Ted Barris and World War II History


Author, journalist, and broadcaster Ted Barris will be visiting the Bailey Theatre to speak about the importance of World War II history through his book The Dam Busters: Canadian Airmen and the Secret Raid Against Nazi Germany.

The Dam Busters is a story that goes back to 1943, the middle of the war. The allies had little success in attempting to turn the tide against the Nazis and the spread of fascism and the occupation of the most of Europe. The Prime Minister was looking to give people of the troops and their people a sense of hope in winning the war. The dams were a form of hydroelectricity for the Nazis and a man named Barnes Wallis stepped up with the plan of a bouncing bomb to attack the dams in order to slow down the Nazis.’ The story is about the bizarre plan to attack the dams.

It is important to look at these stories one at a time to get a sense of who participated, what happened, and who these people were. They were volunteers, men who trained in Canada who left their civilian jobs; they were farmers, students, professionals, labourers; they were all kinds of people who stepped up and managed to change the tide of the war with this operation.

“I think it’s important to remember these people because they were ordinary,” Barris said. “They weren’t extraordinary war heroes, they were essentially average Canadians who realized the threat of what was happening in Europe and volunteered for the army, the navy, and the air force to change what was happening in Europe and the rest of the world.”

The greatest difficulty Barris faced was the missing records of the 14 Canadians who died. “Thirty Canadians were involved and half of them were killed,” Barris explained. “You can’t do interviews with those 14 men but you can trace the records.” Barris traced the diaries, flight logs, letters, and photographs of the people who did not return and tried to reconstruct their stories.

People can make themselves more aware about the importance of history by going online and exchanging information on social media. Reading would be most effective as nonfiction writers like Barris give sources to deliver the stories so the reader can tell where the material is derived from. Barris hopes to leave his audience with the images of the people and the stories of who they were, where they came from, and what they did. He aims to make the men from the war come alive, both the ones who survived and the ones who did not.

“I hope that people will consider coming to listen and watch and to ask questions,” said Harris. ” And perhaps purchase a few books to get a clearer picture of who these Canadians were.”

Barris will be visiting the Bailey Theatre Friday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be $10 at the door and will include refreshments and snacks.


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