Leading up to Remembrance Day
In fairness, the USA did most of the heavy lifting in the Pacific Theatre against Japan and US involvement in Europe definitely brought the war to an earlier conclusion than would have otherwise been the case. However, because of the vast gap in industrial output capacity between the British Empire and Soviet Union on one hand and Germany on the other, I believe that the Allies still would’ve won without American military intervention (it just would’ve taken longer). The German Kriegsmarine was also dramatically outclassed by Britain’s Royal Navy. Germany lost the Second World War the moment Hitler decided to break his non-aggression pact with Stalin.
Canada, while a small and new nation-state, was hardly a two-bit player in the Second World War.
Out of a population of 14 million, more than 1 million Canadians enlisted in the Forces (many had recent-family connections with the UK); by the end of the war we had the world’s third largest navy (necessitated by protecting merchant shipping), the US was a resource and financial lifeline for the UK but so was Canada (food, money, natural resources, equipment), RAF pilots were trained in Canada, and Canadian forces played a major role in the liberations of Italy, France and the Low Countries (particularly the Netherlands). Canadian forces were even responsible for liberating their own beach on D-Day (the Canadians took on Juno, the Americans had Utah and Omaha while the British had Gold and Sword). All those movies portraying Normandy as a primarily American affair forget that Commonwealth troops (overwhelmingly British and Canadian, but some others too) outnumbered American troops on D-Day.
Canada was one of the first countries to declare war on Germany, we played the third most significant role in the Normandy Landings, took the lead in the liberation of the Netherlands, and played a major role in the liberation of Italy and naval defence in the North Atlantic, we were a lifeline for the UK (Britain’s most important ally between the Fall of France and Hitler’s sneak attack on the USSR), and went onto become a founding member of the UN (the organisation that sprung from the WWII Alliance).
It is true that we played more of a minor supporting role in the Pacific. We certainly sympathised with the Americans, Australians and New Zealanders, but it wasn’t as much our fight as Europe and the Atlantic.
Remembering my father, Flt Lt. Trevor Dossett, a true hero from Leigh-on-Sea.
He soared as a Spitfire pilot in Squadron 222 under the legendary Douglas Bader's command. Shot down over Belgium, he made it back home to the UK. He then crossed the Atlantic to train pilots in Canada under the Commonwealth Air Training Program, where he met my mother in Kingston. He longed to return to the battle, and was assigned back to England, where flew a modified Spitfire over the English Channel for meteorological readings. After the war, he left England for Canada.
Trevor Dossett I! A true hero from Southend on Sea, he served his country with pride and dedication. Miss you every day, Dad #RememberingDad #Hero #Southendonsea #WWII #WWIIHero #FamilyHistory #LegacyOfService
For Remembrance Day
Both my maternal and paternal grandfathers were in the Great War. In 2006 I was in the CBC docudrama “The Great War,” which was filmed in St. Bruno. The following year I was an extra in the Paul Gross film “Passchendaele.” I was fortunate and honoured to have had a part in both productions. One of the many benefits was the knowledge gained from the historians who were advisors to the producers.
The Battle of Passchendaele, which took place during World War I, was a significant and brutal conflict. Here are some interesting facts about it:
1. Location: The battle was fought near the town of Passchendaele in West Flanders, Belgium, from July 31 to November 10, 1917.
2. Mud and Trench Warfare: The battle is often associated with the horrendous conditions of mud and incessant rain. Soldiers on both sides had to contend with waterlogged trenches and extremely difficult terrain.
3. Casualties: The Battle of Passchendaele was one of the bloodiest battles of World War I. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties, with estimates ranging from 200,000 to 400,000 deaths.
4. Allied Victory: Despite the high human cost, the Allies, primarily the British and Canadian forces, managed to capture Passchendaele village and secure the area, gaining a strategic advantage.
5. Sir Arthur Currie: General Sir Arthur Currie, a Canadian commander, played a significant role in the success of the Canadian Corps during the Battle of Passchendaele.
6. The Movie “Passchendaele”: The 2008 film
“Passchendaele” directed by Paul Gross is a
Canadian war drama that portrays the events of the battle and its impact on soldiers.
7. Memorialization: The battle is remembered as a symbol of the sacrifices made during World War I, and there are several memorials and cemeteries in the Passchendaele region to honour the fallen.