VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – They called themselves the Cinderella Army. A new book looks at a little-known example of Canadian heroism in the Second World War.
The Channel Ports campaign is one of those chapters that tends to get overshadowed by bigger, more important battles and it was for that reason Victoria-based author and historian Mark Zuehlke decided to tackle it as the subject for his latest book.
“What I’m trying to do is basically rescue the Canadian history [of World War Two] and bring it into the fore for people to understand what the Canadian army went through,” he explains.
“The Channel Ports campaign had been largely forgotten. It was book-ended by two huge battles, the Normandy campaign and then the Scheldt Estuary campaign and so it kind of got lost in the muddle.”
The title of the book is ‘The Cinderella Campaign.’ Zuehlke talks about where it comes from.
“Although the Canadians tended to call themselves [the] Cinderella Army right from the time they left Normandy until they end of the war, I don’t think that that analogy works beyond this Channel Ports campaign,” he says. “Because after that they were properly resourced and they were fighting very, very important battles. They see themselves as given all of the grunt jobs, not given any of the equipment really to carry out those grunt jobs and that they get no glory, so they see themselves as being like Cinderella in the fairy tale.”
Today, historians agree, it was Canada’s efforts in the Channel Ports campaign that helped open the way to the Allied victory in World War Two.