Peter Buckley, son of a Canadian veteran, crosses the English Channel several times a year to visit Sword, Juno and Gold beaches in honor of his father and those who fought with him.
Peter’s father, Hugh Buckley, from Vancouver, landed on D-Day at Bernières-sur-Mer with the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, and returned to Normandy for the first time in 2014. Since then, he has also participated in the 75th anniversary ceremonies at the Juno Beach Centre on June 6, 2019.
Prior to returning to Normandy with his son 70 years after the landing, Hugh Buckley was not particularly aware that he belonged to a liberation army. Meeting Normans, young and old, made both father and son aware that during the war Canadians fought for a “just cause”, and as a result, today, all Canadians, both francophone and anglophone, can share this heritage. (speech given by Hugh Buckley at the CJB on June 6, 2017).
Peter currently lives in the South of England, and when he isn’t flying to France as an airline pilot, his preferred method of transportation is his bicycle. Every year since 2014 he has crossed the Channel by ferry to Ouistreham, at least 3 times per year. From there, he cycles along the D-Day beaches to participate in ceremonies on June 6 and November 11.
“You can bike to Pegasus Bridge along the canal, visit the Memorial, get to the radar de douvres, a technology mine and then go to the Bény-sur-Mer / Reviers war cemetery. Then, Bernières-sur-Mer, Courseulles-sur-Mer before finishing the day towards Arromanches. The next day, you can visit the Juno Beach Centre, walk on the beach at low tide, collect scallops, discover la Croix de Lorraine and take the way back to Ouistreham to take the evening ferry after skirting the coast and admire all the monuments on the road: Saint Aubin sur Mer, Luc-sur-Mer, Hermanville, Colleville, etc. “
On November 11, once again, Peter travelled by train, ferry and bicycle to Normandy in order to participate in the Canadian Remembrance Day ceremony at the Juno Beach Center. This time, he did so as the official representative of the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, for which he laid a wreath.
Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.