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

Second World War

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer area residents who were quarantined on cruise ship near Japan back in Canada

Central Alberta residents are safe and test negative for coronavirus

Alberta doctors getting ready for court fight against new pay, benefits deal

EDMONTON — The head of the Alberta Medical Association says it’s preparing… Continue reading

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

All eyes are on Canadian police forces now that Prime Minister Justin… Continue reading

Ontario Tories hold annual policy convention amid union protests

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Labour activists plan to hold a demonstration outside… Continue reading

SARS lessons help Canada prep for COVID-19, but hospital capacity a worry

OTTAWA — Canadian medical experts say the country’s already overstretched emergency rooms… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Saskatchewan’s chief coroner warns public after fatal drug overdoses in Regina

REGINA — Two deaths and dozens of drug overdoses in Regina have… Continue reading

A champion, again: Humphries wins 3rd women’s bobsled title

Kaillie Humphries of the U.S. is a bobsled champion again, winning her… Continue reading

Canada’s Kingsbury finishes first in moguls for 62nd World Cup victory

TAZAWAKO, Japan — Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury earned his 62nd World Cup victory… Continue reading

Cruise-ship evacuees arrive for quarantine in Canada as first Wuhan evacuees let go

OTTAWA — A plane carrying 129 Canadians and their families who have… Continue reading

Trudeau says rail blockades have to end

TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday indigenous barricades that are… Continue reading

HIV-themed ‘Friends’ edit pulled after copyright claim from Warner Bros.

TORONTO — A Toronto-based HIV-AIDS hospital has pulled an edited “Friends” episode… Continue reading

Spurgeon records hat trick to lead Wild to 5-3 victory over Oilers

Wild 5 Oilers 3 EDMONTON — Jared Spurgeon scored three goals as… Continue reading

Most Read