The Little Coat

DriverWorks Ink
Buick, Alan J.
2015-06-29 19:35:52: Nomination was created
2015-06-29 21:17:10: payment successful from Paypal (order 108)
Deana Driver
DriverWorks Ink
Feature film
Alan J. Buick is a carpenter, musician and songwriter who came to Canada from his New Zealand birthplace in 1981. He lives in Pense, Saskatchewan, with his wife Carol and their family.
National bestselling title (6,000+ sold); Canadian soldier a hero in Netherland and unsung hero in Canada; author interviewed on Canada AM; book awarded honorable mention in Biography at 2010 Hollywood Book Festival; book considered for Dutch rights purchase, supported by Canadian Embassy of Kingdom of Netherlands; Dutch video produced of coat and author and subjects; due to this book, Sussie Cretier-Elliott's coat is a treasured artifact of the Canadian War Museum; the book prompted Sue to be painted in Canadian-Dutch war bride art exhibit.
A little Dutch girl becomes a good-luck charm for Canadian soldiers fighting the Nazis in 1944.
Nineteen-year-old Canadian tank commander Bob Elliott of Calgary, Alberta, met 10-year-old Dutch girl Sussie Cretier in the Netherlands in November 1944. Sussie's family escaped from the Nazis, running through Nazi gunfire to get to the safety of the Canadian soldiers. Sussie had already saved her father from a German firing squad and Bob had already survivied the traumtic events of Juno Beach and fighting through Normandy to the Dutch embankment at Alphen en Maas. Sussie's father had worked for the Dutch underground and he volunteered to help the Canadians repair their tank engines. Sussie became a good-luck charm and adopted little sister for the Canadian soldiers. They wanted to give her a Christmas gift, so they took an Army blanket and had it made into a coat to give to her on Christmas Day 1944. Decades later, Bob and Sue reconnected and fell in love. Sue still had her precious little coat. She brought it with her to Canada and married the soldier who had always been her hero. The coat was donated to the Royal Canadian Legion in Olds, Alberta and is now a treasured artifact of the Canadian War Museum, signifying the Canadian liberation of the Netherlands.
Bob Elliott was 15 when he signed up for the Canadian Army. He told them he was 20. He trained in Nova Scotia and England and was a tank commander by age 19. He did not consider himself a hero. Just a man doing his job to fight the Nazis. He stayed in Holland after the war and gave away whatever Army rations and supplies he could to help the people.
Sussie Cretier, a feisty 10-year-old Dutch girl, had parents involved with the Dutch underground. Her father drove a taxi, helped Jews and others during the German occupation of Netherlands, and a Jewish girl lived with the Cretiers for a time. Scenes include: Sussie saving her father from a German firing squad; Sussie's father hiding from the Nazis in a home's eaves; Sussie and her mother and brothers lying to a German officer to escape across a bridge to safety; the family running across a field while Nazis fired at them; Sue being given the coat while firefighting continued; Sue riding inside the Canadian army tank & in the parade at war's end; Bob and Sue falling in love and moving to Canada.
Canadian heroes, war story turned love story, Canadian history, Liberation of Netherlands, love of Canadians by Dutch people, adventure, danger, German occupation, determination and faith, overcoming fear, facing obstacles, survival, strength of the human spirit, family love, cooperation.
The story follows Bob Elliott from his Army training in Canada and England to his arrival at Juno Beach through to his Dutch position in November 1944 to January 1945 in a small town in the Netherlands. As the German Army moves in to destroy the town, Sussie and her family escape through gunfire to where the Canadian soldiers took up arms across the river from the town. Compelling images include: Bob's war experiences in Normandy and Netherlands, then into Germany; Sussie's begging for chocolate and cigarettes for her father; the coat gift.
Male Tweens
Female Tweens
Male Teens
Female Teens
Men 18–34
Women 18–34
Men 35-54
Women 35–54
This true story is not comparable to other romance or war movies. The story in The Little Coat is unique. Man fights Nazis. Girl fights Nazis. Man's army troop adopts girl as good-luck charm and has a special gift made for her. Decades later, girl and man meet again and surprisingly fall in love. Girl surprisingly still has little coat gift, brings it to Canada, and marries the man. They live in Hamilton, Ontario and then Edmonton, Alberta for decades before moving back to Netherlands.
Prologue – August 1944
“What is this garbage?!” the German officer barked at Willem Cretier, his face contorted with rage. “Don’t you know that Prince Bernhard is nothing but a bum? And this is the bum’s mother-in-law!”
Willem’s wife Geert and their three children had been watching this scene in a state of terror. They did not move.
“Where did you get this thing?” the soldier yelled as he waved the offending poster at Willem. “You will tell me or I will shoot you right now!”
Willem remained silent but his mind was racing. ‘Is this the end?’ he thought. ‘Am I about to die for placing a picture of my beloved queen on the wall in my own home? I have done a lot of things to thwart the Nazis, but this is crazy. I should have listened to Geert and Sussie. They said it would be risky pinning that picture in our living room. I didn’t think the damn Germans would see it!’
The officer drew his pistol and ordered Willem outside. Form a firing squad!” he shouted to his men. He shoved Willem up against the wall of his own workshop and proceeded to arrange the execution.
Ten-year-old Sussie felt like she was having a nightmare. The kind where you try to run from something terrible but your legs won’t work and you feel frozen to the spot. This couldn’t be happening. But it was.
Sussie saw the fear in her father’s eyes and frantically started to scream at the Germans. “You can’t shoot my father! You just can’t. He didn’t do anything wrong! He didn’t put that poster on the wall! I did! I found the flyer! I found it by the dyke!”…..

