The bombing of East Grinstead

From the Legion Magazine.


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Front lines
The bombing of East Grinstead

The bombing of East Grinstead

Story by Stephen J. Thorne

Seventy-five years ago, on July 9, 1943, a Dornier Do 217E became separated from the rest of its 10-plane Luftwaffe flight as it entered a cloudbank on its way to bomb London.

Likely based near the town of Toulouse, France, close to the Spanish border, the German bombers had crossed the English coast at Hastings on one of hundreds of raids that dropped tens of thousands of tonnes of bombs over the course of the Second World War, killing some 60,000 British civilians and injuring 80,000 more—most of them Londoners.

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Canada and the Great War: The Battles

August 26, 1918
Charles Smith Rutherford

When Lieutenant Charles Rutherford, only 26, took part in the Fourth Battle of the Scarpe on Aug. 26, 1918, he had already earned the Military Medal at Passchendaele in 1917 and the Military Cross earlier in the month in the Battle of Amiens. He was about to add the Victoria Cross to his honours.

In the vanguard in the advance on Monchy-le-Preux, France, Rutherford was leading an assault party of 5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles, when he became separated from his men. He came across a pillbox harbouring two enemy officers backed by 43 men and three machine guns. He gestured them to come out with his revolver. When they declined his invitation, he accepted theirs to go closer, his boldness adding credence to a convincing bluff. He persuaded the officers they were surrounded, hoodwinking them into surrendering. He also inveigled one of the enemy officers to stop a nearby machine gun playing havoc with his men, who were then able to come more quickly to his aid.

When further advance of the assault was held up by machine-gun fire from yet another pillbox, Rutherford led a Lewis gun section in and captured 35 more prisoners, and their guns.

The Victoria Cross was awarded “for most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty,” reads the citation. “The bold and gallant action of this officer contributed very materially to the capture of the main objective and was a wonderful inspiration to all ranks in pressing home the attack on a very strong position.”

Rutherford began his military career among the ranks, but ended it as a captain. After the war, he served as sergeant-at-arms of the Ontario Legislature and joined the Veterans Guard of Canada during the Second World War.

Rutherford died in 1989, aged 97, believe to be the last of the First World War Victoria Cross recipients in Canada. He is buried in his hometown of Colborne, Ont.

Yes, we really thought it would fly

Yes, we really thought it would fly

Story by Terry Fallis

I had a youthful fascination with planes, rockets, gliders, helicopters and just about everything else that flew. Books helped fuel this interest, including Pilot Jack Knight and Reach for the Sky, Paul Brickhill’s biography of Douglas Bader.

He was the English pilot who lost both legs in a crash in 1931, yet still served in the Battle of Britain as a fighter pilot. What I may not have mentioned before was that my obsession with flight actually extended a little beyond paper airplanes and 50-cent balsa wood gliders.

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This week in history
This Week in History

August 25, 1944

Paris is liberated by Allied forces.

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Hearing Life

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