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Local boy delves into the history of the Black Devil’s Brigade

LOWER ONSLOW – An online video outlining the exploits of a Second World War Special Service Force (SSF) is garnering plenty of attention thanks to Sam Rogers.

Sam Rogers shows a paratrooper pin that was given to him by Truro’s Herb Peppard, a Second World War veteran and member of the Black Devil’s Brigade. Sam has created a four-minute video on the brigade, which has been entered in a national history contest.

Sam, a 10-year-old from Lower Onslow, created the video that tells the story of the Black Devil’s Brigade and its accomplishments during the war.

Sam’s great-grandfather, Millard Rector, was a member of the brigade and was the inspiration behind the four-minute bit that has been entered in Canada’s History for Kids Young Citizens national competition.

Rector died in 2011 at the age of 96.

“My great-grandfather was a member of the brigade, and I was originally going to do my heritage project on him and I sort of realized he was in this brigade, so I found out more about the brigade and I did that for my heritage fair,” said Sam, who just completed Grade 5 at Chiganois Elementary School.

Sam’s project started as a poster display for his school’s heritage fair. He was later chosen to show his work at a regional competition, before an invitation to create a video on the topic that would be entered in the national competition.

In his video, Sam explains the history of the Black Devil’s Brigade while standing at the Truro Cenotaph. He tells viewers the elite force of Canadian and American men was only called to battle on certain special missions, and during its time, the brigade never failed a mission.

“It was pretty cool,” he said of filming the piece. “It was a bit tricky. Sometimes you’d think you got it all planned out and then you go to do it, but then you realize you’re missing some stuff.”

Sam also interviews Truro’s Herb Peppard, a war veteran and member of the SSF, who was able to provide first-hand insight on the unit.

“It was sort of cool because he was an actual member of that brigade and he had a lot of information about it, so it was actually pretty awesome,” said Sam.

Sam’s video has earned rave reviews. In fact, more than 20 people have congratulated the affable youngster on his presentation by leaving positive comments on the site’s webpage.

“It sort of makes me feel happy that all these people are liking my video, like learning about the Black Devil’s and all that stuff, and how important they were,” he said.

Sam needs that support to advance in the competition. His presentation is being judged, and 50 per cent of his total score will be determined by the number of votes he receives for his video.

The top six students from across Canada will attend the Governor General’s Awards and have their video featured at Canada’s History Forum in Ottawa in November.

Just what would it mean to Sam if he were selected to attend the event?

“Like, a lot, a lot, a lot, because it would be really cool being able to show something I did in this big history forum. So it would be really cool and awesome to go there.”

To view Sam’s video and to vote, visit

Voting closes July 11.

Twitter: tdnJoey




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