31 December 2007
James Pritchard, "Fifty-Six Minesweepers and the Toronto Shipbuilding Company during the Second World War";
Jan Drent (review essay), "Civil-Military Relations and Canada's 'Citizen' Navy (Richard Mayne, Betrayed: Scandal, Politics, and Canadian Naval Leadership)"; and
book reviews of Donald R. Hickey's Don't Give up the Ship!: Myths of the War of 1812 (as well as reviews of numerous non-Canadian naval history books).
29 December 2007
The programme begins with a social function at the mess, before proceeding to the annual general meeting. Papers on Canadian military history (there are also several non-Canadian subject lectures) to be presented include: Peter Broznitsky's "Forestry, Pioneer, and Railway Troops in the C.E.F." and Yvonne van Ruskenveld's "Canadian Women on Active Service in the Great War". In addition, the keynote speaker is Norman Leach, who will speak on "The Making of 'Passchendaele': The Movie". There will also be a mess dinner, a silent auction, and other opportunities for discussion.
27 December 2007
Leonard J. Gamble, So Far from Home: The Story of Armstrong's Fallen in the Great War, 1914-1919 (Armstrong, BC: LJ Gamble Pub., 2008);
Bernd Horn, Establishing a Legacy: The History of The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1881-1953 (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2008);
Andrew Iarocci, Shoestring Soldiers: The 1st Canadian Division at War, 1914-15 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008);
Mac Johnston, Corvettes Canada: Convoy Veterans of World War II tell their True Stories (Mississauga, ON: J. Wiley and Sons Canada, 2008);
George Burdon McKean, Scouting Thrills: The Memoir of a Scout Officer in the Great War, 2nd rev. ed.  (Ottawa: CEF Books, 2007); and
Francis M. Wafer, A Surgeon in the Army of the Potomac, ed. by Cheryl A. Wells (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008).
The catalogue entry for the book notes:
General H.D.G. 'Harry' Crerar (1888-1965) was involved in or directly responsible for many of the defining moments of Canadian military history in the twentieth century. In the First World War, Crerar was nearly killed at the second battle of Ypres, was a gunner who helped to secure victory at Vimy Ridge, and was a senior staff officer during the pivotal battles of the last Hundred Days. During the Second World War, he occupied and often defined the Canadian army's senior staff and operational appointments, including his tenure as commander of First Canadian Army through the northwest European campaign.Henry Roper, with The Chronicle Herald (Halifax), has published a review in that paper of Dickson's biography of Crerar.
Despite his pivotal role in shaping the Canadian army, however, General Crerar has been long overlooked as a subject of biography. In A Thoroughly Canadian General, Paul Douglas Dickson examines the man and his controversial place in Canadian military history, arguing that Crerar was a nationalist who saw the army as an instrument to promote Canadian identity and civic responsibility. From his days as a student at the Royal Military College in Kingston, to his role as primary architect of First Canadian Army, the career of General H.D.G. Crerar is thoroughly examined with a view to considering and reinforcing his place in the history of Canada and its armed forces."
21 December 2007
Eric McGeer, a history and Latin teacher in Toronto, Ontario, has most definitely put his heart into this book, and it shows. This is, above all else, a labour of love and a definite tribute to the possibilities of material history - a form of public history still underutilized in Canada, particularly in the study of Canadian military history.
Words of Valediction and Remembrance deals with the text found on Canadian military headstones of the Second World War - in particular the bottom few lines where family were given room by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to record their own statements of fact, emotion, and memory. A visit by the author to Normandy in 1998 led to his reading these epitaphs:
It struck me that in their abundance and diversity these individual expressions of sorrow and consolation, touching, heartfelt, and permanent, spoke more poignantly than any memorial for the burden of loss borne by thousands of parents, wives, and children for the rest of their lives.McGeer explains that the intention of the book is to provide the reader with "a meaningful testimonial to the efforts and sacrifice of an earlier generation". Not only does it reflect the losses suffered by the individual themselves, but also those of the family left behind. To do this the author has gathered as many examples as possible - although not too many in his opinion - from cemeteries well-known and obscure throughout the various Canadian theatres of the Second World War.
Most of the chapters in the book revolve around a particular theme. He begins by discussing Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in France as an introduction to the subject and its general place in the Canadian wartime experience. It is here that the reader gets some of the details about the typical headstone - the types of information contained, the order of information, and the fact that up to sixty-six characters were permitted for "a personal inscription" - the epitaph. Throughout the chapter, and every subsequent chapter, are examples of epitaphs supporting particular areas of discussion. Some are formulaic, others heartfelt, others absolutely distraught (for the family and the reader).
McGeer then moves on to Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery in France - from "up" to "down" emotionally - and the haunting memory which the wartime operation still leaves and which the cemetery can only reinforce. Then comes Calais Canadian War Cemetery in France as the centrepiece of a discussion on the influence of the epitaphs and memory of the First World War on the Second World War inscriptions. If nothing else, and there is much else to digest in the chapter, it is - as the author points out - a reminder that for the soldiers and families the losses of the First and Second World Wars were only a matter of a few years apart.
Holten Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands provides the core for the discussion of the connections of wartime epitaphs with themes brought forward throughout Western civilization from the time of antiquity. The losses suffered by the members of the Royal Canadian Air Force are introduced by Hanover War Cemetery, in Germany, a reminder that although First World War Canadian headstones are (statistically) almost entirely army-related, in the Second World War the air force shared the staggering losses suffered by the army. Here, and elsewhere throughout the war graves system, the badge of the Royal Canadian Air Force lies alongside airmen from throughout the Commonwealth.
Adegem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium provides the scene for a discussion of professions of loyalty - to Canada, to the empire, to each other - as a theme of epitaphs. Next comes a chapter simply listing epitaphs in chronological order, an attempt "to replicate a visit to any given war cemetery."
A discussion of epitaphs specific to French-Canadians, with Gradara War Cemetery in Italy as the base, is next, the author's goal to show the themes - both common and different from other Canadians - found in French-Canadian inscriptions. Next comes Cassino War Cemetery in Italy as a similar discussion of Canadian ethnic minorities - epitaphs which come in a multitude of languages and alphabets and reflect common and some unique themes. Agira Canadian War Cemetery in Sicily likewise sets the stage for Jewish-Canadians and the epitaphs provided by their families.
Finally, McGeer returns to Normandy in the form of Bretteville-sur-Laize Cemetery, as he completes the loop and provides closure to the subject.
As I said at the very beginning of this review, I'm not sure what to say about this book. I think it is definitely a worthy and important subject. Yet, I'm not certain this was the best way to deal with it. Sometimes, I found there to be a conflict - as a reader - between my emotional reaction to the epitaphs and the analytical work which McGeer was trying to undertake. It's hard to read with your heart and your mind at the same time.
Sometimes, I was simply overwhelmed with the number of epitaphs quoted.
Most of all, however, I think had the hardest time with the organization of the book. In short, I'm not sure tying a theme to a particular cemetery worked all that well. It might, in my opinion, have been better to allow the themes to dominate, with the particular locations being less prominent. I realize that doing that would have defeated the purpose of encouraging notice of particular cemeteries in the first place. I don't have the answer. All I know is that this might be part of the difficulty in trying to marry up "commemoration" (emotional) with "memory studies" (analytical) - a combination which lays at the foundation of this book.
