Memorial Woods Descriptions

No. 6 RCAF Group Wood

The Royal Canadian Air Force formed forty-three squadrons overseas during the Second World War despite sending sufficient aircrew overseas to have formed more than twice that number.  The largest Canadian formation overseas was No. 6 RCAF Group which became operational in the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command on 1 January 1943.  Flying Vickers Wellington, Handley-Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster bombers, many of the latter Canadian-built, 6 Group took part in some of the most difficult battles of the strategic air campaign, including the Battles of the Ruhr and Berlin in 1943-44, before turning to pre-invasion bombing for the D-Day landings.  Fifteen RCAF squadrons operated with the group, although 405 Squadron was transferred to 8 Group Pathfinders in April 1943.  No. 6 Group flew 40,822 operational sorties from which a total of 814 aircraft and approximately 5,700 airmen did not return of whom 4,203 lost their lives.

 

Air Force Wood

The Canadian Air Force was established in 1920 as a successor to the short-lived two-squadron Canadian force that was formed in Britain at the end of the First World War.  Chiefly a training militia to provide refresher training to veteran pilots, the CAF became the Royal Canadian Air Force on 1 April 1924.  During the Second World War the RCAF ran the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan that trained 131,553 aircrew, of which 72,835 were Canadian, in addition to engaging in operations in Europe, Africa, southeast Asia, and for home defence.  In 1951, the RCAF contributed a twelve-squadron Air Division to NATO in Europe while maintaining interceptor squadrons for North American air defence.  The Pinetree Line, the Mid-Canada Line and the DEW Line radar stations were largely operated by the RCAF and in 1957, Canada and the United States formed the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).

 

Amiens Wood

By mid-summer 1918, heavy losses had halted the momentum of the Germans’ spring offensives.  On 8 August, the Allies commenced a series of counter-offensives all along the Western Front beginning with a Fourth Army attack east of Amien, France spearheaded by the two elite assault formations in the Allied order of battle – the Australian and Canadian Corps.  Operating side by side, the two corps attacked the unsuspecting Germans through an early morning mist, advancing twelve kilometres and inflicting 26,000 enemy casualties on the first day.  Demonstrating the thorough professionalism and superior tactical proficiency instilled by its commander, Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie, the Canadian Corps advanced twenty-two kilometres on a ten kilometre wide front and captured over 9000 prisoners by the 11th.  Such was the blow delivered by the Canadians and Australians that General Erich von Ludendorff described 8 August as the “Black Day” for the German Army.

 

Army Wood

The Canadian army came into being on 1 July 1867 as the various colonial militia forces were absorbed by the Dominion of Canada.  The Militia Act of 1868 established the Active Militia, nominally 40,000 strong, while a regular, 750-man Permanent Active Militia was created in 1883, primarily to instruct the Non-Permanent Active Militia.  A combination of Permanent and Non-Permanent soldiers served in South Africa.  While the 600,000-strong Canadian Expeditionary Force was initially recruited from militia regiments in 1914, its soldiers served in numbered battalions.  A cadre of regular battalions was maintained between the wars both to train the militia and to provide the nucleus of an expeditionary force.  During the Second World War, militia regiments provided the backbone of the 700,000-strong Canadian Army (as the militia was re-designated in November 1940).  The Canadian Army’s regular strength reached a peak of 52,000 in 1952 with its numbers falling gradually until Unification in 1968.

 

Baden & Lahr Wood

In September 1953, Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons Nos. 414, 422, and 444, flying Canadair Sabres, arrived at the NATO air base at Baden-Soellingen in the French-occupied zone of Germany.  They formed 4 Wing, part of 1 Air Division, and trained in an air defence role.  In 1955, 414 Squadron was replaced by No. 419 flying Avro CF 100s in an all-weather fighter-interceptor role.  The two remaining Sabre squadrons converted to a nuclear strike role with Canadair CF 104 Starfighters in 1962.  They were joined by 421 Squadron (also flying CF 104s) when No. 419 disbanded the following year.  RCAF Station Lahr opened in March 1967 to accommodate 439 and 441 Squadrons relocated from Marville, France.   Following unification, they were joined by 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group to form CFB Lahr.  With the end of the Cold War, the bases were closed in 1993 and 1994.

