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Video Memories

video memories

Do you have a video clip that captures a treasured and/or important event in your former military career or association with the military that you would like to share with others? If so, please forward it to, attention: Mike Braham. Videos currently in the collection may be found HERE.

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2016 FCWM Annual General Meeting

The FCWM Annual General Meeting, presided over by President BGen (Ret’d) Linda Colwell was held at the Canadian War Museum on 16 June. Among the agenda items discussed was an overview of upcoming Museum activities by the Director General, Stephen Quick who was attending his first AGM.   

silver friendsSilver Friends Gordon Foster, Harold Needham and Bill Smith flanked by Past President Doug Rowland and President Linda ColwellSilver members (those with 25 years of service as a Friend) were honoured.  They are as follows (Those marked with * were in attendance.):

  • Col. (Ret’d) Angus Brown
  • Mr. Lloyd Brown
  • LCol (Ret’d) Donald Carrington
  • Mr. Charles Crowder
  • Mr. Michael Fancy
  • Mr. Gordon Foster *
  • Mr. Christopher Gagnon
  • Mr. Michael Gough
  • Lt. (Ret’d) Sidney Irwin
  • Mrs. Margaret Kohler-Milledge
  • Mr. Frank Milledge
  • Maj. (Ret’d) Harold Needham*
  • Maj. (Ret’d) William Smith*


The annual Volunteer Award was announced and this year’s recipient was Jean Morin, Chair of the Research Committee and the creator of the First World War day-by-day Twitter feed.

2016 VOY CopyJean Morin receives his award from Stephen Quick and Linda Colwell

The following changes to the Board of Directors were also announced.

board retirees Copyl. to r., Col. Nigel Shaw, Linda Colwell, Bill Smith & Charles GruchyRetiring are Colonel Nigel Shaw, William Smith and Charles Gruchy.

Col Nigel Shaw served on the Friends Board of Directors for more than two years during which time he focused on establishing links between the Friends and the Canadian Armed Forces. Col Shaw was recently consecrated as bishop ordinary of the Anglican Military Ordinariate and will retire from the military chaplaincy later this summer to take up his new duties.

Bill Smith served as a director for almost 14 years during which time he volunteered in the Friends' Office, managed the Adopt-a-Book project and took on many other volunteer assignments. In addition to his retirement plaque, Bill later received his Silver Friend's Certificate in recognition of 25 years as a Friend of the Canadian War Museum.

Charles Gruchy served as a director from 2002 until 2016. For many years he was part of the Governance Committee serving at different times as Chair and a member. His legacy of a long standing commitment to good governance and most recently his contribution to the drafting of the Board of Directors' Manual will be felt for years to come.

New members elected were Robert Argent, Alan Bacon, Robert Farrell, Thomas Burnie, Jeffrey Chapman, and Jean Guy Perron.

Almost 50 members participated in this well-attended AGM.

President’s Message

Colwell Linda CopyThe 2016 Annual General Meeting is behind us; the 2015 Annual Report is published. We are moving forward with the Friends’ 2016-17 program.

 Before telling you about that program and this year’s planned support to the Canadian War Museum, let me say thank you to out- going Directors, Nigel Shaw, Bill Smith and Charles Gruchy. As directors, Nigel provided a much needed connection with the Canadian Armed Forces and Bill and Charles, with more than 20 years of combined service on the Board, greatly contributed to our work in areas of governance, Adopt-a-Book Campaigns and general administration.  As this threesome retires, we are pleased to welcome new directors, Thomas Burnie, Jeffrey Chapman and Jean-Guy Perron.   

On behalf of the Friends I would send congratulations to Jean Morin, our 2015 Volunteer of the Year. The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes annual outstanding contributions of an individual Friends volunteer.  Jean, a hard working Director and the Chair of the Research Committee, has done much for our research agenda and in so doing has made a significant contribution to the Friends’ education mandate.   

Congratulations and a big thank you go out to Don Allen on the release of his new book, Steel Ladies, The Tanks and Armoured Cars of the Canadian War Museum. The book is available at  Don has chosen to donate the proceeds from his book sales to the Friends of the Canadian War Museum.

As we enter our fall season, we are working to improve our outreach to new and ongoing members of the Friends.  To help in identifying our members’ needs and views on the Friends as an organization, we plan to launch, within the next few months, a membership survey.  All members are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to have a say in the Friends’ future. 

