29 December 2009

Latest issues of The Canadian Air Force Journal

The Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 issues of The Canadian Air Force Journal have been published and contain one article of interest to readers of Canadian military history:

Major Andrew B. Godefroy, "From Gentleman Cadet to No Known Grave: The Life and Death of Lieutenant (Observer/Gunner) Franklin Sharp Rankin, 1894-1916".

26 December 2009

Article on proposed recovery of an RCAF Halifax bomber

A few days back, Michelle Greysan at Routes Magazine has published an article on attempts being made to recover a Royal Canadian Air Force Halifax bomber lost northwest of Ireland in 1945. This aircraft, designated LW170, is destined for the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum in Nanton, Alberta. Very interesting story.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the image of a Halifax bomber).

22 December 2009

2008 C.P. Stacey Award Winners / 2008 Recipients du priz C.P. Stacey

The C.P. Stacey Prize Committee has forwarded me the press release for the latest recipients of the C.P. Stacey Prize. (Here's a picture of Stacey when still a Colonel). The release is as follows:
Le Comité canadien d'histoire de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale et la Commission canadienne d'histoire militaire annoncent les noms des auteurs ayant remporté le prix C.P. Stacey pour l'année 2008. À partir d'une longue liste de titres en histoire militaire canadienne, les juges se sont arrêtés aux travaux de Paul Douglas Dickson, A Thoroughly Canadian General: A Biography of General H.D.G. Crerar (2007), University of Toronto Press et de Stephen Brumwell, Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe (2006), McGill-Queen's Press. Norman Hillmer, Serge Bernier et Doug Delaney ont conclu que ces deux auteurs avaient contribué de façon significative à l'histoire militaire canadienne. Dickson, par sa monumentale recherche concernant un militaire canadien méconnu, mais marquant en ce qui concerne le Canada dans la Deuxième Guerre mondiale; et, Brumwell, par son éloquente prose et son interprétation convaincante du controversé James Wolfe.

A Thoroughly Canadian General comble un immense vide dans l'historiographie canadienne de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. S'appuyant sur les résultats d'une recherche méticuleuse, Dickson suit habilement le cours de la vie et de la carrière militaire d'un homme qui s'est battu, à Ottawa, pour la création de la 1ère Armée canadienne, une formation qu'il a ensuite conduite au combat. Dickson décrit, de façon judicieuse et précise, le portrait d'un officier canadien qui apprend son métier durant la Grande Guerre, manoeuvre habilement dans la bureaucratie militaire de l'entre-deux-guerres, présentant son idée d'une « grosse armée » au gouvernement dans les débuts de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, combattant les Allemands dans deux théâtres d'opérations et veillant aux intérêts canadiens face à nos alliés. Ce livre rappellera aux militaires, hommes d'état et universitaires que les batailles bureaucratiques, les combats et la guerre de coalition ne sont jamais faciles.

Dans Paths of Glory, Stephen Brumwell défie les nombreuses interprétations qui ont fait, du major général James Wolfe, un personnage tiré d'Hamlet, malade, sadique dont la seule vertu fut la chance. À partir de nombreuses sources primaires et secondaires, Brumwell tisse l'histoire de l'ascencion de Wolfe dans l'armée britannique, tout en nous présentant, d'une façon approfondie et lucide, la société britannique du 18e siècle et certaines périodes de combat. De ce texte extrêmement bien écrit émerge un portrait à la fois sympathique et complexe, celui d'un homme à la santé fragile, ambitieux, astucieux dans ses tactiques et entièrement au service de ses hommes et de son Roi.

The Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War and the Canadian Commission of Military History are pleased to announce two winners for the 2008 C.P. Stacey Award. From a substantial list of Canadian military history titles published in 2006 or 2007, the judges chose for the prize Paul Douglas Dickson's A Thoroughly Canadian General: A Biography of General H.D.G. Crerar (2007), published by University of Toronto Press and Stephen Brumwell's Paths of Glory: The Life and Death of General James Wolfe (2006), from McGill-Queen's [University] Press. The judges, Norman Hillmer, Serge Bernier and Doug Delaney concluded that both authors made noteworthy contributions to the field - Dickson for his mass of research on a little-known, yet critical, figure of Canada's Second World War, and Brumwell for the eloquence of his prose and his convincing re-interpretation of the controversial James Wolfe.

With A Thoroughly Canadian General, Paul Dickson has filled a gaping void in the historiography of Canada's Second World War, and he has done so with authority. Backed by an impressive mass of meticulous research, Dickson ably chronicles the life and military career of the man who fought many Ottawa battles to create First Canadian Army and commanded that formation in action. Dickson is judicious in his account, which is a convincing warts-and-all look at a Canadian officer learning his trade during the Great War, negotiating his way through the military bureaucracy during the inter-war period, steering his case for a 'big army' through Cabinet in the early years of the Second World War, fighting the Germans in two separate theatres, and guarding Canada's interests with its Allies. This book is sure to remind current soldiers, statesmen, and scholars that bureaucratic struggles, battle, and coalition warfare are never easy.

Stephen Brumwell's Paths of Glory challenges past interpretations of Major-General James Wolfe as a sickly and sadistic Hamlet figure whose only real virtue was luck. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, Brumwell weaves the story of Wolfe's rise in the British Army with masterful expositions of eighteenth century British society and lucid accounts of period battles. What emerges from Brumwell's page-turning text is a sympathetic and complex portrait - one of a man in ill-health, driven by ambition, tactically astute, and absolutely committed both to the soldiers who served him and his King.

The C.P. Stacey Award is an award in honour of author and long-serving Official Historian at the Department of National Defence, Charles P. Stacey. His work on the official histories of the Canadian army during the Second World War is considered a model for similar histories. He trained several generations of military historians, and his influence is still felt in the field of military history. The aim of the award is to highlight the best book written in a two-year period on the Canadian military experience. The award covers studies of all three services, including operational histories, biographies, unit histories and works of synthesis (if they include original insights and/or new material). It can also include high quality edited collections and annotated memoirs. The call for nominations for the 2010 Stacey Prize, to be given for the best book on Canadian military history published in 2008 and 2009, will soon be issued. After the 2010 competition, the Stacey prize will be given annually, rather than each two years.

