Captain Sandy MacPherson was surprised to see a blonde woman running toward his Jeep while he was driving through the war-ravished town of Le Touquet, France. As a member of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps in England, Sandy was far from his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan. Unable to qualify for combat due to poor eyesight, he had already created a more just Court Martials system for the Canadian Army and was pleased to now support Canadian troops on the front lines with food and other necessities. That’s when he found himself in Le Touquet, France, in the arms of Dorothy Borutti. From inside her prison cell in Lille, France, Dorothy had vowed she would embrace the first liberator who came to free her and her hometown of Le Touquet from the German occupiers. And now he was here in front of her! Sandy and Dorothy’s story follows their separate journeys in Canada and France, and their wartime efforts to return the world to freedom. After the war, Dorothy followed Sandy back to Canada, where he ruled on significant cases as an esteemed Saskatchewan Queen’s Bench judge. Dorothy embraced her new country of Canada while serving as a lifelong ambassador for her homeland of France. Their daughter, former Canadian journalist Romie Christie, shares glimpses of her parents’ captivating lives through their personal journal entries, family stories, and historical records. Their war story turned love story has been respected in Canada and France, where the town of Le Touquet is still grateful to Sandy for being their liberator.
About the authors
Romie Christie was a journalist who produced CBC Radio shows for almost 20 years, bringing hundreds of stories to the airwaves. She provided stories for national CBC current affairs programs including Morningside, As it Happens, Cross Country Check-Up, Sunday Edition, Sounds Like Canada, and The Current. She later worked with the Mental Health Commission of Canada for over a decade to benefit people with lived experience of mental illness. Romie loves nature and laughter and seeing the magic in the world around her. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Excerpt: See You in See You in Le Touquet: A Memoir of War and Destiny (by (author) Romie Christie; edited by Deana Driver)
Chapter 6 May 1940, Canada
Sandy’s telegram home was short and to the point. “Being shipped to England in two weeks. Five days leave to return home.” To say his goodbyes... ...But, Sandy, what may come as a surprise to you is that my injuries weren’t the worst part of the war for me. Not by far. The true horrors were watching soldiers fall on the battlefield, hearing men screaming in pain, so many of them dying. Nothing prepares you for that. When I knew them personally, it was torturous, by far the hardest thing I’ve faced in all my lifetime. I pray you don’t experience what I did. But war is war. It is my duty to forewarn you.” Murdo took a deep breath. “All that said, your mother and I are very proud of both you and Ian. We know you have no choice about whether to go or not. Just how I felt when I signed up in 1915. It’s your duty to do everything in your power to stop Hitler from taking over the free world. “But I say this to you, my son,” he said, looking directly into Sandy’s eyes. “In our hearts, we want you both to come home. No one knows what lies ahead. But, God willing, that is what we pray.” Sandy returned his father’s gaze. He’d taken in every word. “Thank you, Father. I’m still learning what it takes to do my job in the military, but I vow to you I’ll do my very best to serve fighting soldiers like you were, like Ian will be. And there’s something else I want you to know. The sign outside your law firm door has my name on it, not just yours. MacPherson. When this is over, I plan to return and take my rightful place beside you.”
Chapter 16 Loos Prison
Dorothy had little warning. A police officer arrived at 4:30 p.m. on September 21, 1942, to say she must report to the Le Touquet police station in a half hour, with her suitcase. She and Emily drank a quick cup of tea together to calm themselves, then she headed off on her bicycle, balancing her suitcase in her basket. “What will happen when I arrive?” she wondered, as she pedalled her way. Everything from this point on was unknown. She parked her bike at the casino, now serving as the police station, and climbed the stairs. She met with a German gendarme to fill out forms and leave her bag. They’d be checking through it with a fine-tooth comb. She was permitted to return home so Romano, who’d been out when she first left, could accompany her to Étaples to catch the 7:30 evening train to Montreuil. She hugged her mother as tightly as she could, promised she’d see her soon and that the time would speed by, and forced herself to smile. Then she and her father mounted their bicycles and departed. Étaples was only a few kilometres away through the countryside and across the bridge over the Canche River, but Romano was in no hurry to turn over his daughter to the enemy, so he set a slow pace for their ride in the evening light, savouring these last few minutes together. “Please God, don’t let this be the last time I see my beloved daughter,” he prayed... ...Three female prison guards immediately ordered Dorothy to strip off her clothes and shower, while they watched. She was embarrassed in her nakedness, and in exposing her skinny body with its protruding ribs. As she dried her eyes, she wasn’t certain but thought she saw a male guard peering through a window, watching. She felt sick, violated, angry. Above all, she was afraid. One of the guards handed her a prisoner uniform to put on, enormous on her slight frame. Then she was marched down the echoing hallway of the prison. Her legs trembled. She glanced inside the small cells they passed by and realized the gendarme was right. The women inside did appear rough and intimidating. And the smell was overwhelming, Were their no lavatories? Then she noticed pails in a corner of each cell, obviously the toilet. She felt herself begin to wretch but managed to calm herself.
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Tunnels of Tyranny
Moose Jaw Time Travel Adventure #4
Tunnels of Treachery
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Tunnels of Terror
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Tunnels of Time
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The First St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog in a Canadian Emergency Room
Skye Bird and the Eagle Feather
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The Sailor and the Christmas Trees
A True Story