Willford Leroy McLaughlin

Private Willford Leroy McLaughlin, M104857
Ranch, Alberta
The Canadian Scottish Regiment

Willford LeRoy McLaughlin was a private of the Canadian army in World War II. He was a member of the Canadian Scottish Regiment during D-Day. His regimental number was M-104857.

Willford spent his whole life in Alberta, before the war. He was born 10 April 1912 in Botha Alberta. He was born under his mother Nellie Irene McLaughlin and Charles Wesley McLaughlin. Willford was the middle child of four with two older sisters (Mary Elva McLaughlin and Eleanor Ruth McLaughlin) and a younger brother (George Abner McLaughlin). He and his family were in the Church of England.

Willford was 17 years of age, when he left school. He completed eight years of Public School. Willford became a farmer and trapper, but if he had the choice, he wanted to be a motor mechanic and welder.  Before the war, he was engaged in this business for 13 years. He had 20 years of farming experience. Willford had blue eyes and brown hair. His wife was Helen Margaret McLaughlin. They were married on 11 August 1942, in Athabasca Alberta. Willford and his wife lived in Ranch P.O Alberta before the war. Before enlisting, Willford was 5 foot 6 inches and 142 pounds with a fair complexion. He enlisted in November 1942.

Willford didn’t have many medical records. In 1921 he had an appendectomy. He had a rupture repaired in the same operation. He also had a few scars, one above his left eye, and another below his right eye. He also had a scar on his right rectus after the appendectomy. Willford also had stomach or bowel problems. After enlisting, Willford was given four vaccinations. The first was on 21 November 1942. The second was on 19 December 1942, and the third was in January 1943. During the war, Willford was admitted to the Peace River Hospital. He stayed for three days during the month of December 1942. Willford had 20/20 vision in both eyes and negative urinalysis. The only problem that came to him often was a plugged up right nostril when he has a cold. Other problems came around throughout his military career. He had reported much tenderness in his lower back. He also reported pain in the backs of his leg and his back on 18 May 1943.

On 19 November 1942, Willford McLaughlin was attached for all purposes into the13 NRMA C.D in Grand Prairie. On 6 January 1943, Willford was attested to the Canadian army and discharged from the NRMA. He completed 48 days of basic training while at the camp. From there, Willford was taken on strength to the Edmonton Wing 13 District Depot and posted to general reinforcements on 7 January 1943.

 

He was posted to the infantry rifles and struck on strength to be transferred to the Canadian infantry training center in Calgary. On the 26 January, he was taken on strength to be transferred to 132 CABTC. In late March, Willford was posted to the Calgary Highlanders. 2 days later, he proceeded on special duty overseas. In June of 1943, Willford was struck off strength to the 1st Canadian Scottish Regiment in the United Kingdom. The next day, he was taken on strength from 1CIRU in the United Kingdom. On 6 June 1944, he fought on Juno Beach. McLaughlin was finally attached to the left flank of Juno Beach as a soldier the Canadian Scottish Regiment. His area was codenamed the Mike Sector of the beach.

In his military file, there is a significant gap in his movements. This is assumed that he was continuing his training for preparation to the Normandy Invasion.

Willford McLaughlin’s final day was on 6 June 1944. He went with the Canadian Scottish Regiment to Juno Beach at Mike Green Sector. He was on the boat with his many fellow soldiers for a few days before the main assault.

Potentially, Willford was attached to the forward group. During D-Day, the forward group, were the first to land before any other Company in the Can Scots as “D” company was late to land. “C” Company suffered more casualties as a company in the Canadian Scottish Regiment. Somewhere along the way, McLaughlin was shot down by the enemy. The main target to neutralize, a pillbox, was already destroyed by naval bombardment making it easy for the Canadian Scottish Regiment to move up. McLaughlin was most likely in the No.15platoon or the No.13 platoon.

One unit, under command of Lieutenant Schjelderup, came in with 45 men, and left with 19. This is potentially where Willford McLaughlin was killed in. Schjelderup led the No.13 platoon. This unit was hit hard when enemy MGs and snipers inflict heavy casualties to the unit. There was no cover other than a field of wheat, nearly three feet tall, nearby. Many soldiers were shot down here. This was the possible potential area that Willford died in.

The No.15 platoon of “C” company was under command of Lieutenant Radcliff. They were ordered to take the Chateau Vaux. Along the way the Lieutenant was shot by a sniper. From there the No.13 and No.15 started to work together to find for the Chateau.

 

All of “C” company was sent in to take the Chateau. This was said were most of the causalities of the Canadian Scottish Regiment occurred. Of the three platoons, this was most likely Willford’s area of death. He was either with Lt. Radcliff of the No. 15, or Lt. Schjelderup of the No. 13 platoon. He was checked over by a medic before his final breath as the medical record records “wounded”. The Canadian Scottish Regiment started the attack from the far left beach of Juno, and into the village area of Vaux. Somewhere along the way, Willford was a casualty hit by the enemy. Willford died at the age of 32. His brother too fought in the war but he was not killed from what I know.

Willford LeRoy McLaughlin was one of the 369 soldiers who were killed on D-Day. Not many people knew about him or even anyone in the D-Day fallen. Willford earned the 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star, Defense Medal, and the War Medal 1939- 1945. Willford left his will to his wife Helen McLaughlin. He also gave 1/3 of his pay to his mother, 1/3 of his pay to his wife, and 1/3 of his pay to his brother who also fought in WWII. He died in France and was temporarily buried in MR 960848 Sheet 7E/5 Orchard of Mr. Gudderville Normandy, in Grave Sur Mer, France. He was reburied in Beny-sur-Mer Canadian Military Cemetery, in Beny-sur-Mer France. His gravestone is located Grave 2 row G, plot 5. Willford will be remembered by his family members as they put on the grave “Tho on Earth, you are no more, in memory you are with us. – Wife, Dad, Mother, Sisters, and Brother”

 

Written by: Bryce Greer, a student at the Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Rédigé par:
 Bryce Greer, 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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