Frequently Asked Questions

What is canadiansoldiers.com?

canadiansoldiers.com is a privately-funded source of information regarding the uniforms, traditions, and insignia of Canadian soldiers in the 20th Century, providing thousands of images and hundreds of pages of information on history, equipment, literature and more for students of history, re-enactors, modelers, gamers, serious researchers and anyone interested in the Canadian Army between 1900 and 2000. Serious contributions to site content, such as information, photos, or anecdotes, are welcomed and will be fully credited. This site is proud to be a member of the small but growing community of those interested in this diverse and important subject area.

 

Who pays for it?

This site, like so many on the internet, is run privately. There are no user fees and no government funding. Information on the webmaster, Michael Dorosh, is available here.

What's the best way to use the site?

The site is intended as a starting point for researchers, not an end-point. The goal is to present cited, reliable material, and suggestions for further reading from reliable printed works. Andrew Keen talks about the "Cult of the Amateur" in his 2007 book of that title, and discussed the leading online reference in the following terms:

And then there is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia where anyone with opposable thumbs and a fifth-grade education can publish anything on any topic from AC/DC to Zoroastrianism. Since Wikipedia's birth, more than fifteen thousand contributors have nearly three million entries in over a hundred different languages - none of them edited or vetted for accuracy. With hundreds of  thousands of visitors a day, Wikipedia has become the third most visited site for information and current events; a more trusted source for news then the CNN or BBC Web sites, even though Wikipedia has no reporters, no editorial staff, and no experience in news-gathering. It's the blind leading the blind...perpetuating the cycle of misinformation and ignorance.

On Wikipedia, everyone with an agenda can rewrite an entry to their liking - and contributors frequently do.1

 

Articles on Wikipedia related to Canadian military history have not been exceptions. "Fans" of the 12th SS Panzer Division, for example, have been keen on playing up the history of that formation at the expense of the historical record of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, resulting in what Wikipedians call "edit warring". Large gaps in coverage of historical subjects pertaining to the Canadian Army exist on Wikipedia, and because there are so many editors, style is inconsistent, and many "facts" are just plain wrong. A fraction of the pertinent articles there are of a professional standard, most are well-meaning, at worst they distort and misinform and at their absolute worst, they are simply fabricated. Hoaxes have been numerous, such as the 2009 hoax by Shane Fitzgerald who put a false quote attributed to French composer Maurice Jarre on the site following his death, which was then incorrectly attributed to him in the international press.2 The hoax only lasted 24 hours, but Wikipedia has a long - and growing - list of successful (i.e. long-lasting) hoaxes on its site. Another one that gained international attention was a 4000-word military history article, fabricated out of whole cloth, that remained in public view on the server, unchallenged, for five-and-a-half years, documenting in detail an entire war that never happened.3

Even the site's founder acknowledged the role of Wikipedia, and its relationship to military history long ago:

In an interview, Mr. Wales said that Wikipedia is ideal for many uses. If you are reading a novel that mentions the Battle of the Bulge, for instance, you could use Wikipedia to get a quick basic overview of the historical event to understand the context. But students writing a paper about the battle should hit the history books.4

The role of canadiansoldiers.com is to provide a more solid foundation for consistent and accurate starting points for researchers and those looking for general information on various topics of interest, with ease of user-interface also in mind.

How can I buy the books you list in the extended bibliography?

The webmaster regrets that he cannot enter into correspondence on this matter. The list is meant as a reference, not as a catalogue, and the webmaster is not a book dealer. Your best bet is to try Service Publications for quality books on Canadian military subjects, chapters.ca for general interest books currently in print, amazon.ca for international titles, or your local used book dealer for out-of-print titles.

 

Can I buy cap badges from the site?

The webmaster also regrets that the badges illustrated on this site are from private collections, or collected from on-line sources such as auctions, and are thus not for sale. This site is meant as a reference, not a commercial enterprise. There are good private auctions and militaria dealers, however, such as Marway Militaria in Winnipeg who will be happy to help you out.

How can I contribute?

By emailing the webmaster, who is always on the lookout for quality images and information regarding Canadian soldiers of the 20th Century. Bear in mind several points, however;

  • The webmaster will credit fully anyone who contributes material that is used on the site.

  • The webmaster will not knowingly use copyrighted material for which permission has not been granted by the legal custodian of said material.

  • The webmaster is not obligated to make use of any material sent to him and has the final say as to what is appropriate site content and what is not.

 

How often does the site get updated?

While the webmaster recognizes and appreciates the enthusiasm that contributors feel for having their material added to the site in a timely manner, this is not always possible.

