John Pilling

Corporal John Pilling, L27367
Kinistino, Saskatchewan
The Regina Rifle Regiment

Corporal Pilling is sponsored by Harold and Dorothy Bell.
Corporal Pilling était parrainé par Harold et Dorothy Bell. 

In remembrance and thanks giving in the name of the Pilling Family

John Pilling was born on 30 June 1919 in Clitheroe, Lancashire, England. John grew up in an Anglican family of 18 people, his mother Clara and father Albert had 16 children, 5 girls and 11 boys. John Pilling was fair skinned with blue eyes, about 128 pounds and stood 5 feet 6 1/2 inches tall. After grade 8 he finished schooling and began to work in the trade of farming as a labourer, he had been born onto a farm and had 8 years of farming experience. One day in the future John had hoped to become a garage mechanic as his trade. While living in Kinistino, Saskatchewan on 12 June 1940 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan John enlisted into the military “B” company at the age of 20 just before his birthday on the 30th. Upon leaving John had left everything in his father’s name as he was single and did not have a significant other to leave his belongings to. Upon John’s enlistment he had done many medical tests although all of which had come back negative, he was a very healthy man with great vision and hearing. Although 3 months prior to his death on Juno Beach he had been admitted into the First Canadian General Hospital on February 27 for one week and discharged March 6, 1944. The reason for his admittance is unknown, although it may be due to his training that he might have been injured during training.

John Pilling was taken on strength (TOS) as a rifleman with the Regina Rifles at the recruitment camp in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on 12 June 1940. He was twenty years old with his entire life and future ahead of him but he decided to join the army. He had worked on a farm and he had dreams of wanting to be a mechanic after the war.  In the records it indicates that his brother Arthur was in Italy fighting the Germans when John enlisted in the war.

Once John had enlisted he was transferred to Dundurn Camp for basic training but still connected to the Royal Regina Rifles. John would remain in the training camp until 27 September 1940 when he was moving from training camp to Debert, Nova Scotia in preparation for going overseas. When he arrived in Nova Scotia he was given a fourteen day furlough as well as a six day special leave to visit family, friends or relax in a civilian setting before one final training course and then being shipped overseas and joining the Canadian Army in preparation for fighting.

He returned from furlough on 1 January 1941 and would continue his training until 7 July 1941 when his final six day leave was granted. Three weeks after he returned from leave he boarded the transport troop ships heading for Gourock, Scotland. When the ship left Halifax John Pilling had no idea that he would never see home again or the shores of Canada.

After a ten day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, John arrived in Gourock, Scotland on 5 September 1941 five days landing leave was granted a month after landing. Gourock was a naval port used extensively by transport troop ships bringing soldiers from Canada. From Gourock, the Canadians would board troop trains and join other units that were engaged in further military training.

 

John was a good soldier because he was promoted from rifleman to lance corporal on 22 July 1942. He was granted one week leave after his promotion and upon his return he received a good conduct badge for his demonstration of being a good soldier within the ranks. John was  promoted again to the rank of full corporal on 1 August 1943. He must have been showing his superiors that he was a strong soldier that could not only follow orders but also give orders and take responsibility. He would remain a corporal until his death.

On 3 June 1944 John along with the rest of the Regina Rifles boarded the invasion ships that would eventually carry the 20,000 Canadians to the Juno sector of the Normandy beach landings. John and the rest of the Regina Rifles would board their infantry landing craft in the middle of the English Channel in the early hours of June 6, 1944. The Regina Rifles would land in front of the coastal village of Courseulles-sur-Mer. Unfortunately for John, and many other men of the Regina Rifles, 6 June, also known as D-Day, would be his last day alive. He is buried at Beny-sur-Mer cemetery along with nearly 2,000 other Canadians that lost their lives in the weeks and months after landing on 6 June 1944.

John was a great soldier who needs to be honoured for the greatest sacrifice he could give, his life, which he lost during the first day of the Normandy invasion on 6 June 1944. John was awarded a good conduct badge, the 1939-45 Star, the France & Germany Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal, and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. Each of these medals were been awarded to Corporal John Pilling for his great efforts. John left everything in his will to his father Albert Henry Pilling.  John Pilling’s grave can be found at the Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian Cemetery outside the village of Reviers in plot 5, row D, grave 2 as indicated in the picture by the blue circle. John was a brave man who will always be remembered.

Written by a student at Smiths Fall 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.

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.