Finally, let me remind you of this year’s financial commitment to the CWM.  Thank you to all who contribute to making these Friends’ commitments possible. 

1.  Adopt-a-Book:  $2,000 to purchase selected books for the CWM’s Military History Research Centre – Hartland Molson Library.  

2.  Gunter Awards:  $5,000 (five $1,000 awards) presented to 2016 graduating high school students.

3.  Veterans’ Parking: $5,000 to pay for veterans’ parking at the CWM.

4.  Military History Conference: $6,000 to help the CWM with the hosting requirements related to this four day international conference.

5.  Awesome Sundays:  $15,000 to support the CWM’s monthly program. You won’t want to miss the following Awesome Sundays at the CWM:

     August 28, 2016 – Awesome Tanks                       September 25, 2016 – Awesome Flight

     October 30, 2016 – Awesome Camouflage         November 27, 2016 - Awesome Forts

6.  Medals Stories: $25,000 to support the CWM’s annual costs related to cleaning and preserving its First World War medal holdings, researching, writing and editing the stories of the people behind the medals and preparing for the Museum’s on-line display of the individual stories, medals and other collection holdings.    


General Donations

The Friends are grateful to the following who made general donations during the period  1 April – 30 June 2016

  • Jackman Foundation
  • The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 638 (ON)
  • Anonymous
  • Mr. Vladimir Adamec
  • Mr. John Anderson
  • Mr. Robert Argent
  • Mr. Allan Bacon
  • Col. William Bawden
  • Mr. Thomas Burnie
  • Valerie & David Christie
  • Col. John Clarry
  • Mr. Robert Cook
  • Mr. Bruce Corbett
  • Mr. Herb Davis
  • Mr. Fred de Jong
  • Ms. Elizabeth DeWolf
  • Capt. Steven Dieter CD MA FRSA
  • Mel and Carol Dillon
  • Dr. Jonathan Epstein
  • Ms. Julia Finn
  • Mr. Gordon Foster
  • Mr. Bob Fowler
  • Col. Gary Furrie
  • Mr. Joseph Gambin
  • Dr. Jack Granatstein
  • Mr. Charles Gruchy
  • Mrs. H. Carol Hare
  • MWO Richard Hem
  • Mr. Douglas Herbert
  • Ms. Sigrid Hough
  • Mr. Russell Isinger
  • Maj. (Ret'd) Frank Jefferies
  • LCdr. (Ret'd) John Kabesh
  • Teresa Karolewski
  • Mrs. Phyllis Kiss
  • Lilia Lockwood
  • Mr. Peter Mace
  • Ms. Heather MacQuarrie
  • Gen. Paul Manson
  • Mr. William Maxwell
  • Mr. Ron McGuire
  • Ms. Marilyn Minnes
  • Mr. Terence Moore
  • M. Jean Morin
  • Mr. William Pettit
  • Mrs. Geraldine Plomp
  • RAdm. H. Timothy Porter
  • Mr. Wayne Primeau
  • Mr. Douglas Rowland
  • Maj. (Ret'd) William Smith
  • WO W. Edward Storey
  • Mr. Richard Thorman

In-Memoriam Donations

The following is a list of donors making in-memoriam donations during the period 1 April – 30 June 2016. The tributes are recorded in the language in which they were provided.

  • In memory of LCol. Robert Grenier who passed away on 16 June 2015 from the Canadian Army Staff College Class of 1963-65.
  • Ms. Meriel Beament Bradford, in memory of Brig Gen (Ret'd) G. E. (Ted) Beament, D Day planner, Canadian general staff, NW Europe campaign, President Khaki University in the UK. Hon Col 30th Field Regiment (Bytown Gunners)
  • Mr. Michael Bedford, in memory of Lt. Col. Michael Hind
  • Mai-yu Chan, in memory of Lt. Col. Michael Hind
  • Maj. (Ret'd) Thomas Dent C.D., in memory of Sergeant Geoffrey Arthur Dent
  • Mrs. Janet Drayton, in memory of Lt. Richard F. (Dick) Hurley, CANLOAN. Wounded in action Normandy July 1944
  • Mr. Leslie Paul Jarrett, in memory of Private John Donald Sutherland, In honour of the 70th wedding anniversary, June 29, 2016 [married 1946] of John Donald Sutherland and Lillian Fraser Sutherland. John served in WWII in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps.
  • Cpl. Nick Kerr, in memory of Cpl James Arnal, killed July 18 2008 by a roadside bomb while he was on foot patrol in Afghanistan.  He was the 88th Canadian soldier to die on the Afghan mission.
  • Maj. William Love, in memory of A/S Ibbs Avery, HMCS Whitby 1944-45. Minister at City View United Church, Ottawa, in the 70s and 80s
  • Maj. Harold Needham, in memory of Sgt (Pilot) William Angus McLean, RCAF Second World War and Governor General's Horse Guards
  • Lori Parent, in memory of Mr. Robert Parent