19 December 2009

Online Access to the Index of Acadiensis

The entire index to the journal Acadiensis: Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region, dating from Vol.1, No.1 (Autumn 1971) to present, is currently online. I have gone through the index and have found the following items of particular interest to students of Canadian military history:

Martin F. Auger, "'A Tempest in a Teapot': Canadian Military Planning and the St. Pierre and Miquelon Affair, 1940-1942", vol.XXXIII, no.1 (2003);

Michael Earle, "'Down with Hitler and Silby Barrett': The Cape Breton Miners' Slowdown Strike of 1941", vol.XVIII, no.1 (Autumn 1988);

David R. Facey-Crowther, "Militiamen and Volunteers: The New Brunswick Militia 1787-1871", vol.XX, no.1 (Autumn 1990);

Ernest R. Forbes, "Consolidating Disparity: The Maritimes and the Industrialization of Canada during the Second World War", vol.XV, no.2 (Spring 1986);

W.G. Godfrey, "John Bradstreet at Louisbourg: Emergence or Re-emergence?", vol.IV, no.1 (Autumn 1974);

Allan Greer, "Another Soldiers' Revolt in Isle Royale, June 1750", vol.XII, no.2 (Spring 1983);

T. Stephen Henderson, "Angus L. Macdonald and the Conscription Crisis of 1944", vol.XXVII, no.1 (1997);

Craig Heron, "The Great War and Nova Scotia Steelworkers", vol.XVI, no.2 (Spring 1987);

Olaf Janzen, "The Royal Navy and the Defence of Newfoundland during the American Revolution", vol.XIV, no.1 (Autumn 1984);

W. Stewart MacNutt, "The Narrative of Lieutenant James Moody", vol.I, no.2 (Spring 1972);

Don MacGillivray, "Military Aid to the Civil Power: The Cape Breton Experience in the 1920s", vol.III, no.2 (Spring 1974);

Cameron Pulsifer, "'Something More Durable...': The British Military's Building of Wellington Barracks and Brick Construction in 19th-Century Halifax", vol.XXXII, no.1 (2002);

Bernard Ransom, "Canada's 'Newfyjohn' Tenancy: The Royal Canadian Navy in St. John's, 1941-1945", vol.XXIII, no.2 (1994);

Andrew Theobald, "Une loi extraordinaire: New Brunswick Acadians and the Conscription Crisis of the First World War", vol.XXXIV, no.1 (2004); and

Jay White, "Pulling Teeth: Striking for the Check-Off in the Halifax Shipyards, 1944", vol.XIX, no.1 (Autumn 1989).

15 December 2009

Latest UBC Press Catalogues

The following is a list of new and recently-released books on Canadian military history published by UBC Press as found in their "2009 Military and Security Studies", "Spring 2010 UBC Press SCHOLARLY" and "Spring 2010 UBC Press TRADE" catalogues. I've probably listed some of these previously, while others are new to this blog:

Y.A. Bennett (Ed.), Kiss the kids for dad, Don't forget to write: The Wartime Letters of George Timmins, 1916-18;

Michael K. Carroll, Pearson's Peacekeepers: Canada and the United Nations Emergency Force, 1956-67;

Serge Marc Durflinger, Veterans with a Vision: The History of Canada's War Blinded in Peace and War (March 2010);

James G. Fergusson, Canada and Ballistic Missile Defence, 1954-2009: Déjà Vu All Over Again (May 2010);

Benjamin Isitt, From Victoria to Vladivostok: Canada's Siberian Expedition, 1917-19 (May 2010);

Aaron Plamondon, The Politics of Procurement: Military Acquisition in Canada and the Sea King Helicopter (December 2009);

Amy Shaw, Crisis of Conscience: Conscientious Objection in Canada during the First World War;

Kevin Spooner, Canada, the Congo Crisis, and UN Peacekeeping, 1960-64; and

James Wood, Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921 (March 2010).

10 December 2009

Call for Papers for the 21st Military History Colloquium

The call for papers for the always informative and enjoyable Military History Colloquium (next year's will be the 21st) at Wilfrid Laurier University has been issued by the good folks at the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. The colloquium will take place from April 29 to May 1, 2010. As the release notes:
The primary focus will be on all periods of Canadian military history - pre-1914, First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and post-1945 developments including peacekeeping. Proposals for papers advancing new and innovative perspectives will receive first consideration. Papers addressing all facets of military history, including tactics and operations, social and cultural issues, economic impacts, and the home front, from the colonial era to the present day will be considered. Proposals are welcome from all scholars, but graduate students and recent Ph.Ds are especially encouraged to submit.
The deadline for proposals is February 26, 2010, and all proposals (one page each) should be sent (preferably by e-mail) to Mike Bechthold at mbechthold@wlu.ca or by snail mail to Mike at the LCMSDS, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON. Mike can also be contacted by phone at 519-884-0710 ext 4594 or by fax at 519-886-5057.

08 December 2009

Update: This, that and some other things

Update: With respect to the last item in this post, Andrew Smith, over at Andrew Smith's Blog, has posted a discussion of the event and a link to the podcast of the session posted by the Royal Ontario Museum. Check it out and thanks to Andrew.

I've been a little busy with work of late, so haven't had much time to be blogging. I have been gathering together some material, however, and here's what I have.

Over at The Ottawa Citizen on October 25, Richard Helm published "Chronicles of combat: Canadian veterans tell their 'rough stories'". This is a book review of freelance journalist Ted Barris' latest tome, titled Breaking the Silence: Untold Veterans' Stories from the Great War to Afghanistan. Helm describes the book as Barris' "most personal work to date, exploring the heart of wartime experience with an intimate reflection on his own encounters over the years with close to 3,000 Canadian veterans. From classroom talks with Second World War vets to deeply moving private conversations with those who served in Korea and Afghanistan, he strives to unlock the terrible silence of combat."

Likewise, Michael-Allan Marion at Brantford's The Expositor has published a review of historian James Elliott's latest, Strange Fatality: The Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813. Marion writes that the book is the "first detailed account of the little-known battle [and] is all the more worthy of being named in literary dispatches, considering that most Ontarians grow up knowing little about one of the most important battles ever fought on the soil of their province."

In another vein, Clara War, archivist for the Cobourg and District Historical Society Archives, has written for Northumberland Today about a photo exhibit being presented at the archives on Cobourg's military history, in particular the Cobourg (or 10th) Heavy Battery of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. Full contact information is available in the article.

Likewise, the Dufferin County Museum and Archives, in Orangeville, Ontario, has opened an exhibit on Dufferin County's military history, including photographs, documents and objects which highlight "the service of local veterans".

