With little attention by media, two sad news went almost unnoticed recently. Two heroes have passed away, two men unknown to many, but of great service not only to the field history, but also to the world of today.
First of them was Jan De Vries, decorated Canadian veteran, member of the 1st Canadian parachute battalion. Mr. De Vries parachuted into Normandy in June 1944 and fought through Ardennes, Holland and into Germany until the end of the war. After the return to Canada, he fought his second fight, no less important – the fight to preserve the Canadian history and heritage. As a volunteer in a number of educational and memorial initiatives and associations he played an instrumental role in preserving the memory of the war and experience of the whole generation of veterans for the future generations.
Mr. De Vries passed away on May 27, 2012.
The second was Sir John Keegan, historian of international reputation, whose contribution to the field of modern military history is invaluable. He established his reputation by the groundbreaking book “Face of battle”, in which he examined three historical battles from the perspective of a soldier and which shaped the work of many future authors and historians.
His books covered many conflicts and battles from the ancient history up until the end of 20th century. His work as a writer and journalist earned him recognition by many as “our generation’s foremost military historian”, using the words of Civil War historian James M. McPherson.
Sir John Keegan died on August 2nd, 2012.