Chapter One – Before the Germans came
In 1939, Rossum was a small town by Dutch standards with a population of about 1,200 people. Located about an hour south of Amsterdam in the province of Gelderland, it was bordered by the Waal River to its north and the Maas River to its south. These two slow-moving rivers wound their way across the Netherlands, providing shipping routes to the inland cities. On the east side of Rossum, the rivers met through a one-kilometre canal with locks that provided ships and barges access from one river’s level to the other. The dyke along this canal was one of Sussie’s favourite spots to play and relax….
…When Everdina was a baby, Kees loved to push her pram when the family went for walks. If people asked his sister’s name, Kees could not say ‘Everdina,’ so he just said, “Zusje, I have a Zusje,” the Dutch word for ‘sister.’ This name evolved into Sussie and later became Sue. Sussie was a bright, energetic child whose fighting spirit and enthusiasm for life would stay with her through the years.
Willem was the provider for the Cretier family and was well known in the region for his mechanical expertise. People came from far away to ask him to service their vehicles…..

* * *

For Sussie, these brave soldiers were very special. She loved visiting the Bob’s regiment in particular with their big tanks. For one thing, these men were kind to her, and they gave her treats to bring home for herself and her brothers. Secondly, they allowed her to climb up in their tank, which was much more fun than her routine had been for the past few years of being careful with everything she said and did, or having to hide in her great aunt’s cellar. She admired these soldiers and visited them every day.
Sussie often sat on top of Bob’s tank and sang. With her beautiful voice and infectious smile, she soon became a star to the soldiers, singing the Dutch national anthem, the popular German love song ‘Lili Marleen’ and many other tunes. The Canadians taught her to sing ‘Oh Canada’ and decided that she should be their regiment’s mascot and good-luck charm for the rest of the war.
One day, Bob decided to paint Sussie’s name on the Sexton so that the luck she gave to him and his crew would go wherever they went. Upon seeing the beginning of Bob’s paint job, Sussie protested mildly. “My name is not Suzy,” she said. “It’s Everdina.”
Bob stood back from his artwork and looked at Sussie. “I’ve never heard that name before. Does it have an English equivalent?”
Sussie didn’t know what an equivalent was, and when she was given an explanation of the word, she said she didn’t know what Everdina would be in English either. Bob did some investigating of his own and learned that the English translation for Everdina was Evelyn, so that was the name he painted on the tank – ‘Evelyne.’ Bob thought that her real name would have more meaning than a nickname and, because he and his crew spoke English, the name should be written in English.
For Sussie, it was a great honour to have her name painted on a Canadian war tank, no matter how they spelled it!

* * * * * * * *

While compiling a list of all the repairs the tank needed, Bob’s crew was approached by a small Dutch girl who appeared much younger than her 10 years. Her clothes were worn to an almost threadbare condition with her elbows showing through the sleeves of her coat. Her well-kept blonde hair was tied up in neat pigtails, however, and indicated a preservation of her self-respect in contrast to the condition of her clothes. She also had a brightness in her eyes that seemed to say, ‘I know in my heart that everything is going to be alright.’
“Could you please give me some cigarettes for my papa?” she asked the soldiers with her thick Dutch accent and big pleading brown eyes. The hearts of these battle-hardened soldiers quickly went out to her. She could have been their little sister. Bob himself was only nine years older than her, about the same age difference as between Bob and his older brother Bill.
“Sure,” Bob said as he and his men responded to her request. “Here, have some chocolate and chewing gum, too.”
Sussie carefully placed the cigarettes in an old battered tobacco tin she carried with her. Then she put the chocolate and gum that she intended to share with her brothers into her pocket. She politely thanked the soldiers as best she could in English and went on her way.
“Boy, these people have had a rough time under the Germans,” Bob observed as he watched the young girl continue down the line of tanks and field guns asking other soldiers for whatever they would give her. “I wish there was more that we could do for them.”

In 1941, 15-year-old Bob Elliott joined the Royal Canadian Army. Bob was not planning on becoming a hero. He only wanted to fight the Nazis in Europe, for his country’s freedom. Sussie Cretier was only 10 when a German officer stood in their quiet Dutch home and ordered Sussie’s father to go face a firing squad. Sussie yelled at the officer that she was the one to blame, not her father! This brave act saved her father’s life. As the war drew on, the lives of Bob Elliott and Sussie Cretier would intertwine in a frightening, tender, everlasting way.
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