"Safe himself, injured while helping others..." (Headline from The Daily News, December 14, 1942.) "A deed of heroism that was not locked forever in the ashes of Saturday night's fire is that of Private Gabriel Ryan of The Newfoundland Militia...Excerpted from The Daily News, December 14, 1942. The Knights Of Columbus Fire, in a Military Leave Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1942, took the lives of 99 poor souls, with a further 109 burned, scarred or fatally injured by the flames, incinderous gases and explosion. The victims were comprised of the following members of the Armed Forces of several countries: Royal Canadian Air Force, The Canadian Army, The United States Army, The Royal Navy, The Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, The Merchant Navy, and on home ground and hardest hit, The Newfoundland Regiment Militia. As well, a number of civilians perished that freezing night, who only desired some pre-Christmas merriment in blacked-out, wartime Newfoundland, in the oldest city in North America. This catastrophic event, analysed by probing justice inquiries to be the work of German espionage, still reverberates throughout wartime history, and continues to capture the hearts and sad imaginations of victim descendants far and wide. Author Shannon Marshall Lush uses scholarly research , WW2 background on a world scale, and a humanistic bio of the life and true story of one Newfoundland Militia Private hailing from St. Mary's Bay, who found himself inside this raging inferno, not only to tell the story of one forgotten hero's trauma, but to highlight an indelible mark on a major tragedy in the annals of Newfoundland history. ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOS. **CANADA BOOK AWARD WINNER**
AUTHOR BIO:Shannon Marshall Lush has written for several Newfoundland publications, including The Evening Telegram and critical articles for Memorial University. He has received awards for his non-fiction and poetry from the NL Provincial Arts & Letters Awards. His Soldier's Coat: Gabriel Ryan And The Knights Of Columbus Fire Of 1942 is his first book. He resides in Mount Pearl, NL.