Summer 2012 – Volume 21, No 3

Featured Article

“When suitable arrangements could be made”: The Geneva Convention, Medical Treatment, and the Repatriation of German POWs in Ontario, 1940-46

Kirk W. Goodlet

Abstract: This article investigates some of the problems in using the Geneva Convention as a way to evaluate internment operations in Ontario during the Second World War. It focuses on how the Canadian authorities dealt with the challenging issues of medical care and the repatriation of seriously ill German prisoners of war at camps in Gravenhurst, Espanola, and Monteith. This paper demonstrates that the treatment of German POWs in Ontario was dictated by the changing context of the war, the threat of reprisals against Canadian POWs in German hands, and the failed bilateral POW exchange negotiations between the Germany and Great Britain. A principle of reciprocity, not the application of international convention, governed the treatment and repatriation of German POWs.

 Table of Contents and Editorial Remarks


“You Have Shut Up the Jerries”: Canadian Counter-Battery Work in the Clearing of the Breskens Pocket, October–November 1944

R. Daniel Pellerin

Abstract: This paper examines Canadian counter-battery work during Operation Switchback, the battle to clear the Breskens Pocket, from 6 October to 3 November 1944 during the Battle of the Scheldt. The Canadians achieved some success at isolating hostile batteries in the pocket, but predicted shooting was too inaccurate to permanently silence them. In the planning stage, the Canadians had little knowledge of the Germans’ strength and dispositions behind their defences north of the Leopold Canal. Throughout the battle, those involved in locating hostile batteries strove to overcome challenges posed by the weather and terrain. Operational research conducted after the battle revealed that predicted fire dispersed shells over an excessively large area, mostly because of human error. Ultimately, the evidence challenges the idea that the Allies won the Second World War by the “brute force” use of their superior artillery and air assets rather than through skill and ingenuity.

New Men in the Line: An Assessment of Reinforcements to the 48th Highlanders in Italy, January-October 1944

Andrew Brown

Abstract: Anecdotal evidence, consisting mainly of soldiers’ testimony and widely accepted as fact, suggests that Canadian infantry reinforcements in the Second World War lacked training. However, a sample of service records does not support the contention that the army sent masses of untrained men to war. Indeed, the service files of soldiers killed in Italy with the 48th Highlanders of Canada between January and October 1944 indicate that the army rushed few men into battle. Furthermore, the war diaries of units that provided refresher training to men in the reinforcement stream indicate that the army strove to ensure soldiers were ready for combat.

Canadian War Museum

Vimy Ridge Day, 2012

Dean F. Oliver

Abstract: Vimy sits at or near the very centre of whatever national historical psyche Canadians might reasonably be said to possess. Vimy is unique, unalloyed, and unparalleled in our commemoration of the nation’s military past. It may or may not be undeserving of such singular esteem, but it holds the honour just the same. Vimy’s status is as its battle was: epic, indelible, and, in part, inexplicable. Vimy nevertheless should be remembered as a whole, and not disaggregated as moral lesson or site of mourning. Vimy is place, battle, and memory – a fusion of land, people, and time. We forget this, or exaggerate it, to our peril; we misunderstand it, or ignore it, to our shame.

Résumé : Vimy figure en plein cœur, ou tout près, de toute représentation historique nationale que l’on peut raisonnablement attribuer aux Canadiens. Vimy est unique, pure et sans égale dans notre souvenance du passé militaire du pays. Qu’elle mérite, ou non, cette consécration, elle conserve cet honneur. Le statut de Vimy est identique à ce que la bataille fut : épique, inoubliable et, en partie, inexplicable. Vimy devrait néanmoins être évoquée comme un tout, et non pas distinguée isolément comme leçon de morale ou site de deuil. Vimy est un lieu, une bataille et un souvenir – une fusion d’espace, de personnes et de temps. Nous l’oublions, ou l’exagérons, à notre détriment; nous la comprenons mal, ou l’ignorons, à notre honte.

Algernon Mayow Talmage (1871–1939): Official Canadian War Artist

Hugh A. Halliday

Abstract: Algernon Talmage, a distinguished, but forgotten, British painter is best known for his tutelage of Emily Carr. During the First World War he was commissioned by Lord Beaverbrook’s Canadian War Memorials Fund to paint scenes of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps. His work has been overshadowed by his more famous colleagues but deserves to be featured on its own merits.

Résumé : Algernon Talmage, un peintre britannique éminent, mais tombé dans l’oubli, est davantage connu pour avoir dirigé Emily Carr. Pendant la Première Guerre mondiale, le Fonds de souvenirs de guerre canadiens, fondé par lord Beaverbrook, l’a chargé de peindre des scènes du Corps de vétérinaires de l’Armée canadienne. Ses œuvres ont été éclipsées par celles de ses collègues plus célèbres, mais elles méritent d’être exposées pour leurs propres mérites.


“Bat Outta Hell”: CH146 Griffon Nose Art in Afghanistan

W.E. Storey

Abstract: Aircraft nose art is an important component of a combat aircraft’s markings and can help to boost crew morale, esprit de corps and instill pride in the service, as well as add a distinct character to the aircraft. This article builds upon the author’s earlier study of Canadian Chinook nose art by examining the images which adorned CH146 Griffons in Afghanistan. While the art on the big twin engined  helicopters largely reflected the transport role of those aircraft, the nose art of the Griffons was inspired by the fighting nature of the Griffons escort role.

The Continuing Historical Legacy of Dominick “Toby” Graham

David Zimmerman

Abstract: Dominick Graham, the first Professor of Military History at the University of New Brunswick, had a comparatively brief academic career. His historiographical arguments and ideas remain valuable today, however, almost a quarter of a century after his retirement. Graham’s most important study was his examination of the British Expeditionary Force contained in the book Fire-power. This paper will examine Graham’s intellectual legacy, demonstrating how Graham’s ideas can be applied to furthering our understanding of the role of science in the First World War.

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