Metro Skwarchuk

Trooper Metro Skwarchuk, L36940
Devil Lake, Saskatchewan
Fort Garry Horse

Metro Skwarchuk was born on 26 July 1919 in Canora, Saskatchewan. Metro was born with a dark complexion, blue eyes and black hair. He was the youngest of five children (two brothers and two sisters). His mother passed away at an age of 46. He could speak/read both English and Ukrainian fluently as his father was born in the Ukraine in 1877. Metro worked on a farm for seven years and after the war he wanted to continue in the farming career but also had the ambition to continue school to become a postman. He weighed 126 pounds and he was 5 feet 8 ½ inches tall. He had scars across the back of his left hand, he had a scar at the outer canthus of his right eye and he lost his 2nd and 3rd digits on his left hand.

During his military service, Metro drove a tank instead of wielding a rifle. This could be due to the fact that he was missing his 2nd and 3rd digit on his left hand.

During the war Metro Skwarchuk was in the hospital three times. The first time was on 13 November 1941 at the Regiment hospital because he had influenza. He was in the hospital for two days and was released on 15 November 1941. The second time he was in the hospital he suffered appendicitis on 12 December 1941 and was sent to the Debert Military Hospital for six days. He was sent to Debert Military Hospital again on 28 March 1942 due to bronchopneumonia. He remained in the hospital for an entire month.

Metro Skwarchuk was struck off strength with the No. 12 District Depot, Canadian Army in Regina on 14 April 1941. He was then transferred to the 16/22 Saskatchewan Horse militia. On 20 October 1941 Metro went on leave, and on 2 November he returned to active duty. He was admitted to the Regimental Hospital on the 13November and he was in there for two days with influenza. He was admitted back into the hospital but this time in Debert (Nova Scotia) with appendicitis. He was released on 18 December after spending six days in the hospital.

On 28 March 1942 he was admitted back into Debert hospital because he became sick with bronchopneumonia again. During his time in the hospital he became a qualified 1st year signaler on 16 April 1942. Two days later he was discharged from the hospital where he had spent twenty two days. He went back on leave on 30 July 1942, during his leave he drew rations at $0.50 on 5 October 1942 and he returned from his leave on 27 October1942. He was granted a five day Christmas leave on December 23 1942 and returned on 28 December 1942.

On 1 January 1943, he was entitled to draw $1.50 per day. He passed a course and became a qualified loader operator meaning he could drive a tank on 14 January 1943. He re-qualified on 1March 1943. Metro was struck off strength to Camp Borden in Halifax on 14 June 1943. He was taken off strength on the 24 June. Metro must have encountered calm seas as his voyage from Halifax to England only took eight days.  Metro was remastered as a gun operator on 4 August 1943. Metro was struck off strength to the 10th armored regiment on 11 August 1943. The next day he was taken off strength from the 20th A-T.K (Anti-Tank). On the 12August he also became a qualified gunner of “B” and got a trades pay for a gunner, meaning he was making $1.50 a day.

Metro was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp for 60 days of service outside of Canada. For many soldiers this was a standard medal.

Metro left the U.K. on 2 June 1944 and landed at France on 6 June 1944 (D-Day). Sadly, he was killed on Juno Beach that same day.

The days before D-Day, Metro would have been preparing himself for the fight of his life. The Fort Gary regiment landed at 8:05 am at Nan Red beach near St. Aubin. The Fort Gary tanks were supporting the North Shore Regiment. On their way, four landing craft tanks were knocked into the water, one was hit with the tanks still onboard and one sank in deep water. When the tanks landed they gave supporting fire from all directions while waiting for the AVRE’s. The AVRE’s were for clearing the minefield, at this time they had already lost four tanks and they only had sixteen tanks remaining. Although there was no breach that they could exit out of, the squad leader Major William Bray decided to go through the minefield. He ordered the rest of the squad to follow him; this resulted in the loss of three tanks.

The remaining tanks made their way to St. Aubin and were able to support the infantry, and the men of the North Shores who were successful in clearing St. Aubin except for one of the strong points. That afternoon two Shermans blew up two 75mm, two anti-aircraft guns and they had defeated the strong point, clearing all of St. Aubin. “C” Squad was needed to support the North Shores again when they were to take over Tailleville. They were able to shoot down a German platoon, destroy a 75mm and an 88mm gun. They attacked a German headquarters and in the afternoon a tank found its way into the headquarters and blew up the trenches and their defense at close range. At 1700 the North Shores had taken the headquarters and at 23:30 “C” squad tanks moved into Tailleville with the North Shores. They stayed the night here, but they had to stay prepared because they were expecting a German counter attack.

Metro died on June 6th 1944 on Juno Beach as a part of Fort Garry Horse, trying to take the German position.

Metro Skwarchuk didn’t have a will, so all of his belongings went to the next of kin. Originally, Metro had listed John Skwarchuk (his father) as his next of kin but on 30 July 1942 he changed his next of kin to Sophie Skwarchuk (his sister). He ended up changing his next of kin back to his father on 9 July 1943. The family of Metro Skwarchuk would have received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. He was buried at Beny-Sur-MerCanadian War Cemetery. His grave reference is; I. G. 16.

 

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

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.