  • Submitted material, no matter how high the quality, may sometimes be held back in anticipation of including it in a more comprehensive format pending further research or work. In other words, your photo of your uncle in uniform may be terrific, but if the webmaster can include it on an entire page of photos relating to a specific battle or unit, he will hold back until the material can be best presented. This may be a few days, it may be several months. The webmaster apologizes for any inconvenience or perceived injury this causes on the part of contributors.

 

Where can I go to research a relative who served in the Canadian Army?

Geoff Winnington-Ball's page on researching veterans is a terrific start. In fact, his Maple Leaf Up site as a whole is an excellent reference on the Canadian Army in the Second World War. His page on researching veterans is at this link: http://mapleleafup.org/locator/research.html

Also, for Canadian servicemen killed on active duty, the Virtual War Memorial is a terrific database featuring information on all Canadian war graves throughout the world. The database is searchable by name, and many entries have photo galleries, as well as grave locations, next of kin, and other information.

As noted above, Library and Archives Canada are the repository for personnel service files. There are genealogists in the Ottawa area who will research these documents, for a fee. LAC may have up to date information on how to contact them. The website for Library and Archives Canada is at: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/contact/index-e.html

The genealogy section of the LAC website is; http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/index-e.html and an expanded genealogy section of this website is at this page.

 

Can you link to my website?

canadiansoldiers.com does not have a links page, for several reasons:

  • Modern search engines can find information with astonishing speed and ease.

  • Website addresses tend to change without warning, and with great rapidity. Keeping a page of links checked, researched, and updated is time consuming. The webmaster has received emails advising him that one of his links was "not working correctly", and would he please correct it - yet with no mention  given of the proper URL or any clue given as to why the link was not working.

  • The number of truly worthwhile sites is staggering, making any attempt at an all-inclusive list of links an impossible task, especially given the scope of this site and the wide variety of websites that would fall under the umbrella of "related subject material".

While this site does not claim to be the first or last word on its subject matter, readers are urged to research on their own to find further information, to post enquiries at our forum (or the related message boards linked to from the forum main page), and where relevant, to post links to further avenues of study on the forum for others to utilize and enjoy.

The webmaster appreciates the efforts of all other webmasters who host sites - private or professional - that shed light on Canadian military history, and hopes that his views on this question are seen not as an indictment of these other sites (do a search for MAPLE LEAF UP, ARMOURED ACORN, Service Publications Inc., Chris Johnson, Francis Tavares, or Convoy Magazine - you won't be disappointed) but as a reflection of the realities of the Internet today, and the nomadic nature of its denizens - which makes any truly meaningful list of links impossible.

 
Why do you bother?

Henry Althouse grew up in Canora, Saskatchewan with my father. He was born a little bit before my dad was, and I remember my dad telling me how he rode in Henry's gravel truck once.

Thanks to the efforts of our veterans in conflicts from the Boer War through the World Wars, Korea, UN and NATO missions, and now Afghanistan, we in Canada - people like myself and my father - enjoy a high standard of living, mostly in peace. While my father in particular has been able to live through some amazing changes, Henry Althouse was killed by five bullets from a machine gun on 1 May 1953. He never got to admire the tail fins of a '57 Chevy, watch the Stanley Cup playoffs in a sports bar, swear at a VCR because he couldn't program it, or debate about the merits of the Saskatchewan Party.

Henry is buried with 377 other Canadians at the United Nations Cemetery at Pusan, South Korea. I can't ever thank Henry directly for doing what he did, but I can remember him; and just as important, we can all thank the veterans who are still with us. They're tough to spot, sometimes, and as Canadians, they're usually modest. But they appreciate a heartfelt word of thanks.

I'm grateful to all of the men and women who volunteered - for us - and I hope this website will help others to keep their memory alive. My thanks, too, to all the re-enactors, collectors, historians, curators, veterans, families, modellers, costumers, tailors, researchers, students, and vendors around the world who do their part to keep the faith and whom I've had the good fortune of coming in contact with and whose interest in the subject keeps their history alive.


Henry Althouse
3 PPCLI

Michael A. Dorosh, CD
webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com

 

Notes

  1. Keen, Andrew The Cult of the Amateur: How Blogs, MySpace, YouTube, and the Rest of Today's User-Generated Media are Destroying our Economy, our Culture, and our Values - (Random House, New York, NY, 2007) ISBN 978-0-385-52081-2 p.4

  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/04/journalism-obituaries-shane-fitzgerald

  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hoaxes_on_Wikipedia

  4. Young, Jeffrey R. "Wikipedia Founder Discourages Academic Use of His Creation" (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 21 June 2006) accessed online at http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/wikipedia-founder-discourages-academic-use-of-his-creation/2305 6 April 2013


canadiansoldiers.com 1999-present