Sask. family gets WW II recording of their father years after his death

Bert West got a little piece of his father a few years after he passed away. 

Bert is the son of Bill West, a mechanic who served in the Second World War. 

In 1944, Pepsi Cola came around to bases and allowed servicemen to make recordings and send them home. Bill made his recording, then sent it to his mother, who didn't have a record player so it ended up at Bill's sister's home.

After more juggling throughout the years, it ended up being donated by the family to the Saskatchewan Archives. The family had to send it to Alberta for the audio to be digitized so they could have MP3 copies of it. Bert said they gave the original to the archives because they weren't sure which of the three siblings would get the record. 

"Anybody would have a chance to look at it and as it turned out it was a long time before [a] second one showed up," he said. 

"They couldn't read anything off it, so ours is the only one in the provincial archives in Regina."

A similar Second World War recording from New Brunswick that resurfaced after an extraordinary journey — travelling from one coast to the other — also recently made news.

Submitted by Bert West

Bill passed away in 2004 and Bert's family got the old wax record in 2008.

"It was a wonderful feeling because once he passed away, we have letters and stuff from him and pictures, but no voice," Bert said, speaking on CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition. "It's very special."

Bert said the record likely survived because it was played very minimally and was always kept in a cool and dark place.

Bert also said that these personal mementos of vets from the Second World War are important.

"I wish we had more of them. When we listen to that, I was thinking 'Geez, it would sure be nice if we had more recordings that we could play,'" he said.