Van Arty Association and RUSI Van Members News Nov 3, 2015
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.
St Barbara’s Day Special Guest Night
The deadline for RSVPs for this event is fast approaching. If you plan to attend, please let us know ASAP. See invitation at end of this newsletter.
World War 2 - 1940
John Thompson Strategic analyst quotes from his book “Spirit Over Steel”
Nov 1st: The Italian advance in Greece reaches the Kalamas River, as the British make plans to transfer half of the RAF’s strength in Egypt to help Greece. Churchill makes the calculation that aid for Greece is vital to help Yugoslavia and Turkey to stand up to German overtures.
Nov 3rd: All over London, residents have problems going to sleep – the strange absence of the Luftwaffe for the first time since September 7th is duly noted. Kretschmer in U99 sinks two British armed merchant cruisers. U-Boat Ace ‘Silent Otto’ Kretschmer receives the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross. This U-Boat ace is well on his way to becoming the top scoring submariner ever, and will sink 266,000 tons before he is captured in March 1941. Kretschmer is a long way from being the stereotypical U-boat commander of Allied propaganda and has been known to hand blankets, spirits and compass directions to lifeboats. His personal conduct during the sinking of his submarine also reflects the highest standards of courage and leadership. The news of the latter award of Swords to his Knights Cross is relayed to him by the Canadian commandant of his POW camp in Nov 1941.
Nov 4th: The Greek counterattacks begin, and the Italians soon realize they have a tough competition.
Nov 5th: Roosevelt is elected to a third term as President, and the Democrats retain their majority in both houses. Out in the Atlantic, the German Pocket Battleship Admiral Scheer finds Convoy HX-84. The convoy’s main escort is an elderly Armed Merchant Cruiser (an old freighter with Pre-WW-1 six inch guns), Jervis Bay. Before it is destroyed, this valiant sheepdog charges the Admiral Scheer and fights a very-one sided battle against its faster, better armoured and much more heavily armed opponent. This buys enough time for 31 of its 37 charges to escape the wolf. Its gallant captain, Edward SF Fegen, is posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross and the 56 survivors of her 190 man crew are later picked up by a Swedish vessel.
Nov 6th: Brigadier William Slim’s 10th Indian Brigade captures Gallabat from the Italians in Somalia. Italian mechanized forces on the coastal plain of Western Greece reach Igoumenitsa.
Nov 7th: After losing his supporting air and armour, Slim falls back from Gallabat and the Italians regain the fortress. Colonel Leclerc lands in French Equatorial Africa to win it over for the Free French.
Nov 9th: Italy’s 3rd Alpini Division is trapped by the Greeks, and 5,000 prisoners are taken. The Germans begin to deport 200,000 French from Alsace and Lorraine, while other residents resign themselves to being considered as German citizens again for the first time since 1918.
Complimentary City Parking for Veterans with Plates
Vehicles displaying BC veteran licence plates will be exempt from parking fees at City of Vancouver parking meters, in EasyPark parkades, and surface lots as well as in Park Board operated parking facilities for Veterans Week, November 5 to 11, 2015.
The free parking also extends to popular destinations including Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and the Vancouver Aquatic Centre as well as a number of downtown community centres including Coal Harbour, Creekside, and Roundhouse.
The City offers the complimentary parking to recognize the military service and dedication Canadian men and women provided to our country and to facilitate their work distributing poppies.
Remembrance Day services will take place around the city on November 11.
Information on the annual Remembrance Day Ceremony and Parade at Victory Square can be found here.
5 Unexpected Things the Military Taught Me (and 5 Contradictions)
September 27, 2015 by Andrew Newton
Military life taught me more about being a man than I expected.
I was a starry-eyed eighteen-year-old when I joined the Canadian Armed Forces. I was immersed in a culture that expected more of me than I thought I was capable of giving. It forced me to grow, quickly, and figure out what kind of man I wanted to be. Below are five things that the military has taught me about being a man. And in proper military fashion I’ve shared a contradiction to each point. I’ve found these to be as applicable in my personal life as my professional life.
1. Give each task your 100%
Treat each task like it is the most important part of your day. Work until the job is done. It doesn’t matter if it takes 20 minutes or 20 hours. Don’t slack off. Multitasking is a myth and you’ll just waste time switching from one thing to another. If you can bring energy and skill to the smallest of tasks you’ll be ready when big projects come your way.
