Newsletter on line. This newsletter, and previous editions, are available on the RUSI Vancouver website at: http://www.rusivancouver.ca/newsletter.html
The 15 Field Officers Mess holds weekly lunches, serving a 5 course, ‘homemade’ meal for only $15- you won’t find a better meal - or a better deal, anywhere. If you are in the area on a Wednesday, drop in and join us for lunch.
The dress for Wednesday lunches is suit/blazer/sports jacket and tie. Dress for ladies is the equivalent. Your guests are always welcome but don’t forget to tell them about dress requirements BEFORE they come.
World War 2 - 1940
John Thompson Strategic analyst quotes from his book “Spirit Over Steel”
July 8th: Carrier aircraft from HMS Hermes put a torpedo into Richelieu in Dakar and damage is done to the Battleship Jean Bart in Casablanca – whereupon DeGaulle lays a complaint with his British hosts for treating the French Fleet so roughly; many Free French feel the same.
July 9th: Admiral Cunningham hits an Italian naval force in the Straits of Messina, the latter run for it with damage to the Battleship Giulio Cesare after exchanging fire with HMS Warspite – which sets a record by scoring a hit at 26,000 yards. Petain is given the power to make amendments to the French constitution by the Vichy French Parliament.
July 10th: There are air battles over the Channel and 70 Luftwaffe bombers are sent to attack a port in southern Wales – the Battle of Britain has begun.
July 11th: “Nous, Philippe Petain” assumes sweeping new powers as head of the Vichy State. Two weeks of aerial combat begin over British shipping convoys in the Channel.
July 13th: Hitler issues Directive 15 on the Air War with Britain, calling on the air offensive to begin on August 5th (thus missing three weeks of prime summer weather) and to establish air superiority prior to an invasion; he also tells some of his generals that war with the Soviet Union is in the future. Italian forces in Ethiopia attack the Kenyan border town of Moyale.
July 14th: The Soviets arrest 15,000 people deemed to be “hostile elements” in the Baltic States.
30,000th Daily Ceremony at Menin Gate
Ceremony Commemorates Courage and Sacrifice of Fallen and honours First World War soldiers with no known grave. July 9, 2015 – Ypres, Belgium – Veterans Affairs Canada
The Government of Canada today honoured fallen Canadian soldiers at a special Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium. Today, July 9, 2015, marks the 30,000th time this moving daily tribute has been conducted. Each country whose fallen are commemorated by the Menin Gate Memorial had a special role to play in the ceremony. On behalf of Canada, Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada contributed to the pre-recorded reading of John McCrae’s famous poem, In Flanders Fields. Lieutenant-General Richard Rohmer, Special Advisor to Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, laid a wreath on behalf of the Government of Canada.
For the missing of Commonwealth nations (except New Zealand and Newfoundland) who died in the Ypres Salient during the First World War.
Since its formation in 1928, the Ypres Last Post Committee has organized this tribute to the war dead. Every evening at sunset, traffic is halted, and buglers from the local fire brigade station themselves at the centre of the Hall of Memory to sound the Last Post.
C6 General Purpose Machine Gun to Get an Upgrade
David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen July 7, 2015
Work is underway to upgrade the Canadian Army’s C6 General Purpose Machine Gun. Industry representatives have been told that the upgrades will include a new gas regulator, new accessory rail, new butt stock as well as other accessories. The Army hopes to get “implementation approval” sometime this year. The cost for the project is estimated in the Defence Acquisition Guide at between $100 million to $249 million. The DAG states implementation approval for 2016 so it looks like the Army is hoping to move a little fast than that.
A contract award will come in 2017. It is unknown when deliveries would begin.
Canada’s First Fighter Squadron Reborn
By Peter Lozinski, Cold Lake Sun July 6, 2015
Seventy-five years after battling the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron has been reborn. The squadron was reactivated during a June 30 ceremony at 4 Wing Cold Lake. Known as the Ram Squadron, 401 will fly the CF-18. MGen David Wheeler, commander of 1st Canadian Air Division, was on hand to stand up the new squadron. “This is a day we’ve been waiting for a long, long time,” Wheeler said. “It’s a great opportunity... (it’s) not every day that you get to stand up a new squadron, especially one with the history of 401.”
Wheeler said the need for 401 Squadron came out of the need to move away from “super squadrons.” For the past several years, Canada has had only two active tactical fighter squadrons - 409, based in Cold Lake, and 425, based in Bagotville, Que.
With the rebirth of 433 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Bagotville on June 11 and the reformation of 401 in Cold Lake, Canada once again has four active fighter squadrons. “I’m very pleased to see such a historic squadron come to life once again and in Cold Lake – the home of the fighter force,” Wheeler said in a press release. “Transitioning to four tactical fighter squadrons will provide the RCAF with a better structure to maintain operational effectiveness and flexibility.”
