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« » March 2015

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» 1 - Week 10
1954: Medical Company 63rd Infantry Regiment Fort Ord, California, 1945: VC won by Maj Frederick Albert Tilston, The Essex Scottish Regiment, The Hochwald, Germany, 1945: In an infantry attack at Kervenheim in the Rhineland, soldiers from the King's Shropshire Light Infantry were pinned down by heavy machine-gun fire from a farmhouse. Private Stokes dashed forward alone and, despite being wounded, broke into the building, emerging shortly afterwards with twelve prisoners. He refused medical attention and attacked a second building, where he took five more prisoners. Although by now seriously weakened, he insisted on taking part in a third attack, but was killed twenty yards short of his objective. Private Stokes were awarded the Victoria Cross., 1943: Founding of the Canadian Women's Army Corps as part of the Canadian forces; CWACs have full military titles and hold commissions., 1943: Dawson Creek BC - Work begins on the Alaska highway., 1943: 302 aircraft of Bomber Command mounted a successful raid on Berlin, causing significant damage, including to twenty factories. Some 22 acres of the large railway repair workshops at Tempelhof were destroyed., 1942: The cruiser HMS Exeter, famed for her role in the defeat of the Graf Spee at the River Plate in 1939, and damaged two days earlier at the Battle of the Java Sea, attempted to escape through the Sunda Strait, escorted by the destroyers HMS Encounter and the USS John D Pope. Not far ahead of them, the Dutch destroyer Evertsen, also making a run for the Strait, was spotted at dawn by Japanese ships and sunk. Daylight allowed Japanese aircraft to spot Exeter and her consorts, and two Japanese heavy cruiser squadrons were tasked to deal with them. The already damaged Exeter fought back for over an hour in a most unequal fight, whilst her escorts did their best to protect he with a smoke-screen. Exeter finally went down at 1130, followed shortly afterwards by Encounter. John D Pope survived a little longer by hiding in a sudden squall, before she too was destroyed by the heavy cruisers., 1896: 80,000 Ethiopians defeat 20,000 Italians at the Battle of Adowa; end of Italian hopes of building an African empire., 1858: During the Indian Mutiny, Lieutenant Aikman, commanding a force of 100 infantry, was alerted to the presence of some 700 mutineers, including cavalry and artillery. Notwithstanding the odds, nor the fire coming from an enemy fort close by, Aikman led his men in an immediate attack, and comprehensively routed his opponents, capturing their artillery. In the process, Aikman received a severe sword wound to the face, but survived to receive the Victoria Cross., 1815: Disbanding of Lower Canada militia after War of 1812., 1755: Jean-Armand Dieskau 1701-1767 appointed commander of the French regular troops in Canada., 1596: Following the failure to take the Panamanian Isthmus, and the deaths of Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake, the remnants of the previous year's expedition to the West Indies was headed home under the command of Sir Thomas Baskerville when it was caught by a Spanish fleet off the north-west coast of Cuba near the Isle of Pines. Thus occurred the only fleet engagement of the Anglo-Spanish war, other than the Armada battles of 1588. The English ships enjoyed the advantage of the wind, but had to fight through the Spanish in order to get away, past a headland. They succeeded in this, and after a desultory pursuit by the Spaniards, finally got clear and eventually reached England without further mishap in May.
