Allan Cameron is convinced he was born in the wrong era.
When he listens to the stories of Canada’s World War II and Korean veterans he hears them not only with his ears, but with his heart.
As they talk, he goes back there with them, to the days when they were young and brave and faced gunfire and dodged bullets, showing grit and courage, even though they walked hand-in-hand with fear and danger every day.
When they talk of their fallen comrades, tears running down their leathered cheeks, their eyes full of pain, their sadness tugs at his own heart strings.
And he knows their stories must be told, before it’s too late, before the great sacrifices they made remain buried forever.
To keep Canadian history alive and follow his own passion, Cameron has created a website called Veterans Voices of Canada. Since 2006 he has recorded more than 700 interviews with veterans and has a waiting list.
“I’m a firm believer Remembrance Day should be every day, not just Nov. 11,” he said.
Cameron’s uncle, Perley Cameron, a D-Day veteran, gave him inspiration to keep going with his work. Sadly, his uncle passed away before he was able to complete an interview with him.
This year, the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the invasion of Europe, Cameron has formed a group called Return to Normandy 2014. The group is to consist of veterans from Nova Scotia Highlanders and North Nova Scotia Highlanders (World War II veterans) and re-enacters who will travel to France in June.
Also included in the group is volunteer BBC videographer Martin Jones as well as the Nova Scotia producer Frank Clifford, who is volunteering his time towards the Nova Scotia production part of it.
“We are working on having videographers, re-enactors and VIPs from Normandy attend and participate as well,” he said.
The group will travel to France in June to perform wreath laying and Remembrance ceremonies at several significant towns that the North Nova Scotia Highlanders (NNSH) were instrumental in liberating in the opening days of the invasion of Europe.
The group will also perform Remembrance ceremonies at cemeteries and memorials including the Abbaye D’Ardenne where 13 NNSH’s were murdered in June 1944.
Also invited to be part of this journey is 1st Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders (N) RSM (ret) Ray Coulson of Amherst. Coulson has spent more than 20 years building, maintaining and promoting the regimental museum at the Col. James Layton Ralston Armouries in Amherst.
To help raise money for the Return to Normandy project, fundraising drives are ongoing and Cameron personally donated 1,000 DVDs of his production, The Fighting North Novies; Into the Fire.
“It (the DVD) is part of the story of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders in Normandy in 1944. The story was inspired by my uncles who were NNSH’s (one is buried in France).”
The DVDs are available via Internet sales.
Donations and sponsorships are also encouraged.
All funds raised will go towards tour costs as well as accommodation and travel while in France to and from ceremonial tributes. Any leftover funds will be used to assist the regimental museum in Amherst with its historical displays.
A video tribute will be made of the journey.
Cameron said marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day is important.
“This initiative is more than likely our last chance to offer tribute to our D-Day veterans on the French soil having them beside us.”
Return to Normandy is a special dedication to the NNSHs, but all veterans are invited to take part.
“In the end, it is a tribute to all our veterans. We need to make them proud and understand that we are not going to forget what they did for us.”
For more information on the Return to Normandy 2014 project follow it on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/returntonormandy
Cheques or money orders may be sent to: Return to Normandy 2014, c/o Allan Cameron, 94 Wildrose Dr., Sylvan Lake, Alberta, T4S 2L8 or by e-banking money transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org