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.