Trooper George Joseph Brisette, H63513
South Junction, Manitoba
Fort Garry Horse
George Joseph Brissette was born on March 5th, 1922 in South Junction Manitoba where he was raised by his parents Alice and Arthur along with his brothers’ joseph Arthur, Edward Albert, Fred Denis and two sisters Dorothy and Yvonne. George went to school until grade 10 when he had to leave and become a laborer. For 2 years he worked to help support his family, later becoming a truck driver. He was a dashing young man standing 5 foot 6 ½ inches, with light brown eyes and dark brown hair. He enlisted March 18, 1941 to the Fort Garry horse, Royal Canadian Armored Corp. (R.C.A.C) at the age of 19. With his brother Edward Albert, his other brothers had enlisted earlier Joseph Arthur to an army overseas and Fred Denis to the royal-c-air-force overseas.
He was taken on strength on March 18th in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was given training at a base in Winnipeg. Later he was transferred to fort William for further training on March 21, 1941. Followed by Camp Borden, on May 20, 1941, finally he was sent to the 6th armored regiment on August 28 to camp Borden In October 1941, he was moved to Debert Camp near Truro, Nova Scotia in preparation for the move overseas. Once on land again he goes on leave for 4days on March 30 1942 and returns on the 4th of April. When he returned he was trained as a tank driver. Then when on leave again from the 5 of June the 12 1942, but he was 11 hours late, therefore he forfeited a days’ pay and was confined to his cabin for 2 days. On September 1, 1943 he was admitted it the hospital and was discharged 10 days later. His training continued in Debert then off to Halifax to embark on the liner S.S. Oronsay on the night on the 9th of November. After several days in the harbour a large flotilla of transports and Naval vessels sailed arriving in Liverpool, England, on the 22nd of November. The Regiment moved first to Aldershot Camp and later to the Headley area where the first of the Canadian designed “Ram” tanks were issued. A RAM was a medium sized tank weighing 65,000 pounds and large enough to hold 5 people; a commander, gunner, loader, driver, co-driver/hull gunner. And could move 25 mph (40km/h) and could operate 232km away. On June 6th he was declared missing later pronounced killed in action. George had earned his Canadian volunteer service medal and clasp for his dedication and life he gave to our country.
George Joseph Brissette was a part of the Fort Gary Horse Regiment, “C” squadron. His position was in the duplex drive tanks. The tanks had a waterproof chassis fitted with a collapsible canvas screen and rubber tubes inflated with air. It was moved through the water by two propellers fixed at the back and on shore reverted to a normal tank. The tanks could hold an average of 4-6 men. The tank commander had his head above the armor and would communicate steering directions to one of two drivers or firing instructions to the gunner and loader, weighing in at around 35 tons. There were 20 tanks a squadron and 30 tanks a wave. F.G.H. regiment had 2squadron of 40 tanks.
On June 6th there were rough seas. The plan of attack was the “B” squadron would support the queens own rifles and the “C” squadron was to support the North Shore regiment. The DD tanks of “B” and “C” squadron was supposed to land before the infantry but due to rough seas they had to be launched close to the shore landing later than planned. The “C” squadron landed at St. Aubin losing three tanks to enemy fire. As the tanks made their way up the beach they would run over the wounded. They approached the sea wall to find no break. “C” squadron had to force their way through a minefield losing another 3 tanks in the process.
Two troops moved south into the town of Taileville to take the high ground before the enemy could set up a defense. Due to a request for support from the North Shore, “C” squadron didn’t rejoin the regiment until June 7th.
The regiment continued to support the 8th infantry brigade and later the 7th brigade in the defensive positions. On July 4th the battle of Carpiquet Airfield took place with heavy resistance. The Airfield was not fully secure until July 10th. The regiment went into action again holding a river crossing near Eterville Ridge.
The regiment regrouped into two squadron s and moved North taking part in the attack on the Fortress of Boulogne. After six days of tank and Infantry attacks, the Germans garrison of more than 9000 surrendered “A” and “B” squadron replaced their losses and moved to Antwerp in Belgain, while “C” squadron assault on Calais. Next the Belgian port of Antwerp was taken with little resistance but the Germans held the nearby Scheldt Estuary. Bitter Fighting along flooding fields and dikes leading toward woesndrencht lasted until October 21.
On October 24th the regiment moved on to Belveland and assisted the Calgary Highlanders in the Abortive attack on Walcheren Island. Afterward there was a move to Breda for a brief refit. On 11 November, the Garry had the rare opportunity to relieve their Allied regiment, the 4th / 7th Royal Dragoon Guards in the line near Nijmegen. Three months rest period followed while the regiment was brought up to strength in vehicles and personnel.
The F.G.H. Reg. advanced into the Siegfried Line toward the Goch-Calcar road, being the first Canadian armored regiment to enter Germany on the 17 of February 1945.”C” squadron supported the Infantry attack into the Hochwald. On 29 of March the regiment crossed the Rhine near Rees and pushed on in the pursuit of the enemy through the Netherlands.
The towns Gendrigen, Terborg, Doetinchem, the Twente Canal, Laren and Holten were taken over between 29 of March and the 8 of April.
On the 18 of April, F.G.H. continued the journey 150 miles into Germany. From the 22 of April the F.G.H. pushed through Wildeshausen, Delmenhorst, and Ganderkessee, taking part in the capture of Oldenburg on 3May 1945. There the cease-fire was announced on the 5 of May and the regiment accepted the surrender of German forces in the area.
George Joseph Brissette was pronounced missing on June 6th 1944 and later that day pronounced dead. He made his will while4 in the army leaving everything to his mother Alice, including $26.15 in savings, and his Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. He is now buried Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian Military Cemetery in Beny-Sur-Mer France. Grave 5, row H, plot 1.
Written by: a student at the Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Rédigé par: un élève de Smiths Falls District 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.
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