“He was the only one of the 4 to survive” — Blake Heathcote about D-Day.
Today we are starting a new topic on our blog — sharing special stories of our users all around the globe. We are always proud to be a part of someone’s workflow or journey. From simple upscaling of kids’ photos, through artwork and to the life-changing projects. This story is exactly the life-changing project because it allows us to remember such important days in the life of humanity.
Dedicated to 75th Anniversary of D-Day. All Let’s Enhance team is grateful to Blake Heathcote for his work and the project he created —
“Celebrating the Stories of their Lives”. You can find more information on the official website: testaments.ca and definingmomentscanada.ca
I traveled across Canada interviewing veterans of WWII, and those veterans would share photos from their personal albums with me. As you may well expect, some of those photos were aged, damaged, or simply second-rate. Bringing them back to reasonable shape was the first step.
The current project is a commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, I’m facing similar challenges. I’m editing 21 videos for display at the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy, as well as for the Internet. In addition, large banners are being made from some images, which definitely requires work on the original images.
The first image is of a paratrooper from the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. They’d just landed over the Rhine in March 1945 in a daylight drop. Once they secured their positions and started moving forward, they encountered German civilians as they moved north to Wismar to meet up with (and block) the Russian advance from the east.
The second photo is a favorite of mine. Four great friends, all of whom enlisted in the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada together in 1939. They trained together, shipped overseas together, and were slated to go into France together. However, 3 of the 4 decided to take officer training before going. Freddy Harris, second from right, was the only one who didn’t want to miss the Invasion. He was killed stepping off a landing craft on D-Day. Earl and Gerry, on Freddy’s left, became officers and both were killed during the Battle of Normandy. Barney Danson, on the extreme right, became a good friend of mine. He was severely wounded in August (at the Falaise Gap), and that was the end of his war. He was the only one of the 4 friends to survive the war.
This is just a fun shot taken by one of the guys I interviewed, war photographer Alex Gray. A dispatch rider lights his match off the hip of the mannequin. This was somewhere in Normandy after the invasion.
About the project
The Testaments of Honour Historical Archive was founded in 1999 to chronicle on digital video first-hand accounts of WW2 veterans. We believe that these remarkable first-person testaments provide a richer, deeper understanding of Canadian history. It’s not just what these veterans had to say about their experiences, but the way in which they said it and what their faces reveal. We believe there is no more compelling way to connect with this history than to have its participants and witnesses talk to us and say, “This is what happened to me.” Theirs is the singular ‘stuff’ of everyday lives that form the fabric of our history.