17 April 2006

Ken's Introduction, Part II

When I began this blog a little more than a week ago, I noted part of the reason for doing so was so that the community of historians working on Canadian military history could share and pass the word on projects they're working on. As it will take no input from anyone else, I might as well be the first to do this.

Readers of this blog may or may not know (despite my cryptic profile on this blog) that in my day job I'm employed by the Directorate of History and Heritage, Department of National Defence, as the Assistant Heritage Officer for the Canadian Forces. A rather grand title, but there it is. In addition to answering inquiries, supervising students, and doing a little work on the post-Second World War official naval history, my primary task is working on Canadian Forces Publication 007, The Traditions and Customs of the Canadian Forces.

However, it's not my day job that brought me to create this blog. I'm working on this on my own time out of my own concerns for the community as a whole and how we might best keep the lines of communication open and help one another along if possible.

That said, what am I currently working on? (Finally, you say). Well, first of all, last year I completed the manuscript for a regimental history of The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, 1856 to 2004. I'm fortunate enough to volunteer as the curator of the Camerons' regimental museum here in Ottawa and, years ago, it became apparent that I was doing a lot of work researching material for the needs of the museum. No modern history of the regiment had been written, and I offered to undertake the project. As I said, the manuscript is completed, and the path to publication has begun...slowly, very slowly (as any of you out there who've done regimental history work can attest to, I'm sure).

My main project right now is a bit of an off-shoot of the regimental history, but a project I've been working on for several years now. This is a history of the 38th Battalion, CEF, 1914 to 1919. Between documentation held by Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian War Museum archives, the regimental museum of the Camerons (they perpetuate the 38th), as well as significant private holdings, the untold story of this battalion is taking shape. If I had to guess, I'd say that I'm about three-quarters finished the project, having completed almost all of the archival work and having written full first drafts of every chapter. It is a wonderful story and I look forward very much to completing the project (hopefully, some time next year). Articles based on this research have been submitted for possible publication, one to Canadian Military History and another to the Canadian Army Journal.

Now for something completely different. Some of my work on naval history has also led to forthcoming article publications on replenishment at sea in the Royal Canadian Navy 1945 to 1961 in the Maritime Engineering Journal and a joint amphibious operation in Nova Scotia (Exercise Mohawk) in 1964 in the Canadian Naval Review.

Most of my current attention is being spent, when I'm not at work, on helping my wife (Barbara Dundas - a published historian in her own right) raise our 21-month old daughter, Reid Elizabeth. Okay, most of my available time for historical projects outside of work is being spent on completing the 38th Battalion history. I do have ideas for another three possible articles related to the 38th project (more news as these hopefully develop). I'm also beginning work on a volume in the series "Weapons of War" published by Clive Law at Service Publications on the Vickers machine gun in Canadian service.

Anyone interesting in contacting me regarding any of the projects I'm working on can e-mail me at cmhnews@gmail.com. Thanks.

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