Francis Gordon Radcliff

Lieutenant Francis Gordon Radcliff, 122
Chemainus, British Columbia
The Canadian Scottish Regiment

Lieutenant Radcliff is sponsored by the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, Victoria, the Islands, and Yukon Division.
Lieutenant Radcliff était parrainé par Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, Victoria, the Islands, and Yukon Division. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

In Saskatchewan; Henry Francis Radcliff had bought a local hardware store, and renamed it to Radcliff’s Hardware Store in 1905. Henry Radcliff of Irish heritage, became a Town Counselor, and married his wife Laura Elizabeth Elliot, of English heritage, from Davidson, Saskatchewan during 1909.

On 26 May 1910,  Henry and Laura Radcliff had their first-born son named Francis Gordon Radcliff in a small farming village name Elbow, Saskatchewan that had been formed 1 year prior halfway between Regina and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Francis had seven siblings; two of which were boys; Stanley Radcliff was born 1913, and Kenneth Radcliff born 1920. Francis’ sisters were Margaretborn 1911, Dorothy born 1912 Muriel born 1916, Ruth born 1917, and Mary the youngest born 1923. According to the family, Francis went through school and graduated Grade 12; Francis was a hard worker and a good student.; he graduated with a Grade 12 high school diploma from Elbow High School in 1928.

Following his education, Francis worked in his father’s “Family Hardware Store” until 1933. When he finished working in the store, he and his family moved, subsequently closing the Hardware Store  because the local farmers could not pay him; due to Prairie Droughts following the Great Depression. He left notes of credit from the farmers with another merchant to deal with for him for 15% percentage of the cut, in hopes that this friend would be able to collect the debts someday. Prior a family move Francis, Stanley, and his close friends rode the rails from the prairies to Vancouver.

Frank packed up the rest of his family and bought a small farm in Chemainus, a small village on the south-east corner of Vancouver Island, half an hour south of Nanaimo and one hour north of Victoria, BC; where Francis worked with the Victoria Lumber Company. Whilst living in Chemainus the family had developed a farm consisting of : orchards, strawberry fields, chickens, and other livestock.

In 1940 Francis enlisted in the Canadian Army during early June 1940 at Heal’s Range; in the Canadian Scottish Regiment.  In mid 1940 Francis traveled to Victoria, in 1941 to Nanaimo, to Prince Rupert. In late 1941 Francis had traveled overseas to the U.K. where he would continue training; and spend most of his time. Gordon came home on leave to Victoria in 1943.

On April 23, 1943 Gordon’s younger brother Kenneth Radcliff, Warrant Office in the 428th Squadron (Ghost Squadron) of the Royal Canadian Air Force was killed at the very young age of 23.His crew was flying in a Wellington aircraft on mine-laying mission near the town of Wilhelmshavena coastal town in Lower Saxton. Their plane was shot down and lost over the North Sea. Along with his crew; his body was snever recovered.  His name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial in Engleham, Surrey, England. Kenneth was a young, single fellow in the prime of life.  The Radcliff family was devastated.

On 29 October 1943 Francis’ son; Alan Gordon Radcliff was born (he weighed 7lb 14ounces).  Francis was not present when his son Alan was born as he was in training in England preparing to go into battle. Alan would be taught by his mother (the only parent in his life). It is not known if he ever saw his son before he died on D-Day.

During letters concerning the birth of Alan Radcliff; the family had already been informed on Kenneth’s death; although it is not known if Francis was told of his brother’s death.

 

In Late March 1944 Francis had spent five days in London exploring iconic places such as: the Limehouse District, and around the West India Docks,  and spend half a day at Mme. Tussaud’s.

