Ted Barris

Category: Ted Barris

Jack McLaren almost went to war without his most vital weapon. As it was, when he enlisted in 1914, the army recruiting office in Toronto had no uniforms, no rifles, and few training facilities. A fine arts graduate and amateur playwright, J.W. (as he was known) dashed to join Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in September 1915. In his kit he carried his personal effects, foolscap for his diary, a few sketch boards, water colour paints and brushes. And because he thought they just might come in handy, he also packed some writing paper and theatrical makeup.

Some of the 7,000 Canadians wounded in the battle for Vimy Ridge couldn’t believe their eyes when they were taken from the battlefield following their victory in April 1917. Suddenly, after weeks or months in the front lines knowing no one but their comrades-in-arms, some members of the Canadian Corps awoke to the strangest looking stretcher bearers. Instead of male medics and physicians, they came face-to-face with ambulance personnel such as Grace MacPherson.

The last thing Gavin McDonald expected when he joined up in 1915 was participating in a massive covert operation in the Great War. Nor did he enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force anticipating that he would serve his country as far underground as he did.

In fact, McDonald, a twenty-five-year-old farmer from Saskatchewan, volunteered as if it were just another chore on his prairie homestead to-do list:

On the first night of the Saskatchewan Festival of Words, held in Moose Jaw, SK, there were readings and commentaries in what the festival described as a “Read-ception” at the Mosaic Conference Centre. Several other writers also featured at the festival offered some short excerpts of their writing.

The Great Escape: Winner of the Libris Award Non-Fiction Book of the Year! thumbnail

The Great Escape, the bestselling history title from acclaimed broadcaster,  military historian, and author Ted Barris, was honoured at this week's Libris Award ceremony, sharing the award for Best Non-Fiction Title with Chris Hadfield’s  An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.