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Post by Glideon on Thu 09 May 2019, 1:29 pm

D-Day 75th anniversary tour stops in Winnipeg



CTV Winnipeg
Published Thursday, May 9, 2019

This year mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the first day of the battle of Normandy.

A commemoration train tour honouring the service members who fought in the battle and the war made a stop at Winnipeg’s Union Station on Wednesday.

Leonard Van Roon, who landed in Normandy on D-Day was there.



History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 Image
Leonard Van Roon landed in Normandy on D-Day and took part in the commemorative ceremony Wednesday.


Now 97, the veteran still remembers the shell fire from 75 years ago.

“I didn’t feel there was any hopelessness to it, or anything like that. But I knew it was darn dangerous,” he said.

The nation-wide commemoration tour aims to mimic the same trip Van Roon and other Canadians made to Halifax by train before going overseas to serve in the war.

Veterans Affairs Canada’s Robert Loken said the scheduled VIA Rail train is collecting combat boots from veterans across Canada.

He said they’re pieces of history to take to the tour’s final stop.

“It was important for us to take a look at the opportunity to spread that out across the country and not just limit it to one day,” Loken, the manager of national commemorations said.

Van Roon’s boots won’t be going to Halifax, though. He’s saving them as a keepsake for a younger generation.

“I said if you touch those boots when you grow up you can say I touched boots that landed on that shore,” he said.

Nearly 15 pairs of boots from across Canada will be on display for the ceremony in Halifax on June 6, including two pairs from Manitoba.

All of the boots will be returned when the tour concludes.





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Post by Garrison on Thu 09 May 2019, 6:05 pm

Countdown to D-Day: How to get a foothold in a fortress

Facing the Allies on D-Day was an Atlantic Wall bristling with deadly defences

May 9, 2019

History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 B88700675Z.1_20190509090708_000_GMBJ943F.3-0_Super_Portrait
Two of ‘Hobart’s Funnies,’ a tank that could swim ashore like a duck and a tank that flailed away at hidden landmines. - The Hamilton Spectator WWII Photograph Collection



Seventeen million cubic metres of concrete and 1.2 million tonnes of steel, stretched ominously and continuously for 2,687 kilometres shaped the foundation of Adolph Hitler's Atlantic Wall, also known as his "Fortress Europe."

On March 23, 1942 — under Führer Directive No. 40 — construction was ordered on the defences along the European continent's coast with the Atlantic. Initially built around his Kriegsmarine's U-Boats, the fortifications eventually expanded to cover the coastline from Norway all the way to the Spanish border.

Nazi hierarchy concentrated on fixing defences along the assumed target of the French coast. So, in 1944 renowned and battle-tested, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, the famous "The Desert Fox" for his accomplishments in North Africa — was given the responsibility with overseeing and improving the fortifications by Hitler.

Rommel, too, firmly believed that beaches of France were the inevitable target for the Allies, and that the invasion had to be crushed right there. So, under his direction, in France alone, more than 6 million mines were planted.

Eventually, defences consisted of anti-tank and vehicle obstacles known as 'Rommel's Teeth' which were basically giant, jagged clusters of wood and steel with explosives attached and they were completely hidden during high tide. Then the beaches were jammed full of landmines and barbed wire, ditches were dug, and anti-tank walls built followed by pillboxes housing murderous machine-gun nests with interlocking sightlines so that all the beachhead could be covered. Close behind were heavy artillery and anti- aircraft guns, armoured and infantry divisions and even a secondary line of heavy artillery to support the beachhead during an invasion, in hopes of delaying any advance until reinforcements could arrive.

The term "Fortress Europe" was warranted, and the fortress was formidable.

But, the Allies believed that victory could only be achieved by driving the occupying Nazi forces out, and that had to be done on land. Unfortunately, any sustained invasion would need a foothold to advance from and that meant that the Nazi assumptions of an inevitable beach landing — one, presumably close to England — were correct and well-founded.