– but if you have nothing to do, don’t do it here. There is always something else you can be doing with your time. Take a break when you deserve it, but don’t sit there and be the source of distraction. When you’re done a job don’t hang around looking for a pat on the head. Move on.
2. Communicate more
If there is a deadline you need to pass on, do it. Clearly say what you expect and when. Don’t assume people know what you are talking about.
– with less. More Hemingway, less Homer. Speak your mind, say what needs to be said, and move on. Don’t waste people’s time by being wordy or avoiding an issue. If you need to email someone get to the point in the first line. Don’t make them skim your message trying to figure out what you want.
3. Patience is a virtue
Don’t be upset when people are late. Check on progress but don’t complain. Not much has changed since kindergarten: no one likes whiners.
– but be ready to move. When it’s time, it’s time. Don’t drag your feet, don’t complain about how little notice you were given, just get up and move on. There’s nothing you can do about it now anyways.
4. Be ready to lead
When something needs to be done don’t wait around to be told to do it. Step up and lead the way. It’s often easier for people join a task when they see you starting it, rather than standing there and telling them to do it.
– but know when to follow. The President doesn’t work with a Co-President, he works with a Vice-President. Take a lesson from democracy and understand that there can’t be two people in charge. Be confident enough to voice your opinion but be courageous enough to work as a team member. No one appreciates the constant dissenter or the wannabe usurper. Learn when to move over.
5. Don’t walk away
If you see a problem, fix it. Studies show that as a group we tell ourselves that someone else is dealing with it. Be the exception; step forward.
– but don’t be too proud to ask for help. Pride can be a terrible thing. It can seem like confidence but eventually it works against you. Being a man doesn’t mean always doing it alone. You should offer and accept help when needed. If you’re struggling, whether it’s academics, fitness, or depression, you are doing yourself and your peers a disservice by not asking for help moving forward. It’s not easy, but no one said it was going to be.
SAAF Pilot Single-Handedly Captures His Captors
Lt Peter During’s amazing story. October 24, 2015 by Peter Dickens
This colorized image captures a must read story about a South African Air Force pilot who escaped from becoming a German POW by capturing his own captors during WW2. Lt Peter During was shot down behind enemy lines in Italy right at the close of the war, he survived a crash landing and was promptly taken prisoner by the Germans. Whilst been escorted to a German Luftwaffe POW camp (he was a pilot and thus his interrogation and imprisonment was the responsibility of the German airforce), he opened a conversation with his captors. He was quickly able to establish that they could already see the writing on the wall, that the war was at an end and Germany would lose it. The Germans agreed with him that the best way for them to survive the war was to make it over to the Allied lines and surrender. He then convinced his four German escorts that he was their ticket to survival and to become his prisoners. They agreed and then changed direction and headed for the Allied lines instead.
It was a simple agreement really – if challenged by any German or other Axis Forces along the way the German’s agreed to say they were transferring an Allied pilot and continue on their way, and if challenged by the Italian Resistance fighters, Peter would be given their MP-40 machine pistol and state he was transferring German prisoners. On their way they stopped at several Italian houses for food and wine. One of the Germans had a camera and hence the photograph. In this picture you can see Peter has the MP-40 machine pistol while they enjoy a glass of wine with a rural Italian family hosting this odd group of men. Proof positive that there is some humanity in the craziness of war.
They made it over to the Allied lines, Peter During wrote them a note as to their good conduct which he gave to them as they went into captivity. The camera was given to Peter for safekeeping as its owner knew it would fall into the wrong hands and be lost once going into captivity. Despite trying on numerous occasions to track down these men Peter had “saved” after the war ended, he was unable to find them, thank them and reunite the camera with its original owner. He printed the role of film to discover this priceless snippet of history. The photograph is from Peter During’s collection (who is still with us and in our minds as veterans, he’s a real living national treasure) – and it was given to Tinus le Roux, who has also done this fantastic job colourising it.
