GLEANINGS AND WHATNOT.
* Noted historian Terry Copp is coming up with a fairly different book--an account of the home front in Canada in WWI that will be made available online in an interactive format. Entitled Montreal at War 1914-1918, the first five chapters have been completed and may be viewed at montrealatwar.com. I'm looking forward to reading all seven chapters!
* During WWII, the song All Over The Place by Tommy Trinder was quite popular. I read a news article today that detailed a number of areas where Canadian Armed Forces members are currently serving. They include nations such as Niger, where 24 Canadians are training Nigerian military, to the Congo Republic, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Latvia, Kosovo, the Sinai Peninsula, Jerusalem, Mali and both oceans. I checked the list of Chancellery-approved medals for overseas service since Korea, and came up with a total of 66! Canadians certainly get around! (DND officials are currently studying for the next location where Canadians may be called on for peacekeeping purposes.)
* Canadian Special Operations Forces Command members have a new uniform. The distinctive uniforms are issued to "operators" who can take on front-line tasks. In a tribute to their predecessors, the First Special Service Force, the new uniforms resemble the FSSF dress and appear to be a U.S. WWII dress, topped by khaki berets.
* Veterans were on Parliament Hill during Veterans Week. The Equitas Society's class action is still being opposed by the politicians, despite a change of government. The government disputed the "sacred duty" to Canadian veterans, despite a Commons vote affirming the government's "moral, social, legal and fiduciary duty to veterans." Retired Major Mark Campbell, a double amputee from Afghanistan, added, "They need to return to lifelong pensions or their credibility with the veteran community will die."
* One Canadian commander whose exploits were overshadowed by those of Sir Arthur Currie was recently remembered in the Ottawa Citizen. Major-General Sir Edward Morrison, a former newsman, served with John McCrae in South Africa and later went to France with the first Canadian contingent in the First World War. From 1916 until the war ended, he commanded the Canadian Corps artillery. Fie was buried in Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, but his gravestone was lost. Thanks to historian Susan Raby-Dunne, a simple replacement cross was dedicated this year. Morrison: The Long-Lost Memoir of Canada's Artillery Commander in the Great War will be published soon by Heritage House.
* "The Other Military Magazine." Kudos to the editors and staff of the November/December Legion. It's always good but this issue is exceptional. In particular, the photo-essay "The Wounded," which should be required reading for all Canadians. I especially recommend this issue.
* The Great Emu War. The Australian Army has served with distinction in two World Wars and Korea but had to admit defeat in one conflict. In 1918, service veterans were granted land in Western Australia. Unfortunately, their farms were ravaged by a multitude of emus, which trampled their crops. Although they fought back, they lacked ammunition to kill off their foes, and in 1932 called in the Army. The first engagement resulted in 10 emu casualties; in the second the valiant Diggers were engaging a battalion of the birds, when after a dozen or so were killed, their machine gun jammed. After discovering that the "kill rate" was one emu for every 10 rounds expended, the Army gave up and instead supplied the settlers with ammunition for their own rifles. This month marks the 85th anniversary of the war. Despite a tongue-in-cheek proposal from an MP, no medals were awarded. (By the way, the emu is now a protected species.)
* Last words! In southwest Germany, a householder discovered an unidentified object in his garden, dark in colour and about 40 centimetres long. Unexploded bombs from WWII are fairly common so the police were summoned. The zucchini was disarmed without incident!
* This is my last column before Christmas. My best wishes to readers--and think of our homeless or lonely veterans, and maybe do something for them!
Les Peate is a Korean War veteran and author based in Ottawa. If you have news you'd like included, write to email@example.com