Le­gion En­ters the Bl­o­go­sphere

RCN News - - Letters to the Editor -

For the past two years, the Le­gion has em­barked on an ag­gres­sive two-phase plan to mod­ern­ize its or­ga­ni­za­tion. The first phase was for Do­min­ion Com­mand to make ar­range­ments to pro­vide a com­puter to ev­ery Le­gion Branch. The sec­ond phase con­sisted in re­vamp­ing its out­reach ef­forts through both tra­di­tional me­dia and new me­dia – more com­monly re­ferred to as so­cial me­dia and this is where we would like to wel­come you to Le­gionCon­nect.

“The un­prece­dented ease of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion means that any Veteran who wishes to ex­press them­selves has am­ple medi­ums to do so,” says Do­min­ion Pres­i­dent of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion, Tom Ea­gles. “The aim of Le­gion Con­nect is to of­fer cur­rently serv­ing and for­mer mil­i­tary mem­bers a unique op­por­tu­nity to en­gage in vir­tual dis­cus­sions amongst the Veteran com­mu­nity on is­sues that di­rectly im­pact them free of charge and free of com­mer­cial ad­ver­tis­ing,” adds Ea­gles.

Any Veteran that wishes to join Le­gion Con­nect is in­vited to visit our link: regis­ter and look up your Alma mat­ter or your friends and cur­rent or for­mer col­leagues.

www.Le­gionCon­nect.le­gion.ca,

Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, more than 70 mil­lion peo­ple died world­wide as a re­sult of the war (train­ing, com­bat, civil­ian ca­su­al­ties, war crimes, as well as famine and dis­ease re­lated to the war). The num­bers are numb­ing, the tragedy lit­er­ally in­com­pre­hen­si­ble. The death ma­chine ground away twenty-four hours a day for nearly six years, spew­ing in­hu­man­ity, ob­scen­ity and tragedy unchecked around the world. It was a time of in­cred­i­ble cre­ativ­ity in the pur­suit of death—bal­lis­tic mis­siles, new fly­ing ma­chines, new tac­tics, gi­gan­tic fac­to­ries for death that ran like Swiss time­pieces and fi­nally nu­clear weapons. In the end, it was blood and flesh and young lives that made the dif­fer­ence.

War's open­ing gam­bit is death, and it's not over un­til the killing is

fin­ished.

To die in war is a tragedy of im­mense pro­por­tions. Each young life is a story of po­ten­tial squan­dered, of beauty con­sumed by vi­o­lence, of unimag­in­able grief for moth­ers, fa­thers and spouses. To have died in that hor­rific war is tragic and a sac­ri­fice that for many millions of peo­ple in Europe and the Far East is, today, largely for­got­ten on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis. For a coun­try with a small pop­u­la­tion like Canada's dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, the num­bers were tiny frac­tions of the loss felt by coun­tries like Rus­sia, Poland, Ja­pan, Ger­many and na­tions in Europe and the Far East, but none the less, the pain for our coun­try is felt to this day. All these deaths are tragedies, but to be the first or the last of these num­bers car­ries a cer­tain ex­tra tragic sig­nif­i­cance. To be first, to be taken out of the fight in the open­ing gam­bit, to die in the first ac­tion, is akin to the first pawn tak

en in a chess game... gone, for­got­ten and out of the game. To be last seems the greater tragedy—a death by crush­ing mis­for­tune. Af­ter years of risk­ing one's life, hav­ing it taken with the fin­ish line, not just in sight, but lit­er­ally un­der­neath you, car­ries with it an eter­nal sad­ness.

The first Cana­dian-born com­bat­ant to die in the Sec­ond World War was Sergeant Al­bert Stan­ley Prince, a bomber pi­lot of the Royal Air Force's Bomber Com­mand. He was killed within 24 hours of Great Bri­tain's dec­la­ra­tion of war on Ger­many and while at­tack­ing cruis­ers of the Kreigs­ma­rine in Wil­helmshaven, the Ger­man Navy's main base on the Baltic. His death came a full two years and three months be­fore Amer­ica en­tered the war, and was the first Cana­dian death of more than ten thou­sand to die in the ser­vice of Bomber Com­mand alone. Al­bert was dead and El­iza Prince be­came the first of nearly 45,000 Cana­dian moth­ers who would carry that sac­ri­fice in their hearts un­til their dy­ing days. Winifred, his

wife, would have to suf­fer the lone­li­ness and de­pri­va­tions of war while car­ry­ing her grief for all but 24

hours of a war that lasted more for 52,000 hours.

The last Cana­dian to die in the Sec­ond World War was Lieu­tenant Ger­ald Arthur “Andy” An­der­son of Tren­ton, On­tario. Andy, a mem­ber of the Royal Cana­dian Naval Vol­un­teer Re­serve, was a Cor­sair pi­lot serv­ing with the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. The cir­cum­stances of his death are par­tic­u­larly heart­break­ing as we shall see. One can imag­ine that his mother An­nie was ex­cited that her son would soon be­com­ing home, for news of the atomic bombs which struck the fi­nal blows against Ja­pan would have reached her be­fore the news of her son's death. He died the same day that the last nu­clear weapon was used in a war—Au­gust 9, 1945.

Good Day Ship­mates, The Friends of HMCS Haida re­ceived a re­quest to iden fy the sailors in the a ached photo. Do any of you know who they might be.? Thanks. Andy Bar­ber 905 820-5683

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