Archive for December 5th, 2008

Story: Seventy-Two Engineering Feats

mulbSource: http://gateway.ca.k12.pa.us/memorial/mulb.gif

Note: Image is of a US Mulberry Installation at Omaha Beach

Canadian Engineering Feats by the Canadian Military during the war included the designing and erecting floating docks for the invasions


Concrete caissons for use as breakwaters when sunk in 5.5 fathoms or less. There are six sizes which vary from about 2,000 tons to 6,000 tons. Each unit required two large (759 H.P.) tugs to tow it; the average speed being 3 knots.
Blockships that were planned to be sunk in 2.5 fathoms or less to form breakwaters.
Sheltered water provided by sinking in a line a series of blockships in 2.5 fathoms of water. It served two purposes:

  1. To provide a sheltered beach for landing craft to use in the event of strong onshore winds.
  2. To provide a refuge for ferry service and other small craft in rough weather.
Military piers and pierheads for discharge of coasters and LSTs – LCTs directly to shore. This equipment was designed to ride out rough weather.
The pierhead part of WHALE. These can be used as a pierhead for unloading stores from coasters or vehicles from LSTs and LCTs. It consists of a floating pontoon 200 ft. long which rides up and down with the tide on four pillars or “spuds”. When in tow these spuds extend below the pontoon to a draught of 7 feet. The beam is 60 ft. and tonnage 1,760 tons, with its attached intermediate pontoon.
The roadway part of WHALE. These link the pierhead to the shore and consist of 80 ft. steel girder bridge spans supporting a single way road, carried on “Beetles” (concrete or steel floats). Beetles are designed so that they function in shallow water or fully aground, the steel type being used over rock.
Tubular structures, 126 tons displacement, which when erected, act as rigid extensions to the spud pierhead to secure the stern of the LSTs which is longer than the spud pierhead. When in tow they are folded somewhat similar to a deck chair. Draught – 20 ft.
200 ft. long cruciform floating steel structures which moored end on in a line, form a shelter in an outer deep water anchorage outside the Phoenix breakwater. Behind this Bombardon breakwater it was hoped that shelter would be found for the unloading of Liberty ships. Dimensions: Length – 200 ft., Beam – 25 ft., Draught – 19 ft., Dead weight – 1,500 tons.

Story One:  Floating Docks

Resource:  Mulberry


Story Two:  Engineering at the Anzo Beachhead in Italy

Story Three:  Dambusters

This is an unique weapon that bounced on the water and colliding with a dam and exploding it at it’s base.

On 16 May 1943, 19 aircraft set out to destroy the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany’s industrial heartland.


Tribute Blog on Guy Gibson



Technology Feature Clip


Read Full Post »

Story Seventy-One Search and Rescue




Search and Rescue was and still  a  critical  role in our military heritage.

Story One:  Search and Rescue

Story Two: More

Story Three: Search and Rescue in Far North


Since WWII, Canada’s East Coast has been the crucible for modern search-and-rescue techniques and equipment. Deadly Frontiers tells the story of a professional search-and-rescue culture

Dean Beeby, Deadly Frontiers: Disaster and Rescue on Canada’s Atlantic Seaboard
(Goose Lane Editions) ISBN 0-86492-311-2.

Great Resource

Para Rescue was initiated in 1942 by former World War 1 flying Ace and renowned bush pilot ‘Wilfred Reid (Wop) May’ OBE, DFC, who is considered the grandfather of Canadian Para Rescue


Read Full Post »

Story Seventy: Playing Hockey against Turk Broda of the Toronto Maple Leafs


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turk_Broda

In 1941 he won the Vezina Trophy and was be selected to be on the All Star Team. The next year Broda had another great season leading Toronto to a Stanley Cup and being selected on the second all- Star team. From 1943 to 1945 Broda left hockey to serve in the military during the Second World War. When he came back he later led Toronto to three more Stanley Cups and won another Vezina Trophy and to be selected on the 1948 first All star team. In 1951 he won his last Stanley Cup with Toronto and retired in 1952.

Read Full Post »

Story Sixty-Eight: Unpleasant Memories

Unpleasant memories  can haunt a soldier such as these two stories. This is two such stories

Story One:   Robbing the Dead:

Story Two: Death of Child by passing train

Read Full Post »

Story Sixty-Nine: Canadian Firefighters in Britain


Source: http://www.firemuseumcanada.com/fire-fighters-overseas.html

Canadian Fightfighters in England

A total of 422 men volunteered from across Canada to form the Corps of Canadian Fire Fighters under the direction of G.E. Huff of Brantford, Ontario.

The Corps arrived in Britain in May, 1942, and manned six stations.

  • London – HQ
  • Southhampton – 2
  • Portsmouth – 2
  • Plymouth – 1
  • Bristol – 1

In a 2 1/2 year period, Corps members worked countless times at risk in perilous conditions to effect rescues and battle fires started by bombing.

  • 422 men volunteered for the Corps. Only half of these volunteers were professional firefighters; the other half had no experience.
  • The volunteer firemen received $1.30 pay per day from the Canadian government. They received no training other than what the Veteran firefighters could teach them.
  • There were 11 casualties, including three deaths, in the Corps of Canadian Firefighters overseas.

  • Listen to a BBC broadcast about firefighters by Herbert Morrison in 1940





    Canadian Fire Fighters Museum
    95 Mill St. South in Port Hope, Ontario Canada
    Mailing Address: Box 325, Port Hope, Ontario L1A 3W3
    Telephone/Fax: 905-885-8985 or

    Email info@firemuseumcanada.com

    Read Full Post »

    Story Sixty-Seven: Food, Wonderful Food


    Resourceful soldiers during the campaign had to learn ways quickly to find ways to sustain themselves.

    These stories are by William “Sam” Magee  during the Italian campaign

    Story One  Pig Story

    Story Two Cow Story

    Story Three: Farmer Magee

    Read Full Post »

    Story Sixty-Six Parachute Experiences


    Parachute Jumping- commonly called Flying Boxcar, because of jumping was possible from two sides of the bomber, in contrast to the Lancaster which had  a hole in the floor to leap.


    Parachuting was an important activity

    Sam’s stories

    Story One:  Leo’s Leap, a Parachuting training technique

    Story Two: 5000 foot Winterdrop Drifted 5 miles from drop

    Story Three: 1st Water Drop: 1st Cdn. Peacetime Drop

    Story Four: Jumping out of a Lancaster Bomber

    Read Full Post »