. We also destroyed upwards of Fourteen Hundred fine Farm-Houses in the Country.” — A sergeant major of the 40th Regiment’s Grenadiers in A Journal of the Expedition up the River St. Lawrence.

800 cannonballs each day. The siege may have slowly sapped the strength and will of French forces and residents of the city, but it was an unexpected move that turned the tide. On the night of Sept. 12, an advance party of British troops climbed a 53-metre

cliff at a poorly defended position and subdued the guards, allowing 4,500 British troops under MajorGeneral James Wolfe to take up positions on the plateau near the city. The Marquis de Montcalm led his 4,500 men, which included aboriginal warriors and

Lafontaine Inc.; LAC/e000943111; Wikimedia; Lafontaine Inc.

Pg110-111_Artifacts.indd 111

less-disciplined militia, to their defeat at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham on Sept. 13, 1759. The battle was a turning point in the war, a territorial fight between France and Britain, which ended in 1763 with France ceding its North American colonies. L

The battle for the city is depicted in a panoramic view.

Mortars lobbed incendiary bombs in high arcs over the riverside hills and the city’s ramparts.

legionmagazine.com > NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017


2017-09-28 4:29 PM


By Don Gillmor

The last PoW O

* Find many more stories in our O Canada publication, NOW available in our SHOP!

n Dec. 5, 1952, Andrew Robert MacKenzie was flying over North Korea in his F-86 Sabre jet when he experienced hydraulic problems. He was at 42,000 feet, in a firefight with enemy MiG jets when he was hit. “Before I could take any evasive action, my canopy was blown off,” of knowing my lovely wife, Joyce, and MacKenzie said years later. “There were our four young children knew whether two strikes on my right elevator, followed I was alive or dead,” he said. by three more in rapid succession on the He finally managed to make contact with fuselage. I tried to break off to evade more another prisoner, a tail gunner. The gunner fire, but my aircraft was out of control. was released in September 1953 in “Operation I was starting to roll to the left and Big Switch,” in which all prisoners were couldn’t stop. In a few seconds, I was repatriated. More than 175,000 prisoners barrelling to Earth. I bailed out.” from both sides were sent home. MacKenzie Bailing at such a high speed tore off was one of the few exceptions. But at least his helmet, oxygen mask, gloves, and the released gunner was able to inform the perhaps most critically, his dog tags. outside world that the pilot was alive. It was the second time the RCAF The armistice had been signed in July pilot had been shot down; the first was 1953, but MacKenzie didn’t know the in June 1944. What was unusual was fighting had ended. (The two Koreas are that it was by “friendly fire” in each case, technically still at war today). He continboth by Americans. ued to be interrogated and When he landed, Chinese solheard about the armistice diers captured MacKenzie and a month later, although the He wasn’t allowed to took him to a Chinese prison. Communists wouldn’t corlie down and had With no identification, he was roborate that fact for several to sleep sitting up. considered a spy and received months. With the war over, the harsh treatment. He was put in Communists wanted MacKenzie solitary confinement and his cell to confess to flying over Chinese was without light, heat or furniture. He had airspace, which would account for why he a single blanket and was put on a near-starwas in a Chinese prison. MacKenzie refused vation diet. He was eventually moved to a cell initially, though finally relented. The war with a bed, but for three months he wasn’t was over; what harm was in it now? allowed to lie down and had to sleep sitting He was released on Dec. 5, 1954, two up. If he tried to lie down, the guards woke years to the day after his capture. He had him. These miserable conditions weren’t lost 70 pounds, but was in surprisingly good the worst part of being a PoW, however. spirits, considering his ordeal. He returned “The worst thing about being a pristo the Air Force until retiring in 1967. He oner of war was that I had no means died of cancer in 2009 at the age of 89. L



NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 > legionmagazine.com

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2017-09-28 4:30 PM


Saluting our Canadian heroes.

Thank you to all of our Veterans. ™/®

Trademarks of Bank of Montreal.

17-1840 CDCB Legion_ad_Ev1.indd 1 BMOND17.indd 1

2017-09-25 11:35 AM 2017-09-27 10:40 AM


DISCOVER HISTORY W I T H T H I S E XC LU S I V E TO U R & C R U I S E Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and experience the rich history of France by river cruise.



JUNE 1-9, 2019 • 8 NIGHT GROUP TOUR • City tours in London and Paris • Imperial War Museum and Churchill War Room • Dieppe Canadian War Museum & Cemetery • Vimy Ridge • Beaumont Hamel • Juno Beach • D-Day 75th Anniversary Ceremony



JUNE 9-16, 2019 • 7 NIGHT ALL- INCLUSIVE CRUISE • Experience Lyon, the culinary capital of France • Explore UNESCO-designated Avignon • Sample local wines in the Rhone vineyards • Stroll the streets of Arles made famous by Van Gogh

Cruise cost: category 5: $4,995*

Tour cost: $3,395*

Other categories available

HOST: Sheldon Taraschuk BOOK BOTH THE TOUR & THE CRUISE BY DECEMBER 15/17 & RECEIVE: $500 AIR CREDIT PER PERSON PLUS 1 CATEGORY UPGRADE** ON CRUISE For more information: CALL 1-800-CARLSON (227-5766) www.cwtvacationclub.ca/legion *Prices are per person double occupancy in Canadian funds. Please inquire for other cruise category prices. ** Cruise upgrade options are cat. 5 to 4, or, cat. 3 to 2. All taxes are included. Airfares available in July 2018. TICO 2715506

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2017-09-29 10:16 AM
Legion Magazine 2017-11-12

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