Lt.-Col. Joseph Mullins, who previously served as acting 4 Wing Commander, will take over as 401’s commanding officer. “We will not let you down,” he said Tuesday. “I assure you we will be ready.” Mullins said that it’s appropriate that 401, “Canada’s oldest and newest fighter squadron ... will now make their home in fightertown Canada, 4 Wing Cold Lake.” During the ceremony, it was announced that current Edmonton-Centre MP Laurie Hawn would become the squadron’s Honorary Colonel when his current term is up. Before going into politics, Hawn served in the air force for over 30 years. Thirteen of those were spent in Cold Lake “flying the (CF-104) Starfighter or CF-18,” he said. Hawn is a former commanding officer of 416 Sqn. in Cold Lake and spent time as Wing Operations Officer. He was also the Honorary Colonel of 417 Sqn from 1998-2003. “It’s very exciting, it’s a real honour,” Hawn said. “This was not expected - it happened very quickly...over the past six days.”
Hawn stressed the importance of the newly-reformed 401 squadron. “We went from two operational squadrons at each of Cold Lake and Bagotville down to one at each place, that proved a bit unwieldy so this is going back to where it was before,” he said. “It gives the air force a lot more flexibility in meeting requirements It really strengthens the command and control within the squadron, so you can send a whole unit away instead of sending part of a bigger squadron.” The newly-reformed 401 Squadron “complements the duties of 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron and...deploys tactical fighter forces to meet Canadian and allied defence needs,” according to a description on the air force website. “Under the umbrella of the NORAD mission, fighter crews are on stand-by 24/7, ready to respond to any aerospace threat.”
The new squadron was created by “separating equal portions of personnel and equipment from (409 Squadron).”
401 Squadron was originally formed as No. 1 Squadron in Trenton, Ont. in 1937, flying the Siskin, an early, single-seat British-built biplane single-seat fighter, used extensively in the 1920s. It later graduated to the Hawker Hurricane in 1939. From 1940-1941, the fighter unit destroyed 30 aircraft and damaged another 34, with nine other probable victories in the Battle of Britain. The squadron was later renamed 401 to avoid confusion with the Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) No 1 squadron. In September 1941, the unit was equipped with Spitfires. It participated in several other battles in WWII, including Dieppe, and bombed several Nazi targets. The squadron ended the war as the highest scoring unit in the RAF Second Tactical Air Force, credited with 186.5 aerial victories. After the war, the squadron was disbanded. It was reactivated in 1946 and later redesignated to an auxiliary role, flying the de Havilland Otter. When that was retired, the squadron flew the Kiowa helicopter in an observation role before being disbanded in 1998.
NATO Praises Petawawa Soldiers on Poland Mission
By Sean Chase, Daily Observer June 22, 2015
MIKE Company, 3RCR, seen here marching during the Battalion’s Change of Command, was the first Petawawa unit to deploy to Europe as part of Operation Reassurance.
GARRISON PETAWAWA - As their mission draws to a close, senior commanders here are praising Petawawa soldiers for their outstanding work in Europe as part of Canada's response to Russian aggression in the Ukraine. Since last summer, the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment has been rotating Company groups, which includes attachments of artillery, combat engineers and signalers, to Poland to reinforce NATO's collective defence in the wake of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula. The latest contingent to deploy there, 125 troops from November Company, is expected to return home on July 15. In his remarks during the battalion's change of command Saturday, Col Peter Dawe, Commander of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, lauded the unit for answering the call during this tense international crisis. “In an era where the ability to project around the world in a timely and efficient manner to achieve strategic effect on behalf of the government of Canada, a Light Infantry Battalion is more critical than ever,” said Col Dawe. “The future relevance of the Canadian Army is contingent on the proper mandating and resources of Light Forces.”
Last July, the Battalion's Parachute Company, were dispatched on Operation Reassurance, a mission dedicated to shoring up NATO's resolve in the face of Russian military and political movements against Ukraine. When the Commander and the Brigade's RSM, CWO Keith Olstad visited the soldiers in the fall, there were nothing but compliments from their NATO hosts. “We were overwhelmed by the effusive praise of senior NATO officials who spoke of the tactical excellence, the fighting spirit and the diplomacy of these remarkable soldiers,” said Col Dawe. The crisis is nowhere near resolution. More than 4,700 people have been killed in fighting between the Ukrainian and Russian-backed separatist forces. According to the United Nations, 830,000 refugees have fled the region. Canada has launched a second deployment, Operation Unifier, which will involve military trainer working with Ukrainian Infantry Battalions. They will provide training on mine and how to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs), while Military Police will be focused primarily on detainee and prisoner-of-war handling.
