The Ponte Vecchio in Florence: Hitler's Favourite Bridge?

Lee Windsor featured on Season 3, Episode 5 of Museum Secrets

The Gregg Centre's Deputy Director, Dr. Lee Windsor, speaks to why the Germans did not blow the infamous Ponte Vecchio bridge in August 1944 in Season 3, Episode 5, Part 6 of Museum Secrets.

Watch the complete episode of Museum Secrets episode about Florence's Uffizi Museum online.

The Aroostook War of 1839

What if they started a war and nobody fought?

The Aroostook War of 1839, an oft-forgotten incident in the storied history of Canada/US relations, is a misnomer.  It was an undeclared war with no real combat. Its underpinnings were a two-fold reaction to the 1783 Treaty of Paris —which ended the American Revolutionary War but left the border dispute between Maine (then part of Massachusetts) and British North America unsettled — and the War of 1812, when parts of northern Maine were occupied by Britain.

Concluding that a negotiated border might negatively affect their claim for the disputed territory, the Maine government set out to occupy the Aroostook River valley in early 1839. In preparation for armed conflict, British regulars, New Brunswick militia, and Maine militia were deployed in the dead of winter, laying the kindling for a third major Anglo-American conflagration. 

Although a truce negotiated in late March 1839 prevented the outbreak of hostilities, confrontations between the Maine volunteers and New Brunswick warden, magistrates, and seizing officers continued.  Ultimately, cooler heads prevailed and an agreement was reached, which resulted in the Ashburton-Webster Treaty of 1842.

A multifaceted story of friction, greed, land grabs, and rivalry, this tale of a border dispute and near-war is an intriguing chapter in the history of Canada and the United States.

Major (Retired) W. E. (GARY) CAMPBELL was a member of the Canadian Forces for over 42 years serving in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. He has studied at the University of Western Ontario, the Royal Military College, and the University of New Brunswick, where he completed his PhD in history. Campbell is also the author of volume 5 in the NBMHP series, The Road to Canada.

The Aroostook War of 1839 is volume 20 in the New Brunswick Military Heritage Series. To get your copy, contact Val Gallant at vgallant@unb.ca

Steel Cavalry and Battle for the Bay make top 20 list for 2011

NBMHP series a hit in New Brunswick and across Canada

The New Brunswick Military Heritage Project has been publishing two books a year in its publication of one volume histories about New Brunswick's experience in war. The series was initiated in 2000 in partnership with Goose Lane Editions.  This year volumes 17 and 18 of the series, Battle of the Bay and Steel Cavalry were published. The latest volumes in this growing series have received much attention from readers across Canada. Both appeared on Goose Lane Editions top twenty of 2011. And Steel Cavalry is not finished yet - it was named the top seller for the week ending January 8.

Josh Smith's Battle of the Bay: The Naval War of 1812 was launched in May 2011. The book explores the experiences of three small warships - the Provincial sloop Brunswicker, His Majesty's schooner Bream, and His Majesty's brig of war Boxer - who all played a vital role in defending the eastern waters of British North America in this crucial war. The crews of these hardy ships fought both the Americans and the elements - winter winds, summer fog, and the fierce tidal currents of the Bay of Fundy - enduring the all-too-real threats of shipwreck and possible capture and imprisonment. Now, for the first time, Joshua M. Smith tells the full story of the battle for the bay.

Launched on Remembrance Day 2011 at the home of the 8th (New Brunswick) Hussars in Sussex, NB, Lee Windsor's Steel Cavalry: The 8th (New Brunswick) Hussars and the Italian Campaign tells the story of the transformation of a horse cavalry unit into one of Canada's most famous armoured regiments. Twentieth-century warfare is epitomized by the image of Allied tanks growling across the countryside, engaging their Nazi counterparts. One of the most storied of such regiments is the 8th (New Brunswick) Hussars. Founded in 1848 as the first volunteer cavalry regiment in British North America, the Hussars began the Second World war as a motorcycle regiment before converting to tanks in 1941.

First posted to Italy in late 1943, the regiment was introduced to war near Ortona. They formed part of the great drive beyond Monte Cassino to Rome. But their reputation was forged at the Gothic Line and Coriano Ridge during two weeks that marked their fiercest and bloodiest trial of the war.

Look for the next volume in the NBMHP series, A Neighbourly War: New Brunswick and the War of 1812 by Robert L. Dallison this spring.

Collect all the books in the Gregg Centre's NBMHP series.

The Gregg Centre plans major study on "The Human Dimension" of the Canadian Soldier's Experience

Project builds on research carried out on Canada's Task-Force 1-07 Deployment in 2007

The Gregg Centre is planning a major study of the impact of stability and counter-insurgency operations on Canadian soldiers deployed to Afghanistan between 2002 and 2011. This project, entitled "The Human Dimension of Modern Asymmetric Warfare: the Canadian Soldier's Experience," consists of two elements. The first will track the history of changes in the management of Canadian Forces' human resources and the handling of casualties over the last two decades. The second part will assess the efficacy of these changes to determine if they have been successful in mitigating the impact of both physical and psychological casualties and easing the long-term suffering of both wounded soldiers and their families.

"The Human Dimension of Asymmetric Warfare" study is part of a larger Gregg Centre program of research assessing the long-term implications of the Afghan mission on the Canadian Forces, and on Canadian defence and foreign policy. This program began with a study of Task Force 1-07 and resulted in the publication of Kandahar Tour: The Turning Point in Canada's Afghan Mission in 2008.

For more information on this project, or to get involved, please contact Dr. Lee Windsor.