Finding Stanley

Stanley James Leslie. Sergeant, Infantryman, Pharmacist, husband, father, Grandfather. He died April 25th, 1993. I was born in August.

I never knew my grandfather. All I knew were the glimpses that came with stories from my father and uncles. Stories of a hard-working man and the lessons he imparted to his sons, never speaking of his time overseas during WWII.

As I have grown older, I have sought to discover more about the man behind the stories and in doing so have discovered a passion for the history surrounding his time as an infantryman. In time, it was books and documentaries that started to bring me closer to an idea of what he may have gone through all those years ago. Journeying through history, and hearing the stories of those who were there and chose to share their experience has brought a sense of understanding and closeness to a man I never got the chance to know. 

I know that there are many like me. Sons, daughters, and grandchildren who never got the chance to know the men and women, the heroes who sacrificed so much to keep the world they knew safe or were never told about what it was that their fathers, mothers, and grandparents went through.

For me, the study of history has become a bridge, if not directly to my grandfather, then to the world in which he lived, the conflict in which he fought, and the ideals for which he stood. Without the stories told and recorded by others that shared their experiences, I fear I would never know about what made my grandfather the man his family remembers him to be.

These accounts, stories, and examinations of history help all of us to better understand an event that changed so many lives, that changed the world. It falls to us, the future generations, the descendants of those who came before, to preserve, celebrate, and honour the memories of our loved ones and in doing so preserve some piece of that so that we might come to know them in a way we never did in life. For me, it’s my little way of feeling a little bit closer to my grandfather, a man I never knew but who had such a far-reaching impact on my life through the lessons and life that he gave my father. For that, I will always be grateful.

We will remember them. We will remember their stories. We will remember.

This article was contributed by Double Dagger team member James Leslie.

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