James William Lauder – author of “Hard Tears and Soft Laughter”
Known as Jim, Jimmy, Hamish and sometimes even Hoosegow Jim, my father was an accomplished graphic and fine artist who explored photography, cartooning and writing. He was a man with great curiosity and a range of talents that made him a true ‘Jack of all trades’.
During the Remembrance Day ceremony in Peterborough Ontario a few years ago, I recalled that I had the sole typewritten manuscript of the book he had written shortly before his death in 1979 as well as his Wartime Log and a collection of related material. I felt it was my duty to honour his memory by publishing his book - the story of his experience of the Dieppe Raid and his imprisonment for three years in Germany.
Although some names were changed, “Hard Tears and Soft Laughter” is his story, written from his Wartime log and memories. It is an honest and fascinating narrative describing how men, deprived of freedom, manage to cope with privation, injury and death. The dialogue easily puts the reader into every scene where his descriptions paint pictures in the mind with vivid detail. Some of those places may make you laugh, or cry or want to look away. But you will return, drawn back, to know the end.
Jim A. Lauder