Thursday, December 27, 2012

Battle of Moreuil Wood Revisited

I was very interested to be contacted by lawyer Dallas Ewen of Winnipeg last spring. Dallas is keen on modelling soldiers, and in particular had in mind a display to show the Battle of Moreuil Wood. He had come across my blog, and wondered if I could direct him to the location of the battlefield. Dallas was in France at the time. Not only could I direct him to the site, but I was able to give him contact information for M. Jean-Paul Brunel, unofficial representative of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade in Moreuil. 
 My wife and I had been entertained royally by J-P in 2008, when we visited Moreuil on March 30th for the 90th anniversary of the Battle. Here are a couple of photos taken in 2008 that show Jean-Paul at the time.

Dallas Ewen was able to get in touch with Jean-Paul; here is one of his photos, taken in 2012.

 I was very happy to hear that J-P was as enthusiastic about the Canadian Cavalry Brigade as ever. The background scenery may have changed somewhat, but from what Dallas tells me, Jean-Paul is as full of energy as we found him in 2008.
If you click here you will see one of a series of articles I wrote about Jean-Paul Brunel.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Author in Jail--but was his father there first?

Robert Mackay in jail, all for research of course

 An early scene in “Soldier of the Horse” involves the protagonist, Tom Macrae, getting thrown into the local gaol. In reality, my father (alter ego of Macrae) never told me he actually saw the inside of a cell, and it probably didn’t happen. Even so, I got a big kick out of finding a salvaged jail cell in a Winnipeg museum.
  Did Tom Mackay ever scratch his name onto the wall of the steel-clad cell? Not that I could see!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Iran's Psychedelic Submarine Iranian navy has launched a new submarine, a Sina 7. The boat has attracted attention because of its startling colour—a very light blue, even turquoise. Presumably it is a mistake, and someone in the Iranian dockyard used the wrong paint. The boat would have to go pretty deep to avoid visual detection from the air.
Even a submarine with a startling paint job can be a problem, though, given Iran’s bellicose regime and its position on the north side of the Strait of Hormuz. It has been estimated that 20% of the world’s oil supply passes through the Strait, with an average of fourteen tankers traversing it daily.
Any submarine can pose a serious risk to a surface ship. Even a turquoise submarine will be attracting observation by the west’s navies.