Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

Behind Enemy Lines: World War II is the fifth book in Scholastic Canada's I Am Canada series. The book was published in February 2012 and was written by Carol Matas. It was followed by Gillian Chan's A Call to Battle.


"To the 168 Allied airmen shot down and sent to Buchenwald, and to all the other airmen to whom we owe our freedom.
And also to my family who, along with myself, might not even exist had Hitler prevailed.

Book description[]

"From my rear turret I got a glimpse of our attack, a twin-engine Ju88, coming in for the kill Our starboard engine flared. That's when I saw the two fighters, but too late. We took another hit. There was an explosion so loud my ears started to ring. For a moment I held my breath, not knowing how bad it was, just that the entire plane had shaken.
The skipper said, "Starboard wing's all lighted up fellows.
Bail out, bail out!"
When his bomber is shot down over France, Sam is trapped behind enemy lines. His duty is to get back to England to fly more missions; until he can, he works with the Resistance to sabotage Nazi supply lines. But this puts him in even more danger — if he's caught, he may be executed as a spy.

"Depuis ma tourelle défensive située à la queue de l'avion, j'ai aperçu notre assaillant, un bimoteur Junkers 88 prêt à nous massacrer.
Un des moteurs de tribord s'est enflammé. Puis j'ai aperçu les deux chasseurs, mais trop tard. Nous avons été touchés une seconde fois. L'explosion a été si forte que mes oreilles se sont mises à tinter. J'ai retenu mon souffle pendant un instant. La situation était grave, mai je ne savais pas encore à quel point. L'appareil avait été secoué très fortement.
Le pilote a dit:
—L'aile de tribord est en flammes, les gars. Prenez vos parachutes! Sautez!
Un bombardier a été abattu en plein vol, au-dessus de la France. Sam, qui était à bord, se retrouve coincé derrière les lignes ennemies. Son devoir de soldat est de regagner l'Angleterre afin d'y recevoir un nouvel ordre de mission. En attendant, il aide les résistants français à saboter les voies d'approvisionnnement des nazis. Il prend de gros risques, car, s'il se fait attraper, il sera fusillé en tant qu'espion...



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of Behind Enemy Lines characters


Main article: Carol Matas



  • Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre (2012) - commended[4]
  • OLA Golden Oak Award (2013) - commended[4]
  • Snow Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice (2014) - short-listed[5]
  • Rocky Mountain Book Award, Alberta Children's Choice (2014) - short-listed[4]


"My heartfelt thanks to the veterans who helped me with this manuscript, first and foremost John Harvie, Lancaster navigator, one of the 168 airmen shot down over France and later incarcerated in Buchenwald. His book Missing in Action was an inspiration, as was his tireless help through many phone calls and emails. I'm sorry to say that he has since passed away. The book A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald by Joe Moser, as told by Gerald R. Baron, is also a wonderful memoir. I listened to a podcast by Harold Bastable, who grew up in Winnipeg and gave talks to students about his wartime experiences. I was also able to read his personal memoir thanks to the generosity of his family. Ed Carter-Edwards answered a question no one else could. Finally, the book 168 Jump into Hell by Arthur Kinnis and Stanley Booker was written because after the war many did not believe that Allied airmen were actually imprisoned in Buchenwald. So the airmen banded together once again and set out to put the record straight.
I would be remiss to leave out the experts who read the manuscript and helped me correct mistakes and pointed me in the right direction — many thanks to Carl Christie and all his Air Force contacts, and Professor Robert Young, Trish McNorgan and fact-checker extraordinaire Barb Hehner. I also thank the following airmen who so kindly emailed me with answeres to some of my questions: Andrew Christie, Stu Beaton, Robert Vincent, Ernest Cable, Jim Buckland, Jim Bell, William Carr, Fred Aldworth, Jim Shilliday, Cal Shermerhorn, Ernie Drouin, E.V. "Dusty" Titheridge, James Popplow. If there are any mistakes they are mine and mine alone.
And a big thank you to my editor, Sandy Bogart Johnston, for her calm and cool and her tireless attention; my husband Per Brask; and my friend Perry Nodelman for reading the manuscript and for all his suggestions. I also thank the Manitoba Arts Council for the grant, which helped tremendously, giving me the time to research this large project.
Lastly, a word to my readers. This is a book of fiction, although it is based on the story of the 168 airemen who were shot down in France in World War II. My character Sam is a fictional character inserted into the group, as are his friends, Max, James, Trent, etc. On the night that Sam is shot down, a Lancaster bomber was actually lost in an op over Trappes, France, but Sam Frederiksen's crew is not based on that one.


  • The portrait on the cover is a detail from a 1952 photograph depicting Private John Lewis of the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment in Korea. The cover scene is a photograph by Charles E. Brown titled Lancaster MK II flying on one engine from the Royal Air Force Musuem.[6][7]


See also[]

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