Finally, the Royal Ontario Museum has issued a news release concerning the "Director's Signature Series: Battle on the Plains of Abraham", will be held at the museum on Wednesday, November 11, from 1830 hours. This presentation will take the form of a debate between politician Bernard Landry and historian Jack Granatstein concerning the "impact of one of Canada's most significant battles" and will examine "whether Britain's victory over France on the Plains of Abraham in 1759 was ultimately good for New France, its inhabitants and their descendants." Further details are provided at the link above.

04 December 2009

Call for Papers for the 16th Annual Air Force Historical Workshop

A call for papers / demande de communications has been issued for the 16th Annual Air Force Historical Workshop / 16e atelier annuel sur l'histoire de la force aérienne hosted by the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre / Centre de guerre aérospatiale des Forces canadiennes in Toronto, Ontario, on 3-4 June / juin 2010 with the following description:
De-Icing Required!
The Historical Dimension of the Canadian Air Force's Experience in the Arctic

Canada's north has been a focus of Air Force operations since the interwar period. The purpose of this workshop is to explore the historical dimension of the Air Force's involvement in the Arctic. Topics may examine Air Force / government policy, Air Force operations, joint operations, relationships with our allies, search and rescue, Arctic disputes, civil-military relationships, environmental issues, and others.

Dégivrage requis!
La dimension historique de l'expérience de la Force aérienne du Canada dans l'Arctique

Le Nord du Canada est une priorité des opérations de la Force aérienne depuis l'entre-deux-guerres. Le but de cet atelier consiste à étudier la dimension historique de la participation de la Force aérienne dans l'Arctique. Les sujets peuvent porter notamment sur la politique de la Force aérienne/du gouvernement, les opérations de la Force aérienne, les opérations interarmées, les relations avec nos alliés, la recherche et le sauvetage, les conflits dans l'Arctique, les relations civilo-militaires et les questions environnementales.
Anyone interested in presenting should forward a one to two paragraph proposal to Major Bill March before 1 January 2010. His contact info is william.march@forces.gc.ca or 613-392-2811 extension 4656.

01 December 2009

New Books list from Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada has posted its New Books list for November 2009, and it contains quite a few items of interest to readers of Canadian military history, including the following:

Barton, Peter. Vimy Ridge and Arras: The Spring 1917 Offensive in Panoramas. Toronto, 2009;

Duffus, Maureen. Battlefront Nurses of WWI: The Canadian Army Medical Corps in England, France and Salonika, 1914-1919. Victoria, 2009;

Milner, Marc. Canada's Navy: The First Century. 2nd Edition. Toronto, 2009;

Moen, Arlo Maitland. A Sailor's Stories [Royal Canadian Navy]. Lockeport, NS, 2008;

Reid, Brian A. Named by the Enemy: A History of The Royal Winnipeg Rifles. Montreal, 2009; and

Rickard, John Nelson. The Politics of Command: Lieutenant-General A.G.L. McNaughton and the Canadian Army, 1939-1943. Toronto, 2010.

28 November 2009

New biography of Paul Triquet, VC

Bruce Deachman, over at The Ottawa Citizen, has published a piece on Paul Triquet, Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross for valour in Italy during the Second World War. In addition to detailing some of Triquet's story, Deachman's piece discusses John MacFarlane's new biography of Triquet, entitled Triquet's Cross: A Study of Military Heroism.

The book is a very interesting read and is certainly a different take on honours and awards and the life of a Canadian soldier.

(In the interests of full disclosure, John MacFarlane is a colleague of mine at the Directorate of History and Heritage, Department of National Defence).

25 November 2009

New history of Canada's Navy

David Pugliese, defence reporter with The Ottawa Citizen, has posted a review of Richard Gimblett's (editor), The Naval Service of Canada, 1910-2010: The Centennial Story, on his "Defence Watch" blog. The review begins: "The Naval Service of Canada is a first-rate and heavily illustrated volume that will appeal to those currently serving or retired from the navy or anyone with a strong interest in Canada maritime matters."

Richard Gimblett is a retired Canadian naval officer and is currently the Heritage Officer with Maritime Command at National Defence Headquarters.

Veuillez prendre note que ce livre est disponible en français sous le titre : Le Service naval du Canada, 1910-2010 : Cent ans d'histoire.

14 November 2009

Portrait of a Hero

Rob Filan has created a fantastic biography of Sergeant Hugh Cairns, VC, DCM over at Rosebud's Early Aeroplanes and Airships. I'm not sure who exactly it's on that particular website, but I'm glad it is. The article contains an in-depth narrative on Sergeant Cairns, photos of him, his medals, his memorials, etc., several maps and the citations of his awards.

(Many thanks to Babbling Brooks over the The Torch for posting this information first).

28 October 2009

New Books list from Library and Archives Canada

Sorry, tout le monde, I've been sick for a few days and so haven't posted in a while.

Library and Archives Canada has posted its New Books list for October 2009, and it contains quite a few items of interest to readers of Canadian military history, including the following:

Alan J. Buick, The Little Coat: The Bob and Sue Elliott Story (Regina, 2009);

Frank Gogos, Known unto God: In Honour of Newfoundland's Missing during the Great War (St. John's, NL, 2009);

John A. Griffith and Anthony L. Stachiw, Early Canadian Military Aircraft: Acquisitions, Dispositions, Colour Schemes and Markings, volume 1: Aircraft taken on strength through 1920 (Kitchener, ON, 2009);

Tony Maxwell, Searching for the Queen's Cowboys: Travels in South Africa filming a Documentary on Strathcona's Horse and the Anglo-Boer War (Red Deer, AB, 2009);

Michael Palmer, Dark Side of the Sun: George Palmer and Canadian POWs in Hong Kong and the Omine Camp (Ottawa, 2009);

William J. Patterson, Soldiers of the Queen: The Canadian Grenadier Guards of Montreal, 1859-2009 (Montreal, 2009);

Aaron Plamondon, The Politics of Procurement: Military Acquisition in Canada and the Sea King Helicopter (Vancouver, 2010);

Gary H. Rice, A Sketch of Military Medicine in Canada, 1867-2009 (Carleton Place, ON, 2009); and

Marion Swinton, A Duffle Bag, Close Friends, and a Lot of Memories: The Photo Diary of Marion Swinton, W.R.C.N.S. (Waterloo, ON, 2009).

