Sha-i-Kot Valley, Afghanistan, March 17, 2002

I recall being in front of Stephen as the BG Tac HQ descended the Whale down to the Exfil Helicopter Landing Site. Having been around soldiers and soldier profanity all of my adult life, I'd have never believed that a flat-faced civilian could out-cuss military men had I not heard it myself! A near-endless litany of venom-laced profanity directed towards the Mountain, the Army, our Mountain Operations Guide (apologies to Sgt Thomas Harper), his choice of fingernail-hold routes, and just about everything else you can think of! Stephen was NOT a happy camper that day. To his credit however, he did what was required of him during those crazy days. Truth be told, we probably SHOULD have been roped-in, but we had no ropes! Anyhow, Stephen's surprisingly "salty" language is one of my best memories from Op HARPOON. — Maj. Mark Campbell, Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting & Reconnaissance Officer, 3rd Battalion, PPCLI Battlegroup. Kandahar, Afghanistan


I have been writing, shooting and broadcasting in Canada and abroad for 39 years.

I entered the news business in 1980 as a writer/photographer with the Halifax Herald, Atlantic Canada's largest daily newspaper. In 1984, I joined The Canadian Press, the country's national wire service. Over the next 29 years, I traveled Canada and the world, writing, shooting and broadcasting for newspaper, magazine, radio, television and, later, online clients.

For 15 of those years, a good deal of my written work was devoted to disasters and war: Afghanistan; Kosovo; South Africa; the 1998 crash of Swissair Flight 111; the 1992 coal-mine explosion at Westray, N.S.; the 1985 Arrow Air crash at Gander, N.L.; the crash of Air Ontario Flight 1363 at Dryden, Ont., and more than a dozen sea disasters off Canada's Atlantic and Arctic coasts.

There were other stories, too: the discovery of RMS Titanic; the Ben Johnson drugs-in-sport saga; scandals, crises and territorial disputes in Canada's offshore fishing industries; major crime; federal politics; major-league sports.

I've covered race riots in Soweto, South Africa, flown into combat with Canadian and U.S. troops in Afghanistan and dove in a mini-submarine to a previously undiscovered WWII shipwreck sitting upright on the bottom of the North Atlantic. I rode the train with Pierre Trudeau's casket as he went home for the last time and wrote Yousuf Karsh's obituary for the international wire. I interviewed political leaders, Nobel laureates, grieving families, wounded soldiers, disaster survivors, artists, heroes, villains, celebrities, entertainers and sports icons.

I have walked the windswept sands of Sable Island, chased the dancing northern lights in the High Arctic, and ascended the lofty peaks of the Canadian Rockies — and the Hindu Kush. My heart sank as I stepped among the ruins of an ethnically cleansed village in Kosovo and it soared as I scanned the majestic plains of Kruger National Park east of Johannesburg. I've sat face-to-face with al-Qaida fighters, lunched with Taliban warlords, and bunked with Canadian cowboys.

I am now a staff writer, photographer and a copy editor at Legion Magazine, Canada’s premiere chronicle of military history, veterans issues and national defence. You can find my features and weekly online c0lumn, Front Lines, at legionmagazine.com.


Stephen Thorne


·   Staff Writer/Photographer/Copy Editor at Legion Magazine.

·   49 years as a photographer; 39 years an editor, lecturer and award-winning reporter.

·   Only journalist with 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, throughout their March 2002 assault on the Whale's Back in eastern Afghanistan, Canada's first wartime assault in 50 years. Reported from the frontlines on numerous combat operations during a year in Afghanistan and time with NATO forces in Kosovo.

·   Covered combat operations with all Canadian regiments, combat engineers and armoured units as well as the U.S. Special Forces, 82nd Airborne, 101st Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions.

·   Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal "in recognition of contributions to Canada."

·   National Magazine Awards 2019 Silver in the Photojournalism and Photo Essay category for Citizens of War, published in the November/December 2018 edition of Legion Magazine; three National Newspaper Awards; 2002 Ross Munro Media Award for defence reporting; four RTNDA national radio awards; two-time winner of The Canadian Press Story of the Year; 14 Canadian Press Stories of the Month; 10 Canadian Press Livewire Awards for breaking-news coverage, along with many other national and regional journalism awards; two-time Grand Prize winner for Best in Show, Western Photo Gallery, Calgary Stampede Art Show and Sale.

·   Former editor of The CWCA Newsletter, the Canadian War Correspondents Association journal.

·   Multiple appearances on CBC-TV, CBC Newsworld, CBC Radio, CTV, CTV NewsNet, Global TV, CPAC, Fox Television, AP Radio, ABC Radio, WarNews Radio, U.S. National Public Radio, as well as private and syndicated radio across Canada, the United States and Great Britain.

·   Pictures in Time, Maclean's (including one cover), Weekly World News, Legion Magazine (multiple covers), International Journal (three covers), The New Quarterly (cover); Action Press Annual, Stars & Stripes, Army News, Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine, and daily newspapers worldwide.

·   Multiple photographic exhibitions across Canada and in the United States.

·   Feb. 15-June 2, 2019: The Wounded at The Canadian War Museum. The exhibition of photographs had a wildly successful run and is now slated to embark on a three-year cross-country tour.

·   The 14-month, award-winning exhibition Afghanistan: A Glimpse of War, ending in April 2008, broke all attendance records at The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. The exhibition – a journalist's stories, pictures and artifacts along with video from documentary filmmaker Garth Pritchard – also toured the country.


If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.
— Elmore Leonard