There were 14 children in the Brin family, squeezed into a small farmhouse on the edge of Coderre, Sask., 160 kilometres west of Regina. When the Second World War broke out, the boys old enough to fight began to enlist. By 1945, eight of them had joined up, doing everything from driving tanks to handling letters home. Two were injured, but all returned alive. The younger children, meanwhile, pitched in to keep the farm going and helped assemble care packages for the brothers posted overseas.
"I have always thought it was a miracle none of the boys were killed, though I'm sure the whole thing shaved a few years off my grandparents' lives," says Darryl Brin, a nephew of the eight.
The last Brin brother to go to war, Alfred, died nearly two years ago.