As he leaves his post, outgoing 3RCR commanding officer LCol Rob McBride acknowledged the Poland mission has driven the lives of his troops for the past two years. “Operation Reassurance has been an outstanding opportunity for this Battalion,” he said. “Our soldiers have been recognized for their professionalism, their skill sets and our ability to seamless integrate with our allies. They have represented Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces extremely well. They have impressed our allies with their tenacity, their professionalism and sense of duty.”
Petawawa soldiers have participated in a series of joint exercises working alongside soldiers from NATO Allied countries such as Czech Republic, Estonia, Great Britain, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United States. Those exercises have involved mass parachute drops and airmobile inserts with the focus being the seizure of strategic locations, such as airfields. Lieutenant-Colonel McBride said this mission has answered critics within the Department of National Defence who have debated the necessity for a Light Infantry Battalion in the Order of Battle. “I can say without a doubt that this unit has made a significant contribution to that argument in order to demonstrate the true need for this capability and what it can bring to the fight,” he added.
'Greatest Living Flying Ace' is City's Newest Freeman
PHILIP ROUND/SPECIAL TO THE ECHO / COMOX VALLEY ECHO JULY 2, 2015
Courtenay's newest Freeman of the City was announced on Canada Day by City Mayor Larry Jangula - he is World War Two flying ace James 'Stocky' Edwards.
To celebrate its 100th birthday, Courtenay City Council has unanimously voted to grant the Freedom of the City to a person almost the same age as the municipality itself. World War Two flying ace James 'Stocky' Edwards was with his wife Toni on the stage at the official opening of the Canada Day celebrations in Lewis Park on Wednesday. As City Mayor Larry Jangula rose to welcome guests, he turned to Edwards and reviewed some of the former pilot's many wartime exploits and subsequent military and civilian accolades. Jangula described 94-year-old Edwards as Canada's greatest living flying ace, who had either downed or damaged almost 60 enemy aircraft during the Second World War in Europe and North Africa. One of many Royal Canadian Air Force pilots helping fight the Nazis and their Axis Allies, his Spitfire was hit a few times during almost 400 sorties, but he was never shot down. Saskatchewan-born and raised Edwards was mentioned in war dispatches more than once, and he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Distinguished Flying Medal and Canadian Forces Decoration for his efforts.
Much later, in 2004, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada; in 2012 he received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal; and as recently as last year the French President awarded him the title Chevalier (Knight) of the French Legion of Honour. The Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in Alberta acclaims him as "one of the 100 most influential Canadians in any aspect of aviation history," and it has already raised a banner in his honour. Following the war, Edwards served at RCAF Station Centralia, flew and instructed on Vampire jets in Trenton, and was OC St Hubert. In 1949, with the Search and Rescue Unit at the RCAF Station at Sea Island, Vancouver, he flew Cansos and Lancasters. Then, after serving as OC of a recruiting unit in Vancouver, he commanded the first RCAF F-86 Sabre squadron in North Bay, Ontario. In 1952 he was posted to France, flying F-86 Sabre jet aircraft, and in 1955 joined USAF Air Defence Headquarters at Colorado Springs for four years. After flying CF-100 jets at Cold Lake, Alberta, he held staff positions in Ottawa and North Bay, with his final posting as Commanding Officer of RCAF Station Baldy Hughes, near Prince George.
After more than 30 years service with the military, he retired in 1972 when he, his wife and their children moved to the Comox Valley where, said Jangula, they had been stalwarts in the community ever since. And, the mayor added, Edwards and his wife were among the "friendliest, kindest and nicest people anyone could wish to know." After the announcement, Edwards told the Echo to be recognized in his own community by being awarded the City's highest honour had come as a total surprise. - "I am proud to be a Canadian and for this to happen on Canada Day is just wonderful," he added.
The Soviet Union’s Kalinin K-7 Bomber
Russia’s equivalent of the ‘Spruce Goose’
The Kalinin K-7 was a heavy experimental aircraft designed and tested in the Soviet Union. The K-7 was built in two years at Kharkiv starting in 1931. It was of unusual configuration with twin booms and large underwing pods housing fixed landing gear and machine gun turrets. In the passenger version, seats were arranged inside the 2.3-meter thick (7 ft 7 in) wings. The airframe was welded from KhMA chrome-molybdenum steel. The original design called for six engines in the wing leading edge but when the projected loaded weight was exceeded, two more engines were added to the trailing edges of each wing, one right and one left of the central passenger pod. Nemecek states in his book that at first only one further pusher engine was added.
