29 December 2006

Upcoming lectures at The Military Museums


The Military Museums (formerly The Museum of the Regiments) in Calgary has a series of military history lectures coming up in January and February 2007 of potential interest to readers of The Cannon's Mouth. Details on the exact timings and locations for each of these can be found on the museum's website.

On Thursday, January 11, the museums' new senior curator, Rory Cory, will speak on the subject of "British Light Infantry in the Seven Years War in North America". As the release notes, this was "saw tactical developments in many armies. The particular focus of this talk will be the influence of the North American battlefield on the British Army, with an emphasis on the development of light infantry. [...] Lessons learned during this conflict would continue to be expanded in the years to come and in later manifestations would form the theoretical basis for certain Canadian units such as Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry."

Two weeks later, on Thursday, January 25, folk singer, song-writer and poet Phyllis Wheaton will present a "story, song and slide-show presentation" titled "The Stones of Signal Hill". Using letters written by a First World War soldier (David Argo) to his wife and other museum material, she will introduce stories on the local Calgary landmark.

On Thursday, February 8, Nancy Townshend, an historian and content special for the Virtual Museum of Canada, will present "Maxwell Bates: The expression of an artist's prisoner of war experience". Her talk will focus on the "effect of Maxwell Bates' POW experience in a German salt mine in Stalag ICX 1940-1945 on his notable art."

Finally, on February 22, Captain Hub Gray (ret'd), former officer in Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, will discuss "his exploits as being part of the first Canadian unit sent to Korea. The Battle of Kapyong is examined while shedding light on the valiant actions of several comrades, the effect of the poorly led South Korean army, details about unreported biological mass murders and the unrelenting will of the people of Korea to live in freedom."

28 December 2006

News books lists from Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada has released its new books lists for November and December 2006 and contains the following items of interest to readers of this blog: Ted Barris, Victory at Vimy: Canada comes of age, April 9-12, 1917 (Toronto, 2007); Edward William Cutbill, A "Brown Job's" War [memoirs of Second World War] (Calgary, 2006); Bernd Horn and Tony Balasevicius (eds.), Casting Light on the Shadows: Canadian Perspectives on Special Operations Forces (Toronto, 2006); Bernd Horn and Roch Legault, Loyal Service: Perspectives on French-Canadian Military Leaders (Toronto, 2006); Harold McGill, Medicine and Duty: The World War I Memoir of Dr. Harold McGill's Service as Medical Officer with the 31st Battalion, C.E.F. (Calgary, 2007); and Charlie Young, Memories: Radar Recollections, 1943-1945 [an RCAF radarman] (Belleville, Ontario, 2006).

27 December 2006

Exhibit on the Battle of the St. Lawrence at the CWM


A new special exhibition has opened in the past week at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Titled "Canada under Attack: The Battle of the St. Lawrence (1942-1944)" / "Alerte au Canada! - La bataille du Saint-Laurent (1942-1944)", the exhibit opened on December 22 and runs until 15 April 2007 and is a travelling exhibition created by le Musée naval de Québec and the Musée de la Gaspésie. The release from the museum runs as follows: "During the Second World War, a naval battle was fought on the doorsteps of Canada's coastal communities. Canada Under Attack tells the story behind this event and presents an intimate account of this naval combat, the battle of the St. Lawrence. Faced with the constant threat of German torpedoes and spies, residents of the St. Lawrence and Gaspé areas learned how to cope with military preparations, black out procedures and coastal defence. More than 60 years after the battle, explore the wreckage of ships and torpedoes collected by local residents. Discover the personal stories of Canadians who experienced this struggle and learn how it impacted their lives then, and in the decades since." / "Au cours de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, une bataille navale s'est déroulée à proximité des collectivités qui vivaient dans les régions côtières du Canada. L'exposition relate le contexte historique de ce chapitre de la guerre et présente un compte rendu personnel de ce combat naval, la bataille du Saint-Laurent. Exposés à la menace constante des torpilles et des espions allemands, les résidants des côtes du Saint-Laurent et de la Gaspésie ont appris à composer avec les préparatifs militaires, les exigences du black-out et la défense côtière. Plus de 60 ans après la bataille, voyez les épaves de navires et de torpilles qui ont été recueillies par les résidants de la région. Découvrez les témoignages des personnes qui ont connu ce combat et apprenez quelles en ont été les répercussions sur leur vie à cette époque et pendant les décennies suivantes."

19 December 2006

60th Congress of l'Institut d'histoire de l'Amérique française

I came across the following call for proposals recently: "Appel de communications - Séances sur la Première Guerre mondiale dans le cadre du 60e Congrès de l'IHAF.

Dans le cadre du 60e Congrès de l'Institut d'histoire de l'Amérique françasise (IHAF) qui se tiendra à l'automne 2007 au Collège militaire royal de Kingston, la Chaire Hector-Fabre d'histoire du Québec organisera des séances sur l'histoire militaire qui s'inséreront dans le Congrès. M. Serge Bernier, directeur de la Direction Histoire et patrimoine, assurera le lien avec le Comité organisateur du Congrès de l'IHAF.

La thématique que nous lançons est large et, en s'incrivant dans le thème général du Congrès portant sur "Nos combats : les affirmations, les engagements et les actions", elle concernera la Première Guerre mondiale (1914-1918).

Merci de parvenir par courriel, avant le 1er mars 2007, votre proposition de communication de 200 mots maximum présentant votre problématique ainsi que le titre de votre communication. Veuillez également nous faire parvenir une courte notice biographique vous concernant (10-15 lignes). Adresse courriel : chaire-hector-fabre@uqam.ca.

13 December 2006

Latest issue of Canadian Military History

I just received the latest issue of Canadian Military History (vol.15, nos.3 and 4, Summer-Autumn 2006), another very interesting publication of this journal out of Wilfrid Laurier University. Among the items in this issue are the following: Stephen J. Harris' "The Halifax and Lancaster in Canadian Service"; Laurie Peloquin's "Area Bombing by Day: Bomber Command and the Daylight Offensive, 1944-1945"; David L. Bashow's "The Balance Sheet: The Costs and the Gains of the Bombing Campaign"; Eric Fernberg's "Great War Legacy: A Drum from the 207th Battalion" (this is of particular interest to me personally as the regimental historian and museum curator of The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa - the regiment that perpetuates the 207th); Roger Sarty's "Uncle Bill's Service in Bomber Command, 1942-1944: Family Memory and the Written Record"; and several historical documents.

Fall 2006 issue of Vanwell News

I recently received the Fall 2006 issue of Vanwell News, the newsletter for friends of Vanwell Publishing. It lists several interesting titles of note, as published by Vanwell this fall. The titles include W.A.B. Douglas, Roger Sarty, and Michael Whitby's A Blue Water Navy: The Official Operational History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War, 1943-1945, Volume II, Part 2; Philip LaGrandeur's We Flew, We Fell, We Lived: Stories from RCAF Prisoners of War and Evaders; James A. Wood's We Move Only Forward: Canada, the United States, and the First Special Service Force, 1942-1944; Kenneth Joyce's Snow Plough and the Jupiter Deception: The True Story of the 1st Special Service Force and the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion, 1942-1945; Kenneth Radley's We Lead, Others Follow: First Canadian Division, 1914-1918; T.F.J. Leversedge's Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft: A Military Compendium; and Anthony Stachiw and Andrew Tattersall's Starfighter CF 104 (In Canadian Service Aircraft #4). Ordering information can be found on the Vanwell's website or at your local bookseller.

12 December 2006

CFP for War and Security Conference at the U of Calgary

The Society for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary has announced its ninth annual student conference, "War and Security: The Costs of Conflict", for 2-3 March 2007 at the University of Calgary. As the news release notes: "This conference is dedicated to facilitating discussion, debate and contributions to the knowledge of military, security and historical events that have influenced the international arena. Students are given a multidisciplinary forum within which they can engage academic, military and corporate communities dedicated to the study of these important topics." Among the suggested topics are "Conflict throughout History", NATO, the UN, "Peacemaking and Peacekeeping", "Warfare in Literature", and several others which could have military history content. The release also states: "This list is by no means exhaustive. Original ideas are encouraged." The deadline for paper proposals from undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines is 20 December 2006 (proposals limited to 250 words - presentations 15 minutes in length). The Society's e-mail address is stratnet@ucalgary.ca.

