Newsletter - RUSI Vancouver
Highlights of the February 13 Newsletter
World War II: Feb 14 - 20, 1943
John Thompson Strategic Analyst - Quotes from his book “Spirit Over Steel”
The War Diary of C31 L/Sgt CD Phelan, A Battery, RCHA 1939 - 1945
Edited by BGen (ret’d) Robert P (Bob) Beaudry CD
Chapter 47. The Truce, Final Surrender, and Duty in Holland
Trudeau Is in A Fight He Can’t Win with Veterans
And his frustration shows
John Ivison - Feb 5, 2018
Mary Ellis. A Great WW2 Story.
Vancouver Artillery Association Yearbook Updates
Who Is It
Monthly Lunch Program - Feb. 28
Speaker: Alan Snowie - Biplanes ...
Fund Raiser & Scotch Tasting Night - Mar 2
Vancouver Welsh Men's Choir - Mar. 16
Artillery Day 2018, Gun Camp - May 26
Robert W. Mackay's Newsletter "Forces with History"
The CBC did an excellent news item about HMCS CHICOUTIMI and her activities in the eastern Pacific. She's been working with USN and Japanese forces, and help monitor North Korean shipping. Even if you caught the item on the National on February 6th, I recommend you check out the longer and more detailed photos and videos on the CBC news website.
I’m sure the RCN is very happy to see MV ASTERIX has been under way and now in Halifax. She’ll be manned by a civilian crew, but will carry RCN personnel in addition once she is operational. Bravo Zulu to Davie Shipyards, who moved to the front of the line to purchase, convert, and lease ASTERIX to the navy. All of that to the presumed great relief of naval commanders, who will once again have a general-purpose ship able to provide fuel, stores, medical aid, air support, etc to far-flung warships.
There is an obvious burning question, however: what about the second coast? And why is DND refusing to order a sister ship to fill the ongoing need? If a followup ship isn’t ordered from Davie or sourced elsewhere, the fleet will continue to limp along, and it’ll be years before the long-planned replenishment AORs appear
For an excellent pictorial external tour of ASTERIX, check out my friend and naval author Roger Litwiller’s blog post here.
Veering away from weightier defence-related items, it’s time to plan ahead—for a look back.
March 30th, 2018, will mark one hundred years since “C” Squadron, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) charged machine guns, rifles, and artillery at Moreuil Wood, France. Leading the charge was Lt. Gordon Flowerdew, a transplanted Englishman resident in B.C.
With Flowerdew was Sergeant Tom Mackay, First Troop Sergeant. Flowerdew earned a posthumous VC, while my father received an amazing number of wounds to his legs but, happily for his descendants, survived!
Now for the serious look back: the Strathcona’s Mounted Troop will be in Moreuil, France, on March 30th, to recreate the famous charge. The poignancy of the occasion will be emphasized by their uniforms, recently obtained World War One cavalry khakis.
I’ll be there, along with a contingent of Strathcona’s, civilians, and French officials. With any luck I’ll bring back some video of the occasion. In the meantime, for a preview, look here on my facebook page and scroll down to see a minute or so of video of the Mounted Troop tent-pegging on Vancouver Island last summer.
If you’d like to know more about the planned events, and perhaps attend, just reply by email and I'll supply more info.
For a look at Tom Mackay's story, see my historical novel "Solder of the Horse", available at bookstores, on Amazon, or through me for a signed copy.
In the meantime, thanks for subscribing to Forces With History. May you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!
I had intended to have this, the 100th issue of Forces With History, deal with the upcoming centennial of the 1918 Battle of Moreuil Wood, but reality has intervened.
Somewhere in the South Atlantic the Argentine navy’s ARA SAN JUAN is in trouble. She may be still on the stormy surface, her communication systems out of action. She may be in that shallow band of the sea, from the surface to 300 metres, where she can survive for a time. Or, worst of all but increasingly likely, she lies somewhere below with her crew of 44.
San Juan is a diesel-electric submarine, similar in many ways to the RCN’s Victoria-class. She is a TR-1700, built in Germany in the early 1980s. Her length over-all is 216 feet (Victorias 230), displacement 2200 tons (Victorias 2400); surfaced and dived speed slightly higher than the Victorias; with similar armament of six 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Submarines of every class are vulnerable. When dived they are neutrally buoyant, so as to neither sink nor surface in their narrow operating range, from periscope depth to a few hundred metres. An unexpected leak, a burst pipe or fitting, or a wave through an open hatch on the surface can mean a life-or-death situation. It was the latter circumstance that put HMCS CHICOUTIMI at risk during her first Atlantic crossing and resulted in the death of one of her officers.
Nations, navies, and especially submariners the world over are hoping for the best. Ships, aircraft, and surveillance systems, including those of former enemies, are helping with the search. Here’s hoping they can pull off a miracle.
Much in various Canadian news outlets these days is Parliament’s passage of Bill S-226, the so-called Magnitsky Act. Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer who ran afoul of Vladimir Putin and his thuggish cronies by questioning a theft of private property valued in the hundreds of millions.
Magnitsky worked for Bill Browder, American-born owner of a large hedge fund, Hermitage Capital Management. Browder has written an expose of the Russians’ jailing and killing of Mr. Magnitsky, RED NOTICE: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice.
Since Magnitsky’s death, Browder has led international efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice. The US was the first country to pass a Magnitsky law thanks to the efforts of Senator John McCain among others. Canada has now done so as well, and is losing no time in putting the law to work, announcing measures against Russian and Venezuelan individuals. (The Act is not directed solely against Russia.)
RED NOTICE is highly recommended. It reads like a spy novel, but reveals much about the Putin regime—none of it positive, to put mildly. Interestingly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, features in the story from her days as a reporter in Moscow.
* P. S.You're entitled to a free ebook when you buy a paperback copy