Kalashnikov Unveils PL-14 pistol
Richard Jones, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly 17 June 2015
Concern Kalashnikov unveiled its new PL-14 self-loading pistol, chambered for the internationally available 9x19 mm cartridge, at the International Military-Technical Forum 'ARMY-2015' held in Kubinka (Moscow Region) from 16-19 June. The pistol is named Lebedev after its designer, as is common Russian practice. Its distinguishing features are said to be its enhanced ergonomics and balance, which meet modern requirements of human biomechanics and current pistol shooting techniques. Special attention was also paid to the unique aesthetics of the new pistol.
Concern Kalashnikov CEO Alexey Krivoruchko said in a 17 June press release that the versatility of the new pistol enables it to be used not only as a military and law-enforcement weapon but also for competitive shooting. "We intend to produce different variants of the pistol, for example with certain characteristics of the trigger mechanism making it suitable for special forces use, as well as a civilian version with a trigger that would be suitable for practical shooting competitions as well," Krivoruchko said.
At only 28 mm across the pistol-grip at its widest point and only 21 mm in width across the slide, the pistol is slim compared to its counterparts. All controls are ambidextrous. The steel slide has deep grasping-grooves front and rear, and the lower front section of the polymer frame has a length of MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny-type rail for fitting tactical aiming or lighting devices.
Particular attention was paid to safety when designing the pistol, to ensure that there will be no mechanical discharge (drop-test) even when falling from a great height onto a hard surface. The basic version has a longer, heavier trigger pull to prevent inadvertent discharge if the firer keeps his finger on the trigger; other more skilled users can have a lighter trigger-pull option. Safety features also include a loaded chamber indicator (LCI) in the breech area that provides both a visual and tactile indication that the weapon is loaded. The LCI has an additional function which "coupled with a modified geometry of the chamber, allows shooting with defective ammunition when brass size does not meet the specifications", Krivoruchko said. Basic technical details of the PL-14 pistol are: overall length 220 mm, height 136 mm, width 28 mm, with a barrel length of 127 mm. Magazine capacity is 15 rounds and weight loaded is 990 g.
World War II POWs Honored in Japan
10/15/2015 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Indra Bosko, US 7th Fleet Public Affairs
YOKOHAMA, Japan (NNS) -- Standing in front of the Commonwealth War Cemetery, several Marines stood in ranks in their dress uniforms, waiting to escort former prisoners-of-war and their families into the cemetery. "I love the welcome they gave for Daddy," said Pam Eslinger, daughter of one of the former POWs. Each year since 2010, former American POWs are honored by the Japanese/Prisoners-of-War Friendship Program, sponsored by the Japanese government for the purpose of reconciliation. This year, being the 70th anniversary since Japan's surrender, gave this particular visit added significance.
Nine American POWs - the youngest, 91-year-old Clifford Warren - took the roughly 11-hour flight from the U.S. to Japan. "This is fantastic," Warren said. He was one of 9,000 men captured by the Japanese, when his unit was forced to surrender in the Philippines in 1942. He spent the last year of the war working in a lead mine in Kamioka, Japan. This was Warren's first time back to the country that held him captive. He couldn't help but be impressed by Japan's development. "I've never seen a cleaner nation," he said. The occasion also had special meaning to others who attended, most notably Satoko Kogure, a Newsweek reporter, who traveled all the way from New York and brought her family members to visit Jack Warner, a former POW, and his daughter Pam Eslinger. Kogure and Warner had met before in Oklahoma. She cried and apologized to him after learning that her grandfather was a convicted war criminal and a commandant of a Japanese camp in Yokohama where Warner, a Marine, was imprisoned.
63 Marines from the Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Pacific (FASTPAC) and several Sailors from the US 7th Fleet escorted the nine POWs around the cemetery. The official ceremony included colors, a historical presentation of the cemetery by Japanese representatives and a tribute to the Yokohama Cremation Memorial on the grounds. Afterwards, some walked around the cemetery and read gravestone inscriptions of some of the 1,555 deceased POWs who died during World War II. Others were glued to their seats listening to old war stories and words of wisdom from the veterans. Eslinger said the bilateral Japanese-American commemorative program gives former POWs a sense of peace and closure, but that sense of closure was also visible in the family members who attended. "A few tears did roll down my eyes. The event is emotional because I do love my country and I respect what my daddy did and what he stands for; and it is emotional to him," Eslinger said.