11 December 2006

Latest issue of Canadian Naval Review

The table of contents for the latest issue (volume 2, number 3, Fall 2006) of Canadian Naval Review has been published on the journal's website. This issue includes two items of direct Canadian military history interest: Kenneth Hansen's "The 'Destroyer Myth' in Canadian Naval History" and Richard Mayne's "Its Own Worst Enemy: Ship Advocacy in the RCN, 1963-1964".

08 December 2006

Latest issue of the Canadian Military Journal

Volume 7, no.3 (Autumn 2006) of the Canadian Military Journal is available, and contains the following of historical interest - Major Ray Stouffer's "Cold War Air Power Choices for the RCAF: Paul Hellyer and the Selection of the CF-5 Freedom Fighter" / "La puissancxe aérienne de l'aviation royale du Canada pendant la guerre froide : Paul Hellyer et le choix du chasseur CF-5 Freedom Fighter", Major John R. Grodzinski's "'We Few, We Happy Few...': Canadian Generalship in the First World War" / "'Nous, cette poignée, cette heureuse poignée, d'hommes..." - Les officiers généraux canadiens pendant la première guerre mondiale", as well as several book reviews of historical publications.

04 December 2006

"The Valiants" and Canadian military history

While "The Valiants" - a series of monuments constructed in Ottawa "to honour fourteen Canadian men and women that marked the history of Canada during periods of conflict" - hadn't yet made it as a post on this blog, the resulting discussion of their place, and the place of military history in Canada, on the discussion group H-Canada is of interest and should be captured now. My thanks to Dr. Jack Granatstein for suggesting it as a topic for a post here.

The discussion at H-Canada began on November 13 when Chris Tait, a graduate student at the University of Western Ontario, wrote "'The Valiants' as Public History: A Comment", providing a "personal reflection" on the statues and the project's website. Responses to the initial posting have continued through November and have reflected an interesting and wide-ranging discussion on the subject (November 14 - messages one, two and three; November 15 - one, two, three and four; November 17 - one; November 20 - one; November 21 - one; November 22 - one; November 23 - one and two; November 25 - one; and November 27 - one).

03 December 2006

News from The Canadian Battlefields Foundation

The Canadian Battlefields Foundation (formerly the Canadian Battle of Normandy Foundation) has announced its 13th Annual Battlefield Study Tour. Announced under the title "The Canadians and the Liberation of Europe: Normandy, Dieppe, Vimy, Beaumont-Hamel, 2-16 June 2007", the tour will include visits to Vimy Ridge, Beaumont-Hamel and Dieppe before moving on to an intensive review of Canada at the battle of Normandy. The tour will be led by Dr. Geoffrey Hayes, University of Waterloo, and Lieutenant-Colonel David Patterson, Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College. The program is meant for university students (including graduate school) and recent graduates "who have a strong desire to learn more about the role Canadian forces played in the liberation of Europe." Chosen participants will be required to prepare for each day's discussions, research the life of Canadian soldier who died in action, and keep a journal describing their experience (the latter will be submitted to the Foundation). Between twelve and sixteen scholarships will be awarded by the Foundation for the tour, covering most of the cost of the tour. Participants should expect to contribute from $1,200 to $1,500 of their own money (or $500 if they make their own travel arrangements to and from Paris).

Applications for the tour are due by 23 February 2007. Application forms can be found on the website of the Canadian Battlefields Foundation. Further information can be found on the website (including all of the above information en français) or from Terry Copp by e-mail at tcopp@wlu.ca.

28 November 2006

More MA theses and PhD dissertations

Renald Fortier, Curator of Aviation History at the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa, kindly sent me a long list of recent Canadian military history MA theses and PhD dissertations for my ongoing list. Many thanks Renald! The material is as follows:

Begin, Maxime Steve, "Des radars et des hommes : mémoires inuit de la station Fox Main de la Dew Line (Hall Beach, Nunavut)", MA thèse, Université Laval, 2004;

Bergen, Robert W., "Balkan Rats and Balkan Bats: The Art of Managing Canada's News Media during the Kosovo Air War (Serbia)", PhD dissertation, University of Calgary, 2005;

Brandon, Laura E., "The Canadian War Museum's Art Collections as a Site of Meaning, Memory, and Identity in the Twentieth Century", PhD dissertation, Carleton University, 2002;

Christensen, Kyle D., "Out of the Sun and into the Ground: An Assessment of the Decline of the Canadian Air Force", MA thesis, Dalhousie University, 2002;

Cook, Tim, "Canadian Official Historians and the Writing of the World Wars", PhD dissertation, University of New South Wales, 2005;

Dillon, Terrence M., "The Unification of the Canadian Armed Forces: A Recipe for Disaster", PhD dissertation, Alliant International University, 2003;

Godefroy, Andrew B., "Defence and Discovery: Science, National Security, and the Origins of the Canadian Rocket and Space Program, 1945-1974", PhD dissertation, Royal Military College of Canada, 2004;

Goette, Richard E., "The Struggle for a Joint Command and Control System in the Northwest Atlantic Theatre of Operations: A Study of the RCAF and RCN Trade Defence Efforts during the Battle of the Atlantic", MA thesis, Queen's University, 2002;

Gordon, Hugh A., "The End of the Big Ship Navy: The Trudeau Government, the Defence Policy Review and the Decommissioning of the HMCS BONAVENTURE", MA thesis, University of Victoria, 2002;

Gucciardo, Dorotea, "A Force for Change? The Integration of Women in the Canadian Forces, 1970 to Present", MA thesis, University of Ottawa, 2005;

Halladay, Laurel, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Soldiers and Artists: Canadian Military Entertainers, 1939-1946", MA thesis, University of Calgary, 2000 (direct PDF link);

Heide, Rachel L., "The Politics of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Base Selection in Western Canada", MA thesis, Carleton University, 2000 (direct PDF link);

Horn, Bernd, "Bastard Sons: An Examination of Canada's Airborne Forces, 1942-1995", PhD dissertation, Royal Military College of Canada, 2000;

Jackson, Paul, "Courting Homosexuals in the Military: The Management of Homosexuality in the Canadian Military, 1939-1945", PhD dissertation, Queen's University, 2002;

Lawrence, Keith M., "Cautious Steps: The Development and Use of Tactical Air Power by the RAF during the Second World War", MA thesis, McGill University, 2001;

Paquette, Dirk, "Organizational Change and Canada's Air Force", MA thesis, The University of Manitoba, 2001 (direct PDF link);

Plamondon, Aaron, "Casting off the Imperial Yoke: The Transition of Canadian Defence Procurement within the North Atlantic Triangle, 1907-1953", MA thesis, Royal Military College of Canada, 2001;

Pletsch, Mary C., "The Guardian Angels of this Flying Business: RCAF Ground Crew in 6 Group", MA thesis, Royal Military College of Canada, 2002;

Ruffilli, Dean C., "Operational Research and the Royal Canadian Air Force Eastern Air Command's Search for Efficiency in Airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare, 1942-1945", MA thesis, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2001 (direct PDF link);

Stone, J.C., "The Canadian Armed Forces and the Economics of Strategy", PhD dissertation, Royal Military College of Canada, 2005; and

Stouffer, R.W., "An Expression of Canadian Nationalism: The History of the No. 1 Royal Canadian Air Force Air Division and RCAF Cold War Air Power Choices, 1952-70", PhD dissertation, Royal Military College of Canada, 2005.

I promise that I will eventually come up with a solution as to how to combine the first two, and later, lists of MAs and PhDs in one central location for future reference.

27 November 2006

Newspaper piece on the Canadian War Museum

I've been intending for some time to write some posts on various military museums in this country. After all, not all Canadian military history projects undertaken appear in print or on the internet, much of it being presented to the public in the exhibits and displays of military museums from coast to coast. So let's start with the biggest one. I found a piece from Alan Hustak, CanWest New Service, on Saturday titled "A sacred place: Evocative Canadian War Museum - full of inspirations, experiences - will have you coming back for more". The article provides some background on the new Canadian War Museum, some highlights, and contact information. The new museum, in my opinion, is definitely worth seeing. It's huge, so if you visit, be prepared for a long stay - probably an entire day.

