Meanwhile, on Juno Beach

Video

The iconic footage below is from the grainy black and white film shot in the early morning of June 6, 1944 by Sergeant Bill Grant of the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit. It is one of the few surviving clips showing the landing of Canadian troops from the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment on Nan Red Beach, the codename for their section of Juno Beach at Bernières-sur-Mer, France.

More than 600 Canadians were cut down in the first minutes of the landing, the second worst casualties of D-Day after the Americans on Omaha Beach.

More than 600 Canadians were cut down in the first minutes of the landing, the second worst casualties of D-Day after the Americans on Omaha Beach.

In all 15,000 Canadians in the 3rd Canadian Division landed in France on D-Day. This number includes over 450 who landed by parachute or by glider as part of the assault by the men of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion on the bridges on the Dives and Divette in Varaville. Ten thousand sailors of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in 109 vessels were also involved in the assault.

The Canadian objectives were to:

  • establish a beachhead,
  • capture the three small seaside towns of Courseulles-sur-Mer, Bernières and St. Aubin,
  • advance ten miles inland,
  • cut the Caen-Bayeux highway,
  • seize the Carpiquet airport west of Caen,
  • and form a link between the British beachheads codenamed Sword and Gold.

Canadian troops endured some of the heaviest fighting on D-Day, second only to the American assault on Omaha Beach. Despite this the 3rd Canadian Division progressed further inland than any other of the Allies on D-Day. Casualties on D-Day included 340 killed, 574 wounded and 47 taken prisoner. During the first six days of the campaign, 1,017 Canadians died, and by the end of the two and a half month Normandy campaign, Canadian casualties totalled more than 18,000, including more than 5,000 dead. Lest We Forget.

Canada Remembers “The Few”

It was a perfect Sunday afternoon on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The event included a parade of members of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Air Cadets, as elderly veterans of the Second World War looked on to commemorate the RAF and RCAF’s “finest hour”.
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Displays included a replica Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire, and interpreters in period costume were available to answer questions. The highlights of the afternoon for Lois and I were the fly-pasts by vintage Second World War aircraft including a Spitfire, P-51 Mustang, and Lancaster bomber and other Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft, including the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

Spectators wave as a Lancaster Bomber and a Spitfire make a flypast over Parliament Hill as part of an event marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Spectators wave as a Lancaster Bomber and a Spitfire make a flypast over Parliament Hill as part of an event marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

More than one hundred Canadians flew in the Battle of Britain between July and October 1940, the largest air battle of its time. Twenty-three Canadians lost their lives. Historians have described the Battle, which involved almost 3,000 allied aircrew, as the turning point of the Second World War.

Famously, Winston Churchill said of the airmen who won the battle…
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

The Day The War Was Won

Video

“The Day The War Was Won” is a Channel 4 documentary about the Battle of Britain broadcast to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the battle. It is well worth watching.

No matter how many programmes I’ve see featuring the last of “The Few”, I always find them extraordinary and moving. If you feel the same way, then you are sure to enjoy this presentation. Seventy-five years on, only a handful of the Battle of Britain’s heroes are still with us. In this video Dermot O’Leary meets veterans of the Battle of Britain – pilots and ground crew as well as the women pilots who ferried aircraft around the country. The documentary explores the extraordinary human stories of those who changed the course of the Second World War.

Enjoy!

Site Admin

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Can’t let the week pass without acknowledging the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. We need to remember our history, be thankful for our freedom, and acknowledge the sacrifice of our veterans, especially those from Canada.

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If Ottawa, Ontario, is an easy commute for you then consider attending the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain National Ceremony. Promising to be a stirring and highly visual event,  it will will take place on Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 12:45 p.m. on Parliament Hill and will feature fly-pasts by vintage Second World War aircraft and Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft, including the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the CF-18 Demonstration Team.

More information is available here.

Canada’s 24 Hours of Destiny

The YouTube video below is the first instalment of the documentary D-Day: Canada’s 24 Hours of Destiny. It was first broadcast in Canada on June 4, 2004 to mark the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day, and it provides an hour-by-hour account of Canada’s involvement as told by the men who were there. Enjoy!

This is Part 1 of a 9 part series hosted by YouTube. To see the others, follow the links provided by YouTube when this video concludes.