Private Gordon Hurbert Ellis, G22375
Bathurst, New Brunswick
The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment
Gordon Hubert Ellis, born on a farm in Salmon Beach, New Brunswick, Canada on 7 April 1921.Although according to a different source he is said to be born on (10 March 1921) this his correct birthdate). Gordon had blue eyes and blonde hair. He was 5 feet, 4 inches and a half, weighting 140 pounds. He was done school at the age of 14, finishing grade 7. Gordon grew up in a Christian family as a Protestant with the Church of England. With five brothers, oldest to youngest are: Walter Charles, Alfred James, Eldon George, Winston Harold, Mervyn Austin, Ivan Stanley and Lawrence Raymond Ellis. Also four sisters: Mrs. Esther Rebecca Scott, Inez Isabella, Mrs. Gladys Elizabeth Branch, Emily Viola and Rita Melvina Ellis. His father being William James Ellis and his mother Lucy Melvina Good. Gordon loved the outdoors being a hard working farm boy who had six years of experience in mixed farming after he was done school and who worked for himself as a fisherman when he had time off the farm. Gordon was a very healthy young man who had no medical problems.
With no previous military experiences, Gordon was 19 years old when he was taken on strength on 11 June 1940 of the 1st Battalion, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Regiment of the Canadian Armed service forces in Bathurst New Brunswick with the rank of Private. Although Gordon’s family was quite scared for them, they we’re proud that their son was serving his country.
He was then granted leave from 29 December 1940 to January 17 1941 of the same regiment in Sussex, New Brunswick after finishing his driver’s course. Gordon was so proud to get his first experience as a qualified 1st level driver by the regiment board on 1 April 1941.
On July 4 1941 his regiment was transferred to Halifax in preparation to move to England. He was struck off strength from the Canadian Army (Canada) and embarked from Halifax on 18 July 1941, heading for Liverpool then eventually heading for more training in Aldershot, England.
Gordon gets a break from all the emotion and stress by having his first personal leave from 21 to 28 November 1941. About 4 months later he got his second leave this time without warrant on 13 February 1942. On his 3rd leave he was awarded the good conduct badge on 11 June 1942. This award was given to soldiers who had above average professional performance, military performance, leadership and adaptability based on good conduct and faithful service. After that Gordon had 3 more furloughs without warrant every 4 months until 22 December 1942.
On 2 April 1943 he was sent to the 7th Field Dressing station (hospital) with minor injuries but left the very next day on 3 April. On July 8, three months after leaving the dressing station, Gordon was granted permission to marry Miss. Joan Norah Stephens. He was married to his wonderful fiancé on 17 July 1943. As was the custom she changed her name to Mrs. Joan Norah Ellis.
As the men of the regiment began their final preparations for the invasion they started to move down in long columns of men and material to the harbour areas of Portsmouth and Southampton. Then on 2 June 1944 the North Shore men boarded their transport ships and went down to their bunks. R.M. Hickey described the scene with the NSR men as “waiting anxiously for morning to come; it was harder than ever before to fall asleep. Before you know it, the scarlet down had come. We rushed up to the deck and at that moment we knew our time has come, it is the day all the men have been training for. The air was filled with the whistling of shells all around us and the sea was rough. In we moved, there was fifty yards of wide open beach between the cement wall and the water’s edge.”
B Company of the North Shores landed in front of Saint Aubin-sur-Mer at 08:10 hour, along with A Company which landed to the west of them. B Company was charged with the objective of taking out German strong point of a 50mm anti-tank gun protected by concrete facing the ocean so naval guns could not hit the weapon. When B Company landed they realized that the naval and air bombardment had not neutralized the gun. It took the company four hours and five minutes to eventually destroy the gun position. However, the fighting continued as the North Shores had to contend with German snipers in windows of houses facing the beach. With the help of the Fort Garry Horse tanks which provided fire support for the North Shore Regiment the village could be taken. On this day about 40 tanks were embarked from about 1000 yards from the beach and headed for shore and despite there being many casualties of men and equipment being lost as they came to the beach they were an effective fighting force in support of the infantry. It is noted by one author that “bodies were everywhere infantry were coming up in the rising surf fifty yards in front of the seawall. The enfilade of machine gun fire and mortars rained down everywhere’. This day was a costly one for the North Shore Regiment at Saint Aubin. The men suffered many injuries from booby-trapped houses.
Among the soldiers that were making their way to shore was Reverend R.M. Hickey whom landed first wave with the North Shore Regiment. Reverend Hickey was responsible for the spiritual well-being of the soldiers in this highly stressful military action. He provided last rights to the soldiers who were wounded. Regardless of being Catholic or Protestant, he would tell them to be sorry for their sins and provide last rights to the dying men on the beach. With bullets flying and men dying around him Hickey managed to survive the day walking the beach with a rosary in one hand and a bible in the other. Along with Reverend Hickey were Lieutenant John L. Heaslip and his stretcher bearers who were of the 22nd Canadian Field Ambulance. Hickey and these men spent their time pulling the dead and wounded to safety to bless them and mend them with the help of Doc Patterson. According to Hickey’s recollection just when a shell landed amid the men he had just reached they had all died, except him.
Now with the capture of the strongpoint and village, the battle for the beachhead was completed. C.P. Stacey states of the men that fought here , “…in the final analysis, Nan Red went so well because second in command, Major D.B. Buell was right; the North Shore was one of the best battalions in the army. The Canadian assault on Juno beach is said to be the most successful of the Allied landing on D-day”.
Gordon’s family’s worries came true when Gordon Hubert Ellis was killed in action on the June 6 1944 on the beach at the young age of 23 serving as part of the North Shore Regiment. Gordon was initially buried in an orchard behind the coastal village of Bernieres-sur-Mer but was reburied at the Canadian Military Cemetery in Beny-sur-Mer, France. To find his final resting spot locate grave number 14, row G, plot 1.Now that Gordon’s remains are buried in a proper grave he can rest in peace along with the hundreds of other men that died for their loved ones, friends and even strangers.
Written by: Hillary Fleming, a student at Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute in Smith Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Rédigé par: Hillary Fleming, un élève de Smiths Falls Collegiate Institute, Smith Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Thank you to the family of Gordon Hubert Ellis for providing further information and corrections.
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.