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Corvettes Canada: Convoy Veterans of World War II Tell Their True Stories

Corvettes Canada: Convoy Veterans of World War II Tell Their True Stories    
Format Hardcover
Catalogue No. 978-0-470-15429-8
Pages 243
Language English only
Price $39.95
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Written by Mac Johnston.
Published by John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd., 2008.


Corvettes Canada is a remarkable achievement: an honest, engaging story of war told through first-hand experience and a celebration of the courage and resilience of young sailors whose efforts were critical to victory in Europe. Mac Johnston re-creates life aboard corvettes through the words of the veterans themselves.

From the fall of 1940 until May 1945, Corvettes Canada follows these small warships as they shepherd convoys of merchant ships carrying weapons, food, oil, raw materials and manufactured goods from North America to the United Kingdom. On the return trip, the escorts bring back the empty vessels for reloading.

As told in the words of the veterans, the routines of life aboard a corvette are punctuated by sudden bursts of fierce action—the life-and-death moments for warships, merchant ships and German submarines. This was but one enemy—the other was the North Atlantic itself, a powerful force that brought severe cold, icy storms and fierce gales.

Within a framework of the basic events of the war, this book is an epic piece of oral history. It is the product of the memories of more than 250 men, collected by correspondence in a project that got underway with an initial personalized letter to several hundred corvette veterans in 1990. Hundreds of additional letters followed as more veterans were identified. Preserved in Corvettes Canada, these memories are accompanied by a treasure trove of photographs which bring that time to life. In total, the book is an achievement of a kind that will be an enduring legacy for generations of readers.
“If you have never read anything on the Canadian navy’s part in the Battle of the Atlantic, start with this one.” – Marc Milner, Canadian Naval Historian at the University of New Brunswick
About the author: Mac Johnston has recently retired from his post as Editor and General Manager of Legion Magazine. He has travelled extensively to Canadian battle sites, war cemeteries and memorials around the world. Mac is well regarded and well connected in the universe of the Canadian military. He is a former parliamentary reporter and past member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

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This page last modified: September 15, 2011

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