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1951: National Defence publish first Canadian casualty list from Korea; six soldiers killed., 1945: Naik (Corporal) Fazal Din of the 10th Baluch Regiment conducted a lone attack on a Japanese bunker, which was pinning down his section. Having eliminated its defenders, he then attacked a second, from which six Japanese charged forth. A Japanese officer ran his sword through Fazal Din's chest, but as he pulled the blade out, the mortally wounded Naik wrestled it from his grip, and killed the officer with his own sword. He then killed a second Japanese soldier with the sword, as his men advanced to capture the bunker. Fazal Din managed to stagger back to report the success of the attack, before dying from his injuries. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross., 1945: In Burma, Gian Singh, a Naik of the 15th Punjab Regiment, single-handedly attacked a series of Japanese positions. Despite being wounded, he cleared a series of trenches and a concealed anti-tank gun, then led his section forward to complete the reduction of the enemy position. He received the Victoria Cross., 1944: The frigates of the Royal Navy's First Escort Group brought the longest continuous U-boat hunt to a successful conclusion, destroying U-358, but losing HMS Gould. The hunt started on 29 February, and HM Ships Affleck, Gould, Gore and Garlies dropped some 104 depth charges over the following two days. Gore and Garlies had to withdraw to Gibraltar for fuel, but Affleck and Gould continued the attack. U-358 succeeded in torpedoing Gould, but was then forced to the surface and finished off by Affleck's gunfire., 1943: New Guinea - Battle of the Bismark Sea rages; Allied planes sink 12 Japanese ships carrying reinforcements to New Guinea, killing nearly 4,000., 1916: Lord Derby speaks in the House of Lords on recruiting: "stronger methods are needed to get men, women must take the place of men..."
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2005: 4 RCMP officers slain while raiding a grow-op in Mayerthorpe, Alberta., 1976: Mozambique closes border with Rhodesia, after Rhodesian raids on rebel bases., 1945: US wins Battle of the Bismarck Sea over Japan., 1945: US & Philippines forces recapture island fortress of Corregidor., 1945: Manila falls to US and Filipino troops, British Indian forces take Meiktila, Burma, 1945: During an attack by the Green Howards on Japanese bunkers in Burma, Lieutenant Weston distinguished himself leading the charge on a number of strongpoints. In the attack on the last and most difficult bunker, Weston fell wounded in the entrance. He deliberately pulled the pin from one of his grenades, and blew up himself and the bunker. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross., 1942: First combat flight of the Canadian-built Avro Lancaster bomber, 1942: Bomber Command launches its largest raid so far of the war, conducting night low-level precision bombing against the Renault factory at Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris. This was an important source of German military trucks. 235 bombers attacked in a previously unprecedented concentration over the target (121 per hour) which demonstrated that the risk of collision at night was lower than feared, no accidents being suffered. The raid dropped 300 bombs on the factory, causing an estimated loss of production of 2,300 trucks and destroyed 40% of the factory. 367 French civilians 367 were killed., 1918: Russia withdraws from WW I, signing Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany and its allies., 1901: Lieutenant Dugdale, 5th Royal Irish Lancers, earned the Victoria Cross for his rescue under fire of two wounded and unhorsed troopers during a Boer War skirmish. He dismounted and put one of the men in his own saddle, then caught one of the riderless horses, mounted it and pulled the second casualty up behind him. He then took both horses and the wounded back to the British lines., 1899: George Dewey appointed first US Admiral of the Navy., 1895: On the North West Frontier, word was brought to the garrison at Chitral Fort that an officer had been badly wounded some 1.5 miles distant. Surgeon-Captain Whitchurch immediately set out with a rescue party. They reached the wounded officer, but as they were carrying him back, they came under very heavy fire. Three of the stretcher bearers were killed, whereupon Whitchurch hoisted the officer onto his back, and carried him the remainder of the way to the fort, all the time under fire. Sadly, the officer's wounds proved fatal, but Whitchurch was awarded the Victoria Cross., 1895: Birthday of Matthew Ridgway, General, Commander of the U.S. 8th Army in Korea (1951); Supreme Allied Commander of NATO (1952); US Army Chief of Staff., 1878: Russians and Turks sign Treaty of San Stefano, ending Russo-Turkish War; Serbia gains independence., 1838: John Maitland routs Van Rensselaer and supporters of Upper Canadian rebels who captured Pelee Island on February 2; routed by regulars of 32nd and 83rd Regiments and the Essex Militia.