Regardless of this - and maybe I'm the only reader having a hard time taking it all in - McGeer writes that his "main purpose in writing this book has been to inspire Canadians travelling abroad to visit the war cemeteries where their forebears lie at rest and to look with renewed interest at the story that the monuments and epitaphs combine to tell."
Words of Valediction and Remembrance absolutely fulfils that purpose.
20 December 2007
Deborah Cowan, Military Workfare: The Soldier and Social Citizenship in Canada (to be published 18 April 2008) [I'm not sure how much this qualifies as military history without seeing it]; and
Andrew Iarocci, Shoestring Soldiers: The 1st Canadian Division at War, 1914-1915 (to be published 29 June 2008).
17 December 2007
Robert B. Bryce, Canada and the Cost of World War II: The International Operations of Canada's Department of Finance, 1939-1947 (Montreal, 2005); and
Mélanie Morin-Pelletier, Briser les ailes de l'ange : Les infirmières militaires canadiennes (1914-1918) (Outremont, QC, 2006).
15 December 2007
12 December 2007
Stephen Brumwell, Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe; and
Francis M. Wafer, A Surgeon in the Army of the Potomac, Ed. by Cheryl A. Wells [Wafer was a Canadian].
08 December 2007
04 December 2007
Wesley M. Alkenbrack's "First Deployment of the 14th Field Regiment, RCA: D-Day - Bernières-sur-Mer - 6 June 1944";
Tony Balasevicius and Greg Smith's "Fighting the Mujahideen: Lessons from the Soviet Counter-Insurgency Experience in Afghanistan";
Laura Brandon's "A War Artist's Legacy: Patrick G. Cowley-Brown (1918-2007);
John R. Grodzinski's "'Bloody Provost': Discipline during the War of 1812";
Bernd Horn and Bill Bentley's "The Road to Transformation: Ascending from the Decade of Darkness";
Andrew Iarocci's "Close Fire Support: Sexton Self-Propelled Guns of the 23rd Field Regiment, 1942-1945";
Marc Milner's "The Guns of Bretteville: 13th Field Regiment, RCA, and the Defence of Bretteville-l'Orgueilleuse, 7-10 June 1944";
and my own "The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's 'Debt of Honour Register'", the first in a series of short pieces on electronic resources with respect to Canadian military history.
30 November 2007
Fred Bagley, They Answered the Call: Nine Canadians go to War (Calgary, 2007);
William Arthur Bishop, True Canadian Battles that Forged our Nation, (reprint of Canada's Glory) (Toronto, 2008);
Waite Brooks, A Midshipman's Story: The British Pacific Fleet in World War II and Other Experiences (Victoria, 2008);
P. Whitney Lackenbauer and Craig Leslie Mantle (Eds.), Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian Military Historical Perspectives (Winnipeg, 2007);
Blake W. Smith, Wings over the Wilderness: They Flew the Trail of '42 (Surrey, BC, 2007);
G. Gordon Symons, The Boys of Spring: An Autobiography from World War II, revised edition (Toronto, 2007); and
Jim Wallace, No Colours No Drums: Canadians in the South African Constabulary (Winnipeg, 2008).
27 November 2007
Upon its release earlier this fall, At the Sharp End was touted by the publisher as the “first comprehensive history of Canadians in the Great War in more than forty years”. If true, such a claim would make this the successor of Colonel GWL Nicholson’s official history, Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919, the one volume abridgement of the previously-dropped official history series, published by the Department of National Defence in 1964.
Considering the First World War to be viewed as more than just a military conflict, also marking “the birth of the modern” (p.2), presenting an incredible tragedy, and the genesis of rampant nationalism, Cook obviously sees this as a story which must be written. Canada’s role in the war was very costly and has, naturally, been the subject of countless other histories. Where Cook sees his as being different is that, in his opinion (p.3),
only a few studies have chronicled the full experience of combat in the Canadian Corps, and what it meant to those men who were forced to partake in the vicious, relentless, and mind-numbing arena of kill or be killed. This book offers a detailed history of the Canadians at the sharp end of battle, and their painful process of learning how first to survive on the battlefield, and then how to effectively wage war on the Western Front.Within that context, the author especially attempts to deal with the “combat effectiveness of the Canadian Corps” – both the good and the bad – with a particular focus on the infantry, that arm of the corps which suffered the greatest number of casualties.
From the very start, the wide-range of primary documentation consulted in this book is impressive. Library and Archives Canada, the Imperial War Museum, the Canadian War Museum, numerous other museums, personal memoirs, articles, books, online repositories, websites – all make their way into the footnotes in what can only be described as a massive research undertaking. Cook has undoubtedly also been fortunate within his career, where being an employee of Library and Archives Canada and, later, the Canadian War Museum has allowed him the time (although with no more access than any of the rest of us) to dive deep into their respective First World War holdings.
Volume 1 of At the Sharp End constitutes forty chapters – mostly a chronological unfolding of the period from June 1914 to November 1916 (the end of the Battle of the Somme), but also interweaving chapters on specific subjects of note.
The book begins with an overview of the outbreak of the war and Canada’s initial response to it. It is also the reader’s introduction to Sam Hughes, the Minister of Militia of Defence, who Cook handles quite even-handedly, criticizing when necessary, but also noting his accomplishments. What is immediately apparent is Cook’s writing style has continued to improve and, truth be told, he has always been a strong writer. If I understand the genre properly, the style is excellent literary non-fiction – literate, engaging, solid.
A chapter on Camp Valcartier in 1914 recounts much that is familiar to long-time readers of Canadian military history. However, I imagine the target audience will find it new ground, with much to offer. That can be said of many parts of the book – this is, after all, a comprehensive, yet general, history of the Canadian Corps (when the two volumes are considered together). Cook’s decision to intersperse sections of text that provide important and specific information, in this chapter’s case the typical composition of a 1914 infantry battalion (from battalion to company to platoon to section), are an added touch to explaining the war to the average reader. It is also in this chapter that the author begins to incorporate what can only be described as a touch of “war and society” or the (now fairly old) “new military history” to the narrative, discussions of gossiping, alcohol, living conditions, etc.
After a chapter on the opening combat on the Western Front, the Canadian 1st Division arrives in England, and so does the narrative of the book. The next couple of chapters deal with the division’s acclimatization to the environment, the British Army, and the intricacies of training for combat.
In chapter seven the 1st Division arrives on the Western Front to begin its tour of duty within the British Expeditionary Force. Cook now embarks on numerous chapters incorporating the fighting of the 1st Division, then the 2nd, 3rd, and, finally, the 4th Division – together the Canadian Corps – in France and Flanders. In as much space as possible, he provides detailed battlefield and operational descriptions of battles, discussions of living conditions, morale issues, leadership, and dozens of other factors, all the while exploring the development of the Canadian Corps as a fighting formation.
You can almost hear him asking as you follow the text: “did they learn anything from this defeat?”, “...from this victory?”, “how did this development take the corps one step closer to being an elite formation?”, etc., etc. How well, or poorly, the Canadian Corps and the BEF in general, answered questions such as these form the core of Cook’s narrative. For example, at the end of the discussion of the Battle of Festubert, he writes (p.215): “The key to battlefield victory in the coming year would be the efficient training and marrying of artillery and infantry into a coherent mailed fist that smashed enemy strongpoints, allowing the infantry a fighting chance at crossing the killing ground, and then helping them hold captured ground against enemy counterattacks.” All in all, the experience of the Canadian Corps in 1915-16 – and presumably in the second volume to come – is presented as a learning curve.
