Monday, March 30, 2015

The Battle of Moreuil Wood, 97 Years Ago

March 30th, 1918, was a dreary day in Picardy, France. The Canadian Cavalry Brigade was mounted and on the move, having bivouacked at Guyencourt. They crossed the Noye River, and at a high point of land were directed to Moreuil Wood, across the River Avre, via Castel. Brigadier J E B Seely had led the way, setting up a command post at the northwestern corner of the Wood while under fire.

Men and horses were hungry and tired after nine days of running battles. The Royal Canadian Dragoons led the way from here down to Castel and up the opposite ridge to Moreuil Wood, visible on the horizon in the photo at right. 

This is Castel in 2008, 90 years after the Brigade--Dragoons, Lord Strathcona's Horse (RC), and Fort Garry Horse--made their way down this road and over the bridge in the background. 

On the right is the the famous painting by Alfred Munnings who was in France, having been commissioned to paint the Canadian cavalry in action. He didn't witness the battle, but Lord Strathcona's Horse obligingly restaged it for him later. Sergeant Tom Mackay, my father, related his version of the battle, which is covered in my novel "Soldier of the Horse".

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

D-Day Corvette, HMCS Kitchener (2)

A couple of weeks ago I posted about HMCS Kitchener, K225. Here she is on the left, looking somewhat battered as I'm sure all the RN and RCN corvettes did after a couple of Atlantic crossings.

Kitchener starred  in the 1943 movie "Corvette K-225", with Randolph Scott playing her captain. That time, at least, Hollywood resisted the impulse to Americanize the movie, with Scott portraying a Canadian Lieutenant-commander.

That wasn't her main claim to fame, however. Her performance on D-Day rates more space than is available here, and details will follow. Many thanks to Bill Cameron for the photo above. On the right is Able Seaman Bill Cameron, as he then was. For more about Kitchener and AB Cameron, see my post of February 23rd.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Tour of a Cold War O-Boat (6th of 6)

 Here is a shot taken in 2012. The former HMCS Ojibwa is about to give birth to the Elgin Military Museum's submarine exhibit at Port Burwell on the north shore of Lake Erie--by making her way to her final (I can't help myself) berth.
(photo credit Phyllis Hinz) 

And here's how Ojibwa looked in 2013, when the able and welcoming staff in Port Burwell were working their magic, preparing the cold warrior for her public debut.

Port Burwell and Ojibwa are well worth a visit, for submariners and civilians alike.

And for a "gripping adventure in the grand trradition of sea sagas" (Ian Weir), beg, borrow or steal a copy of "Terror on the Alert".

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Tour of a Cold War O-Boat (5)

 Continuing our tour aft on board HMCS Ojibwa, we have passed through the accommodation space with its assorted messes and berths. The photo to the left is part of the starboard side of the control room, featuring the chart table, a prominent red light bulb, various communication outlets, a clock, etc.
And to the right is an image of part of the port side of the control room under red lighting conditions.
The red lighting is switched on at dusk and off at dawn, even when running at great depth, in case it is necessary to surface in a hurry. Also, if at periscope depth, it allows the periscope watchkeeper's eyes to be adjusted for night vision.

Not shown in either photo are the periscopes, which are on the centre-line of the boat, with the attack (monocular) periscope forward of the search periscope, which is binocular.