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1991: Saddam Hussein releases 6 US, 3 British and 1 Italian POW., 1944: Soviet offensive on Belorussian front begins, 1944: First major USAAF raid on Berlin, 1943: HMC Ships ST. CROIX and SHEDIAC team up to attack and sink U-87 200 miles west of Portugal. This is the same submarine that was attacked by shore based aircraft after being spotted on the surface in the approaches to Halifax harbour boldly just a few months before., 1942: The submarine HMS Torbay, under Commander Miers, followed an Axis convoy and succeeded in penetrating the heavily defended anchorage at Corfu. Torbay proceeded to fire torpedoes at two large transports and a destroyer - both transports were reported sunk - then retreated out to sea under very heavy depth charge attack. Torbay escaped successfully, and Miers was awarded the Victoria Cross for the exploit., 1941: British naval raid on German-occupied Lofoten Islands off Norway sinks eleven German ships, 1814: Americans defeat British at Battle of Longwoods; between London and Thamesville., 1747: Born on this date Count Casimir Pulaski, soldier, American Revolutionary War general.
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1995: Canadian Airborne Regiment officially disbanded at laying-up of the colors ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa; 660 paratroopers dismissed., 1967: Georges-Philias Vanier 1888-1967 dies at age 78; soldier, Royal 22ème Regiment; Canada's 19th Governor-General 1959-67, and the first French Canadian to hold the position., 1945: Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung of the 2nd Gurkha Rifles successfully hunted down a Japanese sniper who had kept his section under fire at Snowdon East in Burma. He then went forward alone and killed the defenders in four enemy positions, including a machine-gun team in a bunker. Supported now by three other Gurkhas, he defended the captured bunker against a Japanese counter-attack, driving the enemy back with very heavy losses. He was awarded the Victoria Cross., 1943: RAF bombing raid on Essen marks beginning of the Battle of the Ruhr, 1936: Spitfire fighter plane unveiled for the first time.
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1945: VEEN, effective dates for battle honour begin (to 10 Mar 45), 1945: Allied tanks and infantry, led by US First Army, drive into Cologne, 1944: US bombers start daylight raids on Berlin from bases in Britain, 1944: After over 30 hours of hunting, U-744 is finally sunk when forced to the surface by the combined efforts of HMC Ships CHAUDIERE, GATINEAU, ST. CATHERINE'S, CHILLIWACK and FENNEL as well as HMS ICARUS and HMS KENILWORTH CASTLE., 1916: During fierce fighting near the formidable Hohenzollern Redoubt on the Western Front, a shell blast severed the leg of Corporal Cotter, East Kent Regiment, just below the knee. He was also wounded in both arms. Despite his appalling injuries, Cotter managed to make his way to a large crater some fifty yards distant occupied by men from his battalion, and took charge of them, organising the successful defence of the crater against a German counter-attack. For two hours he controlled the defenders' fire, changed their positions to deal better with fresh attacks, and only allowed his wounds to receive the most improvised of dressings. It was fourteen hours before he could be safely evacuated to a dressing station, and he soon afterwards died of his wounds. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross., 1902: Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service was established., 1858: Lance-Corporal Goat of the 9th Lancers won the Victoria Cross for his persistent efforts to recover the body of an officer killed in combat during the Indian Mutiny. To do so, Goat had to dismount and work under enemy fire to hoist the body over his horse. His first attempt had to be abandoned due to the approach of enemy cavalry, but he finally succeeded in retrieving the body for proper burial., 1836: Mexican General Santa Anna and his large army slaughter Davy Crockett and rest of 189 Texas volunteers after 13 day siege. General Sam Houston and his Texans capture Santa Anna 46 days later, with battle cry, Remember the Alamo., 1831: Albany New York - Born on this date Philip Henry Sheridan, General, Union Army, US Civil War.
