D-Day confidential

“Half an hour after they had set foot on French soil on D-Day, Sapper John Schaupmeyer and his fellow combat engineers remained stranded on the beach, pinned down by German machine guns, mortars and artillery. From the cover of a seawall, they saw an LCI, one of the larger models of landing craft, touch ground. Soldiers aboard tried to disembark but the rough waves tangled up their gangway. Trapped on the LCI deck, the men came under enemy fire. At that moment, one of the combat engineers, Sapper Walter Coveyduck, left the seawall’s protection to go save the men of the LCI.”

Tu Thanh Ha – The Globe and Mail – June 2019

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When Terror Came to Canada

“That first surge of 1,200 provincial and Montreal city police dragged 238 suspects into custody within the first eight hours of the act’s proclamation. Nearly 500 were swept into detention and 4,600 searches were conducted for weapons and subversive materials in the weeks before authorities finally conceded an armed insurrection in Quebec was, in fact, unlikely. The dragnet, along with the dispatch of 10,000 combat-equipped troops to help guard Montreal, Quebec City, and Ottawa, remains one of the most controversial moments in modern Canadian ­history.”

Brian Stewart – Literary Review of Canada – January 2019

Know Your History, Know Your Greatness

 
Eternity Martis – Hazlitt – July 2016

Return of the Mummers

“Mummering has become a powerful symbol of identity here in Canada’s most easterly province, so it’s no wonder ‘a mob of mummers’ pitched up to march through the capital city, undeterred by a halo of rain, drizzle, and fog—courtesy of the island’s position in the North Atlantic. The original parade was axed when mummering was banned in Newfoundland and Labrador 150 years ago, back when social unrest was high and the disguises enabled violence and public nuisance. At the time of the 2009 festival, I’d lived in the province for three years, there as a graduate student in Memorial University of Newfoundland’s folklore department. I’d studied these disguised Christmastime merrymakers in their various contexts, but the parade was my first attempt at being one.”

Emily Urquhart – Hakai Magazine – December 2016

Who Was Uncle Nick?

Myrna Kostash – Alberta Views – November 2018

Last Road to Mons

“Now the soldiers of the 28th Battalion treaded the muddy path their comrades had blazed into Belgium. Their destination that afternoon was Quievrain, 15 kilometres east down country roads ravaged by shelling and detonated mines. They were to sleep there on the condition they could be roused to move again at two hours’ notice, ever closer to the German stronghold the senior military officers of Canada and Britain envisioned as the endpoint of this great surge forward: Mons. Four years and tens of millions of people dead or maimed and the First World War was destined to end up back there, in precisely the place where British soldiers first battled Germany in August 1914. Heavily outnumbered then, the Brits had killed thousands of Germans but ceded control of the city. Retaking Mons was not an opportunity to be squandered — even if the enemy was slinking toward surrender at that very moment.”

Nick Faris – National Post – November 2018

To Revive and not Revise

“There were about 150 people living in Fort Edmonton in 1859—HBC traders and staff, and their wives and children. Since there were no European women here, those wives and children were either First Nations or Métis. English was the official language of the HBC but, in 1859, you’d probably have been at least as likely to hear people speaking in French or Cree or Michif, the Métis language that blended French and Cree with some borrowings from other tongues. You might have heard smatterings of everything from Gaelic to German, too—this was a polyglot, multicultural place, even 158 years ago.”

Paula Simons – Eighteen Bridges – Fall 2017