The Last Colonel

| November 12, 2014

Ernest Coté was in charge of logistics for the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division on June 6, 1944 — D-Day. At 101 years of age, he visited the Juno Beach Centre last April with French Canadian journalist, Alain Stanké, to premier the documentary “Les Carottes Sont Cuites”. The film was produced to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. Then again this past June 6, Ernest attended the commemorative ceremony organized by the Government of Canada at the Centre, in the presence of Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Prime Minister Harper and his wife Laureen. Finally, this past week, at the invitation of the Juno Beach for our Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11th, Ernest once again crossed the Atlantic to visit Normandy a third time this year. He was our guest of honour for a ceremony marked with strong emotion and a great admiration by the crowd that came out to pay hommage to the last of the Canadian colonels who played a role in the D-Day Landings 70 years ago. For his part, he came back again to pay tribute to the Canadians who paid the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day, throughout the entirety of the Battle of Normandy, and above all the wars of the 20th century to present day.

“Ernest Côté is a piece of living history. He was a contemporary of the great protagonists of the Second World War, and to hear him recount his exchanges with General Keller is quite simply incredible. He is the last of the D-Day planners who is able to tell his story from the point of view of a high-ranking Canadian military official. To hear him speak, it’s a history lesson like no other, to know him is an extraordinary opportunity, and to watch him, it’s a life-lesson, as he is sparkly and full of humour. On November 11th at the Juno Beach Centre, we witnessed a moment of grâce, a moment that those who were here will remember for the rest of their lives. I am proud that there were so many young people in attendance, including Canada’s national rugby team, to whom Ernest wished never to have to fight elsewhere than on the sports field.”

Nathalie Worthington, Director of The Juno Beach Centre

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 jbca@junobeach.org.

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