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1968: Canadian External Affairs Minister Paul Martin says Canada to participate with US in developing airborne radar system to replace DEW Line., 1945: Remagen Germany - US 9th Armored Division captures key bridge over the Rhine at Remagen, helps shorten the War., 1945: In the frigid waters of the Irish Sea, U-1302 cannot withstand the continual pounding of coordinated attacks from HMC Ships LA HULLOISE, STRATHADAM and THETFORD MINES, and eventually sinks., 1945: Cologne Germany - Allied forces cross the Rhine River south of Cologne, and take the city., 1941: British troops invade Abyssinia., 1918: British forces intervened in the Russian Civil War and began naval operations against Red revolutionaries in the Murmansk and Archangel areas., 1917: A river crossing operation in Mesopotamia involving the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment came under very heavy fire, and the first two boats were lost with their occupants. The third boat was also raked by fire, and every man aboard killed or wounded, save only Private White, a signaller. Unable to control the boat on his own, he improvised a towing line from a supply of field telephone cable he was carrying, then dived overboard, and slowly towed the heavy pontoon back to shore despite a continuing barrage of fire, saving the lives of all the wounded aboard, as well as a large quantity of equipment. White was awarded the Victoria Cross., 1900: Canadians engage Boers in artillery fight at Poplar Grove., 1866: Canada puts 10,000 militia on alert after Fenians hold meeting in New York and threaten invasion; as precaution against anticipated attacks on St. Patrick's Day., 1862: Les Voltigeurs de Quebec: Force a superbe, Mercy a foible (Violence to the strong, mercy to the weak), 1793: France declares war on Spain during the French Revolution., 1719: Louisbourg Nova Scotia - Michel-Philippe Isabeau starts to build Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island; engineer under director of fortifications Jean-François de Verville, who recommended the site in 1716. The fortress takes 25 years to build; here's a picture of the completed work, with the town and harbour in the foreground.
» 8 - Week 11
1945: XANTEN, effective dates for battle honour begin (to 9 Mar 45), 1940: HMCS ASSINIBOINE, and the cruiser HMS DUNEDIN capture the German merchantman Hanover in the Caribbean. Hanover will later be repaired and outfitted as the Royal Navy's first auxiliary aircraft carrier HMS AUDACITY.
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1945: Incendiary raid on Tokyo kills 84,000
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1944: HMC ships ST. LAURENT, SWANSEA and OWEN SOUND, in consort with HMS FORRESTOR, pool their resources to hunt down and sink U-845 in the North Atlantic., 1915: Battle of Neuve-Chapelle begins
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537: The Goths lay siege to Rome, 1941: Roosevelt signs lend-lease agreement, 1938: German troops mass on Austrian border
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1938: Germany invades Austria, 1917: Russian Revolution begins
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1978: Death of Brigadier The Honourable Milton F Gregg, VC, MC, CD (The RCR), 1944: In the eastern North Atlantic, HMCS PRINCE RUPERT and USS Hobson and USS Haverfield band together with aircraft from the escort carrier USS Bogue and RAF 172 and 206 squadrons to sink U-575., 1943: U-163 is successfully attacked and sunk in the southern part of the Bay of Biscay by HMCS PRESCOTT. Note: This information was not established until the late 1980s when Canadian corvette and German U-boat records were restudied.
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1862: The Royal Regiment of Canada: Ready Aye Ready, and Nec Aspera Terrant (Difficulties do not daunt)
» 15 - Week 12
44BC: Julius Caesar murdered by Brutus in Rome, 1991: Germany formally regains complete independence after the four post-World War II occupying powers (France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union) relinquish all remaining rights., 1988: The Halabja poison gas attack of the Iran-Iraq War begins., 1944: World War II: Battle of Monte Cassino - Allied aircraft bomb the Nazi-held monastery and stage an assault., 1943: World War II: Third Battle of Kharkov - the Germans retook the city of Kharkov from the Soviet armies in bitter street fighting., 1939: World War II: Nazi troops occupy the remaining part of Bohemia and Moravia; Czechoslovakia ceases to exist., 1917: Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was forced to abdicate in the February Revolution, ending three centuries of Romanov rule., 1916: President Woodrow Wilson sends 12,000 United States troops over the U.S.-Mexico border to pursue Pancho Villa., 1781: American Revolutionary War: Battle of Guilford Courthouse - Near present-day Greensboro, North Carolina, 1,900 British troops under General Charles Cornwallis defeat an American force numbering 4,400., 1311: Battle of Halmyros: The Catalan Company defeats Walter V of Brienne to take control of the Duchy of Athens, a Crusader state in Greece.
