Lance Sergeant William Francis Stewart
6th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers
Vancouver, British Columbia
Died 7 June 1944
Lance Sergeant William Francis Stewart 6th Field Company, RCE William Francis Stewart was born in Donegal Ireland – the first son of Sir Harry Stewart Baronet and Lady Stewart and. If he had survived the war he would have inherited the title. In the 1920s the family was facing financial difficulties and he and some of his siblings immigrated to Canadaand the British colonies. By 1923 he was working as a labourer and had married Lucy Dorothy Mabel Metcalfe-Smith in St Georges Church inVancouver, British Columbia.
His wife Lucy survived him and passed away in Burnaby on 11 July 1956. They had no children. By the time WW II had broken out William was working as a longshoreman and living in Burnaby. He enlisted with 6th Field Company on 11 June 1940 when it was temporarily located in New Westminster. He qualified as a carpenter shortly after enrollment and shortly before the unit left for England he was promoted to Lance Corporal. By November 1941 he was a Corporal, by August 1942 he was Acting/Lance-Sergeant and he was promoted to Lance Sergeant in July 1943.
On D-Day William Stewart was a member of 2 Platoon that landed with the infantry in the first wave of the assault. He was in command of a 6-person engineer team in support of 12 Platoon of B Company of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. Immediately upon arriving on the beach they came under heavy mortar and machine gun fire. He survived the initial landing but was later shot by a sniper and rendered unconscious. By 10:00 PM that night he had been taken to 2 Field Dressing Station but he died from his wounds early on the morning of 7 June 1944. As Lt Mustard, the commander of 2 Platoon later said (in “We Were There”):“L-Sgt W.F. Stewart was a sad thing. I spent from 1941 to 1944 with these boys and this was a personal friend about 45. He was well educated and Irish.”
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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