Fall Speaker Series – 14 November, Dr. Geoff Hayes and “Coming Into our Own: Operation Suitcase, October 1944”

Wednesday, November 14 at 7 pm
Dr. Geoff Hayes, University of Waterloo
Coming Into our Own: Operation Suitcase, October 1944

Critics of First Canadian Army like to focus on setbacks at the expense of operational successes. For this reason, Operation Suitcase, the multi-divisional push north of Antwerp in October 1944, is seldom acknowledged, let alone understood. But what did Operation Suitcase say about the operational performance of First Canadian Army, particularly in its ability to coordinate armour and infantry? And what impact did Suitcase have on the liberation of the Netherlands?

Geoff Hayes is an associate professor of history at the University of Waterloo. His work includes a history of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, as well as co-edited works on the First and Second World Wars, and Afghanistan.

Location: Laurier Military Centre, 232 King Street North, Waterloo

Cost: Free (no need to RSVP)


Wednesday, December 5 at 7 pm
Professor Terry Copp – Wilfrid Laurier University
“If Torch, No Roundup”: The Decision to Invade North Africa in 1942

An Interactive discussion (similar to the Dieppe presentation in August) on the continuing Anglo-American strategic debate that culminated in Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa. We will consider the conflict between George Marshall and Winston Churchill and the unintended consequences of the operational compromises that shaped the battle for North Africa and the decision to invade Sicily.

We will host a casual social afterwards at Frat Burger.

Location: Laurier Military Centre, 232 King Street North, Waterloo

Cost: Free (no need to RSVP)

For more information, or questions, please contact:

Mike Bechthold

[email protected]

519-884-0710 x.4594


 Past Presentations:

Wednesday, September 19 at 7 pm
Dr. Roger Sarty – Wilfrid Laurier University
War in the St. Lawrence: New Perspectives on Canada’s Campaign against the U-Boats, 1939-1945

In 1942 to 1944 thirteen German submarines operated in the St. Lawrence gulf and river. They pushed as far west in the river as Rimouski, and sank or severely damaged 27 Allied merchant ships and warships, including HMCS Raccoon and HMCS Shawinigan who had no survivors. This was the only major battle of the 20th century fought largely within Canadian territory, by largely Canadian forces under Canadian — not Allied — high command. It was also characterized as an important Canadian defeat, until the first archival research on the battle was started in the 1980s. The presentation will highlight a central theme of the new book War in the St. Lawrence: why the battle was for so long understood as a defeat, and how work in newly opened archives since the early 1980s has painted a very different picture of Canadian naval and maritime air operations that in fact all but paralyzed the U-boats after their initial and brief period of success.


Wednesday, October 10 at 7 pm
Geoff Keelan – University of Waterloo
“What we have, we hold”: The 22nd Battalion at the Battle of Courcelette, September 1916

This talk examines one of the last battles of the Somme in late summer of 1916 at Flers-Courcelette. It focuses on the actions of the 22nd Battalion and its commander Lieutenant-Colonel T.L. Tremblay during the three-day battle to hold the village of Courcelette against fierce German counterattack. The battle was commemorated by the battalion for decades afterwards – a testament to its importance and impact on the soldiers of Canada’s only French-speaking battalion of the Great War.

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Contact Information

Matt Baker, Senior Research Associate and Centre Coordinator
[email protected]
(519) 884-0710 ext. 2080

Business Hours
Monday to Friday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday to Sunday: Closed

Mailing Address
Wilfrid Laurier University
75 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON, Canada
N2L 3C5

Physical Address
232 King St. N. Waterloo, ON

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