Eric Brunt of Victoria is now in his fourth year of documenting the ‘untold’ stories from Canada’s remaining Second World War veterans.
“How it all started is my grandfather was a World War II veteran and as many of that generation, he didn’t talk much about what he experienced,” says Brunt. “I think his mentality was I didn’t do as much as some of the other guys and as a result, my story isn’t worth sharing”.
Brunt says he comes across that a lot in his interviews, as people who think that they aren’t worthy of their story being preserved because they believe they didn’t do much compared to the others.
In early 2018, he took off on a cross-Canada tour in a van-turned-mobile film studio, with the sole goal of preserving as many of those stories as possible.
Since then, he’s spoken with 433 veterans and partnered with Melki Films production house to preserve each one-on-one interview at the Canadian War Museum.
In this edition of Today in B.C., Brunt tells host Peter McCully about travelling to Juno Beach in France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day with Frank Krepps, at the time a 94-year-old veteran from Red Deer, Alta.
“Being on the beach with him was such a surreal experience, but the hardest part and maybe the most powerful part was going to the cemeteries,” said Brunt. “There’s a moment where we’re going through the cemetery together and he points out this person and this person was from Saskatchewan, it was like such a full circle moment for me to have someone that I’d interviewed that shared their story with me to be saluting the grave of someone who’d done the exact same thing as Frank, but had sadly lost his life over there.”
He’s giving himself until the end of the year to connect with any remaining veterans who want to share their stories as he travels across the country.
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 email@example.com.
If you have suggestions or comments, send a voice message to firstname.lastname@example.org you may be part of our audio podcast mailbag segment.