The First World War is known for stagnancy and stalemate—trench-bound days of misery and boredom punctuated by periodic terror and wholesale slaughter.

Soldiers from both sides lived in 2,490 kilometres of trenchworks winding southward from the North Sea through Belgium and France. For them it was a waiting game—a long, cold, mud-soaked ordeal broken only by the call to go “over the top,” a suicidal charge into a hail of bullets, usually at a whistle’s blow...

Everyone knows what a Victoria Cross recipient is made of. But what about the Victoria Cross itself?

Instituted by Queen Victoria at the end of the Crimean War, it has long been believed that the British Empire’s highest award for valour was originally made from bronze taken from Russian cannons captured at Sevastopol in 1855...

In December 2015, a “mudlark” treasure-hunting along the bank of the Thames River in southern England found a corroded metal cross buried in the ooze exposed at low tide. His name was Tobias Neto, and the hunk of rusty metal was none other than a Victoria Cross.

Or was it?

It was the night of April 27-28, 1944, and Lancaster R-ND 781/G of 622 Squadron, Royal Air Force, piloted by Flight Lieutenant James Andrew Watson of Hamilton, Ont., was on a bombing mission to Friedrichshafen, Germany.

R-ND would never reach its target, but Watson’s heroic actions that black night over occupied territory would inspire an unsuccessful campaign to award him a posthumous Victoria Cross...

Months before it entered the Second World War in December 1941, the United States invested heavily in the Allied cause by instituting the US$50.1-billion Lend-Lease policy, providing food and war materiel to Britain and other friendly nations.

Worth nearly US$600 billion in today’s currency, the measures under what was formally known as An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States lasted the rest of the war and helped turn the tide of battle both in Europe and the Pacific...

There were six of them, Robertsons all, who joined the Canadian forces, left their hometown of Campbellton, N.B., and sailed overseas to serve in the Second World War.

Every one of the brothers survived the fighting, yet each died before his time, victims of more insidious killers than Axis bullets and bombs—namely, cancer and cardiopulmonary disease. None saw the age of 80...

Pierre Berton called him one of the toughest war correspondents he ever knew, a trusted and familiar newsman who “ate censors for breakfast.”

Recently, an Ontario firm auctioned off the estate of Gerard William Ramaut (Bill) Boss, 13 years after he died of pneumonia in an Ottawa hospital, age 90.

The First World War is synonymous with torrential rain, deathly deep mud and bitter cold. It seems no stalemate or major battle was without these added miseries that brought with them disproportionate infection, disease and death.

Now a new scientific study says a once-in-a-lifetime climate anomaly is to blame for the horrendous weather that contributed to hundreds of thousands of battlefield deaths and the 1918 Spanish flu (H1N1) pandemic that cost tens of millions of lives worldwide...

The first casualty of war may be the truth, but the last and just as certain is the non-combatant.

As many as 85 million people were killed during the Second World War but fewer than 30 per cent were military. More of the dead were victims of war crimes than legitimate battle...

For many outside the battle zones of Europe, the Second World War is a matter of textbooks and faded black-and-white photographs.

But for those whose roots lay in the paths of Adolf Hitler’s conquest, the war remains close, a tactile connection to tragedy and loss even 75 years and three generations removed from 85 million deaths and untold suffering. Siblings, children, grandchildren feel the pang of lost relatives many never knew.

In Germany, where the war began and ended, the fate of more than a million soldiers and citizens remains unknown. Many were taken prisoner by Red Army troops, never to be seen again...

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