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1968: Vietnam War: In the My Lai massacre, between 350 and 500 Vietnamese villagers -- men, women, and children -- are killed by American troops., 1945: Würzburg, Germany is 90% destroyed, with 5,000 dead, in only 20 minutes by British bombers., 1945: World War II: The Battle of Iwo Jima ends but small pockets of Japanese resistance persist., 1943: Climax of the Battle of the Atlantic: 38 U-Boats attack 2 convoys, sinking 21 merchant ships (to 20 Mar 43), 1942: First V-2 rocket test launch (exploded at liftoff)., 1939: From Prague Castle Hitler proclaims Bohemia and Moravia (the former Czechoslovakia) to be a German protectorate., 1938: Hitler denounces disarmament clause of Versailles Treaty and accelerates German rearmament., 1916: 7th and 10th US cavalry regiments under John J. Pershing cross the border to join the hunt of Pancho Villa., 1818: Battle of Cancha Rayada - Spanish forces defeat Chileans under José de San Martín., 1812: Battle of Badajoz (March 16 - April 6) - British and Portuguese forces besiege and defeat French garrison during Peninsular War., 1802: The United States Military Academy is established at West Point.
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1945: While involved in mine-sweeping duties, HMCS GUYSBOROUGH is torpedoed and sunk by U-878 off Brest, France with the loss of 51 of her crew., 1942: MacArthur flies to Darwin, Australia; promises "I shall return" to the Philippines, 1941: Halfway between Iceland and southern Norway, off the Faeroe Islands, the Canadian merchantman J.B. White is torpedoed and sunk by U-99 with a loss of two of her crew of 40. This would be one of the most costly U-boat attacks of the war on Allied supply lines. A total of 88 merchant ships in two convoys; HX229 and SC122 with four destroyers and two corvettes as escorts, lose a total of 22 vessels to U-boat pack attacks.
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1863: The Lincoln and Welland Regiment originated when the 19th Battalion Volunteer Militia (Infantry), Canada, was formed from nine independent companies: Non Nobis Sed Patriae (Not for ourselves, but for our country)
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1915: 34 British trade unions agree to expedite munitions output
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2003: US begins Operation Iraqi Freedom, 1945: After exhausting all other avenues, HMCS NEW GLASGOW sinks U-1003 after ramming her off the coast of Northern Ireland., 1943: Bomb attempt on Hitler's life fails
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1918: VC won by 2Lt Edmond de Wind, 31st Battalion, CEF (later 15th battalion, Royal Irish Rangers - British Army), Near Grougie, France (posthomous), 1918: SOMME, 1918, effective dates for battle honour begin (to 5 Apr 18)
» 22 - Week 13
1948: The Regular component of the Royal Canadian Army Chaplain Corps is authorized
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1945: THE RHINE, effective dates for battle honour begin (to 1 Apr 45)
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1945: VC won by Cpl Frederick George Topham, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, East of the Rhine, 1871: 6th Bn, Royal 22e Regiment: Honeur et Devoir (Honour and Duty) and Je Me Souviens (I remember), 1848: 12e REgiment blinde du Canada: Adsum
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1941: Off Freetown, West Africa, the German raider Kormoran captures the Canadian merchantman Canadolite taking her entire crew of 44 as prisoners of war.
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1939: End of Spanish Civil War, 1918: ROSIERES, effective dates for battle honour begin (to 27 Mar 18)
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1918: VC won by 2Lt Alan Arnett MacLeod, Royal Flying Corps, Albert (Somme), France, 1917: VC won by Lt Frederick Maurice Watson Harvey, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), CEF, Guyencourt, France
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1942: St. Nazaire Raid, 1918: The first battle of ARRAS, 1918
» 29 - Week 14
1973: Last American Troops leave Vietnam, 1945: An acoustic torpedo from U-246 ends HMCS TEME'S part in the war when it blows most of her stern away killing four crewmembers in the process., 1944: RAF raid on Nuremberg: 95 out of 795 bombers lost
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1918: VC won by Lt Gordon Muriel Flowerdew, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), CEF, Bois de Moreuil, France (posthumous)
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1996: Royal Marine Barracks at Deal closed, 1917: Order limiting output of beer in United Kingdom issued