“Conscripted into the army in 1942, a reluctant Sault resident did his duty.”


The Sault Ste. Marie Museum will host author Daniel Johns on Wednesday July 19th.  He will be presenting his latest military novel called, Never A Solidier: A Conscript Serves in the Second World War.

Drafted in August 1942 at age 35 and a half to serve the Canadian Army, Daniel Johns didn’t want to go. Nevertheless, he dutifully reported to the armory in Sault Ste. Marie. In contrast to an impressionable teenage recruit, Johns’s prior depression era life experience in Detroit automotive factories and Northern Ontario bush camps had instilled in him a jaded respect for authority. Described by one captain as a “barracks room lawyer,” Johns remained a minor discipline problem throughout his service. Required to serve, Johns subsequently volunteered for transfer to Europe where he did his job. He performed conscientiously and, when necessary, bravely.

The author, Daniel Johns – who shares the same name as the subject of Never a Soldier – took advantage of fact his uncle was a prolific and colourful storyteller.  Stories collected from his uncle by the author were supplemented by other relatives, many of whom continue to reside in the Sault. The author researched official and unofficial records of the war to create a coherent storyline. The result is a book that reflects an important era in the history of the Sault and Canada. It contributes to the history of the Second World War, Sault Ste. Marie, the Canadian Army and the Johns family.

There will be various artifacts on display of Daniel John’s that he used in while in the war.

Fully entitled Never a Soldier: A Conscript Serves in the Second World War, copies of the book will be available for purchase. The author will also give a short talk and read a couple of excepts which demonstrate “Uncle Dan’s” singular view of a soldier’s life. Johns was assigned to an ordnance unit serving soldiers on the frontlines. He was bombed, shelled and on a couple of occasions shot at. Nevertheless, he acknowledged he was safer than the infantry just in front of him. It was a scary, uncomfortable time for him, but not without moments of humour.

Refreshments and light snacks will be provided. Admission to this event is by donation. Event runs from 4:00pm to 5:30pm.

WHAT: Author Talk withDaniel Johns

WHEN: July 19, 2023

WHERE: 690 Queen St. East – The Sault Ste. Marie Museum

TIME: 4:00pm – 5:30pm

ADMISSION:  Admission by monetary donation

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