Regimental Historians and Authors
The Regiment has had excellent books published about its history; service in the regiment has also inspired its own soldiers to write and be published in the field of military history. This is a list of those known historians and authors.
Major Roy Farran, DSO, MC
Roy Farran was born in England in 1921, attended school in India, and after service in the Second World War retired to Calgary (at the age of 31) to raise cattle. His Second World War exploits could (and have) fill volumes; Farran was a Commando officer, serving in the now famous Special Air Service. He first saw action in North Africa with the 3rd Hussars before joining the SAS, commanding a troop of tanks. Farran was moved to Crete where he was wounded in action and taken prisoner. After recuperating in a Greek hospital, Farran escaped by boat and were adrift for nine days before being rescued by a British destroyer. After joining the SAS he led many raids behind enemy lines, large and small, and was highly decorated. He won the DSO twice and the Military Cross three times, as well as the US Legion of Merit.
He remained in the SAS after the Second World War, being wrongfully accused of the murder of a 16 year old Jewish terrorist in Palestine while serving there. When a mail bomb sent to “R. Farran” at his mother’s home killed his brother Rex, he decided to leave the Army.
Once in Calgary, Farran founded the North Hill News in 1954 (at about the same time he wrote the Calgary Highlanders’ history), and served as city alderman between 1961 and 1971. Elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, he served as Solicitor General from 1975 to 1979.
Roy Farran’s account of the Calgary Highlanders (known widely to the regiment as “The Green Book”) was published ten years after the conclusion of the Second World War. The book today is a collector’s item, long out of print and fetching large sums on the used book market.
The History of the Calgary Highlanders 1921- 1954 (Bryant Press, Calgary, AB, 1954)
Daniel G. Dancocks
Daniel Dancocks was a graduate of the University of Alberta, and also widely published in the subject of Canadian military history, including a volume on the subject of Canadian prisoners of war. His interest in the First World War led to visits to the Ypres Salient, and the highly acclaimed book Welcome to Flanders Fields: The First Canadian Battle of the Great War: Ypres, 1915.
His research into the Ypres battle, in which the Tenth Battalion played such a vital role, made him a natural candidate when the Regimental Funds Foundation commissioned an author to write the Regiment’s First World War history. Gallant Canadians, produced two years after Welcome to Flanders Fields, may be considered one of the best Great War era regimental histories yet written. Dancocks went on to produce an excellent summary of Canadian involvement in Italy in the Second World War (D-Day Dodgers), and unfortunately plans to write the Second World War history of the Regiment went unfulfilled in the wake of his untimely death.
Gallant Canadians: The Story of the Tenth Canadian Infantry Battalion 1914-1919 (Calgary Highlanders Regimental Funds Foundation, Calgary, AB, 1990). 252pp ISBN 0-9694616-0-7
Doctor David Bercuson
David Bercuson, born in Montreal in 1945, has become a leading name in Canadian history. A graduate with honours of Sir George Williams University, he finished his MA at the University of Toronto in 1967, and his PhD in 1971. After years as an assistant professor, he became a full professor at the University of Calgary in 1978 and in 1989 was made Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies there.
After early experiences in radio and editing the Canadian Historical review, Bercuson has moved on to contributing a regular column to The Calgary Herald, as well as commentary appearances on CBC and CTV newscasts.
Bercuson’s other published works are diverse, from True Patriot: The Life of Brooke Claxton, to Canada and the Birth of Israel. Other military works include Significant Incident: Canada’s Army, the Airborne, and the Murder in Somalia and Blood on the Hills: The Canadian Army in the Korean War.
Battalion of Heroes: The Calgary Highlanders in World War Two (Calgary Highlanders Regimental Funds Foundation, Calgary, AB, 1994) ISBN 0-9694616-1-5
R. E. Hoebeke
Slagveld Sloedam (“The Causeway Battlefield) was written by R. E. Hoebeke of The Netherlands, in Dutch, and chronicles both the fighting at the Walcheren Causeway in 1940 during the German invasion, and the actions of the 2nd Canadian Division and 52nd (Lowland) Division of the British Army to liberate the area in October and November of 1944. The Calgary Highlanders played a leading role in the Causeway fighting and consider that action to represent all the battles they fought in the Second World War. One of the cover photos shows Private William R. Van Horne of the Calgary Highlanders being attended to at an advanced medical station after being wounded on the Causeway during the fighting.
Doctor Terry Copp
Terry Copp has been published extensively on the subject of Canadian military history, including volumes on battlefield psychology, operational research, the fighting in Normandy and Holland, and co-authorship of a regimental history of the Royal Regina Rifle Regiment. Terry Copp is a professor of history, and also contributed regularly to Legion Magazine.
