Combat Camera

The Italian campaign was a brutal and costly slog for the Allies pushing up the length of Italy in December 1943. The capture of Ortona and its deep-water port was the responsibility of the Canadian 1st Infantry Division. The town was staunchly defended by elite German paratroops and although it was finally liberated, intense house-to-house fighting resulted in 2,300 Canadian dead and wounded. Cameraman Sgt. Jack Stollery, armed with nothing more than a pistol, binoculars and a Bell and Howell movie camera, was one of the first to storm the German defenses.

Germany’s Dunkirk and the Greatest Maritime Disaster of Modern Times

Requisitioned by the Reich in a desperate Dunkirk-like evacuation from northern Poland, the German luxury liner Wilhelm Gustloff slips her moorings the night of January 30, 1945 and slides into the black Baltic Sea. The Gustloff is traveling in convoy with another German liner, the Hansa and two torpedo boats as escort. Their mission is to carry thousands of German nationals away from the advancing Red Army to the relative safety of Kiel or occupied Denmark.

Why Bother Saving Notre Dame Cathedral?

Last April when Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire you’d think the world had ended. The global press couldn’t contain its horror. “Quelle catastrophe,” they said. Repair the roof and rebuild the spire? Of course. No question. The embers had barely cooled before French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault pledged $112 million for the restoration followed by similar donations from France’s elite. An international campaign to save the Cathedral reportedly raised another $877 million. Astounding.

The President, His Rebellious Grandson and California’s Forgotten Sand Dwellers

The history books aren’t kind to Chester Arthur, the 21st President of the United States. His ascendancy to the top job was a fluke, the result of the assassination of President James Garfield (Arthur was the V.P. at the time). His term was short. His contribution was minimal and — you might say — dull. But his grandson Chester Arthur III (he changed his name to Gavin in the 1920s) was something else entirely.