 

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Wood

One of Canada’s greatest contributions to Allied victory in the Second World War, the BCATP trained 131,553 pilots, navigators, bombardiers, air gunners, wireless operators and flight engineers from the Commonwealth of which 72,835 were Canadians.   After the initial BCATP agreement was signed in December 1939, Elementary Flying Training Schools, run by civilian flying clubs, began opening in June 1940 and Service Flying Training Schools, the first being No. 2 SFTS in Ottawa, the following August.  Although initially envisaged primarily as an RCAF training scheme, the crowded skies over Britain eventually meant the transfer of nineteen RAF training schools to Canada, including ten SFTSs and four Operational Training Units.  At its peak strength in 1942, the Plan’s 107 schools and 11,000 aircraft were spread across the country, employing some 104,000 men and women, both air force and civilian.  Canada had become “The Aerodrome of Democracy”.

 

Canal du Nord Wood

Following their success at the Battle of Amiens, the Canadian Corps was transferred north to spearhead First Army’s drive down the heavily-defended Arras-Cambrai road.  After breaking the formidable Drocourt-Queant defensive line in early September, the Corps paused before confronting the next German line immediately east of the Canal du Nord.  On 27 September 1918, in an audacious and well-executed operation, the Canadians attacked across the canal, penetrating the German lines in the approaches to the vital rail junction of Cambrai.  The operation involved an east-west attack across a dry section of the canal before swinging around to the north to take the high ground northwest of the city.  The Canadian success forced the Germans to commit their strategic reserves to stop the Corps’ momentum, allowing other Allied formations to make easier progress elsewhere.  It remains the most brilliant feat of arms in Canadian military history.

 

Casa Berardi Wood

After fighting its way across the Moro River in early December 1943, the 1st Canadian Division’s next objective on the way to Ortona was a ravine, soon named “The Gully”, backed by a steep ridge impassable to tanks except by a single, twisting road.  Atop the ridge west of the road was a collection of farm buildings known as Casa Berardi.  Beginning on 10 December, repeated frontal attacks failed to carry “The Gully” until a flanking movement eventually allowed a Royal 22e Régiment company led by Captain Paul Triquet and tanks from The Ontario Regiment to fight their way through and capture Casa Berardi on the 14th.  The Van Doos and four Shermans held off a series of German counterattacks throughout 15 December until further reinforcements arrived that night.  For his courageous and determined leadership in capturing and holding Casa Berardi, Captain Triquet received the Victoria Cross.

 

Chail-li Wood

When the remainder of the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade arrived in Korea in May 1951, the formation quickly joined in the United Nation’s offensive north of the 38th parallel.  Operating several kilometres in advance of its flanking formations, the Canadian brigade engaged in its first major action on 30 May in an attack on the village of Chail-li.  2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, attempted to capture the area’s dominant feature, Hill 467, by a flanking movement while the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment provided a firm left flank next to the Hant’an River.  Unfortunately, the Royals were held short of the summit by fresh Chinese troops deployed to halt the Canadian advance.  Although A Company, mounted in half-tracks and supported by Sherman tanks, successfully entered Chail-li, the enemy’s infiltration tactics forced the Royals to withdraw at a cost of six men killed and twenty-five wounded.

 

Cyprus Wood

The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was established in 1964 to stand between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and prevent a recurrence of fighting on the island.  Following the 1974 Greek Cypriot coup d’état and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the United Nations expanded the mission and UNFICYP was redeployed to patrol a UN buffer zone that divides the island between the government of Cyprus and the administration of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. The zone runs for more than 180 kilometres along the “Green Line” and passes through the city of Nicosia.  Some 33,000 Canadians served in Cyprus from the March 1964 deployment of the 1er Battalion, Le Royal 22e Régiment and the Reconnaissance Squadron, The Royal Canadian Dragoons until the 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, returned to Canada in June 1993.  In all, twenty-eight Canadian peacekeepers were killed in Cyprus.