Throughout this trip to the end of the Somme, Cook takes a few detours in chapters dedicated to specific topics which, although they might not fit within the overall chronology of the book, are commonplace in the life of a Canadian soldier during the war. Topics covered include battlefield medicine, trench life (I’d call it existence, more than life), daily routine (food, latrines, and cigarettes), death, No Man’s Land, snipers, trench raids, and rest and recreation.
Throughout the book the author – in my opinion – has a bit of a tendency to fall into the trap that many authors of First World War battlefield operations encounter either explicitly or implicitly. To be blunt, every unit, in every major attack, is completely destroyed. Don’t get me wrong, the casualties suffered by Canadian infantry units at the front were devastating. The numbers reflect that. Nonetheless, I’m not sure the case has been made for the wholesale, and repeated, absolute destruction of front-line formations. Cook deals with some of the numbers, but this book is not about the subject in particular, nor should it be. Until someone researches and writes a definitive view of the numerical/structural balance or imbalance of a Canadian front-line unit or units over the course of the war, I guess I will continue to be disinclined to accept the impression here and elsewhere concerning the devastation suffered.
I noted a couple of errors in the text. The author’s discussion of the 60th Battalion, CEF, (p.348) describes it as the Canadian Corps’ second serving French-Canadian battalion (after the 22nd) and that it was pulled from the line when French-speaking recruits could no longer keep up its numbers. The 60th Battalion “Victoria Rifles of Canada” was formed in Montreal in 1915 by the English-language 1st Regiment “Canadian Grenadier Guards”, the 3rd Regiment “Victoria Rifles of Canada”, the 55th Regiment, and the 58th “Westmount Rifles”. Although there were undoubtedly Francophone soldiers in the unit throughout its existence, it was an English-language unit broken up after the flow of English-language recruits from Montreal became insufficient to support the incredibly large number of English-speaking units from Montreal then serving in the Canadian Corps.
Cook’s use of particular material from Private John McNab’s diary in the chapter of the Battle of Courcelette (15 September 1916) (p.456) also appears out of place as the events he is describing took place during the 38th Battalion’s attack at Desire Trench on 18 November 1916.
Finally, although I found the maps to be excellent and very useful, sometimes I found their placement in the book to be, well, strange and not where I think the author would have wished them placed to be of the most use for the reader.
However, such minor points from a picky reviewer should not detract from the fact that Tim Cook has researched, felt the passion for, and written a fantastic book on the experience of the Canadian Corps up to the end of 1916. Does it replace Nicholson as the comprehensive history of the corps? Perhaps, although to be honest, I think that would be comparing apples and oranges, each book having different goals, appearing in different eras historiographically, and being produced under different constraints. Without a doubt, At the Sharp End, volume 1, will become – and deserves to be – at home on a lot of Canadian bookshelves as the overall history of (much of) the Canadian contribution to the First World War.
26 November 2007
23 November 2007
22 November 2007
20 November 2007
18 November 2007
16 November 2007
Major Andrew B. Godefroy, "The Canadian Army Journal, 1947-2007" / « Le Journal de l'Armée du Canada 1947-2007 »;
Major George Jager, "Sinews of Steel: Canadian Railway Troops on the Western Front, 1914-1918" / « Des routes d'acier : la contribution des troupes ferroviaires canadiennes sur le front ouest, 1914-1918 »;
as well as several book reviews.
15 November 2007
12 November 2007
John MacFarlane, « La longue marche de l'Afrique du Sud : en mémoire des Canadiens français qui ont participé à la première intervention militaire du Canada au XXe siècle », Mens : Revue d'histoire intellectuelle de l'Amérique française, vol.vii, no.2;
Timothy C. Winegard, "The Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force, 1919-1919, and the Complications of Coalition Warfare", Journal of Slavic Military Studies, vol.20 (April-June 2007): 283-328.
10 November 2007
07 November 2007
R.H. Caldwell, "The VE Day Riots in Halifax, 7-8 May 1945" (vol.10, no.1, pp.3-20);
Elizabeth B. Elliot-Meisel, "Arctic Focus: The Royal Canadian Navy in Arctic Waters, 1946-1949" (vol.9, no.2, pp.23-39);
Richard Gimblett, "'Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Seamen': The Lower-Deck Complement of a Postwar Canadian Navy Destroyer - The Case of HMCS Crescent, March 1949" (vol.9, no.3, pp.1-22);
Richard Oliver Mayne, "A Covert Naval Investigation: Overseas Officers, John J. Connolly, and the Equipment Crisis of 1943" (vol.10, no.1, pp.37-52);
James McCrostie, "'Women and Seamen Don't Mix': VD in Canada's Merchant Navy, 1942-1945" (vol.9, no.4, pp.1-12);
Bill Rawling, "Only 'A Foolish Escapade by Young Ratings?': Case Studies of Mutiny in the Wartime Royal Canadian Navy" (vol.10, no.2, pp.59-70);
Joseph Scanlon, "Source of Threat and Source of Assistance: The Maritime Aspect of the 1917 Halifax Explosion" (vol.10, no.4, pp.39-50);
David Syrett, "The Battle for Convoy HG-75, 22-29 October 1941" (vol.9, no.1, pp.41-51); and
David Syrett, "On the Threshold of Victory: Communications Intelligence and the Battle for Convoy HX-228, 7-12 March 1943" (vol.10, no.3, pp.49-55).
05 November 2007
This issue's "Recent Publications Relating to Canada" (prepared by Michael D. Stevenson) includes the following of interest to Canadian military history:
Ted Barris, Victory at Vimy: Canada Comes of Age, April 9-12, 1917 (Markham, ON, 2006);
John Blaxland, "Strategic Cousins: Canada, Australia and Their Use of Expeditionary Forces from the Boer War to the War on Terror", PhD dissertation, Royal Military College of Canada, 2004;
Stephen Brumwell, Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe (Montreal, 2007);
David Campbell, "The Divisional Experience of the C.E.F.: A Social and Operational History of the 2nd Canadian Division, 1915-1918", PhD dissertation, University of Calgary, 2004;
Frances Jewel Dickson, The DEW Line Years: Voices from the Coldest Cold War (East Lawrencetown, 2007);
Tom Douglas, The Battle of Vimy Ridge: The Great Canadian Victory of World War I (Canmore, AB, 2007);
Daniel Galvin, "A Role of Canada in an African Crisis: Perceptions of the Congo Crisis and Motivations for Canadian Participation", MA thesis, University of Guelph, 2004;
Andrew Godefroy, "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;
James Goodwin, Our Gallant Doctor: Surgeon-Lieutenant George Hendry and HMCS Ottawa (Toronto, 2007);
W. James MacDonald, Honour Roll: The Nova Scotia Overseas Highland Brigade (Sydney, 2007);
John Maker, "Battalion Leadership in the Essex Scottish Regiment and the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade during the Second World War", MA thesis, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2004;
Marc Milner, D-Day to Carpiquet: The North Shore Regiment and the Liberation of Europe (Fredericton, 2007);
John Nelson Rickard, "McNaughton's Dagger: The Raising, Training, and Employment of the Canadian Army, 1939-1943", PhD dissertation, University of New Brunswick, 2006;
Julie Root, "Canadian-American Relations and the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea, 1947 to 1948", MA thesis, University of New Brunswick, 2005;
Gordon E. Tolton, Prairie Warships: River Navigation in the Northwest Rebellion (Surrey, 2007); and
Richard Walker, "The Political Management of Army Leadership: The Evolution of Canadian Civil-Army Relations, 1898-1945", PhD dissertation, University of Western Ontario, 2004.