His book The Brigade is unique in being the first published volume to examine Canadian military history from the level of an infantry brigade. The brigade he selected was the Fifth Canadian Brigade, to whom the Calgary Highlanders belonged during the Second World War.
The Brigade: The Fifth Canadian Infantry Brigade, 1939-1945 (Fortress Publications, Stoney Creek, ON, 1992 ISBN 0-919195-16-4
Lieutenant Edward Patrick Ford
Ed Ford arrived served with the Calgary Highlanders as a platoon commander in Normandy, and though briefly evacuated in August with battle exhaustion, remained with a rifle company until 19 September 1944, when he took over the duties of Intelligence Officer of the battalion. He held the position until 2 November 1944, when Captain Keller, MM took over the position.
Lieutenant Ford’s duties as IO included keeping the battalion’s War Diary. While the diary has not been published in a formal sense, Lieutenant Ford’s entries were very notable for the level of detail that went into them and make for fascinating reading as well as being an invaluable documentation of the battalion’s history.
After his period as Intelligence Officer, he went on to command 14 Platoon in action, and survived the war. He passed away at age 90 on 28 August 2004.
Donate to the Calgary Highlanders Regimental Funds Foundation
The association remains viable because of our members’ donations.
The following is a list of soldiers who have served in the Calgary Highlanders and published a memoir:
Jeffery Williams, CD
Jeffery Williams was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1920 and served with the Calgary Highlanders both before the Second World War, and after Mobilization in the First Battalion, later serving in staff duties in Northwest Europe. After WW II he commanded a company of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Korea. He has taught at the Staff College and held military appointments in Germany, in the Canadian Embassy in Washington and the Canadian High Commission in London. He retired from the Canadian Forces in 1971.
His awards for writing included the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and the University of British Columbia’s Canadian Biography Award, the latter for his biography of Lord Byng, the Governor General of Canada and commander of the Canadian Corps at Vimy Ridge.
In 2003, the University of Calgary Press published his autobiography Far From Home: A Memoir of a 20th Century Soldier Containing 374 pages and many rare photos, the book covers his entire life and is needless to say very well written and engaging. ISBN: 1-55238-119-6
Other works most directly related to The Calgary Highlanders include:
- The Long Left Flank : The Hard Fought Way to the Reich, 1944-1945 (Toronto, Ontario: Stoddart, 1988). 384pp ISBN: 0773721940
- A 348 page book covering the fighting in Northwest Europe from the end of the Normandy Campaign to VE Day. Many quotes from Calgary Highlanders and good coverage of all the fighting seen by Canadian soldiers in France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany from September 1944 to May 1945.
- The Capture of Walcheren Island, 1944 (Roosevelt Study Center, 1994). 24pp
- A pamphlet on the capture of Walcheren Island.
- Additionally, Mister Williams has published a regimental history of the PPCLI as well as a biography of Hamilton Gault, founder of that regiment.
Private Frank P. Holm
Frank P. Holm served as a signaller with the Calgary Highlanders from September of 1944 to April of 1945 and was a direct participant in many of the Regiment’s most famous actions including Walcheren Causeway and Groningen.
In 1989, ex-Private Holm published a succinct but highly detailed and well-written account of his service.
A Backward Glance: The Personal Story of an Infantry Signaller with the Calgary Highlanders in World War Two (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario: Self Published, 1989)
Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Linford
Chris Linford served for 8 years in The Calgary Highlanders as a snare drummer, earning the rank of Sergeant and the appointment of lead drummer. In 1988, he left for the Regular Force to be commissioned as a nursing officer. His career in the Regular Force spanned 24 years and included operational tours in Rwanda, the first Gulf War, and Afghanistan, where he was executive officer of the NATO Role 3 Combat Surgical Hospital at Kandahar Airfield. He commanded several medical units, including 1 Field Ambulance. His autobiography is a well-received book about his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Warrior Rising: A Soldier’s Journey to PTSD and Back (Friesen Press, Victoria, BC, 2013) ISBN 978-1-4602-1993-5 (paperback edition)
The following is a list of those who have served in the Calgary Highlanders and been published in the field of Canadian military history.
Darrell Knight served as a Canadian Forces paratrooper during the Cold War era, in addition to training with military forces in Israel and Belize. In addition to military consulting for the National Post and CBC, he became a founding member of the Calgary Military Historical Society in 1978. His first book was entitled Pete Knight: The Cowboy King and published a history of the wartime Air Observation Post Squadrons entitled Artillery Flyers at War: A History of the 664, 665, and 666 ‘Air Observation Post’ Squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force. (Merriam Press, ISBN 978-0-557-32964-9)
Mr. Knight also edited the book History of the 31st Canadian Infantry Battalion, C.E.F. which was re-published in 2006.
