The Project

 

The Testaments of Honour Historical Archive was created in 1999 to chronicle on digital video first-hand accounts of WW2 veterans in Canada. 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.”

 

Almost all of them are gone now. But through the Testaments Archive, these men and women will continue to connect with future generations, and share their experiences as first-hand witnesses of World War 2 as it erupted around them. Even for those with only a modest interest in those years, there are so many wonderful stories of young men and young women here, all too frequently growing up very young and very fast.  There is much more to be discovered here than a record of names, places, dates, and numbers. These are up close and personal accounts of events that changed the world. Theirs is the singular ‘stuff’ of everyday lives that formed the fabric of our history. Welcome.

 

 

Cover of The Survivor: Scruffy's War, by Blake Heathcote

Unremarkable: A Good Place to Start

Published on Remembrance Day, November 11, 2015, and one of the most astonishing stories from the Testaments of Honour Archive. Here is a short passage from the book:

 

"If John accepted, he could never talk about any assignment he was given, nor could he speak of, or in any way acknowledge, the existence of the Network with anyone but his Uncle Adrian. What’s more, he would be accountable and on call for the rest of his life.

 

The work would never be particularly easy. There would always be danger and there would be no medals or decorations. The only reward was the assignments themselves. If no-one was aware of him, or what he had done, then he had succeeded. In that regard, the work was the definition of thankless.

 

There would come a time, as there inevitably did in all intelligence work, when John would be asked to take an assignment that he did not want. But refusal was not an option. Volunteering meant there was no turning back."

 

This is the story of John ‘Scruffy’ Weir, a key figure in WWII’s Great Escape, and a most 'unremarkable' man.