General blog

New Project – Frederick Chapman Clemesha

I’m beginning research on the creator of one of the most loved Canadian WWI monuments in Europe, The Brooding Soldier at St.Julien, Belgium. Clemesha is a fascinating character about whom little is known. He came second in an international competition to design Canada’s premiere WWI memorial in Europe. First prize went to Walter Allward of Toronto for his spectacular Vimy memorial. Clemesha designed his memorial and disappeared after its unveiling in 1923.

The monument commemorates the Canadians in the 2nd Battle of Ypres who withstood the first poison gas attack of WWI and held the line. Lately I have tracked down his living 93 year old daughter and will be interviewing her next month. This is very exciting because she has many photographs of him, including with the memorial-in-progress and in uniform. He fought with the famed “Suicide Battalion” of South Saskatchewan, the 46th Battalion.

April 2017 news/New Books!









I have two exciting books coming out this year; with Heritage House – An Artillery Commander in the Great War: Major-General Sir Edward Morrison 1914 – 1919 and Hell Burned Through: Dave Mould – The Illustrated Tales of a Lancaster Rear Gunner for the Bomber Command Museum of Canada. An Artillery Commander is set to launch at Beechwood Military Cemetery in Ottawa, along with the unveiling of Morrison’s restored grave marker on 5 November 2017, the centenary date of the Passchendaele Battle. Hell Burned Through will launch this summer, date to be announced.

I’m now offering a proofreading service too, specializing in history manuscripts generally, and military history specifically.

Bonfire news!

Bonfire by Penny

I’m just about to launch a Bonfire e-book which will be available everywhere and will play on most e-readers. Will also be launching a Bonfire paperback which will be available internationally. Both should be ready for the 100th anniversary of In Flanders Fields, 3 May, 2015. On that day I will be standing on the dyke beside the Yser Canal in approximately the area in which the poem was written, 100 years hence.

I invite anyone travelling to Flanders for any of the 100th anniversary events to join me there!

Veterans retreat with Soldier’s Heart

I’m off to Los Pinos in the Los Padres mountains north of LA. Will be a support person for a veterans retreat as the Canadian representative of Soldier’s Heart. I haven’t been to one of these since 2010. It will be interesting as there will be lots of young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. It will also be the first one I’ve been to without Soldier’s Heart directors Ed Tick and Kate Dahlstedt. I know everyone will be in good hands with retreat facilitators, John Becknell and Miguel Rivera, both of whom have been doing great service as healers in various ways for years. I will be blogging from the retreat and will be careful not to name names or reveal any identifying personal details of the participants.

What I will be doing is documenting the steps of the healing model and how it is being experienced generally, by the veterans and their family members. Stay tuned.