25 November 2006

New book notice by Library and Archives Canada for October 2006

Library and Archives Canada has released its new books list for October 2006. Of interest to readers of Canadian military history are the following: Jonathan Moore, Archaeological and Historical Investigations of three War of 1812 Wrecks at Kingston, Ontario: Report for Province of Ontario: licence to conduct archaeological exploration or fieldwork 1999-096 at sites BbGd-6, BbGc-45 and BbGc-46 (Ottawa: privately published, 2006); Raymond Collishaw with R.V. Dodds, The Black Flight (2nd edition, Ottawa: CEF Books, 2006, special edition reprint of 1973 edition of Air Command); Cynthia Faryon, Incredible Tales of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Canmore, AB: Altitude Publishing, 2006); Donald Harry Laird, Prisoner five-one-eleven (Ottawa: CEF Books, 2006, special edition reprint series); Jack Monroe, Mopping Up! (Ottawa: CEF Books, 2006, special edition reprint series); Stephen Brumwell, Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2006); Cuthbert Gunning, North Bay: World War I and the Decade that Followed (North Bay, ON: privately printed, 2007); and Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, Halifax Citadel, Georges Island, Fort McNab, Prince of Wales Tower and York Redoubt National Historic Sites of Canada Management Plan / Lieux historiques nationaux du Canada de la Citadelle-d'Halifax, de l'Ile-Georges, du Fort-McNab, de la Tour-Prince-de-Galles et de la Redoute-York, plan directeur (Halifax, NS: Parks Canada, 2006).

24 November 2006

New book by Jeffrey Keshen and Serge Durflinger


Jeffrey Keshen and Serge Durflinger, two Canadian military historians at the University of Ottawa, have published a textbook for war and society courses entitled War and Canadian Society through Thomson Nelson publishers. As the publisher's blurb puts it, the book "seeks to sensitize readers to selected topics in Canadian military and social-military history and to familiarize them with some important and often emotive writing about the effects of war on Canada in the post-Confederation era. The readings, drawn from the recent and not-so-recent historiography, are grouped around themes, or modules, which convey some measure of war's often transformative effect on Canada and Canadians." The themes or modules covered include "The Northwest Campaign", "Manliness, Militarism, and Imperialism", "Managing the Truth: Home and Front in the First World War", "Remembering Vimy", "The Second World War: Community, Family, and Youth in Montreal"; "A Nation Transformed", "The Air War: Canadian Participation in Bomber Command"; "Becoming Seasoned Soldiers - Canada's Campaign in Normandy", "Veterans of the World Wars", "Canada during the Cold War", "Aid to the Civil Power: The October Crisis and Oka October Crisis"; and "Peacemaking and Stability Operations: Somalia and the Balkans".

20 November 2006

The 2004 issue of the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association

I recently ran across the index for volume 15, issue 1 (Winnipeg 2004) of the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association on the Canadian Historical Association's website. It contains the following items of note: Larry Hannant's "'My God, are they sending women?': Three Canadian Women in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939"; P. Whitney Lackenbauer's "The Irony and the Tragedy of Negotiated Space: A Case Study on Narrative Form and Aboriginal-Government Relations during the Second World War"; and Rachel Lea Heide's "Allies in Complicity: The United States, Canada, and the Clayton Knight Committee's Clandestine Recruiting of Americans for the Royal Canadian Air Force, 1940-1942".

19 November 2006

Recent MA theses and PhD dissertations

I mentioned in a previous post how I'd like to gather the titles of recent (say past five years or so) master's theses and doctoral dissertations on Canadian military history. This is not the simplest thing to do, several sources being needed to try and gather together the information. What I figured I do, then, is occasionally post on this subject, listing my latest findings with links to their entry on the Library and Archives Canada database (where you can ILL these items from if you're interested). This time around I have found:

Legare, Jennifer Michelle, "'From the Ashes': The Niagara District in the War of 1812", MA thesis, University of Guelph, 2003;

Field, Vincenzo, "Explaining Armageddon: Popular Perceptions of Air Power in Canada and Britain and the Destruction of Germany, 1939-45", MA thesis, UNB, 2003 (UNB theses are not listed in the Library and Archives Canada listings);

Fitch, Benjamin Thomas E., "Doing their Duty: Politics and Recruitment in the Maritimes during World War I", MA thesis, University of Calgary, 2003;

Hunter, Jennifer, "'Is it even worthwhile doing the dishes?': Canadians and the Nuclear Threat, 1945-1963", PhD dissertation, McGill University, 2005;

Lackenbauer, Paul Whitney, "Vanishing Indian, Vanishing Military: Military Training and Aboriginal Lands in Twentieth Century Canada", PhD dissertation, University of Calgary, 2004;

Morin, Mélanie, "Lire entre les lignes : témoignages d'infirmières militaires canadiennes en service outre-mer pendant la Prèmiere Guerre mondiale", mémoire de maîtrise, Université de Moncton, 2005;

Wilford, Timothy, "Canada and the Far East crisis in 1941: Intelligence, Strategy and the Coming of the Pacific War", PhD dissertation, University of Ottawa, 2005;

Wilson, John Jason Collins, "Soldiers of Song: The Dumbbells and other Canadian concert parties of the First World War", MA thesis, University of Guelph, 2004;

Toman, Cynthia, "Officers and Ladies: Canadian Nursing Sisters, Women's Work, and the Second World War", PhD dissertation, University of Ottawa, 2003; and

Burianyk, Kathyrn Vera, "The Home Front in Regina during World War II", MA thesis, University of Regina, 2004.

16 November 2006

Latest issue of the CHA Bulletin

I just received the latest issue of the Bulletin of the Canadian Historical Association (volume 32.3, 2006) which contains a couple of items relevant to Canadian military history. Desmond Morton makes the front page in a section on "History Debates the Issues / L'Histoire dans le débat public: 1" under the title "Some Military-Historical Reflections on Afghanistan. R.H. (Bob) Caldwell provides an "Exhibition Review: Clash of Empires: The War that Made Canada, 1754-1763", on the exhibit currently on at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

15 November 2006

18th Military History Colloquium at Wilfrid Laurier University

Mike Bechthold, at the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, has sent me a copy of the call for papers for the 18th Military History Colloquium, to be held at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, from 4 to 5 May 2007. The document notes: "The primary focus will be on all periods of Canadian military history - pre-1914, First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and post-1945 developments including peacekeeping. Proposals for papers advancing new and innovative perspectives will receive first consideration. Papers addressing all facets of military history, including tactics and operations, social and cultural issues, economic impacts, and the home front, from the colonial era to the present day will be considered." Any scholar is welcome to submit but a proposal, but the colloquium's organizers have always particularly encouraged graduate students and recent PhDs to submit proposals. One-page proposals (e-mails preferred) can be sent to Mike Bechthold at the centre at mbechtho@wlu.ca. Update: Mike has let me know that the banquet during the colloquium will be held at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, with a tour of the museum being conducted before the banquet begins.

Book reviews in The Globe and Mail


Lieutenant Steven Dieter, an officer with The Princess of Wales' Own Regiment in Kingston, Ontario, and a grad student in the War Studies Programme at The Royal Military College of Canada, published three book reviews on Canadian military history in last weekend's edition of Books in The Globe and Mail. Yes! Military history in the Globe's review of books. Steven reviewed Kenneth Radley's We Lead, Others Follow: The First Canadian Division, 1914-1918 (he writes: "Radley, a former military officer, begins with the mobilization of Canadian men in 1914 and follows through to the war's end, examining the pains and trials faced by that First Division. It was the mould from which Canada's remaining three divisions would be created. One key theme comes through: First Division wasn't just a unit; it was a family."); Tim Cook's Clio's Warriors: Canadian Historians and the Writing of the World Wars (he writes: Cook "writes of the challenges faced by Canada's military historians after both world wars"); and Colonel Bernd Horn's (ed), The Canadian Way of War: Serving the National Interest (he writes that Horn has "collected and edited a series of essays about how and why Canadians have served in the military - and how that has affected the development of our country").

14 November 2006

McNorgan and Lock's "Black Beret"


Today I had a chance to finish reading Major (ret'd) Michael R. McNorgan and Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas A. Lock's Black Beret: A History of The Windsor Regiment (RCAC) 1936-2006. You might not have even been aware that a history of the Windsors was underway. I admit to having advance knowledge as Mike McNorgan is a friend and former co-worker of mine and I was fortunate to get ahold of the copy from work that Mike gave our library. This regimental history was privately published by The Windsor Regiment Association and I'm really not sure how it's being sold, but anyone interested could contact them through the association's website. Update: Mike McNorgan sent me an e-mail with details on how to purchase the book. You can send a cheque to the WR Association - Kit Shop, Major F.A. Tilston, VC Armoury, 4007 Sandwich Street, Windsor, ON, N9C 1C3. You can also e-mail the association directly at wr_assoc@canada.com. The cost of the book is Cdn$ 50.00, tax included, plus Cdn$ 15.00 for shipping and handling in Canada. Foreign sales are also possible - send the association an e-mail message.

