The Two Idiots Podcast

Two Idiots 142: Somewhere in Flanders feat. Heather McBriarty

01:00:53 | Oct 27, 2021

Episodes Notes

Heather McBriarty joins the show this week to tell us how her family discovered nearly 70 letters written by a mysterious Canadian First World War soldier, from 1914-16, named James W Johnstone to her grandma Isobel (who Jim affectionately called "Chiquita") and how she compiled those letters into a book, called 'Somewhere in Flanders'. Through the letters written to his sweetheart back in Canada, Jim (with Heather's help) tells, firsthand, the story of his training in Quebec and England, his journey as a part of the biggest military force to every cross the Atlantic ocean, trench warfare and battles in France and Belgium, surviving the Battle of Ypres and his time in military hospitals, some sense of the horrors around him, and so much more. We chat about how Jim would write letters with shells exploding all around, criticizing his own spelling and penmanship the entire time, how utterly likeable he is and how sweet his letters are despite his circumstances, the impacts of the war on families, the meaning of Remembrance Day, stories of the rowdy Canadian troops - hooligans, heroes, and hockey - and more! It was a pleasure reading Heather's book and an even greater pleasure getting to discuss it with her, so we hope you enjoy!

Here's the Amazon link to 'Somewhere in Flanders': and the link to her upcoming First World War novel 'Amid the Splintered Trees': 

*** We're played out this week by Nuce’s newest track 'The Focus'. Check it out! - ***

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