North Road from Gunton

Coming Soon

Canadian writer Liz Katynski's book, Dickies from Gunton: Canadian Brothers in Arms in Two World Wars, is coming soon. On the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and just over a century after the end of the First World War, it's a timely story about real experiences in another unprecedented and important time in Canadian history.

As today's world faces a global pandemic, we can still only imagine what it was like to face two world wars. These boys were there. What was it like growing up in small town Manitoba and heading off on the road to adventure, serving in Europe in the First World War, serving in Hong Kong in the Second World War, and returning to Canadian life? They never shared their stories, until now.

PJ Dickie served with the Fort Garry Horse in WWI.Earl Dickie served with the Winnipeg Grenadiers in WWII.

Dickies from Gunton: Canadian Brothers in Arms in Two World Wars

Early in the 20th century, the Dickie brothers from Gunton, Manitoba are ordinary Canadian prairie boys facing extraordinary times. Canada finds itself in two world wars, and like many of their contemporaries, the boys are called upon to serve their king and country. Percy (PJ) Dickie serves with the Fort Garry Horse in the First and Second World Wars. Earl Dickie serves with the Fort Garry Horse militia and, with the Winnipeg Grenadiers in the Second World War.

For the Dickies, war is brutal and humbling. As Percy writes home to his father from the trenches, "it is no birthday." And Earl describes the horrors of imprisonment in Hong Kong as "on the whole inhuman treatment". Their mother, like many mothers in Canada, is proud and patriotic, but she also struggles with many unsettling uncertainties as her sons go off to save the world. As the boys discover, there is nothing gallant about war. Life is tough enough.

By Liz Katynski

Canadian writer, Liz Katynski an experienced journalist and creative storyteller. Growing up in Winnipeg with an avid interest in 20th century history, she has worked as a writer for many years. In her first book, Liz turns to the fragments lingering in old sketches, photos, military records, articles and memories to piece together the stories of two veterans she always wondered about.

The late Gord Hancock, co-founder of the St. Vital Historical Society, was among many people who have always encouraged Liz to write the stories of her family and community, stories like this one. In 1995, he said:

"I have come to know Liz as a friend. As a reporter, her writing style is fluid and to the point and she picks out the newsworthy essence of a story easily. She is curious and perceptive and, in my view, she writes very well. She also has a very warm, engaging and understanding appreciation of other people and their lives that is well beyond her years."

As an author and scriptwriter, Liz is growing her body of work and connecting with creative colleagues who share her passion for being a part of telling a good story in books, theatre, television and film. Her mission is to honour the vision and enthusiasm of her greatest fan, the late FVB, who always said:

"Liz is the best writer of our time."

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