Eric Brunt, camping near Nelson, B.C. (Contributed photo).

Second World War stories of Red Deer-area veterans to be filmed

B.C. man wants to capture these Canadian experiences for posterity

After his grandfather died at age 95 in 2013, Eric Brunt deeply regretted not recording his stories about being in the air force during the Second World War.

Brunt’s father suggested, why not film the stories of other Canadian veterans? “He told me, ‘A lot of them are younger than your grandfather,’” who was 21 when the war started, recalled Brunt.

The history buff and graduate of the University of British Columbia film school thought “It could be interesting…” so he began interviewing a few Vancouver-area veterans. The small project has since snowballed into an epic, cross-country journey.

Brunt, who’s completed 53 interviews across British Columbia so far, is intent on talking to as many veterans as he can. He’s driving his van to St. John’s NFL. this summer, making multiple stops along the way.

The filmmaker, who runs his own videography company, plans to be in Red Deer from June 11-15 . Local veterans who are interested in sharing their Second World War experiences for a documentary Brunt is making, can contact him at 1-778-714-0071 to set up an interview.

The War Generation fascinates the 25-year-old. Hardened by the Depression and immensely loyal to their country, Second World War veterans, now in their mid-to-late 90s, “made an amazing amount of sacrifice,” Brunt concluded.

Their degree of suffering and determination can be hard to understand, he added. “That kind of courage is amazing to see — and they have told me they would do it again, because it’s was what was right.”

Of the many interviews Brunt has done, two in particular stand out for him.

A veteran in Qualicum Beach, on Vancouver Island, had to be convinced by a friend speak to him. “He had never told some of these stories to anyone — not even his wife.” Brunt spent three hours listening to the man reveal what it felt like to lose some of this best friends on the Italian front.

“I think it felt good for him to finally get (these stories) off his chest… I know it was an honour for me to be the first one to hear them.”

At certain moments, both Brunt and the veteran were in tears. “It was an incredible experience…”

Another veteran of the Italian Campaign was 97 when he went before Brunt’s camera. “A week later, he passed away, and his family was so happy that I had three hours of footage, so they could watch him tell his life story again.”

While Brunt plans to edit the extensive footage into a feature-length film for festivals, he will make the uncut footage available to the veterans’ families — or possibly even museums.

If there’s one thing the experience has taught him is that everyone should pay attention to family stories. “Don’t take what you have for granted,” Brunt cautioned — because a time will come when you’ll wish you could hear the stories again.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Scares and chills await at haunted house in Red Deer

Zed Haunted House helps raise money for Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer District

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

Queens raised $12,035 for the Central Alberta Cancer Centre.

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Except for 1 kick, Saints, Ravens are evenly matched

BALTIMORE — In a matchup between the league’s highest-scoring offence and top-ranked… Continue reading

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy

WASHINGTON — After a 35-year acting career and with two iconic television… Continue reading

Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West enter Country Music Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and… Continue reading

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

LONDON — Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration… Continue reading

Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review

OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials have determined that the United States remains… Continue reading

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

MONTREAL — Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over… Continue reading

Three strong earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island

Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night in the Pacific Ocean… Continue reading

Turkey to reveal details of probe into Khashoggi’s killing

ISTANBUL — In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey… Continue reading

Most Read