Spring 2010 – Volume 19, No.2

Featured Article: 

Lost in Normandy: The Odyssey of Worthington Force, 9 August 1944

Mike Bechthold

Abstract: The standard account of Worthington Force is well known – on 9 August 1944 during Operation Totalize a battlegroup formed by the tanks of the British Columbia Regiment and the infantry of the Algonquin Regiment was ordered to capture Point 195. Unbeknownst to anyone, including the men of Worthington Force, the battlegroup lost its way in the dark and found itself on a different piece of high ground, near Point 140, some six kilometres northeast of their objective. Cut off from any support, Worthington Force was destroyed by concerted German attacks over the course of the day. Based on new archival research and an examination of contemporary aerial photographs, this article will show how the battlegroup lost its way as well as reveal that the battlegroup was not as out of touch as previous accounts have indicated.


Operational Fires: Lisieux and Saint-Lô – The Destruction of Two Norman Towns on D-Day
Stephen A. Bourque

Abstract: Standard accounts of the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944 usually focus on the combatant’s experience. These narratives describe, in detail, the role of British, Canadian, American, and even German military units. The British glider and airborne landings to the east, the divisional assaults on the five beaches, and the American airborne landings to the west, and the ultimate breakouts near Caen and Saint-Lô define Operation Overlord for most historians and general readers. This article challenges that conventional narrative by introducing the perspective of French citizens who experienced 6 June under the bombs of RAF Bomber Command and the US Eighth Air Force. The bombing of Saint-Lô and Lisieux are just two examples of the massive bombing campaign that remain today part of the French perspective on the Second World War.


Beyond the Consensus: 1st Canadian Infantry Division at Agira, Sicily, 24-28 July 1943
Grant N. Barry


Abstract: From 24-28 July 1943, 1st Canadian Infantry Division attacked Axis forces deeply entrenched on three large ridges that stood between the Sicilian towns of Nissoria and Agira. To date, historians have suggested that 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade (1 CIB) failed in its attempt to unseat a small German delay force which guarded the ridges and Agira. However, the area was actually a formidable defensive position manned by many German and Italian units that were supported by armour and artillery, and continuously reinforced throughout the battle. By destroying enemy men and equipment and eroding morale, 1 CIB set the stage for the capture of Agira by 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade.


Canadian War Museum
Coming in the Front Door: A History of Three Canadian Physiotherapists Through Two World Wars
Suzanne Evans


Abstract: The devastation of industrialized warfare of the First World War provided an abundance of patients needing help to re-educate wasted muscles or learn to use prosthetic limbs. The Canadian military medical establishment gradually realized the usefulness of “functional re-training” for wounded soldiers and set up schools to train physiotherapists. Not thinking ahead, the schools were closed at war’s end. However, in the interwar years some far-sighted women developed a university training program and a regulating organization so that by the Second World War physiotherapists were in a position to significantly contribute to the war effort. The wartime development of this female-dominated profession will be shown through the stories of three Canadian women of successive generations.
Résumé : La dévastation provoquée par la Première Guerre mondiale, véritable conflit industriel, a laissé une abondance de blessés qui durent apprendre à remettre en fonction des muscles abîmés ou à utiliser des prothèses. Graduellement, les autorités médicales militaires canadiennes se rendirent compte de l’utilité de la rééducation fonctionnelle chez ces soldats et mirent sur pied des écoles destinées à former des physiothérapeutes. Sans se préoccuper de l’avenir, on ferma les écoles à la fin de la guerre. Toutefois, dans les années de l’entre-deux-guerres, des femmes, prévoyantes, développèrent un programme de formation universitaire et créèrent un organisme de réglementation de sorte que les physiothérapeutes de la Seconde Guerre mondiale puissent être en mesure de contribuer à l’effort de guerre. Le développement, pendant la guerre, de cette profession où dominait un personnel féminin, est illustré par l’histoire de trois femmes appartenant à trois générations successives.


From Belgium to Broadway
Arlene Doucette


Abstract: A button found amongst the possessions of the late Raymond Massey was donated by his estate to the Canadian War Museum in 2009. Unfortunately, the donor was not able to provide any provenance and did not know how Massey came to own this piece of history. The button, which was taken at Ypres as a battlefield souvenir from an unknown German soldier’s uniform, has touched the lives of a prominent general and two gifted and prolific Canadian actors before coming to be in the care of the museum. Its story reveals the intersection of lives touched by the war.
Résumé : En 2009, un membre de la succession du regretté Raymond Massey remit au Musée canadien de la guerre un bouton trouvé dans ses possessions. Malheureusement, le donateur ne fut pas en mesure d’en fournir la provenance exacte et ne savait pas du tout comment Massey avait pu acquérir ce morceau d’histoire. Le bouton, recueilli sur l’uniforme d’un soldat allemand inconnu, après la bataille d’Ypres, avait un lien avec la vie d’un éminent général et celle de deux acteurs, doués et prolifiques, avant de se retrouver confié aux soins d’un musée. Son histoire illustre comment des vies peuvent se recouper sous les effets de la guerre.


“Tact, diplomacy and an infinite store of patience”: Cyprus and Canadian Peacekeeping
Andrew Burtch


Abstract: The United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), or OP SNOWGOOSE, is Canada’s longest-lasting peacekeeping operation. Major contribution to the force lasted from 1964 to 1993, during which time 59 rotations, fully tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers, served on the island. With the significant exception of operations during the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island, military personnel serving there were tasked with the monotonous but necessary task of keeping watch to enforce the decades-long ceasefire along the Green Line, the buffer zone between Greek and Turkish-Cypriots. The Canadian War Museum’s new Cyprus displays in Experience Gallery 4: A Violent Peace, captures the Canadian experience on the Green Line during the 1974 invasion and during more peaceful periods.
Résumé : L’Opération Snow Goose, nom donné à la Force des Nations Unies chargée du maintien de la paix à Chypre (FNUC), est la plus longue du genre du Canada. Un apport important à cette force dura de 1964 à 1993, années durant lesquelles, à l’occasion de 59 rotations, des dizaines de milliers de soldats canadiens servirent dans l’île. Exception faite des opérations marquantes de l’invasion de l’île par les Turcs, en 1974, le personnel militaire y fut astreint à des tâches plutôt monotones, mais nécessaires à la surveillance du respect du cessez-le-feu, vieux de plusieurs décennies, le long de la Ligne verte, zone tampon entre Grecs et Chypriotes turcs. Les nouvelles aires d’exposition sur Chypre, au Musée canadien de la guerre, dans la galerie 4 – Une paix violente, illustrent bien l’expérience des Canadiens sur la Ligne verte pendant l’invasion de 1974 et des moments plus tranquilles.




Foreword from Germany’s Western Front: Translations from the German Official History of the Great War
Hew Strachan


Abstract: Germany’s Western Front, edited by Mark Osborne Humphries and John Maker, is a multi-volume English-language translation of Der Weltkrieg, the German official history of the First World War. Originally produced between 1925 and 1944 using classified archival records that were destroyed in the aftermath of the Second World War, Der Weltkrieg is the untold story of German experience on the Western Front. What follows in the foreword, written by Hew Strachen, to the 1915 volume of the series.


Admiral Kingsmill and the Early Years of the Royal Canadian Navy, Part II
Roger Sarty
Abstract: Following are the second and third documents in a series assembled to support the creation of a plaque in honour of Admiral Kingsmill by the Ontario Heritage Trust. The plaque is located at his burial place, Emmanuel Anglican Church Cemetery, Portland Ontario, near the location of Kingsmill’s summer home on Grindstone Island, and was unveiled in a ceremony on 15 May 2010








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