NEW GLASGOW – Tom Dudka remembers asking his father once what he thought of the then recently released movie “Saving Private Ryan.”
“Why would I watch it?” Stanley Dudka replied. “I lived it.”
On June 6, 1944, Dudka landed at Juno Beach as part of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. He was injured twice during the battle. He was taken prisoner of war by the Germans, held for several weeks, and then he escaped back to Allied lines. While in captivity he witnessed the murder of Canadian Prisoners of War by enemy soldiers under the command of SS Major Kurt Meyer, a devastating sight he would testify about in 1945 at Meyer’s war crimes trial before a Canadian Military Court in Aurich, Germany.
When he returned home he worked as a miner and then as a Department of Fisheries officer.
Last week it was announced the latest Canadian Coast Guard vessel has been named after the Pictou County native and his family couldn’t be prouder.
“For us it’s an honour for it to be named after him,” Tom said.
Dudka passed away in 2008 at the age of 85, but Tom said he would have been very happy to hear that a ship would bear his name.