That said, and my connection to Mike announced, I'd like to give a bit of a book review on this history. My first thought, and I'll admit this might not sound all that charitable, is how interesting would a regimental history be of a (honour bearing) regiment which has no battle honours? Mike and LCol Lock, fortunately, proved my initial thought wrong, for which I am mightily glad. After all, in my own work on The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, I duly noted that for most of the regiment's history, the officers and soldiers were involved in peacetime activities. It's just that wartime is easier to write (in my opinion) and, well, more intriguing and exciting to most readers. This history of the Windsors is an interesting mix of the regiment's wartime and peacetime roles. Operations, training, the ups and downs of militia life (for individuals and the regiment itself), the regimental family, and ties to the community all tie together to provide an interesting story. Almost as interesting as the narrative are the abundant number of appendices covering everything from prominent members to buttons and bows to short memoirs. The book is also well-illustrated and obviously the product of a regimental family willing and able to spend money to have the job done right.

Colonel Bernd Horn's "The Canadian Way of War"

Dundurn Press has published a series of essays edited by Colonel Bernd Horn entitled The Canadian Way of War: Serving the National Interest which I was able to purchase a copy of yesterday. This is an interesting collection of articles from Canadian military historians, mostly members of the Canadian Forces and/or employed by the Department of National Defence. The essays include: Bernd Horn's "La Petite Guerre: A Strategy of Survival"; John R. Grodzinski's "'They Really Conducted Themselves Remarkably Well': Canadian Soldiers and the Great War, 1783 to 1815" and his "A Modicum of Professionalism: The Canadian Militia in the Nineteenth Century"; Bernd Horn and Ronald G. Haycock's "The Primacy of National Command: Boer War Lesson Learned"; Andrew Godefroy's "Canadian Military Effectiveness in the First World War"; Stephen J. Harris's "A Canadian Way of War: 1919 to 1939"; Douglas Delaney's "When Harry Met Monty: Canadian National Politics and the Crerar-Montgomery Relationship"; Ronald G. Haycock and Michael Hennesy's "The Road from Innocence: Canada and the Cold War, 1945 to 1963"; Howard G. Coombs's (with Richard Goette) "Supporting the Pax Americana: Canada's Military and the Cold War"; Sean Maloney's "In the Service of Forward Security: Peacekeeping, Stabilization, and the Canadian War of War"; Andrew B. Godefroy's "The Intangible Defence: Canada's Militarization and Weaponization of Space"; and Scot Robertson's "Years of Innocence and Drift: The Canadian Way of War in the Post-Cold War Era".

11 November 2006

Lest We Forget

If you have a moment today, take a look at this video.

10 November 2006

Dominion Institute poll on our knowledge of Canadian military history

I've yet to delve into the media's coverage of Canadian military history, but this story is different. CTV.ca reported today on a survey carried out by the Dominion Institute on our "collective knowledge of Canadian military history", only to find that it was "eroding". According to the report, the survey "found that only 42 per cent of Canadians received a passing grade on a simple test of First World War knowledge." Not only were the results of the survey pitiful (my opinion, not theirs), the institute fears for the future of Remembrance Day at this rate.

I doubt this blog does particularly much to educate the public on Canadian military history - nor is it really intended to. But, as a member of the Canadian military history online community, I feel the need to do more. And this is not just something that I resolved to do after reading the CTV story. I made one small step for my part yesterday when I initiated a second blog - Soldiers of the 38th - where I intend to present biographical information that I have gathered (and will, hopefully, continue to gather) on the officers and men of the 38th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, during the First World War. Hopefully this will bloom into a place where visitors can read about some of our past warriors, their accomplishments, and sacrifices.

What other ideas do any of you have? How do we bring Canadian military history to the "masses" by using the technology now at our fingertips?

Legion Magazine for November/December 2006

The Legion Magazine issue for November/December 2006 is out and contains some material of interest. These include articles on a pilgrimage to Dieppe, entitled "Dieppe: Return to Red Beach"; Arthur Bishop's "Canada and the Victoria Cross", instalment 18 of 18, describing the awards for David Vivian Currie, Aubrey Cosens, Frederick Albert Tilston, and Frederick George Topham; Terry Copp's "Overcoming the Moro"; Hugh Halliday's "The Flying Newfoundlanders"; Marc Milner's "The Roots of Expansion" [of the Royal Canadian Navy]; as well as a series of book reviews on historical publications by J.L. Granatstein.

08 November 2006

Changes to my blog

Those of you who've visited The Cannon's Mouth / Par la Bouche de nos Canons before have probably noticed the change in appearance of the blog. Not only did I change the template (appearance) of the blog - hopefully making it more readable - but I have also added some additional items. Note that at the bottom of each post there is an icon letting readers comment on any individual post - feedback is great if I'm ever going to know what you readers would like to see on the site. There are also "labels", tags of a generic nature I've given to each post. This feeds into an index of sorts, which appears on the right "sidebar" of the blog, linking the reader from any one "label" title to all the posts which dealt with that topic.

On the right sidebar, at the top, you'll find an "about me" section with a picture of me and my daughter, a brief blurb, and a link to a more extensive profile incorporating several categories and providing a link to my personal website (www.kenreynolds.ca). Below that is "Subscribe to this blog by e-mail" - essentially, there are three ways to read this blog on a regular basis: (1) by visiting the blog site on the internet at one of the three gateway addresses (cmhistorians.blogspot.com; www.cannonsmouth.ca; or www.bouchedenoscanons.ca); (2) by using an RSS reader in your web browser (Google Reader, Netvibes, etc., etc.); or (3) by entering your e-mail address into the "subscribe to this blog by e-mail" link (it sends a verification message which, when responded to, automatically begins sending each post I place on the blog to you as an e-mail message. Below that is a photograph (art for art's sake) of my daughter and the camp flag of The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa during a regimental open house. I'm the regiment's museum curator and current regimental historian and I think she's already decided to join up when she get's old enough (in fifteen years or so). Below the blog archives is the list of labels I mentioned. Then follows my blogroll, a list of other blogs which I frequent (I need to add several more historical and technological titles) and links to some interesting websites (ditto). Then follows an idea I "borrowed" from someone else's blog (I forget who now), listing the last ten books I've read (just for pure interest sake). Then we have advertising, some search engines, etc. (running this blog is cheap - Blogger is free, the domain names are not - but some income would help). Along the bottom I have a "links to this site" section and a visitor counter.

You may be wondering, with reference to an earlier message, when can you expect more en français, from Michel Litalien. Michel's still helping with the blog for the francophone military history community, but it turned out to be easier logistically for me to post his material (I'll always note it came from him) and retain the blog as my own little fiefdom.

07 November 2006

Some talks coming up....really soon

Late notice on these ones. Terry Copp, from Wilfrid Laurier University, will speak on "From Courcelette to Kandahar: The Canadian Infantryman at War" at the University of Waterloo, Centre for Environmental and Information Technology, room 1015 (off Phillip Street), on Wednesday, 8 November, at 7.00 p.m. The following evening, Thursday, 9 November, at 7.00 p.m., Mike Bechthold, Communications Director at the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, will speak at the Main Library, Auditorium, Waterloo Public Library, on the subject of "Vimy Ridge". A little further into the future, Lieutenant-Commander Albert Wong, of the Canadian Forces, will speak on "Reflections on a Year in Afghanistan" at the University of Waterloo, Centre for Environmental and Information Technology, room 1015 (off Phillip Street), on Wednesay, 22 November at 7.00 p.m.

05 November 2006

The 7th Book of Remembrance


One year ago about this time I was getting increasingly excited to see a project I was part of - and still am - come to fruition. On Remembrance Day 2005, In the Service of Canada, the 7th Book of Remembrance was unveiled during a ceremony held in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill. As Veterans Affairs Canada - the department responsible for the project - noted, the book "was created to honour the valiant men and women in the Canadian Forces who gave their lives in service to Canada since October 1947, with the exception of those commemorated in the Korean Book of Remembrance." Background on the project can still be found on the Legion Magazine website in a very thorough article by Natalie Salat titled "Bound by Remembrance".

