The Vignette: A Closer Look
They are our fathers, brothers, mothers and sisters, neighbours … heroes.
Canada's Veterans. Their courage, service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.
On November 11, let's remember them.
The Dieppe Raid
The Second World War’s Dieppe Raid was one of the darkest chapters in Canada’s military history. The hard-earned lessons learned there that day would contribute to the success the Allies had in the landings on the beaches of Normandy.
In the trenches
Trench fighting is often what comes to mind when people think of the First World War. Early in the war, soldiers realized that digging down into the ground was the only way to survive for long on a deadly battlefield swept by snipers’ bullets, powerful machine guns and artillery fire. Soldiers of both sides had to live in filthy, vermin-ridden trenches along a front line that moved little over the course of the conflict.
In a muddy corner of Belgium in the fall of 1917, Canadians overcame almost unimaginable hardships to capture the ruined village of Passchendaele. Success was made possible due to acts of great individual heroism to get past spots of heavy enemy resistance.
Marching female soldiers
Canadian women have played an important role in our country’s military efforts over the years. Building on the trailblazing efforts of our Nursing Sisters who helped the sick and wounded during the South African War and the First World War, women served in a wider variety of roles during the Second World War. Some 50,000 Canadian women enlisted during the conflict, including the members of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps pictured here.
Allied landing craft
The Second World War was a conflict that was fought on a massive scale and Canadians took part in large-scale Allied amphibious landings in both Italy and France. Coming ashore along a well-defended coast in the face of a powerful enemy is one of the most complex and dangerous military operations possible but the Allies were successful in their landings at Sicily, southern mainland Italy and Normandy.
Aboriginal-Canadians have a long and proud tradition of military service. Manitoba’s Tommy Prince was one of our country’s best-known Aboriginal soldiers. He earned a total of 11 medals for his service in the Second World War and the Korean War, including a Military Medal for his bravery while serving with the First Special Service Force (also known as the "Devil’s Brigade") in Italy in 1944.
Canadian Armed Forces members have earned an enviable reputation around the world for their skilled and courageous service in international peace support operations. These challenging roles are many and can include monitoring cease-fires, patrolling buffer zones, acting as intermediaries between clashing groups, clearing land mines, investigating war crimes, protecting refugees and providing humanitarian aid.
Canadians in Afghanistan
More than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members served on land, at sea and in the air in the Afghanistan theatre of operations between 2001 and 2014. It was our country’s most significant overseas military effort in recent years. Sadly, 158 brave Canadian men and women in uniform lost their lives in the pursuit of peace and freedom for the people of Afghanistan.
Passchendaele Canadian Memorial
On the slopes overlooking the peaceful fields that today carpet the valley of the Ravebeek, this Canadian Battlefield Memorial marks the site of Crest Farm, where Canadian soldiers encountered some of the fiercest resistance they were to meet during the war. A large block of Canadian granite set in a grove of maple trees and encircled with a low hedge of holly carries the inscription:
THE CANADIAN CORPS IN OCT.- NOV. 1917 ADVANCED ACROSS THIS VALLEY - THEN A TREACHEROUS MORASS - CAPTURED AND HELD THE PASSCHENDAELE RIDGE
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