01 November 2007
Clayton E. Beattie, The Bulletproof Flag: Canadian Peacekeeping Forces and the War in Cyprus (Maxville, ON, 2007);
Serge Bernier, et.al., The Military History of Quebec City, 1608-2008 (Montreal, 2008);
-----, Québec, ville militaire, 1608-2008 (Montréal, 2008);
Jack Fitzgerald, The Jack Ford Story: Newfoundland's POW in Nagasaki (St. John's, NL, 2007);
Geoffrey Hayes, The Lincs: A History of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment at War, 2nd edition (Waterloo, ON, 2007);
J.W. Kennedy, From the War Diaries of Sgt. J.W. Kennedy, Second Canadian Division, 24th Battalion, Victoria Rifles of Canada, 1915-1919 (Portland, ON, 2007); and
B.D. Tennyson, Percy Wilmot: Cape Bretoner at War (Sydney, NS, 2007)
29 October 2007
Adam Lajeunesse, "The Distant Early Warning Line and the Canadian Battle for Public Perception" / ; « Le réseau d'alerte avancé et la bataille de la perception au Canada »
Gregory Liedtke, "Canadian Offensive Operations in Normandy Revisited" / « Un nouveau regard sur les opérations offensives canadiennes en Normandie »; and
Lieutenant Timothy C. Winegard, "Special Report: Here at Vimy: A Retrospective - the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge" / « Compte rendu spécial - ici à Vimy : Retour sur le 90e anniversaire de la bataille de Vimy »;
as well as several book reviews.
27 October 2007
John G. Armstrong, "Letters from Halifax: Reliving the Halifax Explosion through the Eyes of My Grandfather, A Sailor in the Royal Canadian Navy" (vol.8, no.4, pp.55-74);
Dan Conlin, "A Private War in the Caribbean: Nova Scotia Privateering, 1793-1805" (vol.6, no.4, pp.29-46);
Jan Drent, "Labour Unions in a Wartime Essential Industry: Shipyard Workers in BC, 1939-1945" (vol.6, no.4, pp.47-64);
Robert C. Fisher, "The Impact of German Technology on the Royal Canadian Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic, 1942-1943" (vol.7, no.4, pp.1-13);
Morgiana P. Halley, "'Death Was Their Escort, and Glory Passed Them By': Life in the Marine Convoys of World War II" (vol.7, no.1, pp.45-54);
Faye M. Kert, "The Fortunes of War: Commercial Warfare and Maritime Risk in the War of 1812" (vol.8, no.4, pp.1-16);
Galen Roger Perras, "The Defence of Alaska Must Remain a Primary Concern of the United States: Canada and the North Pacific, May-June 1942" (vol.7, no.4, pp.29-43);
Bill Rawling, "A Lonely Ambassador: HMCS Uganda and the War in the Pacific" (vol.8, no.1, pp.39-63);
David Syrett, "The Battle for Convoy UC-1, 23-27 February 1943" (vol.6, no.1, pp.21-27); and
David Syrett, "The Battle for Convoy ONS-154, 26-31 December 1942" (vol.7, no.2, pp.41-50)
26 October 2007
Terry Copp, Wilfrid Laurier University, "Cinderella Army: The Canadians in Northwest Europe, 1944-45";
John Grodzinski, The Royal Military College of Canada, "Men of Good Character and Intelligence: The Lincoln Militia in the War of 1812";
Russell Johnston and Michael Ripmeester, Brock University, "A Monument's Work is Never Done: The Watson Memorial, Memory and Forgetting in a Small Canadian City";
Mark Humphries, University of Western Ontario, "The Tunnels of Vimy"; and
Geoffrey Hayes, University of Waterloo, "The Battle for Bergen-op-Zoom, October 1944".
Further information can be requested from Geoffrey Hayes, (519)-888-4567 ext. 35138 and firstname.lastname@example.org or Captain Chris White, (905)-685-6777 ext. 3531 and email@example.com.
25 October 2007
24 October 2007
This book provides an extensive examination of the subject and includes discussions of topics ranging from love, courtship, and marriage to work to military spouses to high society to women in combat, as well as extracts from contemporary documentation.
Don also adds, in typical fashion, that the bookstore "is conveniently located across the street from the US Embassy in case you wish to emigrate and the National Gallery is a stone's throw away in case you want a more intellectual activity. Also, the Earl of Sussex Pub is two doors down the street if you wish to talk to her husband."
23 October 2007
the technical side of things (command and control systems, weapons, and propulsion), the life of the ship's company (where they ate and slept, what they did for recreation, how they coped with frigid arctic waters as they battled German U-boats in the Second World War - and how a bunny became Haida's first mascot), the pictures and captions tell the stories of the life of this amazing ship.Further information on this book can be gotten by contacting Vanwell Publishing Limited.
22 October 2007
The Maple Leaf / la feuille d'érable notes:
This multidisciplinary meeting will have speakers from various fields of expertise and background experience, Canadian and European militaries, as well as Canadian, European and African researchers, who will present papers on a common theme, the place, role, and experience of women within armed forces or in armed conflict.Among the papers to be presented are a few specifically focusing on Canadian military history, including:
[...] Le colloque réunira des participants et des conférenciers issue de disciplines et de champs d'expérience variés. Des militaires canadiens et européens ainsi que des chercheurs canadiens, européens et africains deront des présentations sur la place, sur le rôle et sur l'expérience des femmes au sein des armées ou en temps de guerre.
BGen Christine T. Whitecross, Commander Joint Task Force North / Commandante de la Force opérationelle interarmées (Nord), "Women in the Military - A Personal Perspective";
Karen Davis, Canadian Forces Leadership Institute / Institut de leadership des Forces canadiennes, "Public Discourse and the Warrior Paradigm: Canadian Casualties in Afghanistan, 2006"; and
Major Heather Macquarrie, Directorate of Human Rights and Diversity / Direction des droits de la personne et diversité, DND / MND, "Gender Integration in the Canadian Forces, 1970-2007".
20 October 2007
The rain held off on a cloudy day here in Ottawa. The ceremony was well-conducted and very emotional but, unfortunately, rather sparsely attended. The Mayor of Ottawa, Mr. Larry O'Brien, was in attendance, however, as an honoured guest of the regiment. Any opportunity to further cement the position of the Camerons as "Ottawa's Regiment" is always a good thing. I've uploaded some photos to my Flickr account. Give them a look.
