________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 9 . . . . January 7, 2000

cover Lost Over Burma: Search for Closure.

Garth Pritchard (Director). Katherine Rankin and Jerry Krepakevich (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1997.
46 min., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9197 136.

Subject Headings:
World War, 1939-1945-Missing in action-Canada.
World War, 1939-1945-Burma.

Grades 6 and up / Ages 11 and up
Review by Ian Stewart.

*** /4

In the closing days of the Second World War, a volunteer air crew of six young Canadians flew off in a converted DC-3 transport to airdrop food to hungry Burmese living in isolated jungle villages. It was the monsoon season in Southeast Asia, and, even though the crew had flown many missions, flying was extremely dangerous at that time of year. The powerful winds generated by the torrential storms could tear the wings off a plane, throw it into an uncontrollable spiral, and cause certain death for the crew.

The men of flight KN 546 never returned to base, and soon the Canadian Department of Defense notified the men's families that the plane was "missing in action." Forty-five years later, however, the plane's wreckage was discovered, and the Canadian government was able to send a recovery team into the trackless jungle to find and bring out the remains of the young flyers so that they could be buried in a military cemetery.

Viewers learn the characters of these ordinary Canadian men through the shared memories of the brothers and sisters who knew them for only a few short years, the sweethearts who they were never able to marry, the wives they never grew old with, and the comrades with whom they shared the dangers of war. The sorrowful pain of loss felt by these people may have been dulled by the passage of a lifetime of years, but it is never lost or forgotten.

We can only imagine the pain that lives in hundreds of thousands of Canadians who remember and mourn the 42,042 young soldiers, sailors, and airmen who died during the Second World War.

Unfortunately, the monumental effort and sacrifice made by millions of Canadians during WW II is often ignored or neglected by writers, textbook publishers and film makers whose aim is often to simply exploit the flaws in past government policy to promote current attitudes and agendas. Lost Over Burma is a powerful antidote to this diminution of the just cause our nation fought for and the life-long effect it had on our citizens.

Highly Recommended.

Ian, a regular contributor to CM, also reviews Canadian history for the Winnipeg Free Press.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364