6 June 1944 0750 – Juno Beach – One mile from the beach, nearest town was Reviers, on the coast of Normandy, France.

Francis’ platoon had landed with “C” Company. Francis’ had pushed his platoon (No. 15) left towards the Chateau Vaux; amongst the chaos, to attack their objective, which consisted of the chateau itself, machine gunners, snipers, and a couple of 88-mm. guns camouflaged by a haystack. The chateau set in a forested garden, had offered cover for snipers and machine gunners. To flush out these men they would have to push out the snipers, capturing some, killing some. The crew had not waited after the chateau was taken. Whilst the wounded were being cared for, the prisoners were being taken away to the Prisoners of War collecting point on the beach. Francis and crew were taking the immediate job of moving inland and take out the guns. During the action Francis was mortally wounded, and Sgt. Carney took over the platoon. Francis had been shot one mile from the beach; the nearest town being Reviers.  Francis had died 2 hours after being mortally wounded in battle.

He had been met several times by his Padre R.L. Seaborn before his death He was 34 years of age when he passed.

Francis’ younger brother Stanley had reached the outstanding rank of wing commander, gave birth to triplet sons, and retired from a desk job with the R.C.A.F. in 1965.

Francis’ son Alan Gordon Radcliff went on to become an accomplished lawyer in North Vancouver.

The family had been informed on Francis’ death pre June 11, 1944

Letters from his padre (Padre R. L. Seaborn) and the Commanding Officer following his death describe him as a good and conscientious officer who had the love and respect of his men.

 

Written by: a student at Smiths Falls Collegiate Institute in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Rédigé par:un élève de Smiths Falls Collegiate Institute, Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada.

REMEMBER TODAY, REMEMBER ALWAYS.

THIS TRIBUTE PROFILE CONTAINS AVAILABLE BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON ONE OF THE CANADIANS WHO DIED ON JUNO BEACH ON 6 JUNE 1944. THE PROFILE ALSO RECOGNIZES THE INDIVIDUAL OR ORGANIZATION WHO GENEROUSLY SPONSORED THIS SOLDIER, AND INCLUDES A MESSAGE OF THANKS AND REMEMBRANCE FOR THEIR SACRIFICE. THIS INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE IN THE SOLDIER’S NATIVE TONGUE AND HAS BEEN COMPILED BY THE LEST WE FORGET PROGRAM AND, IN SOME CASES, THROUGH THE GENEROSITY OF INDIVIDUALS CONNECTED WITH THE SOLDIERS. DUE TO THE INCONSISTENCY OF HISTORICAL RECORDS AND THE SPARSE AVAILABILITY OF FIRST-HAND WITNESSES, WE KNOW MORE ABOUT SOME THAN OTHERS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE ANY MATERIAL OR HELP IN OUR EFFORTS TO PRESENT THE BIOGRAPHIES IN BOTH FRENCH AND ENGLISH, PLEASE CONTACT: JBCA@JUNOBEACH.ORG.

CE PORTRAIT CONTIENT DES INFORMATIONS BIOGRAPHIQUES RELATIVES À L’UN DES CANADIENS QUI SONT MORTS SUR LA PLAGE JUNO, LE 6 JUIN 1944. IL PORTE ÉGALEMENT MENTION DE LA PERSONNE OU DE L’ORGANISATION QUI A GÉNÉREUSEMENT PARRAINÉ CE SOLDAT, AINSI QU’UN MESSAGE DE REMERCIEMENT EN SOUVENIR DE SON SACRIFICE. CES INFORMATIONS SONT DISPONIBLES DANS LA LANGUE MATERNELLE DU SOLDAT ET ONT ÉTÉ COMPILÉES PAR LE PROGRAMME LEST WE FORGET ET, DANS CERTAINS CAS, GRÂCE À LA GÉNÉROSITÉ DES PERSONNES LIÉES AUX SOLDATS. EN RAISON DE LA DISPARITÉ DES DOCUMENTS HISTORIQUES ET DES RARES TÉMOINS DE L’ÉPOQUE, NOUS NE DISPOSONS PAS DE LA MÊME QUANTITÉ D’INFORMATION SUR TOUS LES SOLDATS. SI VOUS SOUHAITEZ COMPLÉTER NOTRE DOCUMENTATION OU NOUS AIDER DANS NOS EFFORTS POUR PRÉSENTER LES BIOGRAPHIES EN FRANÇAIS ET EN ANGLAIS, MERCI DE CONTACTER : JBCA@JUNOBEACH.ORG.