18 October 2007
David Pierce Beatty, "Petty Officer First Class E. Leslie Goodwin: A Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer in World War I" (vol.3, no.2, pp.19-32);
Carl Benn, "Toronto Harbour and the Defence of the Great Lakes Region, 1783-1870" (vol.4, no.1, pp.1-15);
Shawn Cafferky, "'A Useful Lot, These Canadian Ships': The Royal Canadian Navy and Operation Torch, 1942-1943" (vol.3, no.4, pp.1-17);
Dean Chapelle, "Building a Bigger Stick: The Construction of Tribal Class Destroyers in Canada, 1940-1948" (vol.5, no.1, pp.1-17);
Robert C. Fisher, "'We'll Get Our Own': Canada and the Oil Shipping Crisis of 1942" (vol.3, no.2, pp.33-39);
Robert C. Fisher, "Canadian Merchant Ship Losses, 1939-1945" (vol.5, no.3, pp.57-73);
Richard H. Gimblett, "Reassessing the Dreadnought Crisis of 1909 and the Origins of the Royal Canadian Navy" (vol.4, no.1, pp.35-53);
Fred Hopkins, "Emergency Fleet Corporation Ship Construction in World War I in the Pacific Northwest" (vol.4, no.4, pp.15-22);
Ted L. McDorman, "Canada's 1994 International Fisheries Actions" (vol.5, no.2, pp.47-56);
Fraser M. McKee, "An Explosive Story: The Rise and Fall of the Common Depth Charge" (vol.3, no.1, pp.45-48);
Alexander A. McKenzie, "Cruising the Labrador, or LORAN in 1941-1942: A Memoir" (vol.4, no.4, pp.23-39);
Douglas M. McLean, "The Battle of Convoy BX-141" (vol.3, no.4, pp.19-35);
David Syrett, "The Last Murmansk Convoys, 11 March-30 May 1945" (vol.4, no.1, pp.55-63);
David Syrett, "Failure at Sea: Wolf Pack Operations in the North Atlantic, 10 February-22 March 1944" (vol.5, no.1, pp.33-43);
Paul Webb, "British Squadrons in North American Waters, 1783-1793" (vol.5, no.2, pp.19-34); and
Jay White, "Hardly Heroes: Canadian Merchant Seamen and the International Convoy System, 1939-1945" (vol.5, no.4, pp.19-36).
16 October 2007
David Pierce Beatty, "The 'Canadian Corollary' to the Monroe Doctrine and the Ogdensburg Agreement of 1940" (vol.1, no.1, pp.3-22);
S. Mathwin Davis, "The Defence Supply Naval Shipbuilding Panel, 1955-1965" (vol.2, no.4, pp.1-14);
W.A.B. Douglas, "The Prospects for Naval History" (vol.1, no.4, pp.19-26);
Lewis R. Fischer, M. Stephen Salmon and Garth S. Wilson, "Canadian maritime bibliography" (vol.1, no.4, pp.33-43);
Donald E. Graves, "'Hell Boats' of the RCN: The Canadian Navy and the Motor Torpedo Boat, 1936-1941" (vol.2, no.3, pp.31-45);
Fraser M. McKee, "Some Revisionist History in the Battle of the Atlantic" (vol.1, no.4, pp.27-32);
T.C. Pullen, "Convoy O.N. 127 and the Loss of HMCS Ottawa, 13 September, 1942: A Personal Reminiscence" (vol.2, no.2, pp.1-27);
Graham Rowley, "Captain T.C. Pullen, RCN: Polar Navigator" (vol.2, no.2, pp.29-49);
Brian Douglas Tennyson, "Sydney Harbour's Contribution to Atlantic Canada's Coastal Defence: An Introduction" (vol.1, no.2, pp.23-30); and
Michael Whitby, "Instruments of Security: The Royal Canadian Navy's Procurement of the Tribal-Class Destroyers, 1938-1943" (vol.2, no.3, pp.1-15).
12 October 2007
Coreen Atkins, In Our Defense: The Veterans and Military Heritage of Historic Osgoode Township (Vernon, ON, 2007);
Matthew Bin, On Guard for Thee: Canadian Peacekeeping Missions (Toronto, 2007);
Bob Blakeley, The Civilian Soldier: A Complete History of the Norfolk Militia 1796-2007 (Waterford, ON, 2007);
Howard Coombs, The Insubordinate and the Noncompliant: Case Studies of Canadian Mutiny and Disobedience, 1920 to Present (Toronto, 2007);
Sylvia Crooks, Homefront & Battlefront: Nelson BC in World War II (Vancouver, 2007);
Fred Doucette, Empty Casing: A Soldier's Memoir of Sarajevo under Siege (Vancouver, 2008);
Suzanne K. Edwards, Gus: From Trapper Boy to Air Marshal (Renfrew, ON, 2007);
Harry L. Gill, Hurricane Pilot: The Wartime Letters of W.O. Harry L. Gill, DFM, 1940-1943 (Fredericton, 2007);
Lance Goddard, Hell and High Water: Canada and the Italian Campaign (Toronto, 2007);
Dianne Graves, In the Midst of Alarms: The Untold Story of Women in the War of 1812 (Montreal, 2007);
Larry Gray, Canadians in the Battle of the Atlantic (Edmonton, 2007);
Joseph T. Jockel, Canada in NORAD, 1957-2007: A History (Kingston, 2007);
P. Whitney Lackenbauer, R. Scott Sheffield and Craig Leslie Mantle (Eds.), Aboriginal Peoples and Military Participation: Canadian and International Perspectives (Winnipeg, 2007);
Chris Lambie, On Assignment in Afghanistan: The Day-to-Day Life of Maritimers at War (Halifax, 2007);
Eric McGeer, Valediction and Remembrance: Canadian Epitaphs of the Second World War (St. Catharines, ON, 2007);
Pat McNorgan (Ed.), 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron History (Winnipeg, 2007);
Kevin Patterson and E. Jane Warren, Outside the Wire: The War in Afghanistan in the Words of its Participants (Toronto, 2007); and
Graeme F. Somerville, With Steadfast Remembrance: A Commemoration of the Twelve Men from the Former Communities of Armstrongs Corner, Clones, Fowler's Corner, New Jerusalem and Olinville (Communities that were taken up by Canadian Forces Base Gagetown) who gave their lives in the Service of Canada (St. John, NB, 2007).
Tim Cook, "1917: The Other Battles";
Terry Copp, "Draining the Devil's Brigade";
Adam Day, "Operation MEDUSA: The Battle for Panjwai - Part 1: The Charge of Charlie Company" (okay, so it's really recent Canadian military history);
Hugh A. Halliday, "Tales of Flight" (RCAF prisoners of war);
Marc Milner, "Starting Wartime Expansion" (of the Royal Canadian Navy);
as well as book reviews by J.L. Granatstein of W.A.B. Douglas, et.al., A Blue Water Navy: The Official Operational History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War, 1943-45; James Goodwin, "Our Gallant Doctor": Enigma and Tragedy: Surgeon Lieutenant George Hendry and HMCS Ottawa, 1942; Stephen Brumwell, Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe; and, Paul Douglas Dickson, A Thoroughly Canadian General: A Biography of General H.D.G. Crerar.
11 October 2007
Katharine McGowan, University of Waterloo, will speak on Thursday, 18 October, at 7.00 p.m., on "Rethinking the Boer War: Sam Steele and the Strathcona's Horse in South Africa." This presentation will be held at 232 King Street at Wilfrid Laurier University (across the from the Athletic Complex).