 

Egypt Wood

The first United Nations peacekeeping force, the United Nations Emergency Force, was created in the wake of the Suez Crisis of 1956.  Following an Anglo-Israeli-French invasion of Egypt’s canal zone, Canadian External Affairs minister Lester Pearson suggested replacing the British and French troops with UN peacekeepers to separate the Israelis and Egyptians.  UNEF’s first commander was Canadian general E.L.M. Burns.  Some 11,000 Canadians served with UNEF, primarily as support personnel.  Members of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps served in later rotations of UNEF until the entire UN force was ordered out by the Egyptians in May 1967 prior to the Six-Day War with Israel.  In all, a total of thirty-one Canadian personnel died while serving with UNEF.  A second UN force, UNEF II, served from the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war until December 1979.  Some of 10,220 Canadians served with UNEF II, of whom seventeen were killed.

 

Gothic Line Wood

After the capture of Rome in June 1944, the Allies were slow in pursuing the German armies as they conducted a fighting withdrawal to the north for most of the summer.  It was not until late August that they were confronted by the new German defence line – the Gothic Line – that ran along the Foglia River on the Italian east coast.  Following an initial attack by the 1st Canadian Division on 26 August, the 5th Canadian Armoured Division took over the assault the 30th and punched a hole through the Gothic Line.  Despite facing numerous anti-tank guns, the British Columbia Regiment, led by their CO, Lieutenant-Colonel Fred Vokes, made an audacious all-tank advance to capture the strategic Point 201on 31 August.  Leaving the rest of British Eighth Army to play catch up on either flank, I Canadian Corps had advanced some twelve kilometres by 3 September.

 

Hill 355 Wood

By October 1951 the Korean front had stabilized north of the 38th parallel with the 25th Canadian Brigade, now part of the 1st Commonwealth Division, joining other UN forces in holding a salient northwest of the Imjin River.  The dominant feature in the salient was Hill 355.  In November 1951, a Chinese attack forced the American battalion off the hill’s summit while D Company, Le Royal 22e Régiment, held on to the hill’s lower western slope against repeated enemy assaults.  Their stout, four-day defence of the hill’s flank cost the Vandoos sixteen killed and forty-four wounded but allowed the Americans to recapture their lost ground.  In October 1952, 1 RCR was heavily attacked when a Chinese raid overran B Company’s position on the hill’s western slope, resulting in eighteen Canadians killed, thirty-five wounded and fourteen captured.  Hill 355 remained the key to the Commonwealth Division’s position until the July 1953 armistice.

 

HMCS Calgary Wood

The Flower Class corvette HMCS Calgary was commissioned in December 1941 and spent the next year escorting convoys off Canada’s east coast.  In June 1943, after undergoing extensive repairs, Calgary was employed in support of Atlantic convoys.  While escorting a large UK-Gibraltar convoy on the night of 19-20 November, the Canadian corvette was attacking an enemy submarine in cooperation with the escorts HMS Nene and HMCS Snowberry when a second U-boat was suddenly illuminated on the surface.  After diving to escape, U 536 was depth-charged and brought back to the surface in a co-ordinated attack by the three warships.  Seventeen of the fifty-four German crew managed to escape before the U-boat sank.  In May 1944, Calgary joined Western Approaches Command for escort duties during the Normandy invasion.  Returning to Canada in May 1945, Calgary was paid off the following month and broken up in Hamilton, Ontario in 1951.

 

Juno Beach Wood

Juno Beach lies on the Normandy coast northwest of Caen between the villages of Grave-sur-Mer and St. Aubin-sur-Mer.  The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, supported by the tanks of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, began its assault on Juno Beach at 0800 on 6 June 1944 with the 7th Brigade landing in Mike sector and the 8th Brigade to its left in Nan sector.   Although the Germans’ concrete defences had been relatively unscathed by the initial bombardment, the Canadian infantry was able to overcome individual strongpoints by the costly process of infiltration and assault.  Resistance was fiercest in Mike sector and both the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and the Regina Rifle Regiment suffered heavily.  The 3rd Division captured all of their intermediate objectives while several battalions in the 9th Brigade went beyond, the only units of the invasion force to do so.  Canadian casualties totalled 340 killed, 574 wounded and forty-seven captured.

