They Were So Young
Montrealers Remember World War IIBook - 2002
After visiting her cousin's grave in the Canadian military cemetery at Bretteville-sur-Laize in Normandy, Patricia Burns returned to Montreal with a determination to record the stories of veterans of World War II. These stories of young men and women who served in the army, navy and air force illustrate the raw courage, youthful bravado, and sacrifice needed to defeat a powerful enemy. Some served on the home front; others, who returned from the theatre of war, were never the same again.Moving accounts from family members of veterans-sons, daughters, wives and siblings-reveal the price they also paid in this most horrible war. We meet a young bride who spent her first three wedding anniversaries alone while her husband languished in the POW camp, Stalag Luft III, and took part in the doomed escape which was made into the movie, The Great Escape; a ship's stoker who feared not being able to escape a torpedo attack which would mean either instant death or a horrible death by scalding; the daring pilot who became a priest after the war; a young woman who joined the air force and realized that its motto, "We Serve That Men May Fly" really meant "We Serve That Men May Die"; a nurse who unknowingly skied in a minefield in Italy, and a soldier's account of the Dieppe raid of August 19, 1942-"the costliest day in Canada's military history.