Canada in the Second World War

People

Witnesses to History

During the Second World War, these Canadians fought in Sicily, in Italy, in Normandy, during the campaign of North East Europe or elsewhere. Some lost their lives fighting, while others made it back home where they raised a family and took part in forging Canada today. Sometimes told by their children or grandchildren, their personal histories act as a complement to official history told here.

Adrien Boivin

Adrien Boivin landed in France at Courseulles-sur-Mer on July 6, 1944, and joined the Régiment de la Chaudière a few weeks later. He started as a Private and ended the European campaign as a Corporal.

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Albert Frank Logsdaile

Albert Frank Logsdaile. 1018PO  Royal Engineers. Served May 1940 – May 1946. Juno Beach 2019257. Albert was born in London, England on September 20th 1915. He worked on British Railways. He joined the Royal Engineers in 1940 and following his...

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Aubin Joseph Gallant

Aubin Joseph Gallant (1912- 1999) Aubin Gallant was born in 1912 in Union Corner, Prince Edward Island. At the age of 13, following his father’s death, he left school to work on the family farm. He married in 1939 and...

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Benoît Gonthier

Transferred to HMS Rosyth, Benoît was subsequently attached to the 10th Flotilla for the D-Day landings, serving on a landing barge anchored at Portsmouth. He participated in 3 trips escorting troops from Portsmouth to Juno Beach on June 6 and 7, 1944.

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Conrad Landry

Conrand landed the morning of June 6th in Bernières-sur-Mer with the Régiment de la Chaudière. Conrad managed to avoid stepping on a land mine while disembarking the landing craft, unlike the man on his left. He found shelter behind a stone wall to avoid German gunfire.

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Cyril Crain

Signalman Crain landed with the QOR at 08:15 in the first assault wave at Bernieres-sur-Mer. Cyril’s task was to land with the QOR assault troops and communicate back to their ship off-shore that the attack had been successful. 

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Dorothy Irene Mulholland

Early on the morning of June 19, 1944, Molly and another nursing sister, Winnifred “Pit” Pitkethly, became the first Canadian women to land as part of the Normandy offensive.

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Ernest Côté

In 1943, Ernest became Assistant Adjudant and Quartermaster-General (AA&QMG) of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He participated in the planning of the logistics for the Division’s operations in Normandy where he landed on June 6, 1944.

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Frank Battershill

On June 6, 1944, Frank Battershill was a lieutenant commanding N°7 Platoon, “A” Company, Royal Winnipeg Rifles who landed on the extreme right (western) flank of Courseulles.

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Frank P. Davidson

Frank P. Davidson landed on Juno Beach on June 23, 1944 and participated, as a member of “C” Squadron, in the battles of Carpiquet, Bretteville-sur-Odon, Verson and Louvigny (in Normandy).

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Frédérick Bourgeois

Frédérick arrived in Normandy with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. He fought from Caen to Falaise.  He was also part of the symbolic return of the 2nd Division in Dieppe in September 1944.

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Garth Webb

Known as the founder of the Juno Beach Centre, today Garth S. Webb landind on the morning of June 6, 1944, on Juno Beach with the Canadian 14th Field.

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George Edwin (Ted) Beament

Ted Beament was involved in planning Canada’s participation in Operation Overlord and landed with the Canadian General Staff at Juno Beach a few weeks after D-Day, 6 June 1944, serving throughout the Battle of Normandy and the campaign in North-West Europe.

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Georges Isabelle

On June 6, 1944 George landed at Bernière-sur-Mer on Juno Beach. He was wounded by a mine explosion near Caen at the end of June 1944.

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Gilbert Boulanger

At 01:30 am during the night of June 6, 1944, Gilbert was on board a Halifax. Sitting in his ‘glass bubble’, he could see the Allied fleet firing on the coast of Normandy as his Halifax flew over the Channel.

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Gilles Gamache

Gilles landed in France on July 6, 1944 and won the Distinguished Service Cross (U.S.) during the July 20, 1944 attack on Beauvoir farm in Normandy. He continued to fight in Holland, Belgium and Germany.

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Harold R. Tilley

On June 6, 1944, Harold R. was a navigator for a section of 3 LCI(L)s carrying Le Régiment de la Chaudière from Southampton to Bernières-sur-Mer in Normandy. His landing craft was holed by beach obstacles and had to be repaired on the beach during the next 3 days.

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Hugh Buckley

He landed on D-Day with the Sherbrooke Fusiliers and crewed a Stuart light tank as part of a reconnaissance troop. On D-Day+1, he was promoted to Corporal.

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J. Harry Quarton

J. Harry landed on Juno Beach as part of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division and participated in the Battle of the Falaise Gap where the South Alberta Regiment distinguished itself at Saint-Lambert-sur-Dives.

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J. William Ross

On D-Day, William Ross landed at Bernières-sur-Mer with 14 Platoon of “C” Company of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. He then advanced to Basly and Anguerny.