 

Kap’yong Wood

While the Chinese offensive launched on 22 April 1951 was aimed primarily at the South Korean capital of Seoul, their 118th Division remained to the east to advance down the Kap’yong valley.  Moving north from reserve, the Commonwealth Brigade took position on the hills north of Kap’yong village.  On the night of 23-24 April, the Chinese attacked the Australian battalion on Hill 504 to the east of the valley.  After heavy fighting, the Australians were forced to withdraw next day, leaving the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry holding Hill 677, the brigade’s foremost position on the valley’s western side.   Throughout the night of 24-25 April, the Patricia’s held off repeated attacks on the battalion’s flanks, including calling down friendly artillery fire on their own positions, while suffering ten killed and twenty-three wounded.  For their stout defence of Hill 677, 2 PPCLI was awarded a US Presidential Citation.

 

Kitchener’s Wood

On the late afternoon of 22 April 1915 the German army launched a chlorine gas attack on the French colonial division holding the Ypres frontline immediately to the west of the 1st Canadian Division.  Moving into the gap in the line created by the collapse of the French division, the Germans seized Kitchener’s Wood located half a mile west of St. Julien.  The Canadian division organized a night time counter-attack to clear the woods using the 10th and 16th Battalions.   At midnight, the hastily prepared assault commenced with the two battalions moving forward in six shoulder-to-shoulder lines, a total of 1600 men in a closely-packed formation.  Alerted by the inevitable noise of the attacking troops, German machine-gun fire quickly cut down many of the Canadians.  Only 461 men from the two battalions were still clinging to the forward edge of wood at dawn on the 23rd.

 

Leonforte Wood

As the 1st Canadian Infantry Division fought its way north through central Sicily on the western flank of British Eighth Army, it was confronted by the German-held town of Leonforte perched on an escarpment on the main highway north of the Dittaino River.  Attacking on the night of 21-22 July 1943 behind a heavy bombardment, The Loyal Edmonton Regiment fought house-to-house to penetrate into the town.  A series of determined German counter-attacks eventually forced all of the Edmontons back to the edge of Leonforte except for a 100-man group led by the battalion CO, Lieutenant-Colonel J.C. Jefferson, holding out in the town centre.  A bold attack the next morning by the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, supported by Sherman tanks and anti-tank guns, succeeded in reaching the Edmontons in the town centre before fighting their way through to the northern outskirts and clearing the highway to Agira.

 

Liliefontein Wood

On 7 November 1900 near a farm called Liliefontein, Transvaal, South Africa, a 1200-strong British Army column came under heavy fire from several hundred Boer guerrillas.  Choosing withdrawal over confrontation, the British commander selected the Royal Canadian Dragoons to act as the main rearguard.  Dismounting to return fire as they retreated from ridgeline to ridgeline across the open veldt, the Dragoons, whose strength had been reduced during the campaign to less than a hundred, held off the swarming Boers.  The Canadians were aided in holding off the enemy by the fire of a Colt machine gun under the command of Sergeant E. Holland.  It was not until the British column turned back to assist that the Boers were convinced to break off the action.  For their bravery under fire, Sergeant Holland together with Lieutenants R.E.W. Turner and H.Z.C. Cockburn were each awarded the Victoria Cross.

 

Liri Valley Wood

In May 1944, the Allies launched a major offensive on the Italian west coast aimed at liberating Rome.  With I Canadian Corps operating to the left of British XIII Corp in the Liri River valley, 1st Canadian Division followed the breaching of the German Gustav Line at Cassino on the 11th to drive north and take the Adolf Hitler defence line by 23 May.  Despite fighting on a constricted frontage in the valley, 5th Canadian Armoured Division continued the advance, seizing a bridgehead over the Melfa River on 24 May in a bold action for which Major J.K. Mahony of The Westminster Regiment received a Victoria Cross.  After crossing the Liri River on 28 May, the Allied offensive became a pursuit as the Germans retreated to the north of Rome.  In all, the Canadians advanced over eighty kilometres by 1 June before going into reserve.

 

Medak Pocket Wood

Following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the United Nations Protection Force was deployed to enforce ceasefire and disarmament agreements between hostile ethnic factions.  In September 1993, UNPROFOR ordered 875 troops of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group, accompanied by two French Army mechanized companies, to protect local Serb civilians from advancing Croatian forces in the area surrounding the village of Medak.  The UN forces came under heavy Croatian fire as they moved into position on 14 September, prompting a fifteen-hour exchange of fire in which four Canadians were wounded and some two dozen Croats were killed.  The Croatian commander agreed to a ceasefire the next morning but continued to delay while his forces destroyed evidence of ethnic cleansing amongst the local Serb population.  For its resolute action in a difficult peace enforcement operation, 2 PPCLI Battle Group was awarded the Governor-General’s Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation.

