One Family’s War: Second Edition

11 November 2014

One Family’s War: The Wartime Letters of Clarence Bourassa, 1940-1944 (Second Edition)
Edited by Rollie Bourassa
Published by University of Regina Press
Review by Keith Foster
$34.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-320-2

One Family’s War: The Wartime Letters of Clarence Bourassa is a book that had to be written, a story that had to be told – and a story important enough to be retold. That’s why the University of Regina Press printed this second edition. The first edition sold out, and no one should be deprived of reading this fascinating first-hand account of a Saskatchewan hero in World War II.

The story is told through the wartime letters of Clarence Bourassa, a lad from Lafleche, SK, who enlisted in the South Saskatchewan Regiment, leaving his wife Hazel and two young sons at home. He kept in touch by writing, almost daily, letters home.

Clarence recounts both the drudgery and routine of army life, and the horror of combat. He also expresses the loneliness he felt being separated from his family. This 603-page book is supplemented with two dozen black and white photos of Clarence’s family and army life.

A highlight of the book is Clarence’s firsthand account of his participation in the disastrous Dieppe Raid in August 1942. He also participated, and was killed, in the Normandy campaign in July 1944, while helping to liberate Europe from Nazi occupation.

This edition has a bonus over the original – it includes a postscript by Clarence’s son, Rollie. In 2011 he and his family toured Dieppe and Juno Beach, and visited the battlefield in France where his father was killed by an exploding tank shell. Inscribing a copy of One Family’s War with the words, “Here’s your story, Dad,” he laid it beside his father’s headstone.

Hazel never remarried. Rollie married “the prettiest girl in the world” and inherited his father’s love of music and art. Clarence must be proud of the legacy he left.


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