Eric Brunt of Victoria is now in his fifth year of documenting the ‘untold’ stories from Canada’s remaining Second World War veterans. Currently the Canadian War Service* Veteran population is estimated to be 9,297 (1,493 females and 7,804 males).
As Brunt traverses the country, he interviews these aging heroes, capturing their memories and experiences. He shares how, as Remembrance Days pass, the number of World War II veterans is rapidly declining, making it crucial for us to make a conscious effort to learn their stories and honor their sacrifices.
The podcast includes portions of interviews from B.C. veterans Charlie Hammerton, Jessie Swail and George Brewster.
“I’m hoping that this will make my generation and hopefully future generations more connected to this generation and wanting to know more of what they did,’ says Brunt. “If we can hold on to a personal story and put ourselves in their shoes, that’s really helping, and that’s really making sure that we hold on to that history and don’t lose it.”
The conversation highlights the reluctance of veterans to share their traumatic experiences, revealing the profound challenges they faced upon returning home, particularly in seeking mental health support. Many suffered in silence, harboring the weight of their experiences for decades. Eric’s interviews serve as a therapeutic outlet for these veterans, allowing them to finally share their stories, sometimes for the first time.
The podcast offers insights into the diversity of veterans’ backgrounds, including Indigenous Canadians who served during the war. The treatment of Indigenous veterans is especially emphasized, as they often experienced acceptance and equality within their regiments during the war but were subject to discrimination and inequality upon their return.
The episode includes the remarkable story of Reuben Sinclair of New Westminster, who became the oldest living veteran in Canada at 111 years of age.
The Eric Brunt Collection will be released in 2024 when the Canadian War Museum launches its digital archives.
Anyone hoping to share their story can reach Brunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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