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Article

RCAF Women's Division

Members of the Women’s Division (WD) of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) were wartime pioneers. Thousands of young Canadian women volunteered to serve at home and abroad during the Second World War as part of the air force. By replacing men in aviation support roles, they lived up to their motto — "We Serve that Men May Fly” — and, through their record of service and sacrifice, ensured themselves a place in Canadian history.

Article

Canadian Peacekeepers in Rwanda

From 1993 to 1995, Canada was a leading contributor to a series of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the African nation of Rwanda. However, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), led by Canadian Major-General Roméo Dallaire, was powerless to prevent the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans in 1994. Following the genocide, a new contingent of Canadian troops returned to Rwanda as part of UNAMIR II, tasked with restoring order and bringing aid to the devastated population. Hundreds of Canadian soldiers, including Dallaire, returned from their service in Rwanda deeply scarred by what they had witnessed.

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Canadian Peacekeepers in Haiti

Since 1990, peacekeepers from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and civilian police forces, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), have served in Haiti on various United Nations (UN) missions. The purpose of these missions was to help stop the internal violence and civil unrest that had plagued the country for years and help promote and protect human rights and strengthen police and judicial systems.

Article

Canadian Peacekeepers in Somalia

In 1992–93, Canada contributed military forces to UNITAF, a United Nations–backed humanitarian mission in the African nation of Somalia. The mission was hampered by the fact that some of the warring factions in the Somalia conflict attacked the international forces that were trying to restore order and deliver food to a starving population. The Canadian effort was also clouded by the murder of a Somali teenager by Canadian troops. The crime — and alleged cover-up by Defence officials in Ottawa — became one of the most infamous scandals in Canadian history.

Article

William McVean (Primary Source)

"And when you think that, with your flying equipment on and the Mae West and a parachute, it was pretty cramped quarters."

See below for Mr. McVean's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Raymond Joseph Alexis “Ray” Gauvreau (Primary Source)

"A knock came on the door and it was my station commander who said, 'Ray, I’m sorry to tell you this, but your friend has not returned, will you please repack his luggage so we can send it back to his wife in Canada."

See below for Mr. Gauvreau's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Keith Flanigan (Primary Source)

"I was the first out and my job was to open the escape hatch and then lead the way out. So I was the first out after the hatch was released and I landed somewhere between the two front lines, which was the River Maas."

See below for Mr. Flanigan's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

George Henry Dancer (Primary Source)

"So that meant there was eight of us and this was a three man dinghy. So we all got out there on the wing with the good float on it, to keep that other wing from getting down in the water."

See below for Mr. Dancer's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Jim Guy (Primary Source)

"Their tents had to be all [up] and they threw down their own tents. An officer or a man didn’t make any difference there. If help was required, you gave it."

See below for Mr. Guy's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Indigenous Peoples and the Second World War

In 1939, Canada found itself at war for the second time in a generation. As in the First World War (1914-18), thousands of Indigenous soldiers and nurses volunteered for the war effort at home and abroad, serving with distinction in the Canadian army, navy, and air force. At least 4,250 First Nations soldiers enlisted in the Canadian military in the Second World War, with thousands more Métis, Inuit, and non-Status Indian soldiers serving without official recognition of their Indigenous identity.

Article

Fred William Cash (Primary Source)

"So we couldn’t do anything about it other than watch them go into the sea. And that was a horrible, horrible, horrible experience for all of us."

See below for Mr. Cash's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Jack Western (Primary Source)

"The plane itself went down in what we call a flat corkscrew. Circling round and round and round and round and round...from about 12,000 feet"

See below for Mr. Western's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

David Abells (Primary Source)

"When I think of my grandchildren at 18 years old, I would, heck, definitely not like to think that they would have to see this type of thing."

See below for Mr. Abells' entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Malcolm MacConnell (Primary Source)

"I thought we were really done for but I was able to get back up into the clouds and I abandoned my attack. But that was a very very close one."

See below for Mr. MacConnell's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Milton Shefman (Primary Source)

"I was only about nineteen or so and, you know, when you're young, death is so distant to you."

See below for Mr. Shefman's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Article

Murray Heselton (Primary Source)

"It was quite traumatic, to change from being up in the air force flying every day to getting up in the morning, and from seeing everybody in a blue uniform, and all of a sudden, you’re into a civilian dress."

See below for Mr. Heselton's entire testimony.


Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.