DND historian seeking veterans from Operation Snowgoose

United Nations troops search for mines in Cyprus.

United Nations troops search for mines in Cyprus.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A Department of National Defence historian from Ottawa will be visiting the base next month to interview veterans that served in Canadian Armed Forces peacekeeping operations in Cyprus.

John Macfarlane, from Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH), is compiling research for a book that will include first-hand accounts by veterans on Operation Snowgoose, Canada’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations in Cyprus between 1964 and 1993. MacFarlane will conduct interviews at the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum Oct. 2 and 3.

Ahead of his visit to the base, he is looking for veterans of all ranks and trades from Victoria’s military community for their stories on Operation Snowgoose and their role in the mission. The focus of the research is the soldiering aspects and is specifically logistics based.

“We are not focusing on policy, politics and external affairs, but are looking specifically at operations, what Canadian soldiers were doing and how they adapted and responded to the situation,” said MacFarlane.

DHH has a mandate within DND to preserve and communicate Canada’s military history and foster pride in military heritage. The intention, says MacFarlane, is to educate Canadian Armed Forces members and the Canadian public while shaping history.

Veterans of Op Snowgoose can write about their experiences, agree to a formal interview, or simply be accessible by email or phone for the occasional question to help clarify certain aspects of the operation.

A key area of MacFarlane’s research involves a firefight between Turkish and Greek forces in the summer of 1974 following a Turkish invasion. He is looking for first-hand accounts of how Canadian peacekeepers reacted to the firefight.

“They had sent Canadian peacekeepers to keep the peace, but if national defence was involved in a war that was a whole new ballgame,” said MacFarlane.

The DHH’s research on Cyprus began 18 years ago under the guidance of Maj (Retired) Jean Morin who oversaw the research project for 15 years. MacFarlane began his involvement three years ago and has interviewed approximately 40 subjects in both Ontario and the Maritimes, but this will be his first visit to Victoria. He says the sizable military community and number of veterans living here make it one of the prime locations in Canada to conduct his research.

The completed publication will include a narrative, one-on-one interviews, photographs, maps and other graphics, and is slated for completion in 2024. 

To schedule an interview with MacFarlane, veterans are encouraged to contact him at his email
john.macfarlane@forces.gc.ca For more information about the DHH visit its webpage:

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  1. Ivar Johnson says:

    Went to Cyprus in March of 1964 with the RCASC Transport Section at Camp Trudos Let me know if I can help

  2. Albert Emmett Montreuil says:

    Went to Cyprus with 3PPCLI.Was employed as a Section Commander in B Coy.Had on one occasion told to go into a mine field and get a Soccer Ball that the greeks had kicked into a Turkish Mine field.I told our Duty Officer, that if the Greeks wanted their Soccer Ball, they go get it.Not sure what happened

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