Behind the Scenes

 Background Information

He’s Not Your Daddy is rooted in the history of Canada during World War II. In 1939 Great Britain declared war on Germany. Within days the Commonwealth of Canada followed Great Britain into war.

This excerpt from Reader’s Digest – Canadians at War 1939-1945 © 1986 best describes the life of these everyday citizens during these years.

“During WWII in most of North America life did not change radically. There were shortages of food and necessities, and many men went to fight overseas but life still retained some normalcy. This was not the case in Halifax, Nova Scotia during 1939-1945.  No other Canadian city was so profoundly affected by the war. In many ways Halifax was like a beleaguered and refugee crowded city in Europe. It was the headquarters and nerve center for Canadian naval operations in the Atlantic, a base for British and other Allied ships. It was the main funnel for war shipments over seas for Canada and the continent. It served as a coastal fortress, a naval training ground, a 3500 man base for air defense of the coast, and a repair shop for thousands of Allied ships.”

……….  “The city of Halifax moved virtually the entire overseas army- survivors of torpedoed ships, British children being evacuated to Canadian homes, scientists on secret missions, German prisoners of war, refugees from German-occupied Europe, airman going over seas, airmen returning-on liners, freighters, tankers and tramps from “39 to “45.

The population grew from 70,000 to well over 100,000. Inundated with service men and women, as well as a support staff to provide the work force necessary to keep the war machine working around the clock, and families accompanying soldiers shipping out, or meeting those coming into port on leave, housing became very scarce and the price adjusted accordingly. Locals rented out rooms in their houses, hotels overflowed, barracks were bulging at the seams.  Food was rationed and when a ship needed supplies before heading out to sea any and all available food was taken to provision the ships.”

……….”From the hotels like the Lord Nelson sitting beneath the Citadel, you could hear the convoys being attacked as they left the harbor, which was mined; they were torpedoed and hit with depth charges. You could feel the ground shake and the glass rattle as the ships left the mouth of the harbor. And because of the number of ships sheltered in the basin beyond the mouth of the harbor there was always the threat of an explosion.”

This is where my mother and my aunt spent the war years. My grandfather supervised the construction of the new air strip for training pilots across the harbor in Dartmouth, my uncle worked in the kitchens at the air strip when he finished high school.  In the country, 100 miles away, my grandmother maintained the family home, took care of the older generation, raised her own food. She also often provided food for her family to take back to the city when they experienced severe food shortages.

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