A Summerside author has released her fourth book, this one an autobiographical look at P.E.I. during the Second World War.
Beverley Millar’s previous books have centred on her family’s genealogy, but The Homefront: My Memories of World War Two, 1939-1945, is a more personal tome she’s written for her children.
“I never told them what is was like living through the war on the home front,” said Millar. “I just never thought of it. It was a busy time, raising them.”
In The Homefront, readers will see memorabilia like a Christmas card from her cousin Willie Birch, a page from a ration booklet and some German money.
“I was sort of a pack rat and I kept everything, thinking someday, you know, I’d do something with it,” she said.
One special memory Millar included was an autograph from an airman who boarded with her aunt Maude and uncle Ingham Palmer.
Dated June 18, 1944, the poetic entry read:
Your smile enchants me pretty one
It speaks of love and care,
It’s bright and gay, and like the sun
Is round and full and rare.
So through your life don’t ever lose
That smile you wear today,
And if you ever have the blues
Just smile and they’ll go away.”
The entry was signed by pilot officer Louis Day.
“He was in uniform and it was quite amazing. He was a fine-looking gentleman and to a child, that was quite a thing,” said Millar. “Every time I get feeling a little down on myself, I remember it.”
Millar grew up in Birch Hill, near the Mount Pleasant airport, which opened in 1943 for training pilots under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
In The Homefront, she shares a memorable aviation anecdote from a time she was visiting her aunt Alice Banks in Poplar Grove.
They were leaving the barn after collecting eggs and Millar’s cousin, Kenny, paid an unusual visit home.
Kenny was a pilot in training and that day, he flew his plane between the house and the barn.
“We could see him in the cockpit. Aunt Alice dropped to her knees and sang, Jesus Lover of My Soul. I can’t remember if the eggs got broken or not,” wrote Millar in her chapter called Mount Pleasant Airport.
Millar, 86, started the autobiographical book last year, and finished it with some help.
“I wanted to finish it as a surprise for my family … my eyesight is quite poor, and it got so I couldn’t finish it myself,” she said. In stepped publisher Clinton Morrison at Crescent Isle Publishers, who Millar credits with wrapping up the project.
The Homefront: My Memories of World War Two, 1939-1945 is available by calling Millar at 902-436-2910. The cost is $9.95, and proceeds will be donated to the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
Alison Jenkins is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.