 

Moreuil Wood

On 21 March 1918, the German Army unleashed their spring offensive against the British Fifth Army.  Among the cavalry formations deployed as rearguards along the collapsing front was the Canadian Cavalry Brigade composed of the Fort Garry Horse, the Lord Strathcona’s Horse, and the Royal Canadian Dragoons.  As the Fifth Army fell back toward Amiens, the Cavalry Brigade was ordered to recapture a wood northeast of Moreuil, some twenty kilometres east of the French rail centre.  On the morning of 30 March, the three cavalry regiments attacked and cleared the woods of German infantry in close-quarter fighting.  The Strathcona’s “C” Squadron, led by Lieutenant Gordon Flowerdew, made a mounted charge against several hundred enemy deployed in the open north of the woods.  Despite taking over 70 per cent casualties, the squadron successfully drove off the Germans.  For his leadership Flowerdew received a posthumous Victoria Cross.

 

Moro River Wood

As the weather deteriorated in December 1943, British Eighth Army headquarters remained determined for its forces to take “a colossal crack” at the enemy on the Italian east coast.  In the drive toward the port of Ortona, Ist Canadian Division had to attack across the Moro River and its 500 metre wide valley back by steep cliffs.  On 5 December, the assaulting battalions managed to establish brigeheads on the far bank supported initially by British tanks and later by those of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade.  While The Royal Canadian Regiment fought is way inland from the coast road, The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada and tanks of The Calgary Regiment assaulted the village of San Leonardo directly across the river.  Despite fierce resistance by the 90th Panzer Grenadier Division, three days of bitter fighting gave the Canadians control of the high ground beyond the Moro.

 

Mount Butler Wood

On 19 December 1941 during the defence of Hong Kong, the Winnipeg Grenadiers attacked the Japanese-held Mount Butler, a hill rising steeply in the middle of the island.  Part of a company led by Sergeant-Major John Osborn captured the hill at the point of the bayonet and held it for three hours until the position became untenable.  Osborn and a small group covered the withdrawal before rejoining their comrades.  During the afternoon the Grenadiers were cut off and closely surrounded by the Japanese.  Several enemy grenades landed in the position and were thrown back by Osborn until one landed that was impossible to return in time.  Shouting a warning to his comrades, Osborn threw himself on the grenade which killed him instantly. His gallant leadership and self-sacrifice, which undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his comrades, was recognized with the award of the Victoria Cross.

 

Department of Munitions and Supply Wood

The Department of Munitions and Supply was created on 9 April 1940 to mobilize and coordinate domestic industry for the production of munitions and other war supplies needed by the Allies during the Second World War.  Its capable minister, C.D. Howe, negotiated with Canadian industry to recruit a cadre of “dollar-a-year” businessmen to run the numerous Crown corporations and agencies needed to build everything from aircraft to shells to warships.  Working with the Wartime Prices and Trade Board, the department’s influence extended throughout Canadian industry, diverting scarce natural resources to where they were most needed while also controlling the labour supply to maintain efficient production.  At its peak, Canadian war industries employed some 1.2 million people.  By war’s end, Canada had produced one-seventh of all Commonwealth war production worth approximately $8.7 billion.  The Department of Munitions and Supply was disbanded on 31 December 1945.

 

Navy Wood

The Royal Canadian Navy was born on 4 May 1910 with the passage of the Naval Service Act by the Laurier government.  Initially equipped with two older British cruisers, Niobe and Rainbow, the navy was severely neglected prior to 1914.  During the First World War, the under-funded RCN patrolled the approaches to Halifax and the Gulf of St. Lawrence with an assortment of converted yachts.  After operating a handful of destroyers and trawlers between the wars, the RCN entered the Second World War with six destroyers and 3500 personnel.  A rapid expansion program eventually increased the navy to more than 375 warships, centered on the North Atlantic escort fleet.  Reduced to fifteen warships post-war, the RCN eventually became a “Blue Water Navy”, reaching a peak strength of forty-five warships and 20,000 personnel by the early 1960s.  Today, the RCN continues to defend Canadian interests on the world’s oceans.

