Newsletter - RUSI Vancouver

Highlights of the February 19 Newsletter

RUSI Speaker Series for 2019
World War II:  February 20 - 26, 1944
John Thompson Strategic Analyst - Quotes from his book “Spirit Over Steel”
First Used Australian Fighter Jets Arrived in Canada Last Sunday
Canada is paying Australia $90 million for the aircraft.
David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen - Feb 15, 2019
Design Unveiled for the future Canadian Surface Combatants
Esprit De Corps - Feb 14, 2019
Last Real-Life Great Escape Prisoner Dies Aged 99
The last surviving member of the real-life Great Escape team has died.
Feb 15, 2019
Home-Duty Conscription as a Tool to Battle Societal Malaise
Esprit de Corps, Joe Fernandez - Feb 14, 2019
Fairbairn-Sykes Blade
Vancouver Artillery Association Yearbook Updates
Who Is It?
Newsletter Posters

RUSI Speaker Series for 2019

15th Fd & 78th Fraser Highlanders Scotch Tasting - Mar. 1

See the complete February 19 RUSI Vancouver Newsletter HERE for articles and details (.pdf file)

Robert W. Mackay's Newsletter "Forces with History"

February 14

The Navy has been much in the news lately: contracts for the Canadian Surface Combatant signed; future RCN replenishment ships to leapfrog the construction queue; and a submarine life extension program.

But here are three items that give a disturbing or ironic picture, depending on your viewpoint.

1. Naval Replenishment Unit Asterix and frigate HMCS Regina are off to the west. They’ll take part in exercises in the Asia-Pacific region, and later move to the Middle East on operational duty. Asterix is the vessel converted for naval requirements in the Davie Shipyard in Quebec, much to the annoyance of Irving Shipyards in Halifax. Irving, and it seemed the government, were put out because the defeated Conservative government had authorized the Asterix job in the first place. In spite of that, Asterix has performed in exemplary fashion. And—wonder of wonders, in the world of government projects—was built "on budget and on time.”

2. Vice Admiral Mark Norman, who was then Vice Chief of Defence Staff, is charged with leaking secret cabinet documents. Apparently the documents, if he leaked them, related to alleged Irving moves to stop the conversion of Asterix. We don’t know what the truth of the matter is, but his defence team is seeking production of Canadian Forces documents related to the Norman matter. Apparently high-level government conferences dealing with the issue resulted in no notes or memos of any sort being produced. And the Chief of Defence Staff, Norman’s former boss, is embarrassed on the witness stand because the Forces are having trouble finding documents related to the case.

3. Mark Norman, in spite of doing whatever he did in the service of Canada and the Navy, is denied government funding for his defence. Funding that is routine for civil servants charged with offenses. As a result 2,000 individuals have contributed more than $280,000 to a GoFundMe account. The current goal of the fund is $500,000. He’ll need every penny of that, and probably more, before the government is finished with him.

December 28

I saw “They Shall Not Grow Old” on a large movie screen last night, and I’m very glad I did.

Peter Jackson’s high-tech documentary has only been shown in North America a couple of times, after debuting in the UK to great acclaim. It is due for more broad release in February.

The movie is a distillation of more than a hundred hours of Great War film footage stored in the Imperial War Museum, and six hundred hours of audio recordings by WW I veterans. In an amazing display of virtuosity, Jackson and his international team of experts slowed or sped up the footage as required, cleaned up the images, reset the brightness, and colourized the film. As if that wasn’t enough, they also dubbed in sound, including voices of actors who would have had the same accent as the men of the regiment depicted.

In fact the updated but very authentic footage at times had me forgetting these men were real Great War soldiers, not actors in a modern movie. In a fascinating talk that follows the film, Jackson does an excellent job of reminding us that many if not most of the men shown in various scenes would have died within minutes of being filmed.

They shall not grow old, indeed.

(I’d be very interested in receiving comments from other viewers if you get the chance.)

November 30

Three cheers for the Submarine Association of Canada (West) for their organization of the Submarine Gathering in 2018. Held in Victoria over the weekend of November 2nd to 4th, the event was timed to celebrate 50 years since the first commissioning of HMCSubmarines OKANAGAN and RAINBOW.

Apart from a brief visit west, OKANAGAN spent her life in the Atlantic. From her commissioning in the UK in 1968 until she was finally paid off in 1998, the OK performed admirably in her primary role of training crews of ships and aircraft in antisubmarine operations.

RAINBOW, on the west coast, likewise worked with American and Canadian forces while operating out of Esquimalt. A former USN fleet boat purchased from the Americans, RAINBOW commissioned in Norfolk, Virginia, serving in the RCN until she decommissioned in 1974.

Word has it that at various times the two boats took part in what more closely fits the term “operational” work. Perhaps those will be more closely covered in future posts in Forces With History!

A major highlight for many of the attendees at the gathering was a visit to HMCS CHICOUTIMI. Guests were welcomed aboard by a few of the ship’s company as well as Captain Christopher Robinson, Commander Canadian Submarine Force. Bravo Zulu to Chicoutimi’s coxswain and our other hosts from the ship's company. As a veteran of the Okanagan I can only marvel at the skills and dedication of the Victoria-class submarine crews.



* P. S.You're entitled to a free ebook when you buy a paperback copy

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RUSI Vancouver members gather for lunch on Wednesdays at 12:00 Noon at the Officers' Mess of the 15th Field Regiment (RCA) located in the Bessborough Armouries, 2013 West 11th Avenue, Vancouver, BC.




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