Farley Mowat Canadian Veteran and Author died

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Owen, May 8, 2014.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The Hasty P's were a part of 1st brigade of the Cdn 1st Inf. division which landed in Sicily direct from the Uk as a
    replacement for the British 3rd Division - so they were thrown in at the deep end - as their Div Commander and many of his staff were killed in flying to Egypt to liase with 3rd Div HQ…now and again in Italy my Regiment often supported the Hasty P's in the odd
    battle - they were a good mob…

    His death has struck Canada harshly and is front and centre all day long in the media

  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    First I heard of it was Paul Reed's Twitter feed.
    I'm surprised if it such a big news story in Canada none of the Canadian members mentioned his passing.
    Feel like I need to read his books now.
  4. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Carry on Farley, wherever you are ...

    I loved Farley Mowat, always an interesting man to hear in an interview. Despite some harsh criticism directed at him over the years the world nevertheless embraced him and cherished him for the great writer and character he was.
  5. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    :poppy: Farley Mowat RIP :poppy:

  6. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I am sorry to hear this. And No Birds Sang is one of the great combat memoirs.
  7. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Farley Mowat was a bit of a controversial person here. He once quippped "never let the truth get in the way of a good story". He was banned from entry into the US in the 80's. Many of his stories were on the required reading list for Canadian Lit in the 70's and 80's. I did reports on "Call of the Wild" and "Lost in the Barrens". A few years ago I read his history of the Prince Edward and Hastings Regiment "the Regiment" did a colossal job on the "Battle of Assoro" essentially they took a page from Wolfes assault on Quebec in 1759.

    RIP Farley Mowat another D-Day Dodger.
  8. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    I bought 'and No birds sang' only this morning.

  9. TimRE

    TimRE Member

    Highly recommend "And No Birds Sang" for ww2 info, and "Never Cry Wolf" as best of his wildlife stories. He could be a hilariously funny writer. Sad.
  10. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    This story has received much attention here. Farley was probably our best known veteran and arguably one of the most influential Canadian writers in the past 50 years. In my view, he was a national treasure. I had the pleasure of speaking with him for 15 minutes some years ago. Truly a character, an original thinker, politically incorrect and an amazing story teller. He will be missed!

    His military books, particularly And No Birds Sang are must reads.

    RIP Farley

  11. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member

    A true Canadian blessed with a sharp wit and never one to shrink from a good argument. " And No Birds Sang" was the sequel to 'The Regiment" and described the Italian Campaign like few others.
    R.I.P. Farley Mowatt
  12. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    "Without a function, we cease to be. So, I will write till I die. "

    Farley Mowat

    Attached Files:

  13. Combover

    Combover Guest

    RIP. I've seen a few interviews with him and he was quite a character with very strong conviction.
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    That pic you posted of his medals - I can hear Tom Canning saying ''he's got his 39-45 Star ribbon the wrong way around''.
  15. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    you got that right - as always- but the man is dead now and we can speak no ill- but both the Italian and German stars are

    correct and it should not be forgotten that his regiment fought from the beaches of Sicily to way past Cesena in Northern Italy -
    then on to Belgium and the end in Germany taking part in battles such as Agira - Ortona - Cassino - Frosinone - Gothic Line -

    Cesena and many lesser "skirmish's "

    Not a bad record and Farley Mowatt was in the thick of it… a true D Day Dodger…

    canuck likes this.
  16. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I believe that the book was a compulsary read for members of the Regiment.

    :poppy: Farley Mowat RIP :poppy:

  17. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    "Like many young men, he eagerly marched off to fight for King and Country in the Second World War, but the atrocities he witnessed and the killings he himself committed in the brutal Italian campaign so traumatized him that he turned again to his animal friends, if only in his imagination. It was in Ortona, against the backdrop of German guns, that he drafted early versions of The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be and Owls in the Family."

    There are few accounts from the infantry of ww2 that are as thoughtful and articulate as Mowat's works. His descriptions of the slow onset of combat fatigue, as his father had warned about, are particularly enlightening. He gave a voice to the thousands of disaffected veterans who struggled to overcome the experience and returned home very bitter. Reading Mowat early on was a revelation to me and tempered my youthful perception of the glory of war.
  18. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    farley mowet.R.I.P.regards bernard85 :poppy: :poppy:
  19. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Giving this thread a bump. Farley was one of those rare people that you think about long after they are gone. A true Canadian.

