21 March 2007

Media frenzy

Well, in my mind today was a media frenzy.

First, a bit of background. As I've noted in a previous post, and has been mentioned elsewhere (see my link), I'm one small part of the DND team involved in identifying Private Herbert Peterson, 49th Battalion, CEF, from remains found near Avion, France, in 2003. As the time for the interment of Pte. Peterson in La Chaudière Military Cemetery approaches (during the Vimy commemorative activities in April), media interest in how the team was able to identify him has risen.

I was interviewed twice today (certainly a personal record) on my role in the process. First, an hour long taped interview by Ms. Jessica Brando of CBC Radio One's The Current for a piece they're preparing for air on or about April 9. How much of the stuttering historian (an apt description of me, if I've ever written one) survives the cut and makes it on to the final show, who knows). This afternoon I was interviewed over the phone by Ms. Katherine Harding with the Edmonton office of The Globe and Mail for a story they're doing tomorrow.

All pretty exciting, tense and exhausting for someone like me. Hopefully, it will help provide more light on what we're trying to accomplish in such cases and, more importantly, the sacrifices made by men such as Pte. Peterson during the world wars.

In my e-mail basket tonight came more information from Mike Bechthold (mbechtho@wlu.ca), Communications Director at the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. This was in respect to the upcoming 18th Military History Colloquium to be held at Wilfrid Laurier University from 3 to 5 May 2007. The preliminary programme for the colloquium is out, and is very, very impressive. Here's a more or less complete rundown:

Thursday, May 3

Public keynote address by Marc Milner, University of New Brunswick, "In Search of the Lost Battalion: The North Shore Regiment from D-Day to Carpiquet."

Friday, May 4

Session 1 (Terry Copp, Wilfrid Laurier University, "Guy Simonds and the Art of Command: Operation ‘Wallstreet.’")

Session 2, Panel A - Canada and the Great War (I) (Pat Brennan, University of Calgary, "Certain Failure: The Destruction of the 11th and 12th Canadian Infantry Brigades on 2 September 1918"; Tim Cook, Canadian War Museum, "Leaning Virgins, Crucified Soldiers, Cannibalistic Deserters, and Dead Companions: The Belief System of the Canadian Great War Trench Soldiers"; Andrew Iarocci, Wilfrid Laurier University, "Battlefield Technology in the Popular Press, 1914-1918")

Session 2, Panel B - The Canadian Navy (Richard O. Mayne, Department of National Defence, "Birth of the Iroquois: Canadian destroyer design 1963-65"; Craig Leslie Mantle, Canadian Forces Leadership Institute, "Challenged on the Sea: Some Leadership Experiences of Canadian Navy Personnel during Operation APOLLO")

Session 3, Panel A - The Canadian Air Force (Bertram C. Frandsen, Wilfrid Laurier University, "The role of the bomber in the RCAF in the post-1945 period."; Matthew Trudgen, Queen’s University, "Balancing Sovereignty and Security: The Interplay of Different Conceptions of the Canadian National Interest and the Formation of the North American Air Defence Command (NORAD)"; Patrick Dennis, Canadian Forces, ret’d, "NATO AWACS: Alliance Keystone for “Out of Area” Operations"; William March, Royal Military College of Canada, "Bombs Away! - Canadian Air Power in the Kosovo Air Campaign")

Session 3, Panel B - The Impact of the Great War (Gordon Greavette, Conestogo College, "The Significance of the Canadian Shell Committee"; Beth Sneyd, Royal Military College of Canada, "Just out of the mud and stench and obscenity of the trenches: Great War Veterans in the postwar works of L.M. Montgomery"; Serge Durflinger, University of Ottawa, "Veterans with a Vision: The Rehabilitation of Canada’s War Blinded of the First World War."; Liane Leddy, Wilfrid Laurier University, "Soldier Settlement?: The Nipissing Reserve and Civil Re-Establishment After the Great War") - Tour of Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Hamilton, Ontario - Dinner - Main Hangar - Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum - Keynote address, Lee Windsor, University of New Brunswick, "Attack on the Gothic Line: The Long Right Flank of the Normandy Breakout"

Saturday, May 5

Session 4, Panel A - Military History as Public History (Andrew Burtch, Canadian War Museum, "The History behind the Headlines: the War in Afghanistan as Public History"; Jeff Noakes, Canadian War Museum, "Canada Under Attack: The Battle of the St. Lawrence Comes to the Ottawa River"; Amber Lloydlangston, Canadian War Museum, "In Search of ‘In Search of Peace’: Developing a Major In-House Exhibition in the CWM")

Session 4, Panel B - Canada and Great War (II) (Heather Moran, University of Western Ontario, "Clearing from the Front: The Evolution of Casualty Evacuation by the Canadian Army Medical Corps during the First World War"; Maarten Gerritsen, Memorial University, "What We Are is Just What we Think: Canada’s Great War Soldiers in France and England"; Martin F. Auger, Department of National Defence, "Rebellion in Quebec: Canadian Military Intervention during the Easter Riots of 1918"

Session 5, Panel A - Canada and the Second World War (Chris Case, University of Ottawa, "Was Canada’s ‘Fightin’est’ General a ‘people person?’: Christopher Vokes and the Art of ‘Team-Building.’"; Russ Benneweis, University of Calgary, "Training for War: The case of the South Saskatchewan Regiment"; Matt Symes, Wilfrid Laurier University, "The 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade in Normandy: One Brigade, Three Memories"; Vanessa McMackin, Wilfrid Laurier University, "Constructing a Memory: The Significance of the Memorial to Executed Prisoners of War at the Abbaye D’Ardenne")

Session 5, Panel B - Canada at War in the 20th Century (Andrew B. Godefroy, Directorate of Land Concepts and Doctrine, Canadian Army, "Bad JuJu and Bush Warfare: Canadians Fighting in West Africa, 1896-1906"; Stephen Burgess-Whiting, University of Guelph, "Class War In Spain: The King Government, Non-Intervention and Canadian support for the Spanish Republic"; Ed Storey, Department of National Defence, "The Soldiers Burden” - A Look at 20th Century Canadian Load Carrying Equipment."

Session 6 - Plenary - Canadian Military Historiography: State of the Art (James Wood, Wilfrid Laurier University, "Readings in Canadian Military Culture: A Review of Militia Periodicals before the Great War"; Mark Osborne Humphries, University of Western Ontario & John Maker, University of Ottawa, "The Other Side of the Hill: Towards an understanding of the German army in the First World War"; Kathryn Rose, Wilfrid Laurier University, "A History of Service to the Canadian Army: The Fort Frontenac Library"; Lee Windsor, University of New Brunswick, "Reflections of an embedded historian in Afghanistan").

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