New Friends

From 1 April – 30 June 2016 the Friends of the Canadian War Museum have welcomed the following new Friends:

  • Ms. Meriel Beament Bradford
  • Ms. Ellen Berlinguette
  • Mr. Terry Cash
  • Ms. Mary Lou Cotter
  • Ms. Nelly de Jong
  • Ms. Erin Donahue-Boyle
  • Dr. Jonathan Epstein
  • Mr. Connor Hawes
  • Ms. Elaine Herz-Fischler
  • Ms. Alexa Ishikawa
  • Ms. Wendy Johnston
  • Cpl. Nick Kerr
  • Mlle. Ariane Lalonde
  • Ms. Chantelle Masterson
  • Robin Nelson
  • Prof. Mike Noble
  • Mr. William Pettit
  • Mr. Eric Sheppard
  • Ms. Gillian Troy
  • Mr. Gaurav Varshneya
  • Mr. Wilfred Ward

In Memoriam

Since distribution of the last Torch in May 2016, the Friends have been notified of, and mourn, the passing of the following colleagues:

  • Dr. Joan E. Harrison
  • Mr. Robert G. Kemp
  • Mr. Lloyd Martin
  • ERA-PO T. Christie Arnold
  • Mr. Michael Hind
  • Mr. Abraham Tarasofsky
  • Mr. Daniel Bevis Dewar
Friends Receive Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

Sovereigns Medal for VolunteersIn 2015, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada announced that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has approved the creation of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. This new medal recognizes volunteers who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad.

As an official honour created by the Crown, the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers is part of the Canadian Honours System and incorporates and replaces the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award (CCA).

Friends and volunteers, Mai-yu Chan and Michael Braham have been selected for this honour

1 IMG 0716Mai-yu ChanMai-yu participates in wide-ranging, selfless volunteer activities, not just at the Canadian War Museum, but as the founder of Folderol (an early music group) and of the Ottawa Chinese Choral Society. She has also served as an executive member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association, and is Past President of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, Ottawa Centre and was its first Member of the Year in 2001. She has been a volunteer with the Unisong Festival since its inception in 1997.


Braham Mike 2 CopyMichael BrahamMichael Braham participates in a number of volunteer activities on behalf of the Friends. He is past-Chair and current member of the Communications and Marketing Committee; Contents Editor of the Torch; Content Manager of the Friends Web Site; and Translation Coordinator. In addition, he is also a Volunteer Interpreter in the Cold War Gallery of the CWM and volunteers one day a week in the Friends’ Used Military Book Room. 

He is also a volunteer at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum where he is tour guide two and a half days a week. As an adjunct to his Diefenbunker responsibilities, he has established an active Alumni Association of former military and civilian members of the facility when it was operational.

Mai-yu and Michael will be presented with the medal by the Governor General at a date to be announced.

The Friends join in congratulating Mai-yu and Michael on this most deserved and singular honour.

Go Electronic

The cost of printing the Torch is substantial so you are encouraged, if possible, to opt to receive it in electronic form on the FCWM web site rather than in hard copy.  If you have not already chosen this option, but would like to, please notify us via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by filling in the appropriate box on your next membership renewal form.

The Paardeberg Monument Picture

by Jean Morin, Chair FCWM Research Committee

The Enquiries team of the Friends’ Research Committee are challenged with questions that are addressed by the public to the Canadian War Museum, and require research. Our volunteer researchers are linked by the Internet and such questions are distributed by email so that interested researchers can volunteer to solve the problems.