Call For Maori Flag’s Return to Lay ‘Ghosts of the Past’ to Rest
A MAORI flag held in a Scottish museum for almost a century should be sent back to New Zealand in a bid to heal “long standing grievances”, it was claimed yesterday.
By Dean Herbert Mar 20, 2015
The flag has been in the museum since the 1920s
Since the 1920s, Hawick Museum in Roxburghshire has kept a flag seized by British forces during a battle in 1865. Now a New Zealand museum has made an official approach to have it sent back to its homeland. The bid is backed by descendants of those who fought on both sides of the Battle of Omaruhakeke. Members of the Scottish Borders Council are now being asked to approve their request. It’s claimed the flag’s return would act as a symbol for the resolution of 160 years of turmoil for the Maori people in that part of New Zealand.
The flag was donated to Hawick Museum by local artist Tom Scott in 1921. It had been given to him by the Secretary at Government House in Hawke’s Bay. The Battle of Omaruhakeke took place during the New Zealand Wars, a series of conflicts as Maori tribal chiefs divided over whether to accept British sovereignty. The fighting came 25 years after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which brought peace between the British settlers and the Maori tribes. The agreement granted Maoris the rights of British subjects and guaranteed property rights and tribal autonomy in return for accepting British rule.
Nigel William How, whose ancestor fought in the battle, said: “We live in a time where the ghosts of the past are being laid to rest through the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process.
This is not only between Crown and Maori, but also between Maori ourselves in acknowledging and embracing the decisions and actions our ancestors took.” The Wairoa Museum in Hawkes Bay, has made a formal bid to have the flag returned. Scottish Borders Lib Dem councillor Vicky Davidson said: “There is a strong spiritual, social and political case for the flag to be repatriated. “I believe it will be a powerful symbol in resolving long standing grievances.”
Who is it?
Last Week: We think that this crash was at the airfield in liberated Eindhoven in the winter of 1944-45. The plane is a Spitfire but we don’t know which Mark.
This Week: This week’s quiz is again a bit of a departure. It is a print, found amongst some miscellaneous items, and not attributed to anyone. In other words, we don’t know who gave this to the museum, or anything else about it. However, those with keen eyes and a penchant for history will possibly recognize the two officers whose faces are visible, both famous in their respective lands. A hint to the identity of the beret-wearing gentleman is in the shoulder flash of the officer on the left, being the name of an eastern European country that begins with the letter “P”.
Of course, the editor, and to some extent the author, know everything about this photo, save for one: what type of aircraft is that? We’d also appreciate your confirmation of the names of the two officers.
Send your answers to the editor, or the author, John Redmond: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the ‘Punitentary’
I have a few jokes about unemployed people. But it doesn't matter - none of them work.
Murphy’s other Laws
You never find a lost piece of kit until you pay the QM for it.
Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. - Samuel Johnson
Premiere Screening of Reunion of Giants
Premieres Remembrance Day 2015 in Select Cineplex Theatres across Canada
The last two airworthy WWII Lancaster Bombers reunited over England to make history in 2014. A war relic from Canada crossed the Atlantic to meet her counterpart in the UK and for the first time in 50 years two Lancasters shared the sky for a reunion tour. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster, VeRA, flew from Hamilton, Ontario to meet her British counterpart, Thumper—the only other airworthy Lancaster in the world—operated by the Royal Air Force in England. It was a mission unlike any other this Lancaster and her flight crew had ever undertaken. Two legendary bombers, separated by time and distance, met in Bomber County to fly together, this time in peace. The reunion was also a farewell tour to veterans of Bomber Command, who are so entwined in their proud history. These marvels of mechanical engineering are part of a proud lineage credited with bringing an end to WWII.
First-hand accounts from those who were connected to the bomber during the war transport us back in time as they share what it was like during the Lancaster’s glory days. REUNION OF GIANTS documents this historic mission as it unfolds, through the eyes of the flight crews and veterans—all part of the bombers’ history, including this new chapter as VeRA crosses the Atlantic.
Participating theatres will be announced this September with free tickets becoming available beginning October 2, 2015. For information on tickets, theatre locations and future DVD availability, please visit warplane.com.
The lower mainland free screening will be held at the Cineplex at International Village in Vancouver @ 7 pm and tickets are available at the box office which opens 30 minutes prior to the screening.
All the latest happenings with the Vancouver Gunners