Select a letter to browse an alphabetical listing of terms and definitions.
Line of radar stations built along the 55th parallel across Canada in 1955 to provide early warning against nuclear attacks by Soviet bombers. It was entirely built and manned by Canada as a part of NORAD.
See also: Pine Tree Line, DEW Line.
Naval officer cadet in the Royal Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy and other British Commonwealth navies. Midshipmen served on board ships for several years before promotion and were in action with officers and sailors. In the days of the sailing navies, midshipmen were sometimes given temporary command of small ships or of put in charge of a prize crew to bring back a captured ship. For the French navy equivalent, see: Garde de la Marine
Joined in the pursuit of common interests. Nations usually join in alliances for the purpose of common security. Canada was bound by the alliances of its mother countries, France and then Britain, until the Treaty of Westminster of 1931 when the nation became wholly responsible for its foreign affairs. It has continued its traditional military alliances with Britain and the United States and is currently belongs to NATO and NORAD.
See also: NATO, NORAD
Military Cross (MC)
Decoration establish on 31 December 1914 and awarded to majors, junior officers and warrant officers in British Commonwealth armies for bravery in the field. It is ranks below the DSO.
Military Intelligence and Espionage
Intelligence is information or news, particularly of military value. Espionage is the practice of spying to obtain intelligence. In colonial times, intelligence was often obtained from deserters or prisoners. In the 1690s, Governor General Frontenac learned of New York’s defences with the help of British deserters. In 1759, Royal Navy Admiral Saunders obtained information on navigating in the St. Lawrence from captured sailors threatened with hanging. In 1813, Laura Secord overheard information on the American army, which she managed to relay to British forces. Apart from the military intelligence units raised from 1903, there was little espionage activity until the Second World War.
One of the least known and yet most important intelligence teams was a group of code breakers known as the Examination Unit set up in 1941 at the Department of External Affairs. Its work was to gather military information and first broke the communications codes of the pro-German Vichy French government with its legations in Canada and the Vichy controlled islands of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon off Newfoundland. These islands were close to convoy routes and there was much apprehension they might be a communications base for U-Boats. The Examination Unit worked in close contact with British and American code breakers to decipher German and Japanese codes. It also operated the Hydra wireless communication system that transmitted from Camp X, a top secret base on the northern shore of Lake Superior. In late 1945, following the revelations of Igor Gouzenko, the Examination Unit focussed on Soviet communications. For Canadian military intelligence, fhe Cold War had begun. Various secret intelligence organisations have since been active in Canada.
See also: Guide, Ranger, Scout