Most questions addressed to our researchers are on the subject of military history, mostly Canadian military history. But once in a while, a different question comes up that excites the curiosity of researchers, which do not deal with military history per se.

This is the case with the enquiry that Jeffrey Chapman took an interest in, in January 2016.

A Paardeberg CopyThe CWM received a request from Jean Michel, a citizen of Verdun, near Montreal, who wanted to know if there was any way to find out where the picture of a young boy might have been taken, in the mid-1950s. The only clue to the picture was that the boy stood before a monument that had PAARDEBERG inscribed, under a bas-relief that was only partially seen.

Jeff used his knowledge and technique to research the internet and look for all the monuments that might have been dedicated to the Battle of Paardeberg, in which the Canadians fought in the Boer War.

A PaardebergAA Paardeberg bas reliefHis patience paid off when he found that the monument called «Canadians in the South African War (Lord Strathcona) Memorial», on Dorchester Square, in Montreal, had one of its sides dedicated to the battle of Paardeberg, and that indeed, the bas-relief was the exact one for which just the bottom part could be seen. It is clear that the picture was taken on the exact spot, sixty years ago.

Chapman Jeffrey CopyJeffrey Chapman is a member of the Friends who has an interest in Canadian military history and likes to use the FCWM Book Room for good finds. He has been a volunteer researcher for two years and has collaborated in many questions that the Enquiries group of the Research Committee have elucidated over those years. Jeffrey is part of a new generation of Friends who dedicate themselves to the better knowledge of the military history of Canada.

FCWM Treasurer - J.L. (John) Chow

Chow JohnBorn and raised in the sub-tropical climate of Hong Kong, John followed his mother and siblings and hopped across the Pacific Ocean and the North American continent and arrived in Toronto in the middle of a winter snow storm in January 1968.

While a student at Queen’s University, John joined the Naval Reserve and upon graduation served for eight months onboard the re-commissioned gate vessel HMCS Porte Dauphin which operated out of Hamilton, ON.  He saw the light and transferred to the Regular Force in 1975 as a Sea Logistics Officer which took him to both coasts.  Accordingly, he boasts of having been appointed to HMC Ships home-ported at both the “right and the left coasts” and the “middle coast” in the Great Lakes.

In 2010, after a wonderful career and interesting postings, John retired from the Navy but stayed in Ottawa to continue with the Department of National Defence as a civilian and did a stint of almost five years as a policy wonk doing supply management policy.

John and his wife, the former Hilda Siu of Vancouver, are empty nesters firmly transplanted in Ottawa.  But the ties to the West Coast live on as two of their three sons are current residents of Lotus Land.

John’s hobbies include volunteering, researching and writing the family history (before he loses his already imperfect memory), travelling in ships (onboard which he does not have to work), and not-too-serious wine tasting (as spitting it out is difficult, and wasteful).

2015/16 FCWM Volunteer of the Year – Jean Morin

2016 VOY CopyJean Morin receives his award from Stephen Quick and Linda ColwellAt its 2016 Annual General Meeting in June, the Friends of the Canadian War Museum announced Jean Morin as the 2015/16 Volunteer of the Year.  Jean’s efforts as Chair of the Research Committee and his dedicated production of a monumental day-by-day history of the First World War produced as a daily Twitter feed were deservedly recognised by the presentation of this award.

Jean is a retired Royal 22e Regiment, infantry Major.  He is also a former official historian with the Directorate of History (DHH) at National Defence both in uniform and as a public servant. He retired in 2013 after 42 years with DND.

Originally from Sherbrooke, Québec, he joined the Forces in Québec City in 1969, and graduated from the Royal Military College in 1975. He obtained an MA from UBC in 1977 and served with the 3rd and 2nd battalions of the Regiment.

He subsequently served as instructor and teacher in the Infantry School, at RMC and at the Lester B. Pearson Canadian International Peacekeeping Center before becoming the official historian from 1990 to 2013 at the DND Directorate of Heritage and History.


Honouring Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow

Medal Set Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow CWM20040035 001 Tilston Memorial Collection of Canadian Military Medals Canadian War Museum CopyThree significant artifacts from the Canadian War Museum’s collection were escorted to Parry Sound, Ontario for the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue honouring Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow, the most decorated First Nations soldier in Canadian military history. At the unveiling event on June 21, the Museum displayed medals awarded to Corporal Pegahmagabow as well as the type of rifle and uniform he would have been issued as a sniper in the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion in the First World War.

