Category Archives: Legion Magazine

Misery, optimism and homesickness: WW II Christmas letters

An item from the Legion Magazine.


Front Lines
Stephen J thorne

Canadianletters.ca

Misery, optimism and homesickness:
WW II Christmas letters

STORY BY STEPHEN J. THORNE

Even at the best of times, Christmas can be a confusing, bittersweet morass of nostalgia, loneliness and longing. Nowhere is this more evident than a Christmas at war.

Whether it be soldiers at the front living in filth, airmen flying flak-filled missions over Germany, or sailors running the U-boat gauntlet in the North Atlantic, a Second World War Christmas was a time of camaraderie, care packages and stinging reminders of all they were missing—and all they had missed.

For some folks back home, the season could remain a lifelong reminder of a lost loved one.

 

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Pocketpal 2023
Military Milestones

 Wikipedia

How one flying ace became the luckiest man in the war

STORY BY SHARON ADAMS

First World War flying ace John Herbert Hedley might well have been the luckiest man alive.

Captain Hedley was the observer in a Bristol F.2B biplane fighter piloted by fellow air ace Lieutenant Reginald “Jimmy” Makepeace when they were caught in a dogfight Jan. 4, 1918.

To escape machine-gun fire Makepeace put the aircraft into a steep nosedive. Hedley experienced what is known as “negative Gs,” the feeling roller coaster riders get as the car starts its steep descent and they are lifted up in their seats.

 

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War Santa and the Ukrainian wish list

An item from the Legion Magazine.


Front Lines
Stephen J thorne

War Santa

War Santa and the Ukrainian wish list

STORY BY STEPHEN J. THORNE

Working out of his home in Texas, a former United States Air Force sergeant is making a list and checking it twice. He calls himself War Santa and he already knows who’s naughty and who’s nice.

Working anonymously, War Santa exploits the knowledge and connections he made working in military intelligence to procure equipment and deliver it to Ukrainian soldiers, Americans and other foreign fighters in Ukraine.

Since March, he’s shipped or hand-delivered nearly US$130,000 in high-end drones, night-vision devices, encrypted radios, winter clothes, uniforms, helmets, body armour and more to special-forces units, demining teams and artillery units, along with Ukraine’s leading intelligence agency and 92nd Mechanized Brigade, a former rifle division that purged its Soviet honours and heritage in 2015.

Polish volunteers provide vital assistance in getting some of the more sensitive military supplies through the Polish-Ukrainian border.

 

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Silk Scarves
Military Milestones

 Bundesarchiv,Bild 146-1988-028-25A/CC-BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons

The Nazi mass murders of Canadian troops in WW II

STORY BY SHARON ADAMS

On Dec. 28, 1945, Major-General Kurt Meyer was found guilty of war crimes for the massacre of 18 Canadians at Abbaye D’Ardenne in Normandy, France, shortly after D-Day in 1944.

Meyer commanded the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend, arch-enemy of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division as it advanced inland from Juno Beach on June 7, 1944. Meyer had instructed his troops to retaliate against the Allies for the bombing of German cities.

The bulk of the 12th Panzer Division were Hitler Youth members aged 17-19. These fanatical teens were led by battle-hardened older officers who had fought with the 1st SS Panzer Division on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union and were inured to brutality. Old or young, these Nazis were not averse to murdering prisoners of war.

In 1943, correspondent John Hetherington reported on the “bestial young Nazi fanatics” captured in Italy. He recounted tales of PoWs who were taken to camps in Crete, Greece, being tortured by Hitler Youth guards.

 

 

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