19 October 2009

Audio Archive from Veteran Affairs Canada

Among the many items of historical interest within the Canada Remembers pages of the Veterans Affairs Canada website, the visitor can find the First World War Audio Archive, where you can "listen to Veterans as they recall their life and times during the war years." Under the Recollections tab, "Learn about Canada's participation in the First World War by listening to these first hand accounts. These interviews represent events, emotions and observations of how these Canadians and Newfoundlanders lived through the war years."

16 October 2009

Hansen makes the Governor General's Literary Awards finalists

Christopher Moore, over at his blog, "Christopher Moore's Canadian History", has posted about the finalists for the Governor General's Literary Awards in the non-fiction category. Said finalists include Randall Hansen, for his Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-45. The press release from the Canada Council for the Arts describes Hansen's books as follows:
A brave re-examination of a controversial episode in World War II history. Randall Hansen combines meticulous research with an eye for telling human detail to make his case that the Allied bombing campaign didn't help to win the war, and actually prolonged it. A book that offers lessons for today.

13 October 2009

Guelph Civic Museum Lecture Series

The Guelph Civic Museum, 6 Dublin Street South, Guelph, Ontario, is hosting a lecture series in Canadian military history this fall and into 2010 in partnership with the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. The speakers include:

Jonathan Vance, University of Western Ontario, "Spies Like Us: Canadians in Nazi-Occupied France", Thursday, 15 October 2009, 1930 hours;

Eric McGeer, St. Clement's School, "'The war of the poor relations': The Canadians at the Lamone, December 1944", Thursday, 19 November 2009, 1930 hours;

Roger Sarty, Wilfrid Laurier University, "U-boats in the St. Lawrence, 1942-1944: A Most Uniquely Canadian Battle", Thursday, 21 January 2010, 1930 hours;

Geoff Keelan, Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies, "The Search for a Hero: Talbot Mercer Papineau and the Great War", Thursday, 18 February 2010, 1930 hours; and

Mike Bechthold, Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies, "'A brilliant success': The Canadian Capture of Fresnoy, 3 May 1917", Thursday, 25 March 2010, 1930 hours.

For more information, contact the Guelph Civic Museum at (519) 836-1221, on the web at guelph.ca/museum, or by e-mail at museum@guelph.ca.

12 October 2009

Symposium on Niagara's Military Past and Present

The Lincoln and Welland Regiment, along with the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, and Brock University and University of Waterloo history departments, are hosting the 3rd Annual Symposium on "Niagara's Military Past & Present" on 6 and 7 November 2009 at the Lake Street Armouries, 81 Lake Street, St. Catharines, Ontario.
There is a very extensive programme of speakers laid out, including:

Mike Bechthold, "The Canadian Corps after Vimy: Fresnoy, May 1917";

Terry Copp, "The Last Great Battle: The Canadians in the Rhineland, February - March 1945";

James E. Elliott, "Strange Fatality: The Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813";

Geoffrey Hayes, "'The Lincs' Third Generation: The Rhineland";

Heather Moran, "200 Years of Peace: Celebrating the 1812 Bi-Centennial through Public History";

David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, "Robert Rogers: The Original Ranger";

Elizabeth Vlossak, "Versailles 100 Years Later: Why it is Still Important for Canadians";

Lee Windsor, "Winters in Kandahar: High Season for Canadian Reconstruction, 2006-09"; and

James Wood, "The Good Neighbours and their 'Undefended' Fence: Canadian Militia Visits to the US before the First World War".

For further information, contact Captain R. Bruce Mair, at 9663@nrps.on.ca or by phone at (905) 321-4082 or Geoffrey Hayes, at ghayes@uwaterloo.ca or by phone at (519) 888-4567 ext. 35138.

08 October 2009

Historical items from The Canadian Air Force Journal

I don't think I've ever posted about The Canadian Air Force Journal, "an official publication of the Chief of the Air Staff" with the goal of being "a forum for discussing concepts, issues and ideas that are both crucial and central to aerospace power." The six issues published to date include a handful of articles of direct interest to readers of Canadian military history, including:

A/V/M C.L. Annis, "The Evolution of Air Materiel Command", vol.1, no.2 (Summer 2008) [reprint from The Roundel, 1962];

Lieut Steven Dieter, "Through Adversity and More: Looking Ahead towards the Canadian Centennial of Flight", vol.1, no.3 (Fall 2008);

2nd Lieut Nicolas Fortin, "Raymond Collishaw: The Royal Naval Air Services Lead Ace", vol.2, no.1 (Winter 2009);

Maj Andrew B. Godefroy, "From Gentleman Cadet to No Known Grave: The Life and Death of Lieutenant (Observer/Gunner) Franklin Sharp Rankin, 1894-1916", vol.1, no.3 (Fall 2008);

Aaron P. Jackson, "The Emergence of a 'Doctrinal Culture' within the Canadian Air Force: Where it Came From, Where it's at and Where to from Here?: Part 1: Doctrine and Canadian Air Force Culture prior to the End of the Cold War", vol.2, no.2 (Summer 2009);

Maj Paul Johnston, "Staff Systems and the Canadian Air Force: Part 1 - History of the Western Staff System", vol.1, no.2 (Summer 2008);

Maj Paul Johnston, "Staff Systems and the Canadian Air Force: Part 2 - A Convoluted Evolution", vol.1, no.3 (Fall 2008);

MCpl René Paquet, "Supermarine Spitfire - The Famous Elliptical Wing Fighter", vol.1, no.1 (Spring 2008);

Col Randall Wakelam, "A Fine Mess: How Our Tactical Helicopter Force came to be What it is", vol.1, no.3 (Fall 2008);

plus numerous book reviews of interest.

05 October 2009

A Canadian medical doctor in Afghanistan

Recently, I've been on a bit of a personal reading spree with respect to Canada's activities in Afghanistan. One of the most interesting of the publications that I've read has been Captain Ray Wiss, MD's, memoirs of his first roto in Afghanistan titled FOB Doc: A Doctor on the Front Lines in Afghanistan: A War Diary (also here). It seems someone else has taken notice of this book, Nancy J. White interviewing the good doctor for The Toronto Star this past weekend. The National Review of Medicine also published an article on Captain Wiss in April 2008. My thanks to the Spotlight on Military News and International Affairs for this pick.

03 October 2009

Laurier Centre's Fall Speakers' Series

(This post is an update to a previously-published one, specifically with updates to Delaney's presentation and the addition of that of Winegard).

The Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies has posted its fall speakers' series line-up. Each of the following lectures (and the presentations yet to be confirmed) will take place at the Centre, on 232 King Street North in Waterloo, Ontario.

The series begins on Wednesday, 16 September, at 1900 hours, with Dr. Alistair Edgar, Wilfrid Laurier University, on "Kosovo: 10 Years After":
Dr. Alistair Edgar researches issues of justice and reconciliation as elements of war-to-peace transition and peacebuilding in post-conflict societies. In February-March 2009 Dr. Edgar conducted interviews with government, academic, religious and civil society leaders, activists and other representatives in Belgrade and throughout Kosovo & Metohija to examine the current conditions of, and attitudes towards, justice and peacebuilding there on the 10th anniversary of the NATO air campaign and the first anniversary of the controversial Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo.
On Wednesday, 30 September, at 1900 hours, Dr. Randall T. Wakelam, Research Associate, LCMSDS, will speak on "The Science of Bombing: Operational Research in RAF Bomber Command":
Dr. Randall Wakelam is a former air force pilot who commanded 408 Squadron in the early 1990s (the unit was originally activated as Canada's first Bomber Command squadron in 1941). A long serving faculy member at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto he has studied and written about air force leadership and culture for two decades. In The Science of Bombing he dispels many of the myths about Bomber Harris's bloody-minded city smashing tactics, showing that Harris, his subordinates and the scientists of his operational research section were focused
On Wednesday, 14 October, at 1900 hours, Dr. Douglas Delaney, The Royal Military College of Canada, will speak on "Acting and Generalship: Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Horrocks":
Most people know Brian Horrocks from film or television - the worry-free corps commander of A Bridge Too Far, driving his own jeep, dolling out direction to his passenger, and exchanging jokes with soldiers; or the BBC television personality who conveyed the stories of the great campaigns and the great men of his wars with clarity and grace. These images belie the reality of a man who, like most people, had his share of insecurity and self-doubt. He just hid them better than most. He was also a much more deliberate planner than he let on, certainly more so than historians or film producers have acknowledged. Horrocks believed that every general had to be a bit of an actor, and he often slipped into the character of the cheery and self-assured corps commander - for all the right reasons.
On Wednesday, 28 October, at 1900 hours, Col. (ret'd) Patrick M. Dennis, OMM, CD, Wilfrid Laurier University, will speak on "NATO AWACS in Peace and War: From the Fulda Gap to Afghanistan":
Between 1990 and 1999, the NATO alliance transformed itself from a collective self-defence organization focused exclusively on the threats and challenges posed by the "cold war", to a collective security organization engaged in multiple military operations beyond its borders. Key to this extraordinary transition into "out of area" operations was the crucial role played by NATO AWACS - the only multinational flying unit in the world, the activities of which arguably laid the foundation for NATO's eventual decision to take over responsibilities for ISAF in 2003. From the first Gulf War to Afghanistan, this lecture will review key events during this historic period and consider how NATO AWACS continues to play an important role, both as a vital element of the NATO Response Force (NRF) and as a key instrument for decision makers during crisis management."
On Wednesday, 11 November, at 1900 hours, Professor Terry Copp, Wilfrid Laurier University, will speak on "There are many things to remember: Nijmegen, March 1944 to February 1945":
The Dutch city of Nijmegen was accidentally bombed in March 1944, "liberated" in September 1944 and became a front line city with the Canadians until March 1945. Professor Copp will explore the story of a city at war.
The speaker and subject for the 25 November session will be confirmed at a later date.

On Wednesday, 9 December, at 1900 hours, Captain Timothy C. Winegard, University of Oxford, will speak on "And Death Shall Have No Dominion: Indigenous Peoples of the British Dominions and the First World War":
Capt. Timothy C. Winegard is currently completing his PhD at the University of Oxford, and will soon take up a postdoctoral fellow position at the LCMSDS. He is currently teaching First Nations Studies at WLU and UWO. Tim recently published a book on the Oka Crisis and the role of the Canadian Forces. His talk continues with the theme of First Nations and military interaction by comparing the capricious and racially motivated policies concerning, and participation of, the Indigenous Peoples of the Dominions - Canada, Australia, Newfoundland, New Zealand and South Africa - during the First World War.
For further information, etc., contact Mike Bechthold at mbechthold@wlu.ca or 519-884-0710 ext 4594.

02 October 2009

Latest issues of the Canadian Naval Review

During my absence, I'd gotten behind on my mentions of the articles in Canadian military history in the Canadian Naval Review (specifically issues vol.4, no.3; vol.5, no.1 and vol.5, no.2) from the good folks at Dalhousie University's Centre for Foreign Policy Studies. Relevant articles (there hasn't been a whole lot purely in the realm of history of later - although this is an incredibly interesting periodical) include:

Pat Jessup, "Kriegsgefangenenlager: A POW's Account of the Loss of Afghanistan in 1944", vol.5, no.2 (Summer 2009): 22-27;

Peter Hayden, "Our Faltering Grasp on Canadian Naval History", vol.5, no.2 (Summer 2009): 30-31; and

Jacqui Good, "Sackville and the Battle of the Atlantic", vol.5, no.2 (Summer 2009): 44.

28 September 2009

Article on Canadians in the British Army

Major Andrew Godefroy, editor of The Canadian Army Journal, has kindly sent me an e-mail mentioning his latest article. Andrew has published "For King, Queen, and Empire: Canadians Recruited into the British Army, 1858-1944" in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research (volume 87, number 350 (Summer 2009): 135-150). I'm particularly glad for this information, as I'm away from work right now and so haven't had the chance to see this issue. Thanks again, Andrew.

24 September 2009

New Books list from Library and Archives Canada

The New Books list for September 2009 from Library and Archives Canada has been posted. Unfortunately, it only contains one item of interest for readers of Canadian military history, namely:

L. Mel McConaghy, The Stoker: Ten Years Fighting Red Aggression and Other Social Diseases in the Service of One's Country: A Memoir (Vancouver: N.O.N. Canada, 2009).

18 September 2009

Latest issues of The Northern Mariner

I'm a bit behind on posting information on The Northern Mariner, so here are the items of direct interest to readers of Canadian military history:

Haydon, Peter T., "Canadian Involvement in the Cuban Missile Crisis Re-Considered", vol.xvii, no.2 (2007);

Maloney, Sean M., "Parry and Thrust: Canadian Maritime Forces and the Defence of North America, 1954-62";

plus various books reviewed in these issues.

