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The Website that Helped
Charlie Laing, an elderly Dunningite, had long sought to complete the unfinished story of Dunning soldier Cameron Walker and his rescue by a brave family in Normandy at the outbreak of World War II.
Cameron Walker was a lad a couple of years older than Charlie, a conscript in the Black Watch. During the rapid invasion of France by Hitler's Panzer Divisions in 1940, Cameron became separated from his regiment. The story of his being taken in and kept hidden during the war by a farm family was known to Charlie Laing in its outline, but events were to obscure it: after the liberation of Normandy, Cameron came back to Scotland, but died a few months later after an unsuccessful operation. His family was a large one (14 children) but with everyone going their own way, somehow the details of who had rescued Cameron (their name, the place) became lost.
Charlie Laing searched in vain to complete the story. He wanted to write to the family and thank them for saving a fellow member of the Black Watch. Then, by sheerest chance, a man in Nova Scotia looking for details of his Scottish grandfather sat down at his computer, typed the word 'Dunning' into his Google search engine, and reached the website you are looking at. The man was a nephew of Cameron Walker. He had never met his uncle, but after some helpful advice from DPHS webmaster Simon Warren, he was put in touch with Charlie Laing. A little later, the Nova Scotian remembered that stored somewhere in his attic were some letters which had to do with Cameron Walker.
Charlie Laing received the letters, but unfortunately was very ill. He asked for help from Ted Dorsett, another ex-soldier living in Dunning. With the help of retired French teacher Peggy Smith, Ted took up the inquiry, and used the letters to find out that the rescuers had been the Hubert family of Sainte Foy and that they were having a family reunion last August.
Alas, Charlie Laing died in the spring. But two Walker family members and two representatives of the Dunning Parish Historical Society visited the Hubert family bearing gifts and thanks. And this summer, members of the Hubert family plan to visit Dunning to see where Cameron lived.
Charlie Laing would have been pleased to see that his passion to complete the story of Cameron Walker's rescue has been passed on to a couple of other Dunningites. Peggy Smith will be a chief interpreter for the French visitors. Ted Dorsett, who spoke recently to the DPHS about the trip to France, is planning a video documentary on the subject. Lorne Wallace, who has an article on the Hubert family in the winter edition of the DPHS publication The Dunningite, is conducting further research and is going to write a booklet on the subject.
All of these individuals, as well as the Historical Society, are grateful that in August 2002 a man in Nova Scotia decided one summer evening to do some genealogical research and made contact with this website. Without that, we'd all still be in the dark about Cameron Walker's rescuers.
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