Saving the stories of veterans

Author from Nova Scotia writes about his Burns Lake connection


In 2010, our son and his family were taking a trip from Surrey to the border of Alaska. On the way, they stopped briefly at the museum in Burns Lake. In the course of his conversation with the archivist, Lee Safonoff, our son mentioned to her that I was writing a book about military veterans.

My purpose in writing the book was an effort to save stories of the experiences of military veterans while there was still time, as I had with others in previous books. Lee and I came into telephone contact after our son and his family had returned home. The name Alan Blackwell, a former member of the Devil’s Brigade of World War II, came up in passing. Sensing a story, I found Alan’s telephone number online and phoned him. He gave me his story and I included it in my book, The Forces and the Faces.

Alan sent me a copy of his book, 70 Years Next to Paradise. I sent a copy of my book to Alan and one to the museum. Lee sent me a beautiful thank-you letter. I believe that she intended to use the book in the reading room at the museum. Since many people who gave me their stories are no longer living, I am glad to have made the effort to save the stories that I did for posterity.

Duane Duff

Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia

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