14 September 2009

Toronto Military Studies Conference next week

Don Graves has passed on to me (thanks Don) the lineup for the latest Toronto Military Studies Conference, to be held at Moss Park Armour, 130 Queen Street East, in Toronto on Friday, 18 September, and Saturday, 19 September. The schedule is as follows:

Friday, 1845-1900 hours - registration;

Friday, 1900-2100 hours - Keynote Address by Professor Terry Copp, "The Consequences of Combat in the Second World War";

(followed by a performance of the 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipes and Drums);

Saturday, 0900-0910 hours - opening remarks;

Saturday, 0910-0950 hours - Dr. Geoffrey Hayes, "From Kingston to Vimy Ridge";

Saturday, 0950-1030 hours - Professor Mike Bechthold, "Learning from Vimy: The Canadian Corps at Arleux and Fresnoy";

Saturday, 1030-1100 hours - coffee break;

Saturday, 1100-1145 hours - Dr. Doug Delaney, "Contrasting Styles of Command: Some Canadian Examples from the Second World War";

Saturday, 1145-1230 hours - Dr. Eric McGeer, "The War of the Poor Relations: The Lamone, December 1944";

Saturday, 1230-1330 hours - lunch (featuring a performance by the 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipes and Drums);

Saturday, 1330-1500 hours - "The Reentry of Today's Canadian Reserves in Society" ("This panel discussion will feature soldiers returned from recent tours to Afghanistan and Bosnia.")

Saturday, 1500- hours - closing remarks

Cost of the conference is $10, including lunch, but is free for students with identification and for veterans. For more information contact Mike Bechthold at mbechthold@wlu.ca or 519-884-0710 ext 4594.

13 September 2009

CFP from University of Victoria

A Call for Papers from the History Department of the University of Victoria has been issued for "The Second Military Oral History Conference: Between Memory and History", to be held at the university from 5 to 7 May 2010. As the release notes:
The intention of the conference is to bring together senior undergraduate and graduate students, academics and veterans working in a variety of fields in military history in order to foster discussion in a multi-disciplinary environment. Papers addressing all facets of military history which rely heavily upon oral history will be considered. This includes, but is not limited to, the writing of popular military history, official history, operational history, military families and the home front, First Nations, Military Medicine, records management and archival preservation. We encourage a broad interpretation of the conference theme from a variety of fields and backgrounds.
The deadline for paper submissions (it's not clear, but this must be the deadline for paper proposals) is 15 January 2010. Proposals should be less than 250 words, should explain how the paper relates to the conference theme, with an additional bio sketch. For questions, etc., contact Dr. David Zimmerman, Department of History, University of Victoria, PO Box 3045, Victoria, BC, V8W 3P4 or by e-mail at dzimmerm@uvic.ca.

09 September 2009

Latest issue of the Canadian Military Journal

The latest issue (vol.9, no.4) of the Canadian Military Journal is now online, and contains a couple of items of direct interest to readers of Canadian military history:

Bill Dalke, "Canada's Greatest Contribution: National Identity and the Role of Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King in Negotiating the BCATP Agreement";

Craig Leslie Mantle and Lieutenant-Colonel Larry Zaporzan, "The Leadership of S.V. Radley-Walters: Enlistment to D-Day (Part 1 of 2)";

as well as several reviews of military history publications.

05 September 2009

Norman Leach's new book

Norman Leach, the Calgary-based military historian, freelance writer and professional speaker, has a new book out from Folklore Publishing called Canadian Battles - Canada's Role in Major World Conflicts.

As the book's description notes:
Canadian soldiers, sailors and pilots have fought consistently above their weight class in the forefront of the world's major conflicts. And it was a Canadian, Lester B. Pearson, whose idea of a peacekeeping force defined Canada's world role in a new way, drawing respect and recognition from countries around the world: Afghanistan - Operation Medusa, an attempt to retake the Panjwavi District in Kandahar Province from the Taliban, turned into a deadly battle for Canadian troops. Croatia - Sent as peacekeepers, Canadian soldiers engaged in fierce action and were respected for their role in quelling the civil war and genocide. Korea - Members of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry repelled a massive Chinese attack and won the only U.S. Presidential Citation ever awarded to a Canadian battalion. World War II - In some of the fiercest battles of the war, Canadian forces were in the forefront during the Dieppe Raid, D-Day and the Battle of the Atlantic. Siberia - Who knew that Canadians fought the Bolsheviks in eastern Russia at the end of World War I? War of 1812 - Les Canadiens and the British troops fought to defend Canada, while Laura Secord was walking into history. Seven Years' War - During a naval blockade of the Restigouche River, a French fleet was destroyed at the cost of only 24 British casualties. And more...

31 August 2009

McGill-Queen's University Press last three catalogues

The Fall 2008, Spring 2009 and Fall 2009 catalogues for the McGill-Queen's University Press are online, and include the following items of interest (either already published or to come in the next few months) to readers of Canadian military history:

Engen, Robert, Canadians Under Fire: Infantry Effectiveness in the Second World War (October 2009);

Heath, Gordon L., A War with a Silver Lining: Canadian Protestant Churches and the South African War, 1899-1902 (March 2009);

MacFarlane, John, Triquet's Cross: A Study of Military Heroism (September 2009);

Manning, Stephen, Quebec: The Story of Three Sieges: A Military History (September 2009); and

McMahon, Patricia I., Essence of Indecision: Diefenbaker's Nuclear Policy, 1957-1963 (May 2009).

26 August 2009

Latest New Books List at Library and Archives Canada

The August 2009 "New This Month" list is up on the Library and Archives Canada website, contains some new publications of interest to students of Canadian military history, including:

Caccia, Ivana, Managing the Canadian Mosaic in Wartime: Shaping Citizenship Policy, 1939-1945 (Montreal, 2010);

Courtois, Charles-Philippe (Comp.), La Conquête : une anthologie (Montréal, 2009);

Faryon, Cynthia J., Mysteries, Legends and Myths of the First World War: Canadian Soldiers in the Trenches and in the Air (Amazing Stories) (Toronto, 2009);

Horn, Bernd, No Ordinary Men: Special Operations Forces Missions in Afghanistan (Toronto, 2009);

Humphries, Mark Osborne and John Maker (Eds.), Germany's Western Front: Translations from the German Official History of the Great War, Volume II: 1915 (Waterloo, ON, 2009);

Mole, Rich, The Chilcotin War: A Tale of of Death and Reprisal (Surrey, BC, 2009); and

Naftel, William D., Wartime Halifax: The Photo History of a Canadian City at War, 1939-1945 (Halifax, 2009).

