Friday, October 9, 2015

A Second Location

It's very gratifying to see my "Forces With History" blog continues to attract attention, even though I'm now blogging on a regular basis on a new site, where my blog is integrated with my website.

A direct link to my new blog will take you straight there.

I'm continuing to publish a newsletter, also called "Forces With History", that comes out every three weeks or so. It deals with defence topics, the navy, submarines, and anything in the general area that catches my eye. To receive it, just send me an email at, or telephone 778-388-1009.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Historian Roger Litwiller--"White Ensign Flying"

My friend Roger Litwiller has two books out, "White Ensign Flying: Corvette HMCS Trentonian", and "Warships of the Bay of Quinte".

Roger is a historian, and strictly speaking an amateur one, but he does great work and gets things right. "White Ensign Flying" is a terrific read, telling the story of the men who served in HMCS Trentonian, the last corvette sunk in the Second World War.

Here is Roger with his two books; I'm looking forward to the next one. More of his work can be found at his website. He's currently working on a history of WW II shipbuilding in Trenton, Ontario. He says the town turned out 170 vessels of various sizes that saw service all over the Commonwealth, and some of them are still in service today.

Friday, June 5, 2015

71 Years ago, D-Day Forces are Away

June 5th, 1944. The Allied armada is at sea, the gliders and troopcarrying aircraft are standing by. The weather on June 4th was bad enough that Nazi-occupied Europe's German forces are relaxed.
But June 6th is a full moon, and the weather may abate. Dwight Eisenhower makes his fateful decision--the invasion of France is on.
Aboard HMCS Kitchener, Canadian corvette, is Able Seaman Bill Cameron, aged 18.

Bill Cameron is one of hundreds of thousands of men and women involved in the largest amphibious attack in history. They are already at sea or are streaming toward the English ports to embark in the subsequent waves of attackers.

And each of them carries a message from Eisenhower (Bill's copy is reproduced at right).

In part it read:

"I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!"

Here is one of several earlier posts about Bill and Kitchener .

Friday, May 29, 2015

"Soldier of the Horse" and Bloody Jack

Bloody Jack Krafchenko was executed for murder in 1914, after a bizarre series of events that included an escape from the Winnipeg jail using a pistol smuggled in to him by--perhaps--his lawyer.

One version of the story was included in "Soldier of the Horse", when Tom is accused of having a part in the plot. The real-life Tom isn't around to answer any more questions, but the gun is. It's pictured here in the Winnipeg Police Museum, along with museum personnel Jack Templeman and Bruce Honey.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

"Terror on the Alert" going to Kamloops

When my first novel, Soldier of the Horse, came out in 2011 I was surprised how much work has to go in to make a book successful after the writing is finished and the book is in the stores. That's the new reality, however, and among other efforts I did a tour in BC and Alberta to get the word out.

One of the places where I spoke to a very friendly audience was at the Kamloops Library. I snapped the photo at left early the next day, as I was leaving town to head for Alberta. It was a chilly start, but the photo reminds me of the majestic sweep of the hills surrounding the city.

Terror on the Alert will also be featured at the Kamloops Library on September 19th this year. I'm looking forward to renewing acquaintances with friends in the area, as well as the very helpful staff at the library.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Battle of the Atlantic Dinner

The 70th anniversary of the end of the longest battle of the Second World War, the Battle of the Atlantic, was celebrated at HMCS Discovery, Vancouver's reserve naval base, on May 2nd.

Present and pictured at left as Guest of Honour was The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Brian Cook, president of the Naval Officers Association on BC was mess president for the occasion. At left, the Lieutenant Governor was presented with a history of Discovery.

To the right are John Horton (left), prominent marine artist, and Dr James Boutilier, Special Advisor to Commander MARPAC (Maritime Command Pacific, RCN). Dr. Boutilier spoke about the Battle of the Atlantic, and drew attention to the appalling losses suffered by the German U-boat fleet during the battle.

Friday, May 8, 2015

IPPY Strikes Again

Here's what Soldier of the Horse's Independent Publishers (IPPY) gold medal looked like three years ago. Soldier won top prize in the category Military/Wartime Fiction.

Now my second novel, Terror on the Alert, has almost duplicated the feat, receiving a silver medal in the same category.

Very exciting and rewarding.

There is a lot of encouragement out there for writers. Not to mention a heap of support from publishers, writing organizations such as Canadian Authors Association, BC Federation of Writers, and many others.

And like others writers, a big thanks for all the support from family and friends.