The 7th Book of Remembrance is similar to the six that preceded it, but different in one major respect. It's open ended. It's meant to be, as Veterans Affairs put it, "a living document". When launched there were about 1,300 names in the book, dozens more have been added since, and more will continue to be inscribed in its pages. Some of these are names of military personnel who died in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s who have been accepted for the book after further historical research or submissions from the public. Some of the names are more recent, and reflect deaths from combat, peace support, or domestic service.

I have been honoured to play a small part in this project and expect to be part of it well into the future. During the production phase I worked as part of the inter-governmental team led by Veterans Affairs to design the style and content structure of the book. My role, based on some of my duties at the Directorate of History and Heritage, revolved around historical information but, primarily, on my ability to research (and verify) ranks (they've changed a lot from 1947 to present), post-nominals abbreviations, and unit and formation titles. It doesn't sound like much, perhaps, but historical accuracy (to an historian at least) is my small way of paying respect to these men and women by trying to get it as right as possible.

As a result, I reviewed the information for each name originally going into the book, conducted further historical research, made corrections, and drafted recommended entries for the book. Often, this was, well, just plain sad. After all, each of these people shared a common fact - they died while serving their country. Honourable, yes. Worthy of remembrance, absolutely. Still sad, nonetheless. Sometimes, it was even harder for me. During my review of the bulk of the names in the spring and summer of 2004 there were several names I was investigating whose documents would note next of kin as a wife (now a widow), several months pregnant. That was heartbreaking as it was, but I found it more difficult at that time as my own wife was due to give birth in the summer of 2004. I couldn't imagine leaving them without a husband and father. Neither, I expect, would have the deceased husband and father whose case I was researching.

I continue to work on the 7th Book of Remembrance, doing historical research and recommending individual entries for Veterans Affairs. Although now it is only sporadic in terms of my work time and effort, it is still close to my heart and, I feel, of great importance. In the week before the book was unveiled last year, Veterans Affairs held a dinner thanking all those who had worked on its production. The 7th Book of Remembrance was there, open so we could look at it. The feeling was beyond description. I have not yet gone to see it since it's been installed in the Memorial Chamber on Parliament Hill. The truth is I'm waiting, waiting until my daughter is old enough to have some understanding of what it means (she's two), some understanding of why her daddy is standing there with tears in his eyes.

New History of The Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment


Sandy Antal and Kevin R. Shackleton have co-written Duty Nobly Done: The Official History of The Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment, published by Walkerville Publishing Inc. The book is billed as the "first comprehensive examination of one of Canada's most storied militia units, whose history spans more than three centuries. From their origins as the first militia organizations in what is now Ontario to the present, the units of Essex and Kent counties have loomed large in the history of their province and nation." The two authors combine to cover the period of the War of 1812, the 1838 rebellion, the years up to and including the First World War, the Second World War, and more recent years. Coming in at 854 pages, the book also includes more than 220 photographs and illustrations, and can be ordered by phone or via e-mail. Please note that all proceeds go to The Scottish Borderers Foundation for the benefit of The Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment.

04 November 2006

2007 Military History Symposium at Royal Military College

The Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston will again host its Military History Symposium next year. The 27th such symposium will be held on 22-23 March 2007 with the theme of "Strategic Planning and the Origins of World War I: New Perspectives for the Centenary of the July Crisis". Professor David Stevenson, London School of Economics, has agreed to be the keynote speaker and other scholars such as Annika Mombauer, Eugenia Kiesling and Bruce W. Menning will also present. For further details, please contact B.J.C. McKercher (tel 613-541-6000 ext 6007 or mckercher-b@rmc.ca) or R.A. Prete (tel 613-541-6000 ext 6238 or prete-r@rmc.ca).

03 November 2006

Latest issue of the Canadian Historial Review

The latest issue of the Canadian Historical Review (volume 87, number 3, September 2006) contains an article from Timothy Balzer, a doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria, called "'In Case the Raid is Unsuccessful...': Selling Dieppe to Canadians". The journal also has its usual list of "Recent Publications Relating to Canada" which lists several items of Canadian military history interest. One of those is an article by Linda J. Quiney, PhD, a professional historian based in British Columbia, in the online journal History of Intellectual Culture (volume 5, number 1, 2005) titled "'Bravely and Loyally They Answered the Call': St. John Ambulance, the Red Cross, and the Patriotic Service of Canadian Women During the Great War". The recent publications list also provides references to numerous master's theses and doctoral dissertations in Canadian military history, ranging in completion from 2003 to 2005. I don't want to type these references out into this blog, but would like to be able to present this information in some format. I'm considering adding a sidebar on my blog site listing MA's and PhD's from, say 2000, onward, that I can gather references (and abstracts) for. This would probably be a link to a page on my personal website (www.kenreynolds.ca), where I could set up a page for the information. I know some of this information is available on the Library and Archives website and other locations. If any reader has comments or a preference on this, please let me know.

31 October 2006

The Northern Mariner for January 2006

I've seen a copy of the January 2006 issue of The Northern Mariner (vol.xvi, no.1) published by the Canadian Naval Research Society. This issue contains an article by Chris Madsen (professor at the Canadian Forces College) on "Industrial Hamilton's Contribution to the Naval War". It also contains a note on the society's annual conference for 2007, to be held in Churchill, Manitoba, from 2 to 7 August with the theme of "Northern Navigation". Among the items on the preliminary program is Richard Mayne's "RCN Arctic Planning in the 1960s". For details contact Dr. William Glover at williamglover@sympatico.ca. Finally, the journal is also advertising for its 2008 conference, to be held in Quebec City from 6 to 9 August with the theme of "Four Centuries of North Atlantic Crossings / Quatre siècles de voyages transatlantiques". Paper proposals are welcomed, especially on the topics of "exploration, trade, war, ships, individuals and any other topic related to marine activity in and around Quebec and the North Atlantic over the past four centuries." Proposals should be sent to Dr. Serge Durflinger at sdurflin@uottawa.ca.

29 October 2006

North American Vexillological Association conference


I never had a chance to talk about my recent trip to Nevada to give a paper at the 40th annual conference of the North American Vexillological Association. Held in Reno from 13 to 15 October, the conference was a very interesting mixture of lectures, discussion panels, and visits to local historic sites attended by a variety of historians, flagmakers, flag designers, professional vexillologists (those who study and advise on the history, design, and theory of flags), and collectors. The paper I presented was titled "'To make the unmistakable signal "CANADA"': The Canadian Army's 'Battle Flag' during the Second World War". This paper dealt with the story of the flag designed by Colonel AF Duguid (Director of the Army Historical Section during the 1930s and Second World War) for use by the commander of the 1st Canadian Division in 1939. The interest in the story arises from the desire of many - including Colonel Duguid - to see this design adopted as the Canadian national flag. I was honoured that my presentation was awarded the Captain William Driver Award by the NAVA board of directors as the best presentation made at the conference. Next year's conference will be held in October in Hartford, Connecticut.

27 October 2006

Peace Operations conference

Sorry for the late notice on this one. Dr. Jean Martin, one of the official historians at the Department of National Defence, has passed on some info on a conference being held at the Best Western Hotel in Montreal, Quebec, from 3 to 4 November 2006. "Lester B. Pearson's Legacy: 50 Years of Peace Operations" is being organized by the Research Network on Peace Operations with the following partners: the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Research Group on International Security, Le Centre d'études et de recherches internationales, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Department of National Defence, the Pearson Centre, and the Centre d'Études des politiques étrangères et de sécurité. Amongst the presentations scheduled are the following Canadian military historical items: "General Burn's Challenge: The Creation of the Suez Mission" by Jean Martin and "Pearson and Peacekeeping" by Adam Chapnick. The majority of the presentations are not limited to strictly Canadian or historical subjects.

25 October 2006

Colloque d'histoire militaire

Dans le cadre de son colloque annuel d'histoire militaire, la Chaire Hector-Fabre d'histoire du Québec tiendra son évènement à la magnifique Citadelle de Québec, le 10 novembre prochain.

Le thème cette année sera : "Les histoires régimentaires : Quels apports à l'histoire militaire?".