23 August 2009

Latest issues of The Canadian Army Journal

Volume 11, Numbers 2 and 3 (Summer and Fall 2008) and Volume 12, Number 1 (Spring 2009) of The Canadian Army Journal are available online since my last posting about this journal. In addition to a very interesting collection of articles and material on recent operations, these issues also contain some material of particular interest to students of Canadian military history, including:

Robert Engen, "Army Biography: Lieutenant-General Samuel Findlay Clark, CBE, CD";

T. Robert Fowler, "Courage and Reward in the War of 1812";

T. Robert Fowler, "Army Biography: Private Leo Major, DCM and Bar";

Major Andrew B. Godefroy, "Army Biography: The First 'Chief of Land Staff': Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Selby Smyth, KCMG";

Chris Manoukian, "The Canadian Rangers, 1947-1952: Canada's Arctic Defenders?"; and

LCol Ian McCulloch, "'A War of Machines' - A Re-Assessment of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps: Innocation or Tactical Expedient?".

19 August 2009

Parks Canada's "This Week in History"

Did you know that Parks Canada has a whole section on their website devoted to "This Week in History"? Several of the long list of stories are directly related to Canadian military history, including:

"American Forces Take Fort George";

"An Elite Canadian Corps: Samuel Steele and the Strathcona's Horse Regiment in South Africa";

"Canada and the Korean War";

"Canadians Join the Fight at Passchendaele";

"'Loud roared the dreadful thunder...': HMCS Haida;

"St. Joseph...the Military Siberia of Upper Canada";

and many, many more.

They may not be the most in-depth discussions of the topic at hand, but they certainly do qualify as honest-to-goodness attempts to educate Canadians about our collective history and that's what really matters.

Many thanks to Christopher Moore for blogging about this source.

13 August 2009

We won that war, didn't we?

Issues 10 (October 2008) and 11 (June 2009) of the War of 1812 Magazine have been published online, free for the taking. Articles include (and there's a lot more material on the website):

"A North Country Treasure - Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site";

Sandy Antal, "Remember the Raisin! Anatomy of a Demon Myth";

Robert Burnham and Ron McGuigan, "The Impeccable Timing of Sir George Brown";

Don Graves, "'Every Horror was committed with impunity...and not a man was punished!': Reflections on British Military Law and the Atrocities at Hampton in 1813"; and

David Curtis Skaggs, "The Making of a Major-Genera: The Politics of Command of the North West Army, 1812-13".

09 August 2009

The blog as commemorative / historical tool

In a very interesting series, Christopher Moore, over at Christopher Moore's Canadian History blog, has been "live-blogging the siege of Quebec + 250" since July 3. Each day he provides a narrative on the day's events in 1759 pertinent to the subject. In these narratives he quotes famous and the not-so-famous participants of the conflict, provides contextual text and sometimes adds extra material, such as book recommendations.

In addition to being quite interesting in and of itself - which it truly is - I wonder if others (myself included) would be capable of doing something similar in other areas of Canadian military history? What do you think?

07 August 2009

New Books, a Family Tree and a Flag

A bit of miscellany for this post.

The Spring 2009 catalogue for the UBC Press is out and contains three new publications of particular interest to students of Canadian military history:

Bennett, Y.A. (Ed.), Kiss the kids for dad, Don't forget to write: The Wartime Letters of George Timmins, 1916-18 (July 2009);
"Between 1916 and 1918, Lance-Corporal George Timmins, a British-born soldier who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, wrote faithfully to his wife and children. Sixty-three letters and four fragments survived.

These letters tell the compelling story of a man who, while helping his fellow Canadians make history at Vimy, Lens, Passchendaele, and Amiens, used letters home to remain a presence in the lives of his wife and children, and who drew strength from his family to appreciate life's simple pleasures. Timmin's letters offer a rare glimpse into the experiences and relationships and the quiet heroism of ordinary soldiers on the Western Front."
Carroll, Michael K., Pearson's Peacekeepers: Canada and the United Nations Emergency Force, 1956-67 (May 2009):
"In 1957 Lester Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for creating the United Nations Emergency Force during the Suez Crisis. The award launched Canada's love affair with, and reputation for, peacekeeping. Pearson's Peacekeepers explores the reality behind the rhetoric by offering a detailed account of the UNEF's decade-long effort to keep peace along the Egyptian-Israeli border. The operation was a tremendous achievement, yet the UNEF also encountered formidable challenges and problems. This nuanced account of Canada's participation in the UNEF not only challenges received notions of Canadian identity and history but will also help students, policy makers, and concerned citizens to accurately evaluate international peacekeeping efforts in the present."
Shaw, Amy J., Crisis of Conscience: Conscientious Objection in Canada during the First World War (November 2008):
"The First World War's appalling death toll and the need for a sense of equality of sacrifice on the home front led to Canada's first experience of overseas conscription. While historians have focused on resistance to enforced military service in Quebec, this has obscured the important role of those who saw military service as incompatible with their religious or ethical beliefs. Crisis of Conscience is the first and only book about the Canadian pacifists who refused to fight in the Great War. The experience of these conscientious objectors offers insight into evolving attitudes about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship during a key period of Canadian nation building.

This book will appeal to readers interested in Canadian military and peace history. The book is also relevant to those concerned with questions of voluntarism and obligation in a democratic society, and issues of gender history and minority freedom and identity."
I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Bennett's book on George Timmins. I often find the thoughts of an "other rank" to be particularly insightful and the First World War is easily my favourite period of Canadian military history.

This past Wednesday, The Globe and Mail ran an obituary piece by Buzz Bourdon on the late Jean-Antoine de Lotbinière Panet. Talk about Canada's military heritage being wrapped up in one family. In general, the story of the Panet family isn't completely unknown, Jacques Gouin and Lucien Brault having written Les Panet de Québec : histoire d'une lignée militaire in 1984 (translated as Legacy of Honour: The Panets, Canada's foremost military family in 1985).

