Canadian Confederate Cruiser tells the story of an elegant but unpretentious steamer that bore witness to the birth of a nation. In 1864, Queen Victoria took the Fathers of Confederation from Quebec to Charlottetown and back. Long before she could be given the recognition she deserved, Queen Victoria was lost in a hurricane off Cape Hatteras, the crew and passengers rescued by the American brig Ponvert. That incident and the events that followed it put the lost vessel into the international limelight and tweaked diplomatic relations between Canada and the United States.
John Langley, the author behind Steam Lion, the award-winning biography of Samuel Cunard, documents the life of this steamer and the unlikely cross-border tug-of-war that developed over her bell. In telling the Queen Victoria‘s story, Langley provides a better understanding of the social and political forces that led to Confederation, explaining the pivotal choices that were made.
Frank Grimmer did not set out to earn honours on the field of battle nor did he readily choose to go to war. World powers were shifting. The future of nations was deemed dependant on their armies. It was left to the young men to face the gunfire of other young men who could have been friends under the right circumstances and in times of peace. Where Duty Lies tells the story of how a 23-year-old St. Andrews, New Brunswick, man ended up in the quicksand-like mud of Passchendaele labouring under heavy artillery fire helping construct supply lines that supported the Canadian advance during the Third Battle of Ypres, often referred to as the most horrific in a war of horrific battles.
Frank’s call to the trenches came as the guns pounding Vimy Ridge could be heard on the coast of England. Eager to prove himself, he volunteered to join the battle force badly cut down during Canada’s warfare with the Germans in France. Here he found himself often deprived of the guns and ammunition to advance or defend himself. But with the other “pioneers” he stayed on the job amidst the blasts of high explosives.
In the hours leading up to the launch of the Canadian assault on Passchendaele Ridge, Frank, thrown several yards by an artillery blast, went on to do all in his power to “render aid” to the wounded and those who died. His bravery earned him the Military Medal—and a thousand nights of torment remembering the violence of the events.
John Cunningham,is a retired journalist and amateur military historian living in Bridgewater, N.S. A 1962 Acadia Science graduate, he began a wide-ranging 37-year media career with the Saint John Telegraph-Journal and The Evening Times-Globe. He also worked at Radio-TV Station, CHSJ, Saint John, and the Toronto bureau of The Canadian Press and The Bridgewater Bulletin. During the 1980s, his stories appeared in many regional magazines, including Atlantic Advocate, Halifax Magazine, Atlantic Insight and The NovaScotian. He also contributed items to Lookout Magazine, Life and Leisure on the Costa Del Sol, while living two years in Malaga, Spain. An amateur musician, Cunningham plays drums with the Mahone Bay Legion and Mersey Swing Bands and is a former member of the Bridgewater Fire Department Band. He and his wife Mary have a cottage near Saint Andrews, N.B.
In August 1914, the long-established Germans of Lunenburg County found themselves facing a dilemma: Canada was at war with Germany. They met suspicions of disloyalty with the claim that their roots were deep in the German states of mid-eighteenth-century central Europe, long before unification. They were, then, as British as King George V himself.
As British as the King explores life in Lunenburg County at a time when blackouts were enforced, when there were rumours of spies, and when schooners were sunk offshore by U-boats. Intricately and thoroughly researched, this fascinating historical account brings an exquisite level of detail to the history of the war effort on the home front. Historians and Nova Scotians with Lunenburg roots will appreciate author Gerald Hallowell’s passion for his subject—a passion that echoes that of his previous work, The August Gales, for which he received the 2014 Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing.
Gerald Hallowell was born in Port Hope, Ontario, and grew up on a farm in nearby Crooked Creek. For over twenty years he worked as an editor at the University of Toronto Press, retiring as senior editor, Canadian history, in 2000. In 1996 he was elected to the council of the Canadian Historical Association. He edited The Oxford Companion to Canadian History, published in 2004. Since 1989 he has lived in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.