26 May 2006

Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group

I've just added a link on the right side of this page to the Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group, a group of individuals, as they themselves put it, "dedicated to the study of the Canadian Expeditionary Force." This is a bulletin board site with many categories of great information, discussion, and mentions of projects large and small. Some of the categories of information include areas of interest, upcoming events and news, CEF units, battles, equipment, medals and decorations, insignia, unit histories, book reviews, recommended websites, rolls of honour, orders of battle, first person transcriptions, service records, war diary transcripts, and individual study group projects. One of the offshoot projects for the site is the group's Matrix Project, which is working on gathering information on all of the components of the CEF during the First World War. Highly recommended.

21 May 2006

Upcoming work on Vimy Ridge

Geoffrey Hayes, Andrew Iarocci, and Mike Bechthold have collaborated on Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment, to be published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press this November. The volume arose out of discussions held during one of the Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic, and Disarmament Studies' military colloquia, in particular the acknowledgement that, despite being a central topic to any study of Canadian military history, the battle itself has not been all that deeply covered. The table of contents for the book is as follows:

Introduction (The Editors)

Part I: The Strategic Background

Vimy Ridge and the Battle of Arras: a British Perspective - Gary Sheffield, Joint Services Command and Staff College

The End of the Beginning: the Canadian Corps in 1917 - Paul Dickson, Department of National Defence

Part II: The Battle for Vimy Ridge, 9-12 April 1917

"Rifle, Bomb and Bayonet": The Organization, Tactics and Training of the Infantry before the Battle of Arras - Mark Humphries, University of Western Ontario

"Bumstunts": Bon-homie and the British: Julian Byng and Leadership in the Canadian Corps - Pat Brennan, University of Calgary

"We are Hammering Fritz to Pieces": The Gunners at Vimy - Tim Cook, Canadian War Museum

The Sappers of Vimy: Specialized Support for the Assault of 9 April 1917 - Bill Rawling, Directorate of History and Heritage

Supplying the Set-Piece Battle: Combined Logistics at Vimy Ridge - Michael Ryan, Carleton University

The Canadian Army Medical Corps at the Battle of Vimy Ridge 9-12 April 1917 - Heather Moran, University of Western Ontario

1st Canadian Infantry Division: An Operational Mosaic - Andrew Iarocci, Wilfrid Laurier University

A "Most Spectacular Battle": 2nd Canadian Division - David Campbell, Dalhousie University

3rd Canadian Infantry Division at Vimy Ridge: Forgotten Victory - Geoffrey Hayes, University of Waterloo

Trenches Should Never be Saved: The 4th Canadian Division at Vimy Ridge - Andrew Godefroy, Canadian Forces

The German Army at Vimy Ridge - Andrew Godefroy, Canadian Forces

In the Shadow of Vimy: The Canadian Corps in April and May 1917 - Michael Bechthold, Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies

Part III: Aftermath and Memory

Battle Verse: Poetry and Nationalism after Vimy Ridge - Jonathan Vance, University of Western Ontario

"After the Agony in Stony Places": The Meaning and Significance of the Vimy Monument - Jacqueline Hucker, Parks Canada

Safeguarding Sanctity: Canada and the Vimy Memorial during the Second World War - Serge Durflinger, University of Ottawa

New RCAF Exhibit at the Juno Beach Centre

Mike Bechthold, with the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, contacted me with news that he has been working at the lead historian on a new exhibit on the Royal Canadian Air Force for the Juno Beach Centre in Courselles-sur-Mer, Normandy. Titled "From Adversity to the Stars: The RCAF in World War II", the exhibit is scheduled to open on 1 July of this year and will depict Canada's air war through text, photographs, and artefacts. The material presented in the exhibit range from aircraft, parts of aircraft, German anti-aircraft guns, and various other items. Anyone wishing more information on the exhibit can contact Mike at his e-mail address above.

Review of Commanding Canadians

Yours truly can finally announce that my review of Michael Whitby (ed.), Commanding Canadians: The Second World War Diaries of A.F.C. Layard (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2005) has been posted on the H-Canada discussion list. This is an excellent work, both the diary and Mike's handling of the contextual narrative. If you have any interest whatsoever in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War I most highly recommend you get a copy of this volume.

17 May 2006

CMCC Internal Brown Bag Speaker Series at the Canadian War Museum

Cameron Pulsifer, an historian at the Canadian War Museum, will be presenting a lecture in the museum's boardroom on Monday, 29 May, from 12:00 to 13:00 as part of the CMCC Internal Brown Bag Speaker Series, titled "Getting Established: The Canadian War Museum in the War Trophies Building, 1942-1967." For more information, contact Jane Naisbitt at jane.naisbitt@civilization.ca.

07 May 2006

Update to my Project on the 38th Battalion, CEF

Just a quick update on my history of the 38th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force - a friend and colleague of mine, Major Michel Litalien, knew of a relevant document held in the archives of the Lieutenant-General E.C. Ashton Museum in Victoria, BC. Thanks to the museum's curator, Derek Brown, I received photocopies of letters from Major Gilbert Howland to his wife as well as a field regulation book kept for a brief period. Major Howland was only in the 38th for a few months - from February to May 1917 - but he was a company commander during the battalion's part in the attack on Vimy Ridge. The letters provide an interesting insight into one officer's experience and some useful "colour" for the project. Many thanks to Michel and to Derek. There are more than sixty accredited museums in the Canadian Forces' system, as well as dozens of unaccredited museums and historical collections. The mind boggles at the thought of what undiscovered gems are located in their archival collections.

01 May 2006

Latest from the University of Calgary Press

The Fall/Winter 2005 catalogue for the University of Calgary Press lists two publications of note for this blog. First, in September 2005 the press released Laura Brandon's Art and Memorial: The Forgotten History of Canada's War Art. Last May the press issued a new release of J.L. Granatstein's The Generals: The Canadian Army's Senior Commanders in the Second World War, not a revised version, but reported to have a new introduction from Dr. David Bercuson, Director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

Latest from Dundurn Press

Dundurn Press has recently released The Admirals: Canada's Senior Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century, edited by Michael Whitby, Richard Gimblett and Peter Haydon. This book is described as a combination of articles on Canadian naval leaders between 1910 and 1968 and "personal reflections" from six former commanders of Maritime Command.