Finally, I've been holding onto the reference for a story from yourbarrhaven.com (Barrhaven is a suburb of Ottawa) since February. Titled "Algonquin students preserve Canadian history", the article describes how two Algonquin College museum studies students - Michelle Hunter and Meredith Thompson - were working on preserving a Royal Union Flag (Union Jack) and a Red Cross flag belonging to the Prince Edward Island Regimental Museum in Charlottetown. It appears both flags were flown by No. 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital (the first Canadian unit to serve on the continent during the First World War) in France. I'd love to know how things worked out with the preservation process. Très cool.

04 August 2009

A Thought on Archival Collections

I recently sent off an electronic resources piece to Mike Bechthold at Canadian Military History for the next issue on the archival catalogue for the Canadian War Museum archives. In the course of researching the piece I noticed a finding aid for their General Currie papers, and in it was the mention of two Currie items re the 38th Battalion, CEF. Now, I've been researching the history of the 38th for a long time now, and am well into writing the battalion's history, but here were two items I hadn't seen yet, even though I've been to the CWM archives a few times now. Makes me wonder what else I've missed. Even more problematic, it makes me wonder what else is out there that is relevant that I don't even know about. At the same time, if such concerns gain the upper hand, then an historian would never finish a project.

02 August 2009

This and That

First, the science. I've just finished reading Bill Bryson's 2003 A Short History of Nearly Everything, a history of science and scientists aimed decidedly at the non-scientist. It's pretty much intended as an overview of scientific accomplishments in fields ranging from astronomy to quantum physics to molecular biology. It's written in a popular tone, no particular scientific foreknowledge needed (thankfully, otherwise I'd never get through it with my Grade 10 science (I only took Physics after that). A very enjoyable and informative read.

What does it have to do with Canadian military history? Absolutely nothing. I try to force myself on occasion to read material way outside my norm. I find it helps keep my interests a little more balanced, and helps me try to get some other perspectives on my own work. What does Bryson's book do for me as a military historian, other than confirm that Canada's military heritage is extremely recent in the big picture? Well, for one thing, it revealed a pattern of narrative which I'd love to see mimiced by a Canadian military historian. We hear and read lots about how Canadians don't know their own history, including their military history. If there were a Canadian military history text along the narrative patterns of Bryson's work, I think we'd see a few more heads turned. This isn't a shot at any of the existing work, just an observation.

Now for something completely different, as they say.

The July 2009 new books list is out on the Library and Archives Canada website and has, as usual, some interesting new titles to announce, including:

Bercuson, David J., The Fighting Canadians: Our Regimental History from New France to Afghanistan (Toronto, 2009);

Engen, Robert C., Canadians Under Fire: Infantry Effectiveness in the Second World War (Montreal, 2009);

Hillier, Rick, A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War (Toronto, 2009);

Inches, Cyrus F., Uncle Cy's War: The First World War Letters of Major Cyrus F. Inches (Fredericton, 2009); and

Vance, Jonathan F., Unlikely Soldiers: How two Canadians fought the Secret War against Nazi Occupation (Toronto, 2009).

From the titles alone, I'm quite interested in reading Engen's book on the infantry during the Second World War. I'll also be curious to see Hillier's memoirs, although as a civil servant I admit to cringing whenever I see "bureaucrat" and its usual negative connotations appear anywhere.

01 August 2009

Latest Issue of Canadian Military History

I've received and read the Spring 2009 issue (vol.18, no.2) of Canadian Military History from the good folks at the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. This issue includes the following articles:

Brennan, Patrick, "'Completely Worn Out by Service in France': Combat Stress and Breakdown among Senior Officers in the Canadian Corps";

Brown, Eric and Tim Cook, "The Hendershot Brothers in the Great War";

Evans, Ivor, "Comparison of British and American Areas in Normandy in terms of Fire Support and its Effects (AORG Report No.292);

Manulak, Michael W., "Equal Partners, Though Not of Equal Strength: The Military Diplomacy of General Charles Foulkes and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization";

Ridler, Jason S., "From Nagasaki to Toronto: Omond Solandt and the Defence Research Board's Early Vision of Atomic Warfare, 1945-1947"; and

Sarty, Roger and Bruce Ellis, "Connaught Battery and the Defence of the Atlantic Coast, 1906-1941".

I was particularly interested in Patrick Brennan's piece on combat stress amongst the senior leaders of the Canadian Corps. (This is not a comment on the other articles, just a reflection of my particular myopic interests). Study senior personnel and staff officers long enough and it's often apparent that the effects of war can be just as psychologically damaging to them as to other, more continuously "front line" personnel, even if the opportunities for physical injury are less common. Within my own research on the 38th Battalion, CEF, I've long found it amazing that Lieutenant-Colonel Cameron Macpherson Edwards, commanding officer of the 38th, lasted as long as he did. He took over the reins of the battalion in Canada in January 1915 and commanded the 38th in the field from its deployment in August 1916 to September 1918 (less time wounded, on leave, or acting as brigadier), by which time he was 37 years old. On the other hand, Major Thain Wendell MacDowell, one of Canada's Victoria Cross recipients, did not fare as well psychologically, his war ending in 1917 when battlefield trauma accumulated beyond the breaking point.

Unfortunately, there was no "electronic resources" piece by me in this edition of CMH. That was my fault, as I simply did not get someting submitted in time. I should make the next issue.

Oh, by the way, many thanks for the e-mails I've received since my last post welcoming me back and offering assistance.

28 July 2009

Let's Try This Again

I'm back, hopefully for good. I was never happy with giving up The Cannon's Mouth, but I didn't feel I had much of a choice. I've spent some time thinking about how I could resume posting in the limited time I have available. For now, the conclusion I've reached is that I'll try and post once a week or more if possible, on books or articles I've read, on material I've run across, work I'm doing or other projects I've heard of. Given my time restraints I won't be trying to present everything that's new out there, but will focus on what interests me most. After all, it's my blog.

Among the many items of interest in the July 2009 issue of The Journal of Military History, there is a very interesting article by Brian Holden Reid, titled "Michael Howard and the Evolution of Modern War Studies". I found this piece to be extremely interesting, helping me to place into a larger context the work of someone that I've always found to be extremely interesting, very well-written and thought provoking. I actually graduated with a PhD in German history and Howard's The Franco-Prussian War still appeals to me as a model of how to write about such a conflict. As a strong proponent of the war studies / war and society school of historical inquiry, as shown by the following excerpt where he writes about the French defeat resulting from problems with command and that nation's military system, his work continues to be of relevance for Canadian military historians: "...and the military system of a nation is not an independent section of the social system but an aspect of it in its totality."