At 7.00 p.m. on Thursday, 1 November, MGen Tim Grant, Deputy Commander, CEFCOM HQ, will speak at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (formerly the Seagram Museum), 57 Erb St. W., Waterloo, on "Reflections of a Senior Commander in Afghanistan".
Paul Dickson, Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Department of National Defence, will speak on Thursday, 22 November, at 7.00 p.m., at 232 King Street, on "General HDG Crerar and an Army for Strategic Effect".
On Thursday, 6 December, at 7.00 p.m. at the same location Tim Cook, Canadian War Museum, will speak on "Storm Troops: The Canadian Corps and the 1917 Battles".
For more information on this series contact Geoffrey Hayes (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mike Bechthold (email@example.com).
07 October 2007
I'm expecting a review copy of this book when it comes out, so I will write a review for The Cannon's Mouth.
04 October 2007
26 September 2007
Andrew Burtch, "Afghanistan: A Glimpse of War - Contemporary History at the Canadian War Museum";
G.C. Case, "Trial by Fire: Major-General Christopher Vokes at the Battles of the Moro River and Ortona, December 1943";
Mark Davidson, "Preparing for the Bomb: The Development of Civil Defence Policy in Canada, 1948-1963";
Bruno Friesen, "Kamerad, tritt ein!: German Trench Culture - An aspect of the Human side of the First World War";
Mark Osborne Humphries, John Maker and Wilhelm J. Kiesselbach, "The First Use of Poison Gas at Ypres: A Translation from the German Official History";
Richard O. Mayne, "The Great Naval Battle of North Point: Myth or Reality?";
as well as a piece from W.A.B. Douglas on the late Sydney F. (Syd) Wise.
24 September 2007
The site uses a built in video viewer to play the clips. A search function allows for textual searches, or the collection can be browsed according to a few menu selections. The coverage of these clips is fascinating, witnessing a wide range of the existence of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The website also contains an extensive and impressive bibliography on the history of the CEF.
20 September 2007
Speed's War (the author's nickname was Speed) is George Reid's memoirs of his service during the Second World War as a member of The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. Essentially, this book can be broken down into two parts: (1) his service with the regiment, especially the fighting in Sicily and Italy, and (2) his time as a prisoner of war. The balance of the book is definitely slanted towards the latter period, which is all the better in the sense that there are several memoirs of Canadian soldiers serving in the Italian campaign, but not that many devoted to life as a prisoner of war (unlike the plethora of such publications coming out of the First World War).
The author provides a humble preface to this book, text which lays out the intent and limitations of the narrative that follows:
"I don't mean to try to make a hero of myself in this short narrative of my experiences while in Sicily, Italy and eight POW camps. Many men did much more and gave much more. A lot would not have the thrill of coming home to family and friends, and seeing the changes in the hometown and country and the world that they fought and died for. This is not a thriller or a tall tale. This is a record of my own experiences during World War II. I recorded these memories several years after the end of the war and reconstructed dialogue as accurately as possible. Although some names and details are hazy, I recall the events vividly."Reid begins his memoirs with three chapters on his military service - enlistment, training, and operations. He quickly displays a simple, down-to-earth style in his writing and is willing to voice his opinion of his experiences, for example, admitting that he had initially tried to join the Royal Canadian Navy, only to end up in the Canadian Army instead. Reid provides some very interesting observations concerning the climate, living conditions, and enemy in the Italian campaign. At one point in the campaign in Sicily he writes:
"The smell of burnt bodies or just dead bodies, you never forget. Even if the towns or villages weren't bombed or shelled, you could smell them long before you saw them. At first it was the urine. We blamed the donkeys. Later it was the stench of dead and bloated bodies along with the urine from the animals. To this day, when I watch fighting on the television in areas of unrest in the world, the smells come back to me."Such passages go a long way to helping place the reader at the scene and provide an appreciation for some of the little things which a military veteran can never quite let go of, even sixty years after the fact. He also displays an ability, legitimately, to "name drop", describing his encounters with Smokey Smith, long before Smith went on to fame as a recipient of the Victoria Cross.
The next eight chapters deal with Reid's capture by the German Army in October 1943, his incarceration as a prisoner of war, and his eventual escape from captivity in April 1945. Again, much of this deals with his struggle with living conditions - food, clothing, and his health (in particular, recurring bouts of malaria contracted in Italy). These chapters provide him further opportunities to pass on his opinions of his fellow Canadians, but more often of other nationalities encountered along his travels - Germans, British, Australians, Russians, and Americans - guards, civilian supervisors, fellow prisoners, and fighting troops. However, the most interesting aspect of these chapters is the view inside camp life for at least one Canadian prisoner of war. All kinds of stories are resurrected - everything from officer/men relations to intriguing food combinations to the work routine to the awarding of the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal.
On occasion the text lacks names and dates which would make the going easier, but Reid began the book by noting that memory fades. The reader was warned. The major downside of this work, however, is its length. It's short - ringing it at 95 pages - and would probably be deemed a novella if it were fiction. That said, this is probably all the author wanted - or was willing - to say about his experiences. If he, or an editor, were to flush it out any further it would have undoubtedly detracted from what was written. And that would have been unfortunate, as this is a very readable and quite interesting book from a proud Canadian veteran with some distinctive stories to tell.
I'm not sure how widely available this book is to purchase, but Madrona Books can be contacted by phone at (250) 897-3256, by fax at (250) 897-3286, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
13 September 2007
Brumwell, Stephen, Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe (February 2007); and
Jockel, Joseph T., Canada in NORAD, 1957-2007: A History (July 2007).
as well as paperback editions of Brent Byron Watson, Far Eastern Tour: The Canadian Infantry in Korea, 1950-1953 and G.W.L. Nicholson, The Fighting Newfoundlander.
10 September 2007
06 September 2007
04 September 2007
Brown, Phyllis A., "Battle of the North Atlantic", MA thesis, Queens' College, 1988;
Dumbrell, Seanna L., "Canada and Cruise Missile Testing: The Limits of Interest Group Influence", MA thesis, Dalhousie University, 1988;
Hooker, Martha Ann, "In Defence of Unity: Canada's Military Policies, 1935-1944", MA thesis, Carleton University, 1986;
Lennox, Toby Charles Douglas, "Pressure Groups and Canadian Security Policy: The Case of the SDI and NORAD Decisions", MA thesis, Dalhousie University, 1986; and
Murphy, Terrence Joseph, "Canadian National Interest and NATO, 1968-1976: The Death and Resurrection of Canada's European Commitment", MA thesis, Queen's University, 1986.
30 August 2007
27 August 2007
To quote the site:
"The first phase of this project has involved the collating of examples of each type of document found in a soldier's World War 1 Canadian Expeditionary Force Service Records. Here you will find a preliminary selection, and I would like to encourage other researchers to contribute more. The guide designed partly to show prospective researchers what they can expect to find in a soldiers' service records, and partly to answer questions that I have had from fellow researchers wanting to know how they, too, can find out more of their particular soldier's military service."
The website includes detailed descriptions of the various types of documentation, as well as scans of actual paperwork. Types of documents covered include attestation records, discharge records, miscellaneous service records, medical records, pay records, and other commonly found documents (like passes and tickets). On the surface you might think this is not the most exciting content to read about. However, you'd be wrong, as an understanding of these records are absolutely necessary when trying to piece together an individual soldier's career during the First World War.
