Unsung Heroes of the Canadian Army: Incredible Tales of Courage and Daring During World War II


112 pages
Contains Maps, Bibliography
ISBN 1-55439-009-5
DDC 940.53'71'0922




Reviewed by Sidney Allinson

Sidney Allinson is Canadian news correspondent for Britain’s The Army
Quarterly and Defence. He is the author of The Bantams: The Untold Story
of World War I, Jeremy Kane, and Kruger’s Gold: A Novel of the
Anglo-Boer War.


Unsung Heroes of the Canadian Army is based mainly on the personal
reminiscences of several WW II veterans. The interviews presented Faryon
with no small challenge given the subjects’ reluctance to talk about
what they had been through as young soldiers.

The book’s longest chapter is a 30-page summary of the 1942 Dieppe
raid, and it is one of the most succinct and unvarnished accounts of the
attack I have come across. But Faryon gets one bit wildly wrong in the
next chapter, when she refers to “Turkish soldiers fighting on the
Allied side.” Turkey was, of course, neutral throughout World War II,
so perhaps Faryon’s informant misidentified French North African
troops. However, she has ably grasped veterans’ memories of Italy,
weaving them into clear descriptions of the long slog of battles for the
Liri Valley and the charnel house of Ortona.

Considering how carefully she profiles her subjects, it’s odd that
Faryon neglects to mention that two of them—Smokey Smith and Jack
Osborne—were awarded the Victoria Cross for their outstanding bravery.
Other Canadians Faryon interviewed were in combat all across the world:
as far apart as France, Hong Kong, Sicily, and Germany. These modest
snippets of their individual experiences help convey more understanding
of war than lengthy grand-strategy studies ever do.


Faryon, Cynthia J., “Unsung Heroes of the Canadian Army: Incredible Tales of Courage and Daring During World War II,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/16036.