James Alexander Stirling Macdonald. Enlisted at 18. Navigator for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Shot down in the middle of the night in the Alsace. Could see the pilot and one gunner had not survived. Couldn’t see the rear gunner and assumed he had not made it either. Proceeded to walk through the night until he found a barn to sleep in. With the help of the French Underground (farmers and peasants who were putting their lives in danger to help soldiers to safety), he walked to safety in Switzerland but not before being reunited with Mort, the rear gunner, at a farmhouse just before the border. He came home to teach art to university students in British Columbia, New Mexico and Rome and to teach his grandchildren to make pasta.
He hated to talk about the war but when he did, he often spoke of how it was the women who were the main reason the Underground ran “Only ones smart enough to pull it off” he’d say. Every time he told the story it would remind me that people are generally good, even in the middle of a war.