Designed by World War I and civil war pilot Konstantin Kalinin at the aviation design bureau he headed in Kharkov, with a wingspan close to that of a B-52 and a much greater wing area, the K-7 was one of the biggest aircraft built before the jet age. It had an unusual arrangement of six tractor engines on the wing leading edge and a single engine in pusher configuration at the rear. In civil transport configuration, it would have had a capacity for 120 passengers and 7,000 kg (15,000 lb) of mail. As a troop transport it would have had capacity for 112 fully equipped paratroopers. In bomber configuration it would have been armed with 8 x 20mm autocannons, 8 x 7.62mm machine guns and up to 9,600 kg (21,200 lb) of bombs.
The K-7 first flew on 11 August 1933. The very brief first flight showed instability and serious vibration caused by the airframe resonating with the engine frequency. The solution to this was thought to be to shorten and strengthen the tail booms, little being known then about the natural frequencies of structures and their response to vibration. The aircraft completed seven test flights before a crash due to structural failure of one of the tail booms on 21 November 1933.
The existence of the aircraft had only recently been announced by Pravda which declared it was “victory of the utmost political importance” since it had been built with steel produced in the USSR rather than imported. The accident killed 14 people aboard and one on the ground. Flight speculated that sabotage was suspected as the investigating committee had representation by the state security organization, the Joint State Political Directorate (OGPU).
However, there appeared recently some speculation in the Russian aviation press about the role of politics and the competing design office of Andrei Tupolev, suggesting possible sabotage.
Although two more prototypes were ordered in 1933, the project was cancelled in 1935 before they could be completed.
For more pictures and Specs, go to: https://www.warhistoryonline.com/military-vehicle-news/seriously-the-kalinin-k-7-bomber-actually-took-to-the-air.html
BC and Yukon Volunteers Recognized
Volunteers from BC commended for dedication to Canada’s Military Veterans.
Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendations presented by the Honourable Erin O’Toole at ceremony in Richmond. July 13, 2015 – Richmond – Veterans Affairs Canada
The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today presented the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation to the following British Columbia and Yukon residents, honouring their contributions in the service of Military Veterans:
Share Your Stories as a Canadian War Museum Volunteer
In October 2015, the Canadian War Museum will be opening a new temporary exhibition on women and war. Are you a woman who has been impacted by war or do you know a woman who has experienced war?
The Museum is looking for volunteers to share with visitors their personal stories of women’s experiences of war. Though we are looking for women’s stories, volunteers of all genders are welcome. Some examples of stories might include, but are not limited to:
Application deadline is July 20, 2015.
For further information including time commitment, how to apply and a more detailed exhibition description, please email the editor of this newsletter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please share this information with any of your contacts who you think might be interested in this volunteer opportunity.
Thank you kindly
Intern, Learning Specialist
Canadian War Museum
Stagiaire, spécialiste en apprentissage
Musée canadien de la guerre
1, place Vimy Place, Ottawa ON K1A 0M8
T 819 776 8606 C 647-262-5324
Who is it?
Last Week: This picture was taken in Shilo in the early 70s, probably around Easter. On a trip to Shilo, the Regt usually flew in and drew equipment from Shilo’s resources. Note the ramp on the side of the tractor. This tractor is from Shilo and was normally used for the L5 light gun. The ramps were used to portée the L5. They were winched up the ramps into the back of the truck.
The soldier on the left is believed to be Sgt J Allen. Next to him, many think is Leon Jensen. He says it is not him, he never looked that nerdy. We leave it to you readers to decide. The rest are too indistinct to identify, except for the soldier on the far right. That is Bill Loiselle, who passed away last year.
This Week: This week’s quiz is one for you bikers out there, hairy or non-hirsute. The photo is from the album of a retired officer of the 24th Field Regiment, RCA, which participated in the Aleutian Campaign in 1943. The shot is from when the regiment moved west, and was taken the 28th of November, 1942 on a highway east of Vancouver. Where once there were two lanes, now there are more. However, I’m not sure the journey is any faster today than it was back then. In any case, the gentlemen driving the motorcycles seem happy enough, although health and safety aren’t necessarily their top priorities. Neither has a helmet, preferring the practical and stylish field service cap, firmly held in place by a thin leather chin strap. The chap in front, identified as “T.B.S.M. Ernie Curtiss” (an Errol Flynn look-alike!) has a wind-proof overcoat, but the fellow in the rear is clad only in battledress. The photo is further identified as having been “taken from the back of the G.A. truck”.
The question for you, dear reader, is “What type(s?) of motorcycle is/are being ridden”. I’m sure there are some keen bikers out amongst you who can help us to further our knowledge of this rather-forgotten part of our war effort. Your answers can be sent to the author, John Redmond (email@example.com), or the editor. Thank you in advance. For a photo you can zoom in on, email the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the ‘Punitentary’
How many sides does a circle have? Two: an inside and an outside.
Murphy’s other Laws
The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.
Middle age is when you’ve met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else. – Ogden Nash