Our D-Day

D-Day, June 6, 1944 was a pivotal day in the history of the world. It was then that Allied forces of Britain, the United States and Canada invaded Hitler’s Fortress Europe in what proved to be the beginning of the end of the Second World War. Today, of course, we Continue Reading →

D-Day Plus 70 Years

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July 14, 2014. D-Day plus 70 years, 1 month and 8 days.

Beginning with an early morning trip to the Canadian War Cemetery at Beny-Sur-Mer, our day in the Normandy landing zones included visits to:

  • Juno Beach at Beny-Sur-Mer, and Courseulles Sur-Mer,
  • Gold Beach, a British landing zone, at Arromanches,
  • the German coastal defence batteries at Longues-sur-Mer,
  • Ardenne Abbey, the scene of the cold-blooded murder of 20 Canadian soldiers by Nazi SS Panzer Division troops on June 7-8, 1944.

I will deal with each of these in separate posts

It was also just over a month after the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy. The anniversary itself had been marked by commemorations and special events all along the Normandy coastline. World leaders had attended an international ceremony on Sword Beach on June 6. There hundreds of gathered veterans heard French president Francois Hollande remind the world that:

“The 6th June is not a day like others: it is not just the longest day or a day to remember the dead, but a day for the living to keep the promise written with the blood of the fighters, to be loyal to their sacrifice by building a world that is fairer and more human.”

CBC TV’s broadcast of the anniversary ceremonies are featured HERE. The video below is from Panzer Pictures and chronicles some of the events and celebrations held in Normandy in June 2014 from a tourist’s prospective. Much of it is raw and unedited. Enjoy!

Hosted by YouTube, there are three parts to this feature. Follow the prompts when the video concludes to see parts 2 and 3.

Operation Overlord Overview

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Want to know more about D-Day, aka Operation Overlord? Then checkout this Operation Overlord overview.

Taken from CBC Digital Archives, this broadcast aired on The National on June 1, 1984 as part of the lead-up to the 40th anniversary of the D-Day landings. It explains the purpose and importance of Operation Overlord, and the role Canadians played in it. The National was hosted by Knowlton Nash and this segment is reported by CBC reporter Dan Bjarnason.

Camp X VE Day 70th Anniversary

Friday, May 8, 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to end the Second World War in Europe. Celebrated world-wide, the event was marked by ceremonies across Canada including one held at the site of Camp X, the former top secret spy school and communication facility in Whitby, Ontario.VE-Day-70Not only did Camp X train spies and resistance fighters such as those featured in the recent CBC TV series, X Company. It also had a highly advanced deciphering and communication facility known as Hydra. Hydra handled the bulk of Allied communications in the Western Hemisphere by war’s end – some 40,000 messages daily. One of the messages sent on May 8, 1945 from Bletchley Park, England to Camp X was the historic transmission which let North America know that the war was over. On the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the event was recreated by members of the Bletchley Park Radio Club in England, and the North Shore Amateur Radio Club in Canada. One of those involved was my friend, Jeffery Golde, from Courtice, Ontario. He is featured in the CBC YouTube video which follows.

“It is important that we remember the sacrifices and contributions of Canadians who helped liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny. It is also inspiring that we are here at Camp X. Camp X is a symbol that Canada has always ‘punched above its weight’ and plays an important role in preserving world peace. A new generation of Canadians is beginning to understand this truth.”Dr. Colin Carrie, M.P. – Oshawa


Dieppe: Die Like Brave Men

The YouTube video below, from History Television’s “Turning Points in History” series, is one of the best documentaries that I’ve come across about the Dieppe raid. If you are interested in learning about the raid first hand from Canadians who were there, this is a “must watch”.

Note: This was produced before many secret documents were released regarding the German Enigma machine at Dieppe and the British Bletchley Park code-breaking project.  David O’Keefe in his book “One Day In August” claims that the real intent of the almost suicidal mission was as cover for a secret commando mission to gather intelligence in Dieppe that they hoped would crack the Enigma machine.

Enjoy!