Canada in the Second World War


Nelson Hilborn

Nelson Hilborn was born on January 28, 1924 in Preston, Ontario.

Nelson Hilborn joined the Highland Light Infantry of Canada in 1939. After training in Scotland with the 9th Scottish Brigade, he landed with the first wave on Juno Beach on June 6, and took part in the capture of Buron and other battles in Normandy. Buron was a disaster to his mortar crew as three of his crew were killed and he was left with a ruptured eardrum.

He participated in the campaigns in Belgium and Holland and, at the request of the Highland Light Infantry of Scotland and of the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, he was part of the first Canadian and British troops who crossed the Rhine. On the last day of the war, he was in Wessel, Germany with his regiment when he was wounded by a German half track manned by four German officers who upset him from his motorcycle, injuring both his legs. He spent the next six weeks in a Berkshire Hospital and was then transferred to Westminster Hospital in London, Ontario, for 13 months. He left the hospital in 1947.

After the war, Nelson Hilborn worked as a cabinet wood worker for five years. He then became a business representative for a carpenters’ organization and was on the road for approximately 31 years. He is still an executive member of the Peace Time Regiment Highland Light Infantry of Canada.

In 2009, as he was portrayed in the exhibition Veterans Voices at the Juno Beach Centre, Nelson Hilborn declared:

“In 1944, my first motivation was to serve my country. I lost at least 21 of my close buddies in Buron and they now rest over there in Normandy.”

Nelson Hilborn passed away on December 11, 2015