Pour plus de renseignements, veuillez consulter le lien suivant: http://www.unites.uqam.ca/chf/collmili.pdf

Michel Litalien

24 October 2006

Further details on a couple of new UBC Press publications



In a previous entry I mentioned a couple of new publications from the University of British Columbia Press. More details have been announced on these books. P. Whitney Lackenbauer's Battle Grounds: The Canadian Military and Aboriginal Lands is now available. UBC Press's website states: "In recent years, closures of Canadian Forces facilities, the military's continued use of airspace for weapons testing and low-level flying, increased environmental awareness, and Aboriginal land claims have contributed to a growing interest in the acquisition, use, and development of Aboriginal lands for military training. A study of these spaces and places, and the relationships and activities that shaped them, Battle Grounds analyzes a century of relationships between government officials and Aboriginal communities." Likewise, Richard Mayne's Scandal, Politics, and Canadian Naval Leadership can now be ordered. The same website notes: "In January 1944, Canada's top admiral, Percy Walker Nelles, was fired from his post as head of the Royal Canadian Navy. Traditional accounts maintain that Nelles's termination was the result of severe operational deficiencies within the navy. This intriguing history reveals the true story behind Vice Admiral Nelles's dismissal: a divisive power struggle between two elite groups within the RCN - the navy's regular officers, and a small group of self-appointed spokesmen of the voluntary naval reserve."

20 October 2006

Latest issue of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies

The latest issue of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, volume 21, number 1 (Spring 2006) lists an article of interest for readers of this blog: Robert J. Harding's "Glorious Tragedy: Newfoundland's Cultural Memory of the Attack at Beaumont Hamel, 1916-1925." Presumably, this article is based on the same author's Master's thesis with Dalhousie University in 2004, "Newfoundland's Cultural Memory of the Battle of Beaumont Hamel, 1916-1949", the abstract for which reads: "On 1 July 1916, the Newfoundland Regiment was slaughtered at Beaumont Hamel, France in its bloodiest battle of the First World War. Today the battle is remembered by Newfoundlanders as the worst catastrophe in their island's history and as the single event which instigated a chain of events that led to the island's loss of responsible government in 1933 and Confederation with Canada in 1949. Beaumont Hamel was once proclaimed as Newfoundland's proudest national achievement. Between 1916 and 1949 an assortment of Newfoundland mythmakers utilized newspaper editorial columns, commemorative ceremonies, historical literature, and war memorials to generate a triumphant cultural memory of the conflict that was built almost entirely upon a mythologized interpretation of Beaumont Hamel. Similarly to Great Britain, Canada, and Australia, Newfoundland attempted to find a deeper meaning in a war which cost more than anyone imagined a war ever could."

19 October 2006

News from Angus Brown and Richard Gimblett

I received an e-mail from Angus Brown with respect to news on the book he co-authored with Richard Gimblett, In the Footsteps of the Canadian Corps: Canada's First World War 1914-1918 (Ottawa: Magic Light Publishing, 2006). Angus notes that the book has been well received, and the two authors are hoping to put together another marketing campaign before Remembrance Day and Christmas. They will be doing some book signings around Ottawa and Toronto. The book is currently available at Chapters (see link above), Indigo, Coles, the Canadian War Museum boutique and various independent book stores across Canada.

A video documentary version of the book is currently in production, filiming having been completed. Angus expects to see an edited draft of the video by the end of October. Hell Creek Entertainment, the film company, is expected to have it shown on cable television networks and, eventually, to have it available for sale to the public.

Angus also notes that the Canadian Broadcasting Corps in releasing its 17-hour long 1964 radio series, "Flanders' Fields" in an audio DVD format. This is now available online and at CBC boutiques in Toronto and Ottawa.

10 October 2006

Nouvelles parutions en histoire militaire canadienne

Depuis 2001, Athéna éditions, une maison d’édition située à Outremont près de Montréal, s’intéresse à l’histoire militaire canadienne. Cette maison s’intéresse beaucoup aux travaux universitaires et d’historiens érudits. À ce jour, plus d’une quinzaine de titres ont été publiés et ont fait l’objet de nombreuses critiques très positives. En peu de temps, Athéna éditions s’est taillée une réputation solide, tant au Canada français qu’en Europe où ses livres sont populaires surtout auprès de la communauté des historiens de la Première Guerre mondiale. Depuis l’an dernier, cette maison d’édition s’efforce de faire connaître auprès du public francophone d’Amérique et d’Europe les publications et les travaux du Canada anglais dans le domaine de l’histoire militaire. Deux ouvrages « Billet pour le front » (When Your Number’s Up) de Desmond Morton et « Survivre au tranchées » (Surviving Trench Warfare) de Bill Rawling ont été accueillis très favorablement au Québec et en France. Athéna publiera bientôt « Mourir en héros : Mémoire et mythe de la Première Guerre mondiale » (Death So Noble) de Jonathan Vance. Nul doute que ce livre connaîtra un grand succès en France et en Belgique. Athéna prévoit traduite et publier de deux à trois importants ouvrages canadiens-anglais par année.

La rentrée de cet automne est plutôt abondante : En plus du livre de Jonathan Vance, il y aura : « Une façon de faire la guerre : La prise de Cambrai, octobre 1918 » de Bill Rawling, « Volontaires : Des Québécois en guerre, 1939-1945 » de Yves Tremblay, l’exceptionnel « Journal de guerre, 1915-1918 » du lieutenant-colonel Thomas-Louis Tremblay, commandant du 22e Bataillon d’infanterie CEC, ainsi que « Briser les ailes de l’ange : Des infirmières militaires canadiennes, 1914-1918 » de Mélanie Morin. En plus de ces titres, Athéna éditions vient de sortir son très attendu « Guide du Maintien de la paix » cuvée 2007.

Pour en savoir plus, consultez le site internet au : www.athenaeditions.net

Il me fera plaisir de vous tenir à jour sur les parutions (en français) en histoire militaire.

Athéna éditions, a French Canadian publishing house located in Outremont (Montreal) has recently published six interesting titles. Since its creation in 2001, Athéna has published over 15 titles in Canadian military history, most of them from academic works. Athéna now has a solid reputation in the province of Quebec and in Europe where its books have received very good reviews. Last year, Athéna éditions started to translate and publish in French important titles in Canadian military history: Desmond Morton’s When Your Number’s Up became “Billet pour le front” and Bill Rawling’s Surviving Trench Warfare “Survivre au tranchées”. Both were very well received in Quebec and in France. Athéna will soon release Jonathan Vance’s “Mourir en héros : Mémoire et mythe de la Première Guerre mondiale” better known in English as Death So Noble. No doubt this book will be successful in France and Belgium. Athéna would like to translate in French and publish two to three English Canadian titles a year.

Other than Jonathan Vance’s book, Athéna éditions has just published five interesting titles: another book from the prolific Bill Rawling « Une façon de faire la guerre : La prise de Cambrai, octobre 1918 », DHH’s Yves Tremblay’s « Volontaires : Des Québécois en guerre, 1939-1945 », the famous « Journal de guerre, 1915-1918 » of lieutenant-colonel Thomas-Louis Tremblay, commanding officer of the 22nd Infantry Battalion (Vandoos) and Mélanie Morin’s « Briser les ailes de l’ange : Des infirmières militaires canadiennes, 1914-1918 ». Athéna has also recently published its famous « Guide du Maintien de la paix » (The Peacekeeping Guide) version 2007.

For more information, please visit the website at : www.athenaeditions.net

Michel Litalien

04 October 2006

Even newer issue of the Canadian Army Journal


My apologies for the delay in posting any new content. I was away with my family on a short vacation.

Just to emphasize the content of my last message, Major Andrew Godefroy and the other good folks in Kingston have issued the Summer 2006 issue (volume 9, number 2) of The Canadian Army Journal / Le Journal de l'Armée du Canada. As usual, this journal contains several items on Canadian military history including: "The Battle of the Somme - 90th Anniversary The 1st Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont Hamel, 1st July 1916" / "La Bataille de la Somme - 90e Anniversaire le 1er Newfoundland Regiment à Beaumont-Hamel, 1er juillet 1916", by Robert L. Boyer; "The Forgotten: Lieutenant General E.L.M. "Tommy" Burns and UN Peacekeeping in the Middle East" / "L'Oublié : Le Lieutenant-Général E.L.M. "Tommy" Burns et le Maintien de la Paix par les Nations Unies au Moyen-Orient", by Sean M. Maloney; and, "Four Names on the Vimy Memorial: The 38th Battalion's Trench Raid of 22 February 1917" / "Quatre noms inscrits sur le Mémorial de Vimy : le Raid de tranchée le 22 février 1917 par le 38e Bataillon", by yours truly.