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Jack Hadley

Jack’s regiment was tasked with capturing the village of Bernières-Sur-Mer as part of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division’s assault on Juno Beach.

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Jean-Maurice Leduc

Jean-Maurice landed in Courseulles-sur-Mer in June 1944. He followed the route from Rouen to Dieppe, near Louvetot, as the Canadian Army fought through Normandy.

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Jim Bardsley

Jim landed in Normandy in July 1944 at Courseulles-sur-Mer. He fought his way through to Holland until Victory. His duty consisted in giving primary medical aid to the wounded brought in by stretcher bearers.

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John Archibald MacNaughton

Due to his age and rank, Archie was offered the opportunity to retire prior to D-Day or to return to the relative safety of Canada in a training role. He refused. He saw no option but to lead his men ashore.

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Joseph Duval

Sent to England in March, 1944, he arrived in France on July 10, 1944. He took part in the battle for Caen. He remembers that it took a month to take the city which was ferociously defended by German forces.

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Léo Gariepy

Leo landed in the first wave on Juno Beach shortly after 08:00 on June 6, 1944. Bad curent and winds hindered the regiment from landing their amphibious Duplex Drive tanks.

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Lorenzo Tremblay

Lorenzo landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944 and participated in the hell of the battle for Carpiquet. He fought the war as a member of a Bren Carrier Platoon.

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Marcel Ouimet

Marcel landed on D-Day in Bernières-sur-Mer, shortly after the initial assault waves. For this French-Canadian reporter, the historical bond linking Canada Normandy was amply demonstrated on D-Day.

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Mervin Jones

Being fluent in French, Mervin was recruited for the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and at the age of 21, he parachuted into occupied France during the night of June 5-6, 1944 as part of the D-Day assault

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Nelson Hilborn

After training in Scotland with the 9th Scottish Brigade, Nelson Hilborn landed with the first wave on Juno Beach on June 6, and took part in the capture of Buron and other battles in Normandy.

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Philip J. Cockburn

Philip J. landed on Juno Beach on D-Day, took part in the liberation of Caen in July, participated in the liberation of Holland in September 1944 and crossed the Rhine on March 17, 1945.

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Pierre Clément

On July 6, 1944, Pierre landed on the Normandy beaches. Moved to the front lines, passing through Authie, Caen, and the entire Normandy campaign, the Régiment de Maisonneuve pursued its march of liberation through Northern France, crossing the Seine, and finally arriving in Belgium and Holland.

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Pierre Dubuc

Pierre landed at Courseulles-sur-Mer on July 6, 1944 and was wounded on August 8, 1944 at Vaucelles. After recovering in hospital in England, he rejoined his Regiment in Holland in November 1944.

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Ralph Charles Spencer

On June 6th, 1944, Ralph Charles Spencer landed in Normandy and distinguished himself in an act of bravery by rescuing six comrades. Ralph Charles Spencer was born in the small Irish coal mining community of Londonderry, Nova Scotia. The Spencer...

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Ray Jamieson

On June 6, 1944, Ray and the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders disembarked at Bernières-sur-Mer as part of the D-Day Operation and proceeded to Caen, France.

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Richard H. Rohmer

Richard flew P-51 Mustang fighters, was over the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and took part in the Battle of Normandy as a fighter reconnaissance pilot. That is when he spotted Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and aided in taking him out of the war on July 17, 1944.

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Robert (Bob) Charles Thompson

Trooper, Headquarters Squadron, 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Fort Garry Horse), Canadian Army Overseas, Second World War Robert Charles Thompson was born in Melville, Saskatchewan on September 25th, 1922. The oldest child born to Charles Alexander Thompson and Rosetta McAllister Thompson,...

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Roméo L. Boulanger

At the time of the landing of his regiment in Normandy at Juno Beach, Roméo was a Lieutenant in charge of a flame-thrower unit mounted on tracked vehicles. After landing in Normandy, he fought with the Régiment de la Chaudière in Northern France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany.

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Samuel F. Wormington

Samuel F. landed on Juno Beach on June 12, 1944 and participated in the Battle of Normandy with a new gun that fired 120 rounds per minute and served in support at Verrières. He also took part in the campaigns in Belgium, Holland and Germany.

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Sid J. Pass

Sid J. arrived in Normandy on August 9th, 1944 by boat. He was slightly wounded in Normandy on August 14th, 1944, but not severely enough to keep him out of action.

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Stanley Humphreys

We love it when Canadians share their stories of remembrance with us. Recently, one son told us of his father’s story, Stanley Humphreys.  Both Stanley Humphreys and Ken Robinson (pictured above) landed on Juno Beach.  Stanley landed on Juno Beach...

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Wilfred Gordon Harris

On May 22, 1944, Gord was aboard Whitley AD701, on a mission to drop leaflets over the LeMans, France area when shot down by flak and crashed at La Potence, near Sées, Normandy.

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Will R. Bird

Will Bird saw action at Vimy, Passchendaele, Amiens, Arras and Cambrai during the First World War. His son Stephen was killed during the Battle of Normandy during the Second World War.

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