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As You Were

As You Were

SUMMER, 1974 — Six teenaged boys died and fifty-four were injured in an explosion on a Canadian Forces Base in Valcartier, Quebec. A live grenade inadvertently made its way into a box of dud ammunition, and its pin was pulled during a lecture on explosives safety. One hundred and forty boys survived, each isolated in their trauma, yet expected to carry on with their lives.

Thirty-four years later, Gerry Fostaty, who was an 18-year-old sergeant that summer and one of the first on the scene after the explosion, received an unexpected email from his former sergeant-major, triggering a journey into memory, a quest for a true picture of what had happened on that day. In As You Were, Fostaty pieces together the story of how a series of preventable mistakes led to tragedy.

The only full account of an event that received minor attention at the time, As You Were is the story of a normal day turned horrific, how duty, responsibility, and honour make ordinary people take extraordinary measures, and how an embarrassed military did their best to ignore this devastating incident.


Gerry Fostaty spent six years as an army cadet, climbing the ranks until he became an instructor. Leaving the cadets at 19, he became an actor, working on stage and in film and television for more than 20 years. He now works as a marketing manager at an information technology company. He lives in Aurora, Ontario.

"Written in a clear, engaging voice and never descends into sensationalist finger-pointing... a cogent and provocative reassessment of a tragic incident the DND has done little to address." — Quill & Quire

198 pages
Pub date: April 1, 2011