February 14, 2020. The feedback from our short documentary “He Died That We Might Live … the story of Halifax L9561”, about the last flight of Halifax L9561, shot down over The Netherlands on October 12, 1941, and the events of October 12, 2019, when a memorial panel to honour the crew on their last flight together was unveiled in Wons, has been heartening. (See “He Died That We Might Live” Documentary Is Now On YouTube”)
It’s clear that the story of one event during WW2 resonated with many people, and so this blog posting features a sampling of the comments.
Don Coutts, nephew of Elmer Muttart: “After receiving the Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project e-mail, I went on YOU TUBE and saw the Video…It was excellent.”
Colonel Timothy Young, Canadian Defence Attaché to The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, who placed the wreath at the memorial panel in Wons on behalf of the Government of Canada: “I just watched the video; what an amazing tribute! Michelle and I have commented on a number of occasions on what a special day and privilege it was to be a part of the commemoration. During our travels here in The Netherlands, Belgium and the European Arctic, Michelle and I have had the privilege to attend many commemorative events. The land battles are, for the most part, commemorated in large Commonwealth War Cemeteries, physically located close to where they took place. These battles and cemeteries overshadow the air campaign, particularly the bombing campaign where aircrew were buried in local cemeteries close by to where they were shot down. The story of Halifax L9561 respectfully brings forward the tragedy of one such sortie and the over 2,000 aircrew buried in the 199 cemeteries in The Netherlands. I will forward your tribute to Lieutenant-General Meinzinger’s Staff at the Headquarters of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), as flight L9561 is one chapter of a larger story for the RCAF. Pieter and Daria, thanks again for all of your efforts to honour Flight Sergeant Elmer Muttart and to have his story told. Elmer is very much more than a name on a headstone in a small cemetery in Northern Netherlands, and thanks to your efforts and those of the local community his legacy lives on.”
Alexander Tuinhout, Secretary Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation: “Een prachtige registratie van de dag en van de laatste vlucht van Halifax L9561!” (Translation: A beautiful account of the day and of the last flight of Halifax L9561!)
Sergio and Lina Canonico, who had given a donation towards the memorial panel: “It was very emotional. I had to reach for the Kleenex. May they all rest in peace and be assured they will never be forgotten.”
Sandra Wallis, who had given a donation towards the memorial panel: “I loved the video. It was very well done. It brought tears to my eyes.”
Connie MacKinnon, who had given a donation towards the memorial panel: “Just wanted to let you know that I watched the video in its entirety, very well done, very touching.”
Retired US Marine and air traffic controller John Gibbs: “Just had time to view your production, absolutely fantastic, you two need to be extremely proud of your efforts. It is without a doubt that the Canadian Military Government should be provided a copy to be included in their historical library. Walk proud both of you, you deserve it.”
Dutch-born Canadian Lize Simon: “I loved the video. I feel so sorry that this fine and noble airman had to die in order for others to live in freedom. He had so much more to offer with his accomplished university degrees.”
Blog reader Karen MacKay: “I just watched the beautiful and well produced video of your trip to The Netherlands. What an amazing keepsake and treasure for years to come. Thank you for your tenacity and leadership in seeing this entire project through to the end. To see Elmer and his crew honoured and remembered now for generations to come due to your efforts brings tears to our eyes.”
Fred Jackson, Middleton Saint George Memorial Association: “Enjoyed it immensely. I’ll pass it on to our Association members.”
Isabel Smith, Editor of the County Line Courier newspaper that publishes the “On The War Memorial Trail….” articles about the research uncovered for our Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project: “What a wonderfully done video! Very moving. The background historical information, personal info and photos really brought a face to these men and their service to Canada- Well Done. You can be proud of all your research and tremendous amount of hard work that you both put into this project. It goes to say…We Shall Remember Them.”
Thank you to all who took the time to send in comments on this short documentary. If you haven’t yet seen it, click on the link below:
Research continues to uncover more stories. If you have a story or photo to share about any of the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion, please contact Pieter at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on the blog.
© Daria Valkenburg
6 thoughts on “Reactions To Our “He Died That We Might Live” Documentary”
Well deserved comments. Being there for the commeratative ceremony was especially meaningful and this video captures that beautiful touching event.
Sent from my iPad
Thank you Annie Lee. It was wonderful that you and Elmer were able to attend!
Pieter and Daria
It was a special honour and privilege for me to be able to attend these commemorative ceremonies on October 12, 2019. The story of Elmer Muttart and the crew of the Halifax L9561 is a powerful and memorable moment in Canadian history and thank you to Pieter and Daria and all the organizers of the events scheduled that day. The video recounting this story of Elmer Muttart and his brave crew is a wonderful souvenir and a testament to these great men and to your own determination and tenacity in researching and sharing this important story Thank you most sincerely. Robert O’Brien
Thank you Robert for your kind words. It was wonderful that you were able to attend the commemoration events, and that we had a chance to meet in person.
Pieter and Daria
I have visited both the cemetery and the memorial panel. Watching the video really brought the whole story to life. You have done an amazing job. Well done to all who were involved in the project.
Julie Allen, Author, A Canadian Journey and Researcher, Faces To Graves
Thank you for your kind words, Julie. The research into the life of WW2 pilot Elmer Muttart and the last flight of Halifax L9561 on October 12, 1941 meant a great deal to all of us who were involved in the project to put up a memorial panel in Wons. It’s important that the panel is there for all to remember and reflect on the courage and sacrifice of so many during WW2. Pieter and Daria.