25 September 2006

Latest issue of the Canadian Army Journal


I completely forgot to enter the Canadian military history content of the latest issue of The Canadian Army Journal / Le Journal de l'Armée du Canada (volume 9, number 1, Spring 2006) when it was issued a few weeks back. Better late than never. The relevant articles and pieces includes Robert L. Boyer's "A Part of our Heritage - Canada and the United Nations Emergency Force: 1956-1967" / "Un élément de notre patrimoine : le Canada et la Force d'urgence des Nations Unies : 1956-1967"; Patrick H. Brennan's "Good Men For a Hard Job: Infantry Battalion Commanders in the Canadian Expeditionary Force" / "Des bons hommes pour une dure tâche : les commandants des bataillons d'infanterie du Corps expéditionnaire canadien"; Terry Copp's "Canadian Operational Art: The Seige of Boulogne and Calais" / "Art opérationnel canadien : le siège de Boulogne et de Calais"; and, Karen Johnstone's "Soldier Remembers Canada's Deployment to Vietnam in 1973" / "Un militaire se souvient : la présence du Canada au Vietnam en 1973"; as well as a handful of book reviews.

23 September 2006

Latest issue of the Canadian Military Journal

The latest issue of the Canadian Military Journal / Revue militaire canadienne (vol.7, no.2, summer / été 2006) has been published. Purely historical material includes an article by Major-General Daniel Gosselin, "Canada's Participation in the Wars of the Early 20th Century: Planting the Seeds of Military Autonomy and National Command" / "La participation du Canada aux guerres du début du xxe siècle : semer les graines de l'autonomie militaire et du commandement national" and Major Michel Boire, "Le Marquis de Montcalm and the Battle for Québec, September 1759: A Re-Assessment" / "Le Marquis de Montcalm et la bataille de Québec, septembre 1759 : une réévaluation" as well as book reviews on Lance Goddard's Canada and the Liberation of the Netherlands, May 1945 and W.P. Kerr's Port Royal Habitation: The Story of the French and Mi'kmaq at Port-Royal 1604-1613.

20 September 2006

First World Studies Conference call for papers

"New Directions in First World War Studies" - the International Society for First World War Studies has issued a call for papers for its fourth conference, to be held in Washington, DC, 18 to 20 October 2007. With the support of Georgetown University and the German Historical Institute, this conference is intended to continue, and the release puts it, "the tradition of bringing together current researchers from both the graduate student and established academic scholarly levels. We invite papers from students and scholars who are working on new paradigms or approaches to understanding the social, cultural, or military history of the war. The purpose of the conference is to facilitate a comparative study of the Great War." Applicants are asked to submit a two-page abstract of their proposed paper and a copy of their CV to Jennifer Keene at keene@chapman.edu or Mike Neiberg at michael.neiberg@usm.edu by 1 February 2007 (those accepted will be expected to submit a paper of up to 8,000 words by 1 June 2007). The society's own website provides information on the first three conference.

17 September 2006

2007 Naval History Symposium at United States Naval Academy

The history department of the United States Naval Academy has issued a call for proposals for papers to be presented at the 2007 Naval History Symposium. This will take place at the USNA in Annapolis, Maryland, from 20 to 22 September 2007. The organizers welcome proposals dealing with "any aspect of naval and maritime history", with each proposal including an abstract up to 250 words and a one-page curriculum vitae. Proposals for panels are also welcome. The deadline for submissions is 19 January 2007 and can be mailed to Dr. Maochun Yu, History Department (12C), The United States Naval Academy, 107 Maryland Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland, 21402-5044, or sent electronically to yu@usna.edu. The final program is expected to be ready in March 2007 with final versions of papers due by 1 August. The symposium also has a website.

16 September 2006

Ken's latest article

There's not much point in having your own blog if you're not able to plug your own accomplishments. I have an article (the cover article, in fact) in the latest issue (Summer 2006) of the Maritime Engineering Journal: Canada's Naval Technical Forum (published by the Department of National Defence). "One-stop Shopping - Replenishment at Sea and the Royal Canadian Navy, 1945 to 1961" gives a brief introduction to the subject and is a condensed version of a paper I presented last fall. That paper arose out of research I'd done for an historical narrative produced for the official history project on the post-war RCN currently underway at the Directorate of History and Heritage.

News from John Clearwater

Dr. John Clearwater, noted historian of Canada's nuclear (in particular, military nuclear) history, has sent me a message with respect to an upcoming project of his. His latest book will be published next spring by Hancock House Publishers in British Columbia under the title Broken Arrow #1. In John's own words, the book will be "an easily accessible review, with lots of photographs, of the worlds first lost atomic bomb accident. Using declassified documents; never-before seen photographs; and original testimony, the book shows what happened to the Mk4 atomic bomb lost over the coast of British Columbia in February 1950. Also included are transcripts of the search and rescue operations and the 2003 expedition to recover artifacts."

14 September 2006

Latest issue of Legion Magazine

I've yet to include a rundown on any issue of Legion Magazine, despite the fact that there are always military historical items within its pages. The latest issue (September/October 2006) contains the following material of interest: Arthur Bishop's "Canada and the Victoria Cross, Part 17 of 18: The Airmen of '44" (Mynarski, Hornell and Bazalgette); Marc Milner's "Building a Scrappy Little Navy" (navy, part 17); Terry Copp's "The Advance to the Moro" (army, part 66); and Hugh A. Halliday's "The Battle of Britain" (air force, part 17).

11 September 2006

Laurier military history speakers' series

The Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and the history department at the University of Waterloo will hold their first talk of their 2007 Military History Speakers' Series on Wednesday, 20 September. Dr. Stephen Hart, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, UK, will speak on "The Battles for Tilly-la-Campagne: Normandy 1944", in particular the Canadian and British attempts to capture that village in July and August 1944. The talk will begin at 7.00 p.m. in the U of W's Centre for Environmental and Information Technology, Room 1015. Anyone looking for further information can contact Mike Bechthold (mbechthold@wlu.ca) or Geoff Hayes (ghayes@uwaterloo.ca).

10 September 2006

Article from the 2005 issues of The Northern Mariner

The four issues constituting volume XV of The Northern Mariner from the Canadian Nautical Research Society for 2005 contained many articles on naval history, but only one specifically on Canadian naval (military) history. This was Pat D.C. Barnhouse's, "Trials and Tribulations: An Examination of the Decision to Terminate the FHE 400 Hydrofoil Project" in issue no.4.

08 September 2006

Centre for Foreign Policy Studies' historical publication


Amongst the long list of forthcoming, new and older publication of the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax is Shawn Cafferky's Uncharted Waters: A History of the Canadian Helicopter-Carrying Destroyer. As the CFPS's brochure notes: "Canadian naval aviation during the Second World War and early post-war period has, for the most part, been ignored in the material about Canadian military history. This is especially true in the case of the development and adoption of ship-borne helicopters. This book is an examination of the Canadian origins of rotary-wing aircraft and the development of the helicopter-carrying destroyer escort. It was a long and painful process but in the end the navy was able to convince both the government and the air force of the merits of helicopters for anti-submarine warfare, the navy's raison d'être in the post-war era. The navy was also able to overcome the huge challenges of landing rotary-wing aircraft on the deck of a ship at sea. These processes have not been adequately examined in the existing literature and this study seeks to correct that omission."

A follow-up to yesterday's Canadian War Museum entry

I found out that the Royal Canadian Military Institute is also having Richard Gimblett and Angus Brown speak on their book, In the Footsteps of the Canadian Corps 1914-1918. This will take place on Wednesday, 13 September, as part of the RCMI's "Speakers' Dinner and Book Launch". Timings are 6.30 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. in business dress and the cost is $49. The RSVP is close at hand (I only heard about this today) - on Monday the 11th - and tickets can be reserved by calling Susan Cook at (416) 597-0286 extension 111.

07 September 2006

Canadian War Museum book club

The Canadian War Museum's "Book Club", advertising an opportunity to meet "authors of the latest books on military history, and discuss their works in an intimate setting." The two sessions upcoming are Angus Brown and Richard Gimblett on 26 October speaking on their book In the Footsteps of the Canadian Corps and Laura Brandon on 23 November speaking on her book Art or Memorial? The Forgotten History of Canada's War Art. Cost is $10.00 or $5.00 for museum members.

