Monday, April 30, 2018

They Shall Grow Not Old, Bud's Story

Photo of Bud Baggs from his RCAF enlistment record in 1941

My family first history book, 'They shall grow not old', Bud's story was published in 2016. 

The book is written as a quest, describing my journey to find out about the uncle I never met. Herbert Gerald Baggs died aged 21, while on active service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1943. If he were still alive today he would have just celebrated his 96th birthday!

Copies of my book are available in the State Library of Western Australia and the National Library of Australia. A copy has been sent to Library and Archives Canada.

Here are some lines from the beginning of the book:

"On 19 April 1943, just three days after his 21st birthday, our Canadian uncle Gerald died while on active service with the Royal Canadian Air Force. A few days later Gerald's name appeared among the list of air casualties, one of the grim announcements published regularly in the Toronto Globe and Mail. Four other Canadian Air Force personnel lost their lives that day in 1943 – a sobering reminder of the fear and dread families lived through during wartime, not knowing who might be next.
As children growing up in sunny post-war Australia, we three sisters had heard little about our Canadian uncle – he was somewhat of a mystery to us. We knew he had died in a plane crash during the war, but the circumstances of his death remained hidden from us for many years. Both our parents, like so many others who had experienced those harrowing war years, kept their painful war memories to themselves and we hesitated to press them on that subject. As a child I imagined uncle Gerald would suddenly appear at my school and announce himself to me. I couldn't fathom that he could have just disappeared. Maybe someone had made a terrible mistake in declaring him dead?"

Grave of Herbert Gerald Baggs in Toronto

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember him.

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