 PegahmagabowAn Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) youth born on the shores of Parry Sound, in what is now Shawanaga First Nation reserve, Corporal Pegahmagabow was one of the first to enlist in 1914. Only a few weeks after he volunteered, he became one of the original members of the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion. He fought overseas until the end of the war and participated in some of its most horrific battles, including the Second Battle of Ypres, the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele. A skilled scout and marksman, he became the war’s most effective sniper and was honoured with the Military Medal in 1916 for great bravery, disregard for danger and faithfulness to duty. He was one of only 39 members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force to receive two bars to the Military Medal for additional acts of valour.

 Following the war, Pegahmagabow became an advocate for First Nations rights and served as chief of his Parry Island band, Wasauksing First Nation.

The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the Birth of the Modern Arms Race

 by Priscilla J. McMillan - Reviewed by John Anderson

OppenheimerMost of us are familiar with the story of the development of the atomic bomb during the Second World War and the pivotal role played in that endeavour by Dr. Robert Oppenheimer. Much less well known is what happened to Dr. Oppenheimer after the war. It is a sordid cautionary tale of deceit, intrigue and character assassination, but it is also historically important because it set the stage for the Cold War arms race.

In the late 1940's and early 1950's there was an intense debate in the United States regarding the future of nuclear weapons. Many of the scientists who knew first hand the power of these weapons, among whom Oppenheimer was one of the leaders, were in favour of limiting further development and trying to set up an arms control regime to limit their proliferation. On the other side were politicians and military leaders who advocated continued development and deployment in the interests of maintaining American military strength -- and political power in Congress. In essence the discussion pitted those who knew what was at stake against those who wanted control of the technology for political and military advantage.

All of this debate was conducted in deadly secret because President Truman, and later President Eisenhower, imposed a total blackout on any public discussion of these matters. This discussion came to a head in early 1954, when proceedings were initiated to have Dr. Oppenheimer stripped of his security clearance. The pretext for these proceedings was Oppenheimer's widely known association with known Communist sympathizers before and during the war. The objective was to remove Oppenheimer -- by any means necessary -- from any further participation in the ongoing debate.

The "heavy" in these proceedings was Lewis Strauss, a prominent New York-based banker and businessman, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission -- and a rabid Republican politician. The sub-heavy was Dr. Edward Teller, a brilliant scientist who had worked on the atomic bomb with Oppenheimer at Los Alamos, but who was obsessed with being allowed to develop "The Super", or the hydrogen bomb. If Oppenheimer could be removed from the debate, then a major obstacle to his dream would be eliminated. Therefore, in his testimony before Strauss' inquiry, he gave only alukewarm endorsement of Oppenheimer's character, and this went far toward sealing Oppenheimer's fate. But it also sealed Teller's fate for, while he continued to be involved in weapons research, he was forever after shunned by the general scientific community for betraying one of America's most respected scientists.

As noted above, all of this debate, with the exception of the bombshell announcement that Oppenheimer's clearance had been revoked, was conducted in secret. It took the author of this book, Priscilla McMillan, literally decades to ferret out the truth. It is an egregious tale of deceit and intrigue and, as the author points out at the end of her introduction, it could happen again.

A truly valuable book, a fitting tribute to a man who did so much during the Second World War. Massively annotated; about one-quarter of the book is notes and references.

Highly recommended.

Steel Ladies

Steel Ladies b“Steel Ladies” is the title of a recently self-published book by Major (Ret’d) Don Allen, a Friend and Volunteer Interpreter in the Lebreton Gallery of the Canadian War Museum.

The book is a richly illustrated volume that provides information about all of the tanks and armoured cars currently in the War Museum. A section on each vehicle looks at its history and technical specifications and provides information on how it was acquired by the War Museum.

Don Allen is a retired Armoured Corps officer with a passion for, and a thorough knowledge of armoured vehicles that are graphically transposed into this excellent and thoroughly readable reference book.  Don has earmarked all royalty profits from the sale of this book to the Friends of the Canadian War Museum.

“Steel Ladies – The Tanks and Armoured Cars of the Canadian War Museum” is available for sale on-line through Amazon and in major book stores. Its ISBN is 978-1532884580.



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