Seventy-six 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.
All proceeds support the Juno Beach Centre, Canada’s Second World War Museum in Normandy, France and allow us to continue to offer this content to listeners across Canada!
6:47 Segment 1: Anticipation
17:28 Segment 2: The Crossing
27:15 Segment 3: The Assault
49:09 Segment 4: The Oak Line
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)
Weapons & Formations
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBWxVZ4mDyM&list=PL04CC43B7CD63C686&index=34
Matthew Halton, witness to D-Day from the CBC Digital Archives website: https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/witness-to-d-day
The naval attack at Normandy on D-Day from the CBC Digital Archives website: https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/d-day-the-naval-attack-at-normandy
A francophone regiment on D-Day: ‘P’tet ben que oui’ from the CBC Digital Archives website: https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/d-day-ptet-ben-que-oui
Mackenzie King’s speech to British Parliament from the British Pathé YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SlEvclY5LE&t=48s
Artillery firing sounds from the CBC News: The National YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsCSQ4uWR1Y
Winston Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech from Jonathan Thomas’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB5wZtV1MWM
Spitfire sound effect from Jason Kirby’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgZI4tAoMN0
Dramatic Interlude by Alexander Nakarada | https://www.serpentsoundstudios.com
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.