Corporal Michael A. Dorosh, CD
Michael Dorosh joined 2137 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps (The Calgary Highlanders) in 1985 while in high school. In 1987 he was taken on strength with the Regimental Pipes and Drums, where he served until 1996 when he was forced to remuster to the Finance Clerk trade, followed by another remuster to Resource Management Support Clerk following the amalgamation of the Finance and Administration clerk trades throughout the Canadian Forces. Service in the Battalion Orderly Room, “A” Company and “B” Company followed, as a clerk, company piper, and driver/signaller. Corporal Dorosh’s first book on the subject of Second World War Canadian Army uniforms was published in 1995, , followed by a second volume on the same subject in 2001.
Corporal Dorosh co-founded the 10th Battalion Calgary Highlanders Association Heritage Section in 1995, an organization which remained active until 2006. As a member of the Centennial Committee, he authored and published a tour guide that accompanied the Battlefield Pilgrimage that formed part of the regimental 100th anniversary events in 2010.
CANUCK: Clothing and Equipping the Canadian Soldier 1939-45 Volume I: Battledress, Weapons and Equipment (Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Missoula, MT, 1995) 156pp, ISBN 1-57510-005-3
Dressed to Kill (Service Publications Inc., Ottawa, ON, 2001) 88pp ISBN 1-894581-07-5
Captain Kenneth A. McKenzie
Kenneth A. McKenzie was born in Calgary, and graduated from law school at the University of Alberta in 1939. He was hired by the Attorney General of Alberta to assist the Legislative Counsel in revising the Statutes of Alberta and enlisted in the Canadian Army two years later, commissioned through the Canadian Officers Training Corps following training in Calgary. He returned to Edmonton where he served in the 3rd Battalion, The Edmonton Regiment, approximately twenty of whose officers went to a battalion of The Edmonton Fusiliers mobilized for service with Pacific Command on the west coast. He saw many fellow officers sent to Europe with the CANLOAN program, where surplus junior officers in Canada were sent to active postings in the British Army as either infantry or ordnance officers. He eventually embarked on an overseas draft, though he described his three month tour as Aide-de-camp to Major General George Pearkes, VC as a “wonderful experience.” The Adjutant of the reinforcement depot was an old friend from law school, and so he became assistant adjutant; battle drill training followed and in mid-1944 he arrived overseas as a reinforcement officer.
The Edmonton Regiment had no requirement for junior officers, but The Calgary Highlanders had suffered heavily in Normandy and the Scheldt. When Lieutenant Donald Patton “D.P.” McDaniel was killed on December 1st, 1944, at the age of 27, he was brought in to replace him. McDaniel had been a fellow Edmontonian. McKenzie took over his platoon in the Nijmegen Salient, where conditions were cold, wet and muddy. There, McKenzie contracted diptheria; recuperation in a British care facility was extensive, lasting several months. After the war in Europe had concluded, the Army did an extensive and sophisticated search of its personnel for anyone that had been admitted to the bar. McKenzie joined No. 1 Canadian Court-Martial Centre and with several teams of military lawyers attacked the backlog of courts-martial cases still on the books as the Canadian Army rapidly demobilized. He spent about a year in Europe with this group, under control of Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF).
Ken McKenzie returned to Edmonton and rejected an offer by the Attorney General to become Legislative Counsel of the Provincial Legislature, determined to become his own boss. He was hired, along with Clifton Purvis, to share the job of City of Edmonton Police Court prosecutor, hoping to earn an income at the same time as building up a private practice. He found the demands on his time burdensome given Purvis’ own private practice demands. McKenzie was almost a full time prosecutor when the Attorney General of Alberta once again offered a job, which he accepted in 1948. For four years, he drafted all the province’s legislation including that stemming from the discovery of oil at Leduc. In December 1952, an old friend from law school named Ted Bishop discussed forming a partnership. McKenzie helped guide the partnership through major changes; when major oil companies began relocating to Calgary, they refocused Bishop & McKenzie to become a broader based corporate commercial practice; as astute businessmen, they groomed articling students as potential partners and associates. McKenzie was made Queen’s Counsel in 1955 and by 1957, boasting two Q.C. appointees, the firm had become one of Edmonton’s most prestigious. Ken McKenzie retired in 1984, but presided over the Mind Bender Roller Coaster Inquiry, the last of five Royal Commissions he served as either counsel or chairman over the course of three decades.
In 2008, Michael Dorosh located a manuscript that Ken McKenzie had deposited in the regimental archives, consisting of photographs taken of road signs along the Lines of Communication in Northwest Europe in 1945. The book Signs of War was published shortly after with both names on the cover.
Signs of War (canadiansoldiers.com, Calgary, AB, 2008) 76pp, ISBN 978-0-9782646-9-7