Ted Barris, award-winning journalist, author, and broadcaster, held his audience of 135 people spellbound at the September 20 Canadian Club of Halton dinner, the first dinner in its 33rd season. Ted’s recently published book – Dam Busters: Canadian Airmen and the Secret Raid against Nazi Germany – was the subject of his delightful and informative talk. It recounts the dramatic story of the May 16, 1943 high-risk Allied Bomber Command mission to fly 19 Lancaster bombers with 133 airmen into the industrial heartland of the Third Reich to destroy power dams on the Ruhr River. The raiders breached two dams and severely damaged a third. Eleven of the Lancasters made it back as did 16 of the 30 RCAF airmen who participated.
The book clearly highlights the role that Canada’s young men played in bringing an end to the Second World War. Often these well-trained and dedicated airmen did not receive the recognition they deserved, according to Ted.
For more than 40 years Ted’s writing has regularly appeared in the Globe and Mail and the National Post, as well as in magazines as diverse as Legion, Air Force, esprit de corps, Quill and Quire, and Zoomer. He has also worked as host and contributor for most CBC Radio network programs, and on TV Ontario. This year, after 18 years of teaching, he retired as a full-time professor of journalism and broadcasting at Toronto’s Centennial College.
Ted is the author of 19 bestselling non-fiction books, including a series on wartime Canada. The Great Escape: A Canadian Story won a 2014 Libris Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award.
Dam Busters is a fascinating accounting of one of the most important attacks of World War II, hastening its end. It is a story about talented, intelligent and determined Canadian heroes, usually in their late teens and early 20’s, who placed country above their own personal safety. The book is a compelling read and Ted Barris brought it to life with his dynamic presentation style and detailed knowledge along with a few video clips and numerous slides.
Excerpted from the book’s forward by Peter Mansbridge: “He was young – still in his teens – a little bit nervous but overall very excited by the moment. He peered out the mid-upper gunner’s turret at a vast expanse of water… It was loud, very loud inside the Lancaster….”
View photos from event.