Brett welcomes "constructive comments, suggestions and contributions" to the site and can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
24 August 2007
Alan Bennett, Captain Roy Brown: The definitive biography, including his encounter with the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen (available Fall 2007);
Keith Butterley and Ken Macpherson, River Class Destroyers of the Royal Canadian Navy, 2nd edition (Fall 2007);
Eric McGeer, Valediction and Remembrance: Canadian Epitaphs of the Second World War (November 2007);
John Nelson Rickard, The Politics of Command: Lieutenant-General Andrew McNaughton and the Canadian Army, 1939-1943 (Fall 2007);
John Sliz, The Storm Boat Kings: The 23rd RCE at Arnhem (Fall 2007);
Eric Smylie, Lord Kitchener's Americans: The American Legion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1915-1919 (Fall 2007); and
Brian Tibbs, They Did Not Return: Honours St. Catharines Soldiers, 1939-1945 (November 2007).
22 August 2007
Serge Bernier, "La guerre froide et l'intervention canadienne en Corée", Cap-aux-Diamants, 84 (2006): 40-43;
Aimé-Jules Bizimana, "Les règlements militaires canadiens pour la presse durant la second Guerre Mondiale", Bulletin d'histoire politique, 14, no. 2 (2006): 199-203;
Elizabeth Domm, "Called to Duty: Medical and Nursing Care in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw during the North-West Rebellion", Saskatchewan History, vol. 58, no. 2 (2006): 15-23;
R.B. Fleming (Ed.), The Wartime Letters of Leslie and Cecil Frost, 1915-1919 (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007);
Robert J. Harding, "Glorious Tragedy: Newfoundland's Cultural Memory of the Attack at Beaumont Hamel, 1916-1925", Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, vol. 21, no. 1 (2006): 3-40;
Michael Hayden, "Why Are All Those Names on the Wall? The University of Saskatchewan and World War I", Saskatchewan History, vol. 58, no. 2 (2006): 4-14;
P. Whitney Lackenbauer, "'Of practically no use to anyone': Situating a Rifle Range on the Fort William Indian Reserve, 1905-1914", Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society Papers and Records, vol. 34 (2006): 3-28;
Bill Manning, "Showcasing the Military Aviation Uniform Collection at the Canadian Aviation Museum", Material Culture Review, vol. 63 (2006): 56-79;
Anthony P. Michel, "To Represent the Country in Egypt: Aboriginality, Britishness, Anglophone Canadian Identities, and the Nile Voyageur Contingent, 1884-1885", Histoire social/Social History, vol. 39, no. 77 (2006): 45-77;
Sean Mills, "French Canadians and the Beginning of the War of 1812: Revisiting the Lachine Riot", Histoire sociale/Social History, vol. 38, no. 75 (2005): 37-58;
Tamara Myers and Mary Anne Poutanen, "Cadets, Curfews, and Compulsory Schooling: Mobilizing Anglophone Children in World War II Montreal", Histoire social/Social History, vol. 38, no. 76 (2005): 367-398;
J. Andrew Ross, "The Paradox of Conn Smythe: Hockey, Memory, and the Second World War", Sport History Review, vol. 37, no. 1 (2006): 19-35; and
Andrew Theobald, "A Study of an Ontario Canadian Officers' Training Corps Contingent, 1939-1945", Ontario History, vol. 98, no. 1 (2006): 52-67.
18 August 2007
Carl Benn, Fort York: A Short History and Guide (Toronto, 2007);
Serge Bernier, et.al., Québec, ville militaire, 1608-2008 (Montréal, 2007);
Mike Bitten, Delta-T: A History of Training Development in the Canadian Forces (Kingston, 2007);
Christie Blatchford, Fifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from inside the new Canadian Army (Toronto, 2007);
N.M. Christie, Other Canadian Battlefields of the Great War, 1916-17: Festubert, Givenchy, St. Eloi and Hill 70 (Ottawa, 2007);
Liane Faulder, The Long Walk Home: Paul Franklin's Journey Home from Afghanistan (Edmonton, 2007);
Curtis Forsey, Grand Bank Soldier: The War Letters of Lance Corporal Curtis Forsey (St. John's, 2007);
Nathan M. Greenfield, Baptism of Fire: The Second Battle of Ypres and the Forging of Canada, April 1915 (Toronto, 2007);
Bernd Horn (Ed.), The Buck Stops Here: Senior Military Commanders on Operations (Kingston, 2007);
Bernd Horn and Craig Leslie Mantle (Eds.), Neither Art, Nor Science: Selected Canadian Military Leadership Profiles (Winnipeg, 2007);
A.J.B. Johnston, Endgame 1758: The Promise, the Glory, and the Despair of Louisbourg's Last Decade (Sydney, NS, 2008);
Larry Milberry, Canada's Air Forces on Exchange (Toronto, 2007);
Martin Petit, Quand les cons sont braves : mon parcours dans l'Armée canadienne (Montréal, 2007); and
Cynthia Toman, An Officer and a Lady: Canadian Military Nursing and the Second World War (Vancouver, 2007).
16 August 2007
Leversedge begins the book with a brief, yet interesting, history of "the military air services of Canada". This introduces the reader to the beginnings of military aviation in Canada in 1909, the comic existence of the Canadian Aviation Corps in 1914-15, before turning to the work of the Royal Flying Corps in Canada in 1917-18. The late-war creation of the Royal Canadian Naval Air Service and the first Canadian Air Force (1918-20) round out the early coverage of the subject. The author then turns to the creation of the second Canadian Air Force (1920-23) and its transformation and operations as the Royal Canadian Air Force (1924-68). As part of the latter subject, Leversedge covers the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, the Home War Establishment, the air force overseas, and "Tiger Force" in the Pacific. The rise of the functional commands in the 1950s and No. 1 Air Division in Europe are also discussed, as is aviation in the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army. Finally, he writes about the air force as it has existed since Unification in 1968, up to and including Canada's recent air activities in Afghanistan.
The first reference section - on aircraft on strength with the Canadian Forces - is, by far, the largest and covers and incredibly wide array of aircraft. Some of these were "one-offs", single aircraft purchased for one reason or another, while others were employed in the thousands. In the 1920s and 1930s the Royal Canadian Air Force flew a dozen Armstrong Whitworth Siskins, a state of the art fighter design at the time of their purchase. The Avro Anson, a two-engined trainer, was integral to Second World War training, and the air force flew more than 4,400 of them - the largest number of a single aircraft type ever operated by the Canadian military. Some aircraft in this category - such as the Avro Lancaster, the North American Mitchell, and the North American Mustang - represent post-Second World War usage of aircraft on the strength of the Royal Canadian Air Force often only thought of being used overseas during the war. Others, like the mail-carrying version of the Boeing Flying Fortress flown by No. 168 Squadron, fulfilled roles unfamiliar to many of us. The Canadair Silver Star stands out as the aircraft with the longest flying record in the Canadian military - fifty-two years between 1953 and 2005 when the last aircraft was retired. Perhaps in a few years this record may be surpassed by the Lockheed Hercules (1960-) or the Sikorsky Sea King (1961-). Many of these aircraft - particularly the floatplanes and trainers - are quite unfamiliar and to have images and text on these is very informative.
