On D-Day, the two assault companies of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada were commanded by two brothers, Major Hume Elliot Dalton and Major Charles Osborne Dalton. The two companies led the assault on Bernieres-sur-Mer at 0812 hours on 6 June 1944.
At the funeral of his brother in 1994, Charles spoke about the night before the landing, standing on the deck of the SS Monowai with his brother, and trying to think of what to say to your sibling on what might be the last night of both of their lives. As they parted company to prepare for a 0315 reveille to board the assault craft, Charles simply shook his brother’s hand and said “See you on the beach!”.
Major C.O. Dalton was wounded on the beach assaulting one of the German strongpoints, but Elliot was able to clear the seawall and fight through the day to his company’s objectives. Elliot was told that his brother had been killed and later said that “while I grieved, I had a job to do and had to carry on”. When Elliot was wounded shortly after, and evacuated to England to recover, he had a joyous reunion with Charles in the hospital.
Both returned to the Regiment and fought through to the end of the war, and were both awarded the Distinquished Service Order. They returned to Canada where they had illustrious civilian careers and continued their association with their Regiment, Charles becoming Honorary Colonel, and Elliot Honorary Lieutenant Colonel. Charles died in 1998.
– LCol (Ret’d) John Fotheringham, Director, Juno Beach Centre Association, former CO of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada
Image courtesy of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Museum
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.