New Articles are available from ‘Canadian Military History’

by | May 21, 2024 | Canadian Military History (journal), War and Society

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Vol. 33, No. 1

Winter / Spring 2024


The Vernon Military Camp and the Imperial Training Archipelago, 1939-45


Abstract: The Vernon Military Camp was one of the many interwoven institutions that fed trained soldiers into the vast armies of the British Empire in the Second World War. Beginning the war as a barren hill that lacked modern equipment, it was eventually developed into a professional training centre that both served and benefitted from national, Imperial and Allied war efforts. Taking a ground-level view of Canadian Army training and inter-theatre learning, this article argues that army training camps, even those in the periphery, played a vital role in strengthening Imperial and Allied interoperability by facilitating knowledge transfer away from active combat.

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From Zombie to Martyr

The Short Military Service of Private Hector Sylvestre


Abstract: This article outlines the brief military service of Private Hector Sylvestre, a young Franco-Ontarien paratrooper executed by the SS. His career began as a conscript in the Active Army, serving nine months prior to enlisting in the Canadian Active Service Force. From this point forward he made a series of fateful decisions, which ultimately led to his death as a member of the French Resistance. His path from Zombie to “martyr” is unique for a Canadian soldier during the Second World War.

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Preaching Peace, Selling Arms

The Evolution of Canadian Military Export Policy, 1946-49


Abstract: Recent sales of Canadian military equipment to Saudi Arabia have highlighted a contradiction between Canadian military export policy on paper and in practice. This contradiction is rooted in a series of policy decision made between 1946 and 1949, just after the Second World War. During this period Canadian policymakers accepted that military exports were economically and strategically necessary, and become an opportunistic exporter of military equipment to the non-communist world. The military export policies adopted during these years were flexible, pragmatic, and reactive; they incentivised risk-aversion and commercial competitiveness, but not internally consistency. Consequently, the defining principle of Canadian military export policy became flexibility—of preserving the discretion of Canadian officials to evaluate exports on a case-by-case basis not the universal enforcement of export restrictions based on specific criteria. This commitment to flexibility has created contradictions which can be construed as hypocrisy, especially regarding the government’s historical commitment to human rights considerations.

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A Canadian Civil Affairs Officer in Italy

Lieutenant-Colonel H. S. Robinson, Provincial Commissioner for Brescia in 1945


Abstract: This article provides an overview of one Canadian Civil Affairs Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Homer Smiley Robinson, and his contribution to the rebuilding of the province of Brescia in north Italy and its eponymous capital after liberation from Nazi occupation. Robinson, as Provincial Commissioner, led the Civil Affairs team from April to October 1945 as the first Canadian to be appointed to the position. Traditionally, Civil Affairs has been studied predominantly as a bureaucratic structure. The human element in terms of staff and stakeholders has been almost entirely neglected. It is hoped that this account of a soldier-turned-governor will prove to be a step towards redressing that neglect.

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143 Wing (RCAF) Typhoons Over Normandy

Some Operational, Geographical and Archaeological Perspectives


Abstract: This article presents the first attempt to conduct a geographical analysis of every air-to-ground attack conducted by a tactical fighter-bomber wing over the period 1 May–31 August 1944 in support of Operation Overlord. Ninety-five per cent of the 606 attacks made by 143 Wing Typhoons on single or multiple targets can be resolved to a map reference or place name, and their chronology and distribution reveal new insights into the Wing’s operational history. Commemorative and heritage perspectives are also highlighted for attacks on targets in woodland settings where archaeological survey of bomb craters can be linked to specific raids.

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Guard Duty for the Garries

Soldiers, Internees and the History of POW Camp R


Abstract: With the outbreak of the Second World War, Winnipeg’s Fort Garry Horse (or Garries as they call themselves), like many units across Canada, found themselves mobilising and preparing to go overseas. However, when the order to embark on a train to Quebec was received in June 1940, it was not what many had hoped or expected. Instead of boarding a ship bound for England, they were instead sent to meet the first German prisoners of war sent to Canada to escort them to a newly established camp in northwestern Ontario at Red Rock. Using a series of interviews with veterans done in the 1970s as part of a larger oral history project by the Fort Garry Horse Museum, this article explores the Garries’ first encounter with the prisoners and how they navigated the expectation of “dangerous Nazis” with the reality of the diverse group of civilians who came down the gangplank at Quebec.

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Since its launch in 1992, Canadian Military History has become one of the premier journals in its field. CMH is a peer-reviewed academic journal published bi-annually by the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada with editorial and financial support from the Canadian War Museum. Its purpose is to foster research, teaching and public discussion of historical and contemporary military and strategic issues.