The next category are those aircraft ordered by Canadian Forces, but not yet in service. First on this list is the Boeing C-17 Globemaster, the first of which has just arrived in Canada for work-up training. Other aircraft in this category are updated versions of existing (Lockheed Martin Hercules) or previously-employed (Boeing Chinook) aircraft in use by the Canadian Forces.
This third category are non-Canadian Forces aircraft flown by Canadians during training, testing, or other military missions. This includes a wide range of circumstances, from the Avro Arrow tested by the Canadian military, to numerous fixed-wing and rotary-wing trainers, to the experimental Silver Dart which began it all in 1909.
The final category Leversedge discusses are non-Canadian Forces' aircraft flown by Canadians in operations or combat missions with foreign air forces. This covers familiar aircraft not on the strength of the Royal Canadian Air Force or Canadian Forces (for example, NATO's Boeing E-3 Sentry) as well as several aircraft flown by Canadians while on exchange with the United States Air Force or Royal Air Force, for example the British Aerospace Tornado, Grumman Hellcat, and the Vought Corsair.
Leversedge finishes the book with entries on a couple of airships flown in Canada as well as a section on missiles and remotely piloted vehicles, including the well-known Boeing Bomarc and the not-so-well-known SAGEM Sperwer unmanned aerial vehicle recently used in operations over Afghanistan.
Overall, this is an excellent reference tool, a book that will stay front and centre on my bookshelf for use many years into the future.
20 July 2007
E.P.S. Allen, The 116th Battalion in France, 1914-18 (Ottawa, 2005);
Sandy Antal and Kevin R. Shackleton, Duty Nobly Done: The Official History of The Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment (Windsor, ON, 2006);
David L. Bashow, No Prouder Place: Canadians and the Bomber Command Experience (St. Catharines, ON, 2005);
John Boileau, Half-Hearted Enemies: Nova Scotia, New England and the War of 1812 (Halifax, 2005);
John Boileau, Valiant Hearts: Atlantic Canada and the Victoria Cross (Halifax, 2005);
Craig B. Cameron (ed.), Born Lucky: RSM Harry Fox, MBE, One D-Day Dodger's Story (St. Catharines, ON, 2005);
Gary Campbell, The Road to Canada: The Grand Communications Route from Saint John to Quebec (Fredericton, 2005);
Bruce Cane (ed.), It Made You Think of Home: The Haunting Journal of Deward Barnes, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1916-1919 (Toronto, 2004);
Clifford J. Cate and Charles J. Cate, Notes: A Soldier's Memoir of World War I (Victoria, 2005);
Geraldine Chase and Bill Beswetherick, Gananoque Remembers: A Tribute to the Men Who Gave their Lives for Freedom (Gananoque, ON, 2005);
Albert P. Clark, 33 Months as a POW in Stalag Luft III: A World War II Airman Tells His Story (Golden, CO, 2005);
David R. Facey-Crowther (ed.), Lieutenant Owen William Steele of the Newfoundland Regiment: Diary and Letters (Montreal, 2002);
Cynthia J. Faryon, Unsung Heroes of the Royal Canadian Air Force: Incredible Tales of Courage and Daring during World War II (Canmore, AB, 2003);
Gordon S. Glen, A Memoriam to the Life of James Alpheus Glen, D.S.C. and Bar, Croix de Guerre avec Palme, Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Air Force, Canadian Air Force (Saskatoon, 2004);
Gordon S. Glen, A Memoriam to the Life of David Kenneth Glen, 2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, (B.C. Horse), Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force, Royal Naval Air Service and RAF (Saskatoon, 2004);
J.L. Granatstein, Hell's Corner: An Illustrated History of Canada's Great War, 1914-1918 (Vancouver, 2004);
Adrian Hayes, Pegahmagabow: Legendary Warrior, Forgotten Hero (Huntsville, ON, 2003);
Blake Heathcote, A Soldier's View: The Personal Photographs of Canadians at War, 1939-1945 (Toronto, 2005);
Gerald F. Holm and Anthony P. Buchner (eds.), A Place of Honour: Manitoba's War Dead Commemorated in its Geography (Winnipeg, n.d.);
John McKendrick Hughes, The Unwanted: Great War Letters from the Field (Edmonton, 2005);
Walter W. Igersheimer, Blatant Injustice: The Story of a Jewish Refugee from Nazi Germany Imprisoned in Britain and Canada during World War II (Montreal, 2005);
James Robert Johnston, Riding into War: The Memoir of a Horse Transport Driver, 1916-1919 (Fredericton, 2004);
Kenneth H. Joyce, Snow Plough and the Jupiter Deception: The Story of the 1st Special Service Force and the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion, 1942-1945 (St. Catharines, ON, 2006);
Wilfred Brenton Kerr, Arms and The Maple Leaf: The Memoir of Wilfred Kerr, Canadian Field Artillery, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1918 (Ottawa, 2005);
Wilfred Brenton Kerr, Shrieks and Crashes: The Memoir of Wilfred B. Kerr, Canadian Field Artillery, 1917 (Ottawa, 2005);
Frederick Luibby, Horses Don't Fly: A Memoir of World War I (New York, 2006);
Aidan MacCarthy, A Doctor's War (Cork, Ireland, 2005);
David Mackenzie (ed.), Canada and the First World War: Essays in Honour of Robert Craig Brown (Toronto, 2005);
Alan Mann, "No Return Ticket": Wallaceburg's War Casualties and Selected War Memories (Wallaceburg, ON, 2002);
Susan Mann, Margaret Macdonald: Imperial Daughter (Montreal, 2005);
Dan McCaffery, Dad's War: The Story of a Courageous Canadian Youth Who Flew with Bomber Command (Toronto, 2004);
G.B. McKean, Scouting Thrills: The Memoir of a Scout Officer in the Great War (Ottawa, 2003);
Desmond Morton, Fight or Pay: Soldiers' Families in the Great War (Vancouver, 2004);
Desmond Morton, Billet pour le front : Histoire sociale des volontairs canadiens (1914-1919), Outremont, QC, 2005);
Francis Patey, Veterans of the North (St. John's, 2003);
J.P. Pollock (ed.), Letters from Angus, 1915-1916 (Victoria, 2005);
Kenneth Radley, We Lead, Others Follow: First Canadian Division, 1914-1918 (St. Catharines, ON, 2006);
Wayne Ralph, Aces, Warriors and Wingmen: Firsthand Accounts of Canada's Fighter Pilots in the Second World War (Toronto, 2005);
Robert Rutherdale, Hometown Horizons: Local Responses to Canada's Great War (Vancouver, 2004);
Shane B. Schreiber, Shock Army of the British Empire: The Canadian Army in the Last 100 Days of the Great War (St. Catharines, ON, 2004);
Norm Shannon, From Baddeck to the Yalu: Stories of Canada's Airmen at War (Ottawa, 2005);
Donald D. Tansley, Growing Up and Going to War, 1925-1945 (Waterloon, ON, 2005);
Milly Walsh and John Callan (eds.), We're Not Dead Yet: The First World War Diary of Private Bert Cooke (St. Catharines, ON, 2006);
Jeffery Williams, Far from Home: A Memoir of a 20th Century Soldier (Calgary, 2003); and
Katherine Wilson-Simmie, Lights Out!: The Memoirs of Nursing Sister Kate Wilson, Canadian Army Medical Corps, 1915-1917 (Ottawa, 2004).