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War Journal


"This is the story of one patrol in Afghanistan. This patrol will never enter the history books, except possibly as a half-sentence in an official history. Even then it will be noticed by few but the most ardent students of Canada's military past. […] It is the story of the patrol on which I discovered more about myself than I could have thought possible, so much so that I still have trouble navigating through the memories, the emotions, and the feelings. It is a patrol that haunted me at night for almost a year after it was over...""

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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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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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