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War Journal

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Italy, World War II:
"We went back into action in August for the Gothic Line. And here was a tremendous amount of shellfire in most of the areas a place called Montemaggiore. They just blanketed the valley with mortars coming in by the hundreds. But we survived that until a day or two later when the big railway gun started firing on Montemaggiore and one of our young fellows was badly wounded with it, and subsequently passed away. I've got very tender thoughts for Scott Coyle because when I bent down over him on the stretcher, I said, 'Coyle, just lay still.' And he said, 'I know you, Gordie.' And put his arms around my neck and, well, by the time they put him in the truck to go to an aid post he was gone."

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Featured article

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Nan, also known as Celestine and sometimes referred to as Billie, was a female goat who served as the official mascot of the 21st (Eastern Ontario) Canadian Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the First World War. Nan was purchased by a soldier of the 21st while the battalion was in Brockville, Ontario and served with the battalion throughout the next four years in Canada, England and in continental Europe. Due to the care given to her by members of the battalion, Nan survived the war and holds the distinction of being the first Allied mascot to cross into Germany after the armistice on November 11, 1918. Despite a close run-in with the Board of Agriculture in England following the war, Nan was able to accompany the battalion back to Canada in the spring of 1919.

Upon arriving back in Canada, the battalion was disbanded in Kingston and Nan was placed in the care of various persons and facilities before ending up in the stables of the Royal Military College (RMC) in the fall of 1919. While there she would be presented to the visiting Prince of Wales by her former handler Piper William Nelson, and was awarded three separate medals for her service to the British Empire and Canada. By the fall of 1924 Nan had begun experiencing the affects of old age. On September 22 of that year Nan was quietly put to sleep under the direction of a military veterinarian, and was buried with full military honours by several surviving members of the 21st Battalion. Read more…

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Pictures of note

Operation ROOB UNYIP JANUBI, translated as Southern Beast in the native Pashto language, was a Canadian led operation in the Maywand District of Afghanistan in August of 2008. Beginning on August 1 the operation would turn into a week-and-a-half-long mission aimed at disrupting the key logistic nodes of the Taliban insurgents. During the first days, ISAF and Afghan forces found and destroyed 60 twenty-litre ammonium nitrate containers wired for immediate use as IEDs. The operation was led by the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

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About Duty & Valour

Duty & Valour is a project whose goal is to document and record the centuries-long history of the Canadian military. Initially founded as a personal blog in 2002, Duty & Valour has since expanded to include numerous other faculties, including the wiki, a large following on Twitter, and a growing community on Facebook. Through our continued efforts, we aspire to carry on the tradition of honouring all deeds, both large and small, found within Canada's military past. We hope that you choose to join the effort.

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