Dispatches from the Front

David Halton's book is a biography of his father, who was a war correspondent during the Second World War.

David Halton

Matt Halton, as Senior War Correspondent for the CBC during the Second World War, reported from the front lines in Italy and Northwest Europe, and became "the voice of Canada at war." His reports were at times tender and sad and other times shocking and explosive. Covering the flashpoints of his generation — from the war trenches to the coronation of the Queen — Halton filed a series of reports warning that the Third Reich was "becoming a vast laboratory and breeding ground for war." For a decade he chronicled Europe's drift to disaster, covering the breakdown of the League of Nations, the Spanish Civil War and the Nazi takeover of Austria and Czechoslovakia. Along the way he interviewed Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Herman Goering, Neville Chamberlain, Charles de Gaulle, Mahatma Gandhi and dozens of others who shaped the history of the last century. (From McClelland & Stewart)

From the book

Matt was fifteen when he got his first break as an aspiring reporter. He was recommended as an occasional correspondent for the Lethbridge Herald. His first assignment — an interview with a local MLA about crop prospects — was published next day under the byline "Our Own Correspondant." He later wrote that it was an intoxicating moment. "I went to bed saying to myself, I am a Writer... And for the next year or so no cow calved within fifty miles without me trying to get the spectacular news into print." Herald editors spared readers such trivia although they did publish a long article Matt wrote about a speech he himself had delivered to a young people's church meeting. A first cheque from the paper for $16 left him "giddy with delight."

From Dispatches from the Front by David Halton ©2015. Published by McClelland & Stewart.


Author interviews

David Halton interview

9 years ago
Duration 10:24
The former CBC foreign correspondent discusses his new book about his father, Dispatches From the Front; Matthew Halton, Canada's Voice at War
Matthew Halton was once one of Canada's most familiar voices, sending back reports from the battlefields of the Second World War. Now his son, reporter David Halton, is remembering his swashbuckling dad, Canada's original war correspondent, in a new book.
Several days after his retirement, the veteran foreign correspondent reflects on his career.

More about this book