Henry Roussin

Rifleman Henry Roussin, H42069 
Dauphin, Manitoba 
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles 

Rifleman Rousin is sponsored by Mairie de Ver-sur-Mer.
Rifleman Roussin était parrainé par Mairie de Ver-sur-Mer.

En remereiement à nos valeureux libérateurs venur du Canada offrir leurs vie sur nos plages de Normandie. 

Henry Roussin was born on 13 January 1919 on a Monday in the town of St. Rose du Lac of Manitoba, Canada but his home was in a town in Manitoba called Dauphin. Some of the more notable things about this settlement is that it specializes in farming with well over a fifth of the population speaks a language that isn’t English or French (most commonly Ukrainian) and the total population of the town is under 10,000.

Henry didn’t go that far in school, only finishing four years, leaving at age 14 and instead worked as labourer on a farm owned by his father, Paul Roussin. He did have the advantage of being able to speak in both English and French, although he was not able to write well in the latter.

On 15 December 1941, when he was 22, Henry Roussin volunteered to enlist in the Canadian army with the infantry regiment of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles of private in Winnipeg. On 29 December 1941 he was given New Year’s leave. After his holiday leave he was attached to a basic training infantry course in Winnipeg on 9 January and next he attended an advanced training center for riflemen at the same place at the 10 January and on the 16th in the same place he was added to the strength of a unit. He was later transferred to No. 22 Basic Training Centre in North Bay, Ontario where he was taken off the strength of the unit.

During August 20 he was allocated to the Royal Winnipeg Rifles No. 10 District Depot. Within the same month on the 25th he was struck off the strength of #22 CAEBTC and was transferred to A-15 ATC Shilo, Manitoba, the next day he was then taken on to the strength of the A15 Canadian Infantry Training Centre. On 16 December 1942 he was granted a leave of absence and began receiving 50 cents per day. In 2 December of the same year he was stricken off the strength of the unit he previously belonged to and then began a 11 day journey to the U.K. on the 18th finally disembarked. On the 19th of the same month Henry was taken on the strength of the eighth Canadian Division of Infantry Reinforcements Unit. Four days before Christmas, 1942 Henry was admitted to a Canadian medical centre for a sudden medical problem for a full week.

Around late December of the 1942 he was transferred to the United Kingdom. During the invasion of Normandy he died due to wounds received in combat. By the time he died he was 22 years old and a less than a couple dozen days away from his 23rd birthday.   For the next several months Henry and the Royal Winnipeg Rifles trained for the eventual military operation known as Operation Overlord which would commence on 6 June 1944.

As the Royal Winnipeg Rifles (RWR) approached their sector of the Normandy beach code named Mike Red many soldiers noticed that the village looked very similar to what they saw on the maps and sand tables used in their training.  Jim Parks, of the RWRs recognized the church steeple of the village he was going to land at by 0745 at Courseulles-sur-Mer. When exiting their boats riflemen had to be sure to keep their guns above the water, often having to hold them over their heads otherwise if the rifle were to get wet it would no longer be able to fire. The landing craft of the RWR came under fire upon approach from German shelling and small arms fire but the worst was to come.  At 0745 the first of the landing craft landed in front of Courseulles-sur-Mer to the west of the Seulles River.

When the men of the RWR arrived they were confronted with the knowledge that the German strongholds were still intact, manned and ready to repel the Allied attack. The German stronghold consisted of one 88mm gun, one 75mm gun, and two 50mm guns.  Additionally, there were tweleve machine gun pillboxes that would test the courage of the RWR.   According to the regimental war diary “the bombardment having failed to kill a single German or silence one weapon these companies had to storm their positions ‘cold’ and did so without hesitation.”  The result was incredibly difficult fighting as the men of the RWR surrounded each strongpoint.  With the help of the 1st Hussars tanks each position was eventually neutralized but not before the regiment suffering more than 130 casualties.  However, by late morning the beach area and German strongholds that was the initial objective was in the hands of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

During the battle Henry was severely wounded. Someone had attempted to heal him, likely thinking that he had a decent chance to survive but unfortunately he died regardless of this.

For his years of military service Henry received four medals. The first medal being the 1939 to 1945 star which can be gotten for doing service for the army or navy for six months on active operations between the starting date of 1939 September the 2nd and the end date if in Europe being 1945 May 8th while the end date if near the pacific being  2  December 1945. If the soldier was instead part of the Air-force it would require two months instead of six.

Secondly he received the France and Germany star which was given to anyone who did one or more days of military service while being in either France, Germany, Belgium or Holland before 8 May 1945.

Thirdly the Defence Medal was given to him which is a medal that is given to “Service in the forces in non-operational areas subjected to air attack or closely threatened, providing such service lasted for three or more years. Service overseas or outside the country of residence, providing that such service lasted for one year, except in territories threatened by the enemy or subject to bomb attacks, in which case it was six months prior to 2 September 1945.”

Fourth he got the War Medal which is awarded to anyone who spent 28 days or more as member of the armed forces or the merchant marines after the date of 3 September 1939 and before the date of 2 September 1945.

Written by: a student at Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Rédigé par : Katie Hope, 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.

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.