Canada’s D-Day Story

| June 5, 2019

Juno Beach and Beyond
Canada's D-Day Story

Seventy-five years ago, Canadians participated in one of the most formative events of the 20th century. The airborne and seaborne landings in Normandy on June 6th 1944 saw American, British, Canadian and other Allied forces return to France to stay for the first time since 1940.

D-Day was a great and tragic day. The success of the invasion sparked the liberation of northwest Europe and marked the beginning of the end of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Canada’s price of victory on that day was high. All figures considered, Canada lost 381 killed, over 584 wounded, and 131 captured on June 6th 1944.

Thankfully, projects like Blake Heathcote’s Testaments of Honour and Don Foster’s Legacy of Honour, among others, are hard at work preserving the memories of those who served for present and future generations.

Today’s episode, Canada’s D-Day Story, draws on veteran testimonies from these two projects. Canadian veterans take us through their unique D-Day experiences. You’ll also hear footage from wartime newsreels and audio recordings from the CBC’s Digital Archives. The latter includes the voices of Canadian war correspondents reporting on or shortly after D-Day. These sources allow us to weave a Canadian narrative through this epic event that changed the world on a single day in June 1944. This is Canada’s D-Day Story.  

Corporal Victor Deblois of Le Régiment de la Chaudière guarding German prisoners on Juno Beach, Bernières-sur-Mer, France, 6 June 1944 (Lieut. Frank L. Dubervill / DND / LAC / PA-133754)

Time Stamps

5:12 Segment 1: Anticipation

15:53 Segment 2: The Crossing

25:40 Segment 3: The Assault

47:34 Segment 4: The Oak Line

Special Thanks

We don’t have a guest this week, per se. Instead, we’ve taken the opportunity to let the D-Day veterans listed below speak for themselves. This episode is dedicated to them and their comrades.

Special thanks must be extended to Defining Moments Canada and Blake Heathcote’s Testaments of Honour archive for making seven of the interviews available for this program. Juno Beach Centre Association Board Member Don Foster must also be commended for his excellent Legacy of Honour series.


The following links offer more information on the topics discussed in this episode:

Veteran Interviews (in order of appearance)

Garth Webb, 14th Field Regiment, RCA

Bob Grant, Fort Garry Horse

Jan de Vries, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

George Van’t Haaff, HMCS Prince David

Alex Polowin, HMCS Huron

Stocky Edwards, 274 Squadron RAF

Richard Rohmer, 430 Squadron RCAF

Dave Arksey, Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada

Hugh Buckley, Sherbrooke Fusiliers

Jim Parks, Royal Winnipeg Rifles

Norm Kirby, North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment

Arnott England, Regina Rifle Regiment


Stopping the Panzers with Marc Milner

Voices of Juno



The Normandy Campaign

Weapons & Formations

1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

Canadian Army Units in the Normandy Landings

RCAF Fighter Squadrons Overseas


Juno Beach & Beyond is hosted and edited by Alex Fitzgerald-Black, the centre’s Digital Projects Coordinator.

Canadian Army Newsreel No. 33.1 from The War Amps YouTube channel:

Matthew Halton, witness to D-Day from the CBC Digital Archives website:

The naval attack at Normandy on D-Day from the CBC Digital Archives website:

A francophone regiment on D-Day: ‘P’tet ben que oui’ from the CBC Digital Archives website:

Mackenzie King’s speech to British Parliament from the British Pathé YouTube channel:

Artillery firing sounds from the CBC News: The National YouTube Channel:

Winston Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech from Jonathan Thomas’s YouTube channel:

Spitfire sound effect from Jason Kirby’s YouTube channel:

Dramatic Interlude by Alexander Nakarada |

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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

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