Ottawa Historical Association 06/07 programme

The 2006/07 programme for the Ottawa Historical Association lists one presentation perhaps of interest to readers of this blog. On 9 November Emile Spencer, a graduate of the Royal Military College, will speak on "Lipstick and High Heels: The Second World War and the Feminization of Women in Chatelaine". This talk will take place in the Library and Archives Canada building, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa.

06 September 2006

A couple of big changes to this blog

Major announcements!

First, I'm extremely glad to be able to announce that Michel Litalien, a fellow military historian, colleague at the Department of National Defence, and friend, has agreed to join me in writing this blog. This is a great - and very significant - addition to what this blog can offer. Michel has a great amount of knowledge about Canadian military history, especially concerning (but not restricted to) what's going on en français in the field. I have always wanted to have English and French-language content on this blog but, to be totally honest, my French is not (yet) what it should be, and this has been a difficult proposition for me to get my head around. Michel's entrance onto this forum helps me tremendously and will provide a much-needed French-language presence on the site. What this means, in a practical sense, is that individual blog entries will be in English or in French, depending on who's writing a particular entry. We have neither the means nor the desire to translate English entries into French or vice-versa. Despite my own personal deficiencies, I entirely agree that practitioners in the field of Canadian military history should be as bilingual as possible.

Tied to this change is my second announcement. Look at the title box above, and you'll see that this blog is now titled "The Cannon's Mouth / Par la Bouche de nos Canons" (the sub-title statement is being translated and will change shortly). Many of you may remember the now-defunct newsletter of the same name(s) produced by the Canadian Military History Group / Groupe pour l'histoire militaire canadienne. In my first entry on this blog, I noted the possible similarities between what I wanted to accomplish here and what was done in that publication. I've recently received the permission I felt necessary to resurrect the title(s). I've also purchased the domain names www.cannonsmouth.ca and www.bouchedenoscanons.ca and have set them up to automatically forward to this blog (cmhistorians.blogspot.com). What that means is there are three web addresses where this blog can be reached, although future advertising and promotion of the site will take the form of the two new, more obvious and, admittedly, better sounding domains.

04 September 2006

News from John MacFarlane

John MacFarlane, an official historian with the Directorate of History and Heritage, Department of National Defence, has sent me a message with some information on his latest doings. His primary work project is a joint project with Charles Rheaume, another DHH official historian, on the Canadian military involvement in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos from 1954 to 1973. John's work also includes assisting with the administration of the Canadian Forces Artist Program, the current official war art program. In his spare time John is working on a book-length biography of Paul Triquet, VC.

30 August 2006

The Canadian Military Historians Blog gets some attention

The latest issue of Canadian Military History, mentioned in my last entry, provided this blog with some very welcome press. In an announcement posted in the issue, the journal notes:


"Canadian Military Historians
News about projects on Canadian military history
and the community of historians behind them.

Ken Reynolds, an historian and the Assistant Heritage Officer at the Directorate of History and Heritage, Department of National Defence, has recently started a blog devoted to Canadian military history. It can be found at:

cmhistorians.blogspot.com

Reynolds explains the purpose of his blog:

"I've been thinking about undertaking a blog for some time now. But talk is cheap, and procrastination is tempting. Today, the 89th anniversary of the start of the Canadian battle for Vimy Ridge in France, would seem an appropriate time to get started.

"In particular, I would like this blog to be something that talks about what Canadian military historians are up to and what projects - recently published, unpublished, presentations, lectures, etc. - they're working on. Partly this is because I'm simply nosy, and would like to know what's going on. Is a project I'm considering working on already being researched and written about by another professional historian or a graduate student somewhere? Is there someone out there in our field doing work on a subject which might complement what I'm doing and can we help one another? What's new and exciting out there?

"The first obstacle to overcome what was to call this blog. I thought about using "The Cannon's Mouth", the title for the noew defunct newsletter issued by the Canadian Military History Group, whose mandate was, I think, similar to what I'd like to do on this blog. I wish I'd thought of the phrase "Clio's Warriors" that Tim Cook is using for his soon to be released book on Canadian official military historians. But, alas, I'm not that imaginative. So, I decided to go with the bland, yet appropriate title of "Canadian Military Historians".

"Now what? Well, I'm not entirely sure. Blogging is a bit like experimentation. I'm hoping to add some information worthy of the subject and get the ball rolling, as it were. After that, I guess we'll see."

The blog contains a great deal of useful information and is great service to anybody interested in the field of Canadian military history. Be sure to visit Ken's blog on a regular basis."


Thanks to everyone at Canadian Military History for the plug!

Latest issue of Canadian Military History

The latest issue (vol.15, no.2, Spring 2006) of Canadian Military History has been published by The Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. Included are a collective article, "Applied History: 1944 Normandy campaign battlefield tours and staff rides," from Stuart Thomson, Mike Bechthold, and David Ian Hall and Brandey Barton's "Public Opinion and National Prestige: The Politics of Canadian Army Participation in the Invasion of Sicily, 1942-1943." The Canadian War Museum section provides "The Long Wait (Part I): A Personal Account of Infantry Training in Britain, June 1942 - June 1943" from Captain Harold MacDonald with M.A. MacDonald. Other historical documentation included are Major-General Stanislaw Maczek's "The 1st Polish Armoured Division in Normandy" and a 17 December 1944 report from the 2nd Tactical Air Force titled "Tactics Employed by Fighter-Bombers Operating Against Special Targets."

29 August 2006

New Issue of Canadian Naval Review

The latest issue of the Canadian Naval Review (vol.2, no.2, Summer 2006) has been published. In addition to a review of Michael Whitby's Commanding Canadians: The Second World War Diaries of A.F.C. Layard (by Robert H. Thomas), there is an historical piece written by me titled "Blueland versus Orangeland: Exercise Mohawk, April 1964." My article deals with an army-navy landing exercise held near and at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, in 1964, in an attempt to explore the possibilities of amphibious warfare on an extremely limited, yet quite interesting, scale.

26 August 2006

Information on the CHA Annual Meeting 2007

The latest Bulletin of the Canadian Historical Association / Société historique du Canada (volume 32.2, 2006) includes details on next year's Annual Meeting / Congrès annuel to be held on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan, in Saskatoon, 28-30 May 2007. The primary theme of the conference is "Bridging Communities: Making Public Knowledge, Making Knowledge Public / Construire des ponts : des communautés de savoir au savoir public." The description notes: "Scholars are encouraged to consider the connections between historical research and the public (such as the public impact of historical inquiry), as well as address how history can be made meaningful and accessible to the public" and "On encourage les chercheurs à explorer les rapports entre la recherche historique et le public (par exemple, l'impact des recherches historiques sur les populations), et à étudier les moyens de rendre l'histoire significative et accessible au grand public." The two sub-themes listed are "Aboriginal Peoples / Les peuples autochtones" and "The Circumpolar North / Le Nord circumpolaire." Anyone interested in presenting a paper or "organizing a panel, roundtable or forum" is told to visit the CHA/SHC website for further instructions, with an "absolute deadline for submissions" of 31 October 2006.

24 August 2006

News from Bob Caldwell

Bob Caldwell, a member of the naval history team at the Directorate of History and Heritage, Department of National Defence, sent me a message about his present research and writing activities. Bob is currently finishing a chapter on "The Canadian Navy in the Arabian Gulf 1991-2003", the Canadian contribution to the ABCA (American, British, Canadian, and Australian) project on each nation's naval experiences since the First Gulf War. After completing this work he will rejoin the naval history team, working on the post-Second World War history of the Royal Canadian Navy. His secondary interests haven't changed, and in his own time, Bob still researches and writes on Indian, Métis, Canadian militia, and European warfare in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For example, his chapter on "Cut Knife Hill 1885", in Don Graves' (ed.), More Fighting for Canada (2004) has been well-received. Bob is also currently working on a review of the Canadian War Museum's exhibit "Clash of Empires" on the Seven Years' War for the Canadian Historical Association Newsletter.

23 August 2006

Webpage for 2008 Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History

Weber State University has set up a webpage for the 2008, repeat the 2008, Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History, scheduled to be held at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center in downtown Ogden, Utah, from 17-20 April 2008. The site notes that as "2008 approaches, more details will be posted on this site." There is, at the moment, no website for the 2007 Annual Meeting, to be held at the Francis Scott Key Conference Center, in Frederick, Maryland, by the Catoctin Center for Regional Studies at Frederick Community College from 19-22 April 2007.