The Day The War Was Won

Video

“The Day The War Was Won” is a Channel 4 documentary about the Battle of Britain broadcast to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the battle. It is well worth watching.

No matter how many programmes I’ve see featuring the last of “The Few”, I always find them extraordinary and moving. If you feel the same way, then you are sure to enjoy this presentation. Seventy-five years on, only a handful of the Battle of Britain’s heroes are still with us. In this video Dermot O’Leary meets veterans of the Battle of Britain – pilots and ground crew as well as the women pilots who ferried aircraft around the country. The documentary explores the extraordinary human stories of those who changed the course of the Second World War.

Enjoy!

Operation Overlord Overview

Video

Want to know more about D-Day, aka Operation Overlord? Then checkout this Operation Overlord overview.

Taken from CBC Digital Archives, this broadcast aired on The National on June 1, 1984 as part of the lead-up to the 40th anniversary of the D-Day landings. It explains the purpose and importance of Operation Overlord, and the role Canadians played in it. The National was hosted by Knowlton Nash and this segment is reported by CBC reporter Dan Bjarnason.

Camp X VE Day 70th Anniversary

Friday, May 8, 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to end the Second World War in Europe. Celebrated world-wide, the event was marked by ceremonies across Canada including one held at the site of Camp X, the former top secret spy school and communication facility in Whitby, Ontario.VE-Day-70Not only did Camp X train spies and resistance fighters such as those featured in the recent CBC TV series, X Company. It also had a highly advanced deciphering and communication facility known as Hydra. Hydra handled the bulk of Allied communications in the Western Hemisphere by war’s end – some 40,000 messages daily. One of the messages sent on May 8, 1945 from Bletchley Park, England to Camp X was the historic transmission which let North America know that the war was over. On the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the event was recreated by members of the Bletchley Park Radio Club in England, and the North Shore Amateur Radio Club in Canada. One of those involved was my friend, Jeffery Golde, from Courtice, Ontario. He is featured in the CBC YouTube video which follows.

“It is important that we remember the sacrifices and contributions of Canadians who helped liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny. It is also inspiring that we are here at Camp X. Camp X is a symbol that Canada has always ‘punched above its weight’ and plays an important role in preserving world peace. A new generation of Canadians is beginning to understand this truth.”Dr. Colin Carrie, M.P. – Oshawa


Six Minutes At The Front

The Western Front was the name the Germans gave to a series of trenches that ran more than 700 kilometres from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border. To imagine this, think of a ditch deep enough to stand in zigzagging its way alongside the 401 Highway from Toronto to Quebec City, or along the interstates from Boston to Washington DC. Here, where sometimes the trenches were only metres apart, machine-gun and shellfire caused terrible casualties.

Death was a constant companion to those serving in the line, even when no raid or attack was launched or defended against. In busy sectors the constant shellfire directed by the enemy brought random death, whether their victims were lounging in a trench or lying in a dugout (many men were buried as a consequence of such large shell-bursts).

Similarly, novices were cautioned against their natural inclination to peer over the parapet of the trench into No Man’s Land. Many men died on their first day in the trenches as a consequence of a precisely aimed sniper’s bullet. Up to one third of Allied casualties on the Western Front were actually sustained in the trenches. Aside from enemy injuries, disease wrought a heavy toll.

The video that follows provides a glimpse of the Hell that was the Western Front and the memorials, cemeteries and museums that Sonya and I saw as part of the Canadian Battlefields tour in the summer of 2014.