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440 Productions Pays Tribute To Veterans October 30, 2006 Article in The Trident - the Newspaper of Maritime Forces Atlantic (Canada) By Virginia Beaton, Trident staff For more than a decade, a group in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia has been honouring veterans by presenting stage shows about wartime history. George Egan is director of 440 Productions Association and according to him, the group had its start 15 years ago from a 12th grade English course at Yarmouth High School. “It was English 440 and it had a drama component,” stated Egan. Because of Yarmouth’s connections to the Second World War, “We began to focus on wartime history and heritage.” For 13 years, the group created original stage productions and videos concerning the Second World War and the Korean War. “We did a lot of research,” stated Egan, adding that the group increased its knowledge about war history with reference to Yarmouth, to Nova Scotia, and also, the battles in Europe, the Atlantic and the Pacific. Yarmouth was a military training centre during the war, noted Egan. Telegraphist Air Gunners of the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Navy trained there and the Canadian Infantry Basic Training Camp # 80 was also located there. “We take many of the stories of individual military members and use them to tell the story of the war.” The Association’s current show is titled Tragedy and Triumph - Memories of World War II. Through dialogue, narration and music, the stories unfold and Egan stated “The show is balanced between the tragedy of war, and the triumph of war.” More than 60 pieces of music, mostly songs from the war years, are played during the show. They range from up-tempo favourites such as Kiss Me Goodnight Sergeant Major, and Roll Out the Barrel, to more emotional songs such as We’ll Meet Again. The experiences of sailors, soldiers, and airmen and airwomen are represented in all their variety, from training in wartime Britain to the rigours of the war in the Pacific and the Changi prisoner of war camp in Singapore. According to Egan, one of the most moving stories concerns a soldier from Truro who met and married a young woman in England during the war. They had a daughter and the soldier was able to return home for her christening, the only time he would ever see his child. The soldier was killed by an accidental gun discharge several days after peace was declared in May 1945. The daughter, now over 60, came from Spain to attend the recent Tragedy and Triumph show held at the RCL Colchester Branch 26 in Truro on October 7, 2006. “That was a pretty powerful show,” recalled Egan, noting that an actress onstage played the part of the war bride talking about her small baby “while that baby, now grown up, was in the audience.” 440 Productions Association is an amateur group of approximately 18 members. Egan noted that one of the actors is a CF member, currently posted to CFB Gagetown. While the theatrical aspect of the association is important, Egan emphasized that the group’s overall aim is to maintain the memories and respect for those who served. “The wartime heritage we want to remember is the qualities of the soldiers, sailors, Wrens, airmen and airwomen. They were concerned about their communities and they gave of themselves. The qualities of that generation are the qualities that are needed today... We show what people could be like today, if they wanted.” Tragedy   and   Triumph   -   Memories   of   World   War   II is scheduled to travel to England in the spring of 2007, where it will be staged in Portsmouth for the 60th anniversary memorial weekend for the Telegraphist Air Gunners Association.
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440 Productions Pays Tribute To Veterans October 30, 2006
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