21 April 2006

Latest Military History Offerings from McGill-Queen's University Press

The Spring 2006 catalogue for the McGill-Queen's University Press has been issued and contains a couple of new offering relevant to Canadian military history:

John C. Blaxland, Strategic Cousins: Australian and Canadian Expeditionary Forces and the British and American Empires (available in June); and

John C. Milloy, The North Atlantic Treaty Oraganization, 1948-1957: Community of Alliance.

19 April 2006

Canada and Peacekeeping Conference

The Organization for the History of Canada, along with several sponsors, is holding the "50 Years +, Canada and Peacekeeping: History, Evolutions and Perceptions" conference at the University of Ottawa from 11-14 May 2006. More than fifty presenters will be speaking on topics ranging from peacekeeping history to policy. Check out their website for the details of what looks like will be an extremely interesting few days.

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.

73rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History

The Department of History of Kansas State University and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library are hosting the 73rd annual meeting of the Society for Military History from 18-21 May 2006 in Manhattan, Kansas. The theme of this year's conference is the "Construction, Reconstruction, and Consumption of Military History" and includes a wide-ranging selection of panels and papers. The "Canadian content" at the meeting includes Mat Joost, Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH), Department of National Defence (DND), speaking on "The Canadian Forces' Experience in War Diaries Creation" as part of a panel called "Military Culture: Paths to Professionalization"; Alexander W.G. Herd, University of Calgary, speaking on "The Influence of 'Official History' on Canadian Military History" as part of a panel called "Close Readings in Military History", and, William Rawling, DHH, DND, speaking on "The Shelling of Estevan Point: One Incident, Contradictory Constructions" as part of a panel called "War and Memory".

12 April 2006

17th Military History Colloquium

The Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies and the Canada Research Chair in Conflict and Culture, Department of History, University of Western Ontario, are presenting the 17th Military History Colloquium at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, 4-6 May 2006. The preliminary program is, as usual, very impressive and wide-ranging in scope. Starting with a public keynote address the first evening by Stephen Badsey, "Normandy 1944: The Battle of the Nations", the conference kicks into full gear on 5 May with presentations on the Canadian Army 1944-45, the Canadian Corps during the First World War, social aspects of the First and Second World Wars, the South African War, and more. The sessions on 6 May include papers naval history, the post-Second World War Canadian military, and military law and discipline.

10 April 2006

Canadian War Museum speakers series

If you find yourself in Ottawa in mid to late-April the Canadian War Museum is hosting two speakers of note as part of its speaker series. On April 13 Michael Whitby, Senior Naval Historian at National Defence Headquarters, will speak on his latest book, Commanding Canadians: The Second World War Diaries of A.F.C. Layard. Two weeks later, on April 27, Martin Auger will discuss his latest book, Prisoners of the Homefront: German POWs and 'Enemy Aliens' in Southern Quebec 1940-1946".

Some Canadian military history articles

Just some articles on Canadian military history from a few journals:

(1) Canadian Military Journal, vol. 6, no. 4 (Winter 2005-2006), contains two articles of note - "The Early Problems of a Famous Militia Regiment: Why the 86th Regiment Was Disbanded" by Desmond Morton and "A Bridge Too Far: The Canadian Role in the Evacuation of the British 1st Airborne Division from Arnhem-Oosterbeek, September 1944" by David Bennett;

(2) The Canadian Army Journal, vol. 8, no. 4 (Winter 2006), contains an article by Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret'd) Richard L. Bowes, CD, titled "The Canadian Cavalry Brigade: Waiting for the 'G'"; and

(3) Canadian Military History, vol. 14, no. 4 (October 2005) (table of contents) contains its usual wide range of excellent Canadian military history offerings including articles in this issue on Roger's Rangers, the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade during the First World War, wartime material on the South Saskatchewan Regiment, and much, much more.

Items from the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies

Here are two items from the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies out of the University of Calgary:

The centre is holding The 2006 Ross Ellis Memorial Lectures in Military and Strategic Studies from 1-3 May 2006, with Professor Jeremy Black, Exeter University, speaking. The third day's lecture is particularly of interest for this blog, as the topic is "The United States and Canada: Military Powers in Historical Perspective". Further information can be found here.

The CMSS and the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute published Winter 2005/06 issue of the electronic Journal of Military and Strategic Studies some time back. In its pages Laurel Halladay, University of Calgary, published a multimedia review titled "Renegotiating National Boundaries: Canadian Military Historians and Thematic Analysis".

09 April 2006

Latest Military History Offerings from UBC Press

The 2006 military history and security studies catalogue for the University of British Columbia Press has been issued and has a couple of new Canadian military history offerings:

Tim Cook, Clio's Warriors: Canadian Historians and the Writing of the World Wars (available in May);

Serge Durflinger, Fighting from Home: The Second World War in Verdun, Quebec (available in May).

The catalogue also lists numerous recently and previously published publications


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 now 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.