NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ PROFILES OF COURAGE ~ POST-WAR YEARS

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ PROFILES OF COURAGE ~ POST-WAR YEARS

Two Profiles of Courage of note for this time period include:   Ainsworth Dyer ~ Ainsworth Dyer was born in Montreal and grew up in Toronto.  He enlisted in the Canadian Forces in 1996 and would go on to become a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Mature and responsible, Dyer was well-respected by his colleagues.  He took on many challenges including training for the military’s gruelling “Mountain Man” endurance competition, qualifying as a paratrooper and serving in Canadian Forces peace support efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2000. Corporal Dyer was taking part in night training in Afghanistan on April 17, 2002 when his position was bomber by an American warplane in a friendly fire incident at Tarnak Farms.  Sadly, he and three other Canadians were killed and eight more were injured.  Dyer was just 24 years old. The fallen soldier was buried with full military honours in the Necropolis Cemetery in Toronto.  The Royal Canadian Legion named his mother, Mrs. Agatha Dyer, the 2004 National Silver Cross Mother.     Mark Graham ~ Born in Jamaica, Mark Graham moved to Hamilton, Ontario as a child.  In 2004, he answered the call to serve and enlisted in the Canadian Forces.  Private Graham was sent to Afghanistan with the Royal Canadian Regiment.  He was an excellent role model for the younger soldiers and had an excellent record of efficiency in his unit.  Tragically, the then 33 year old was killed by friendly fire on September 4, 2006, when his platoon was mistakenly attacked by an American warplane during an operation to capture a Taliban stronghold. Graham is buried at the National...
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ WWII PROFILES OF COURAGE

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ WWII PROFILES OF COURAGE

There are two profiles of courage I’d like to share with you relevant to the Second World War:   Edwin Erwin Phillips ~ Edwin Erwin Phillips was born in Montreal and worked as a printer’s apprentice before volunteering for service with the RCAF in 1942.  Only 21 years old when he enlisted, he would go on to work as a mechanic with No. 168 Heavy Transport Squadron and rise to the rank of sergeant.  As part of his duties, Phillips would sometimes accompany transatlantic cargo flights. The eastern European country of Poland had suffered greatly during WWII and there was a serious shortage of medical supplies.  The Canadian Red Cross donated tons of penicillin in response to the humanitarian crisis there after the end of the war and the military agreed to transport it overseas from Canada. On November 4, 1945, the Flying Fortress aircraft carrying the vitally needed medicine to Warsaw crashed into a hilltop near Halle, Germany and burst into flames.  Phillips and the four other crew members onboard were killed in the accident.  The fallen Canadian airmen are buried at Munster Heath Cemetery in Germany.     The Carty Brothers ~ Military service was in the Carty family blood.  Five brothers from the Saint John, New Brunswick family served during the Second World War.  They came by this dedication to duty honestly as their father, Albert Carty, had served with the No. 2 Construction Battalion during the First World War. At a time when recruiting regulations restricted the ability of Black people to serve in the RCAF, all five overcame the odds and became airmen.  Four of...
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ THE FIRST WORLD WAR

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ THE FIRST WORLD WAR

Like so many others swept up in the excitement and patriotism  that the First World War initially brought on, young Black Canadians were eager to serve King and country.  At the time, however, the prejudiced attitudes of many of the people in charge of military enlistment made it very difficult for these men to join the Canadian Army.  Despite the barriers, some Black Canadians did manage to join up during the opening years of the war.  Black Canadians wanted the chance to do their part on a larger scale, however, and pressured the government to do so.     On July 5, 1916, the No. 2 Construction Battalion was formed in Pictou, Nova Scotia - the first large Black military unit in Canadian history.  Recruitment took place across the country and more than 600 men were eventually accepted, most from Nova Scotia, with others coming from New Brunswick, Ontario, the west and even some from the United States.  The Black Battalion’s chaplain was Reverend William White, who had also played a leading role getting the unit formed.  He was given the rank of Honourary Captain - one of the few Black commissioned officers to serve in the Canadian Army during the war. The segregated battalion was tasked with non-combat support roles,  After initial service in Canada, the battalion boarded the SS Southland bound for Liverpool, England in March 1917.  Its members were sent to eastern France later in 1917 where they served honourably with the Canadian Forestry Corps.  There they helped provide the lumber required to maintain trenches on the front lines, as well as helped construct roads and railways.  After...
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ AN INTRODUCTION

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BLACK HISTORY MONTH ~ AN INTRODUCTION

Since this is Black History Month, I thought we should look at how they have served Canada in peace and in war.  I have selected a few individuals to show their stories although it is not possible to include all those who have served.  There are many who showed enormous bravery and service who are not mentioned here. The first reference is about the many who served to defend Canada in 1780.  A number were offered their freedom if they fought against the Americans.  Then in 1812, they formed a “Company of Coloured Men” who fought at Queenston Heights. During the rebellion in Upper Canada 1837-1839, about 1000 black militia formed 5 companies and helped put down the uprising. In World War I, military enlistment personnel made it difficult for black Canadians to join up but in spite of these barriers many wanted to serve. Reverend William White played a large role in the formation in Pictou, N.S. of No. 2 Construction Battalion.  The Rev. White was the Battalion chaplain who was given the Honorary rank of Captain, one of the few black commissioned officers to serve.  The unit served in a non-combat role in France. In World War II, Michael Manley served as aircrew in the RCAF and subsequently in 1972, he became Prime Minister of Jamaica. Lincoln Alexander, Leonard Braithwaite and Lloyd Perry all became lawyers.  Lincoln Alexander became the first black Member of Parliament and later, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.  Eric Watts served in the RCAF and rose from airman to squadron leader.  He served as Wing Air Armaments Officer with 1 Wing Merville France and...
“A SWASHBUCKLING ADVENTURER” ~ JOSEPH W. BOYLE

“A SWASHBUCKLING ADVENTURER” ~ JOSEPH W. BOYLE

Every war produces mysterious characters, some good, some bad, and some swashbuckling adventurers.   One such man was Joseph Whiteside Boyle, born in 1867 in Toronto.  At the age of 17, he went to sea for three years.  Later on he was among the first to travel the White Pass route to the Klondike where he laid claim to a huge stretch of the Klondike River, and, as a result of his gold mining activities, he became quite rich.  He organized a hockey team, the Dawson City Nuggets, who travelled by sled, train, and boat to Ottawa to play the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup.  At the outbreak of WWI, at his own expense, he equipped a machine gun company, even making their insignia in gold.  In today’s market these insignia would be priceless. Being too old for active service, he was made an honorary Lt.Col.  He made his way to Britain where he eventually went to Russia and was appointed to Kerenski to help re-organize their railways which were in total chaos.  He found there were 10,000 rail cars of supplies waiting to go to the front and in order to get things moving, he had whole trains, which were blocking the movement of the rail cars, pitched over an embankment to get them out of the way.  This enabled the other supply trains to be on their way to the front allowing Russia to keep 300,000 men in the front line.  In cooperation with a British agent he was involved in operations against both the Germans and the Bolshevik forces. During this time he ran a...

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