    A description of arguably the most famous action of the Hasty P's:

    Miracle at Monte Assoro-

    July 20, 1943 brought 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade up against a major obstacle in Sicily—the 906-metre high summit of Monte Assoro. Monte Assoro dominated all routes that 1st Canadian Infantry Division needed to continue advancing by. The Germans had transformed it into a defensive bastion

    The village of Assoro clung to the side of the summit’s western flank. A winding road switch backed up to the village and on to the ruins of a Norman castle on the summit. Brigadier Howard Graham assigned Monte Assoro’s capture to Ontario’s Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment. Graham realized the road would be covered by countless machine-gun and sniper positions and was exposed to artillery and mortar fire. “To hope for success by moving up the torturous road was out of the question,” he said. “The regiment would be slaughtered.”

    Graham and Lieutenant Colonel Bill Sutcliffe, commander of the Hasty Ps, decided the only chance was to carry out a right hook up the summit’s virtually sheer southeast face by following “what appeared to be goat tracks in some places.” Worse came to worse, the regiment would just have to scale it. The assault would have to take place under cover of darkness. The troops must gain and capture the summit before dawn or end up easy targets for the German defenders. The assault teams would carry minimal gear—weapons, ammunition, and precious water bottles.
    No sooner was this decision taken than Sutcliffe was killed by German artillery. Regimental command passed to Major John Tweedsmuir—a British lord posted to the Hasty Ps. Tweedsmuir hurriedly organized the attack and the troops moved off at 2130 hours. Leading the way was a special assault company of hand-picked men under Captain Alex Campbell. It consisted of about sixty men broken into three platoons of twenty each. Among the platoon leaders was Lieutenant Farley Mowat.

    The assault company, leading the Hasty Ps set off single file into the darkness. Because of the difficult terrain it was not until 0400 hours that they reached the summit’s base. Campbell’s men led the way up the cliff face. Centuries before, the mountain had been sculpted into forty-seven steep, now badly overgrown terraces. The men moved up ledge to ledge, passing weapons and ammunition up to those leading, and then clawing their way up. It was gruelling work. Yet not a man slipped and fell. Not a rifle clattered against stone to betray them. Shortly before dawn, the Hasty Ps gained the summit and surprised three Germans guarding that section. Believing the cliff impossible to scale, the Germans had concentrated their forces overlooking the road. A wild melee ensued that the Hasty Ps won in a fierce day of fighting. Monte Assoro no longer impeded the Canadian advance. Only eight Hasty Ps died in an action Canadian Press correspondent Ross Munro declared “the most daring and spectacular…of all the actions in Sicily.”
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
    Chris C likes this.
  20. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Prayer before Battle

    By Major Alex Campbell

    When 'neath the rumble of the guns,
    I lead my men against the Huns,
    'Tis then I feel so all alone and weak and scared,
    And oft I wonder how I dared,
    Accept the task of leading men.

    I wonder, worry, fret, and then I pray,
    Oh God! Who promised oft
    To humble men a listening ear,
    Now in my spirit's troubled state,
    Draw near, dear God, draw near, draw near.

    Make me more willing to obey,
    Help me to merit my command,
    And if this be my fatal day,
    Reach out, Oh God, Thy Guiding Hand,
    And lead me down that deep, dark vale.

    These men of mine must never know
    How much afraid I really am,
    Help me to lead them in the fight
    So they will say, "He was a man".

    Composed by Major Alex Campbell and found on his person after he had been KIA 25 December 1943, Moro River, Italy.

    "Alex Campbell, friend and fellow junior officer, had been dispatched to fend off a group of German infiltrators when his platoon had been caught by enfilading fire. Alex took the only course of action he could and charged the enemy position firing his tommy gun. He had gone no further than four paces when his body, riddled with bullets, fell to the ground." Farley Mowat


    Thistle746, Chris C and Buteman like this.

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