 

Nursing Sisters Wood

Seven Canadian nursing sisters provided care to Canadian troops in the North-West Rebellion of 1885 while eight others served in the South African War.  Nicknamed “Bluebirds” for their blue dresses and white veils, 3141 nursing sisters volunteered in Britain, France, and the Eastern Mediterranean during the First World War.  Fourteen died when the hospital ship Llandovery Castle was torpedoed in June 1918 and others, serving near the Western Front, died as a result of combat.  During the Second World War, 4480 nursing sisters served including two Canadian nursing sisters who were taken prisoner in Hong Kong in 1941 (and repatriated two years later) and one nursing sister who died when the Newfoundland ferry Caribou was sunk in October 1942.  In Korea, sixty Canadian military nurses again provided service to those in combat.  Nursing sisters also served in Canada and in Europe as part of Canada’s NATO forces.

 

Pourville Wood

The right flank of the Dieppe landings targeted the beach in front of the village of Pourville, France.   The assaulting South Saskatchewan Regiment was able to get ashore two minutes after H-Hour with only a few casualties but had to cross the River Scie in order to reach the west headland that separated Pourville from the main beaches in front of Dieppe and where a German radar station that British Intelligence hoped might be looted to advantage was located.  The South Saskatchewans came under fire as they attempted to cross the bridge over the Scie, prompting their CO, Lieutenant-Colonel C.C. Merritt, to stride across the bridge while urging his men to dash across.  The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, landing a half-hour after the South Saskatchewans, penetrated three kilometres south of Pourville before pulling back.  For his conspicuous bravery on the Scie bridge, Merritt was awarded the Victoria Cross.

 

Royal Flying Corps Wood

With no organized Canadian air service during the First World War, an estimated 22,812 Canadian airmen served in the Imperial air forces.  Until the Royal Air Force was formed on 1 April 1918, Canadians flew in either the army’s Royal Flying Corps or the Royal Naval Air Service.  Raymond Collishaw was the highest scoring Canadian ace to serve in the RNAS, while William Barker, William Bishop, and Donald MacLaren were high scoring fighter pilots with the RFC.  Bishop was awarded a Victoria Cross for a solo attack on a German airfield on 2 June 1917 while Barker received a VC for a single-handed dogfight with over sixty German aircraft on 27 October 1918.  A third Canadian VC was awarded to Alan McLeod for crash-landing his flaming two-seater  on 22 March 1918.  Some 1388 Canadians were killed in the British air services during the war.

 

Scheldt Estuary Wood

Although British troops captured the vital port of Antwerp, Belgium in early September 1944, the German defenders remained in control of the port’s shipping access via the Scheldt Estuary.  First Canadian Army was given the job of clearing the approaches, beginning with the well-defended Breskens Pocket on the southern bank.  Fighting in difficult, flooded terrain throughout the last weeks of October, the 3rd Canadian Division captured 12,000 Germans at a cost of some 3000 Canadians.  At the same time, the 2nd Canadian Division captured the South Beveland peninsula before facing the formidable task of attacking Walcheren Island across a narrow, 1200 metre-long causeway.  While the Canadians tried to force their way across the causeway, amphibious assaults by British commandos on Walcheren’s far side captured the island by mid-November.  After clearing the estuary of mines, the first supply convoy sailed into Antwerp on 28 November.

 

Southeast Asia Wood

In 1954 Canada joined Poland and India on International Commissions of Supervision and Control in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  Approximately 130 Canadian servicemen helped implement the Geneva Agreements to end France’s war with Vietnamese communists.   The ICSC provided a stabilizing presence, notably during prisoner of war exchanges, and confirmed compliance for the entry of new military personnel and equipment. A lasting political settlement proved difficult when a new regime emerged in South Vietnam and nation-wide elections were not held. The ICSC, with reduced personnel rotating annually, remained in all three countries during the 1960s as conflict returned.  When a peace treaty was signed by Washington and Hanoi in 1973, Canada again sent 250 servicemen as part of the International Commission of Control and Supervision to observe its implementation until renewed fighting led to its withdrawal.  Some 1850 Canadian personnel served with the commissions of whom three were killed.

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