The young girl from the Ottawa Valley who served as a nurse in North Africa with only a helmet of fresh water a day, the teenage soldier from Fredericton who stole pig swill to survive in a Hong Kong prisoner of war camp, the English woman who survived the sinking of the Athenia to become a war-bride, and an Alberta airman who crashed off the icy coast of Greenland, these are but only four of the thirty compelling personal accounts of war experiences.
Many private photographs from their own albums illustrate these stories, which reflect the world wide aspect of the war from the Indian Ocean to the North Atlantic, from Poland to the Middle East, and the varied activities and duties of these young men and women. Their hardships, their adventures, frustrations, fears, joys and romances are chronicled in a poignant and often humorous manner.
About the authors
Joyce Hibbert's ongoing interest in World War II began with her own participation in it. As a young woman of seventeen, Joyce Hibbert joined the Women's Auxillary Air Force serving with the Roal Observer Corps in Sussex, England. After the war she married her fiancé Eric, moved to Drummondville Quebec to raise a family.
Earle Birney was a poet, novelist, and playwright whose experimental instincts drove him to create some of Canada's most diverse and recognizable poetry, including the oft-anthologized 'Anglosaxon Street', and 'David', which is often considered the most popular Canadian poem of all time. Born in Calgary, Alberta, Birney was raised on a farm before embarking on an academic career, attending the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of London, where his interest in Old and Middle English led to a reputation as an accomplished scholar of medieval literature. After serving as a personnel officer in WWII, Birney took a professorship at the University of British Columbia, where he spent twenty years travelling, writing, and teaching. In 1965, Birney became the first Writer in Residence at the University of Toronto, mentoring new, up-and-coming poets and branching out into new and experimental forms.
Birney died in Toronto in 1995 after an impressive career spanning several decades, over twenty books of poetry, two Governor General's Awards, and several plays, novels, short stories, and works of non-fiction.