Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen
and The Allied Victory of WW2.
The incredible story of a 95 year-old WW2 veteran from Saltburn. A powerful witness testimony to the holocaust made much more powerful because the witness is a local man. It had to be documented. Thanks to John Connolly of Skelton for introducing me to Eddie. As John said in the film “sometimes those who came back alive didn’t get the recognition they deserved”. The film helped address that for one old soldier in his final years. CH
WATCH 3-MIN. TRAILER ON YOUTUBE
Eddie Straight was just 20 when he left the quiet seaside town of Saltburn in 1940 to join up. What WW2 bestowed upon him left scars for a lifetime.
In June ’44, he landed at Normandy as part of elite tank regiment, the 11th Armoured Division aka “The Black Bulls”. In the Spring of ’45, he crossed into Nazi Germany and found himself an unsuspecting witness to the holocaust. He was sent in to help liberate the now infamous Bergen-Belsen death camp. The unimaginable scenes of horror and depravity that confronted Eddie would haunt him for the rest of his life…
After Victory in Europe, he was sent to the Burmese jungle with a platoon of West African troops to clean up at the end of the Japanese campaign.
Despite being wounded by bayonet and bullet; and being struck down with malaria, Eddie survived the war and lived to tell the tale 70 years later.
Dorman Museum, Middlesbrough
15th April 2015
Marking the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.
Around 125 guests attended the Premiere screening at Dorman Museum including guest of honour Mr. Eddie Straight. It was 70 years to the day since the liberation of the Belsen death camp. Eddie got a standing ovation at the end and remarked of the film, “it was a damn good show”.
FILM & EXHIBITION
@ Dorman Museum,
April 15th - June 28th 2015
The exhibition includes a war souvenir that Eddie says is the ceremonial sword of the notorious Camp Kommandant Josef Kramer that he ‘liberated’ from the camp.
There is also a selection of photographs taken by award-winning ex-army photographer
Ian Forsyth also of Saltburn.
5th JUNE 2015: EDDIE RE-VISITS MUSEUM
Eddie revisited the museum to view the film and exhibition without the hullaballo of Premiere night. After watching the film for the second time he remarked “I need a drink after watching that!” So we took him back to Saltburn and grabbed one at The Ship.
FROM THE EXHIBITION GUESTBOOK:
“Words cannot describe how moved and in awe I am”
D. Southam, Sunderland
“Truly amazing man. Shocking film. Excellent”
Janice Clark, Middlesbrough
“Well done Eddie, Craig and Ian for such a graphic portrayal.
Should be shown on national TV and in every school and college”
“This should be shown to the world”
Mary Houseman, Guisborough
“Very very powerful, very realistic and very sensitively done”
D. Cox, Ontario, Canada
“What a story & what a man. Where’s the VC?”
Peter & Gill McKay, Marton
“How do we comprehend what Eddie endured?”
“Raises many issues not least post traumatic stress.
If I was moved to tears what did he go through?”
Frank Gibson, Teesside/New Zealand
“Thank you Eddie for what you did in the war.
I am so sorry you lost so many friends
and all the nasty things you saw.
Love and respect to you”
“Brings home the reality of war. Fantastic this film has been made”
Barbara Munro, Thornaby
“This movie had more impact than visiting Auschwitz. What a man!”
Simon Gowland-Brown, Newton-under-Roseberry
“The Belsen part was very emotional and hard hitting, for the first time
someone’s admitted to giving the guards a kicking!”
Mr. Tidy, Saltburn
“The story told in Eddie’s eyes is a more powerful testament than his own words!
Thank God you got to him Craig before he took it with him”
Gary D’Orio (Cameraman, CNN, New York)
“I need a drink after watching that”
Eddie Straight, Saltburn
29th JUNE 2015: EDDIE TURNS 95
A Happy 95th for Eddie with a load of cards from new found fans and a pint at The Ship.
Thanks to everyone who responded to the Facebook appeal !
THE SALTBURN PREMIERE
15th AUGUST 2015
Marking the 70th Anniversary of VJ Day – The End of World War Two.
A minute’s silence at the beginning and a standing ovation at the end for Eddie from a sell out crowd at Saltburn Theatre. A second show at 9pm catered for an extra 50 who couldn’t get in earlier. Eddie took a bow and said “Thank you, it is nice to know that what we did is appreciated”. People then queued up to shake his hand including a 95-year old woman who told him “I am your generation, I am your age” and kissed him in tears.
Many thanks to all who came, to the Saltburn Ward Councillors for covering the venue hire and all at The Theatre – Christine, Wilma, Drexel, Peter, Peter, Jill and Dawn on the door. And thanks to the couple who came from Sunderland to see it !
"Soldier To Soldier - Eddie Straight by Ian Forsyth"
Photo exhibition in the Theatre Bar until Oct 2015.
20th March 2018:
EDDIE STRAIGHT RIP
Sad to report that Eddie passed away peacefully at the nursing home in Saltburn where he has lived for the past 5 years. He was 97. It was a great honour to get to know him these past few years and an incredible priviledge to make the film about his wartime experiences. Many thanks to John Connolly for looking out for Eddie over many years and for introducing me to him.
Eddie given a hero’s send off by family, friends, the British Legion and the media.
To everyone who has been to see it and who helped us along the way:
John Connolly, Ian Forsyth, Phil Philo & The Dorman Museum, Imperial War Museum (Fiona Davis, Matt Lee), Colin R. Leech of Bergen-Belsen.co.uk, The Four Seasons, The Ship Inn-Saltburn, Major Anthony Wharton, Miki and Chris Rogers, Abi Hadfield-Signwriter, Thurston Printers, Saltburn Film Festival, Saltburn Community Theatre, John Foster-BBC Tees, Chris Webber-Northern Echo, Stuart Whincup BBC Look North, Derek Proud-ITV Tyne Tees News, The Gazette, Mike Morrissey, Talk of the Town, Coastal View & Now & Then.