So, the Allies had to apply a few tricks to improve their chances on D-Day.

They were innovative in their engineering of tactical vehicles that could be used to help them crack the defences they were going to face. 79th Armoured Division of the British Army and specialists from The Royal Engineers worked on what would become known as "Hobart's Funnies," which were tanks that were specially-modified to the problems that the more traditional tank would face.

The most famous of these was the Duplex Drive tank, or "Donald Duck", "Duck" or "DD" for short. These were amphibious tanks that used a flotation screen and two propellers to drive through the water. Other notable inventions that saw success on the frontlines were the Crab Mine-Clearing tank, the AVRE, and Crocodile Flame-Throwing tank.





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Post by kodiak on Mon 13 May 2019, 4:17 pm

D-DAY HEROES Last surviving Chelsea Pensioners who fought on D-Day and in Battle of Normandy pose proudly together ahead of 75th anniversary

By Molly Rose Pike
13th May 2019

One veteran recalled the water being 'full of bodies' when he arrived on the beach

History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 NINTCHDBPICT000489500460
The last Chelsea Pensioners who fought on D-Day and in the Battle of Normandy came together to mark the 75th anniversary of the landings





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Post by Garrison on Tue 14 May 2019, 5:08 pm

Canadian Veteran Reflects on D-Day

By NNL Staff - May 14, 2019

History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 War-Amps-D-Day-75th-Allan-Bacon-Collage1
Allan Bacon in World War 2 and today



75th Anniversary of D-Day Draws Near

TORONTO – On June 6, 1944, Toronto’s Allan Bacon was one of the thousands of Canadians to arrive by boat on the shores of Juno Beach in Normandy, France. As this year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, 99-year-old Bacon is reflecting on that pivotal event.

Bacon enlisted with the Royal Regiment of Canada in 1940 and was later transferred to the Canadian Scottish Regiment. When his tour of duty took him to Normandy, his role was in the mortar platoon. “That was because I had difficulty opening one eye at a time, which was required to operate a rifle,” he recalls.

On June 17, 1944, Bacon was based in a barn, anticipating an attack that never came. He went into a nearby shed to disarm the grenades when one exploded, resulting in the loss of his right arm.

When Bacon realized he’d lost his arm, his first thought was, “This will break my mother’s heart.” Bacon recovered at a hospital in England where he learned to use his left arm through exercises like washing windows.

On returning to Canada, he became a member of The War Amps, an Association started by amputee veterans returning from the First World War to help each other adapt to their new reality. Today, Bacon continues to be active with The War Amps Toronto Branch.

Bacon’s daughter, Deborah Sliwinski, says, “In our family, we see my father as a hero. He talks about how losing his arm was the best thing that ever happened to him because it gave him the courage to try new things.”

When asked what he thinks of being called a hero, Bacon says that he didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, adding that at the time, men and women enlisted with the goal of protecting the country and he wanted to do the same.

Through the years, he along with his fellow War Amps members, have made it a goal to remember and commemorate their fallen comrades, and to educate youth about the horrors of war. “In Normandy, many Canadians died or suffered wounds that they had to carry for the rest of their lives,” says Bacon. “On anniversaries like D-Day, it’s important that we never forget.”





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Post by Forcell on Wed 15 May 2019, 9:28 am

Why Canada’s casualties were so high in Normandy

The Normandy campaign, from D-Day until late August 1944, saw almost 5,000 Canadian soldiers perish. But that offensive, launched 75 years ago, jumpstarted the liberation of Western Europe.

by J.L. Granatstein May 15, 2019

History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 WWII-NORMANDY-810x445-1556742001
A Canadian Army medical corpsman tends to a Canadian soldier during the battle for Falaise on July 16, 1944



J.L. Granatstein is a former Director and CEO of the Canadian War Museum and author of many books, including Canada’s Army: Waging War and Keeping the Peace.

Normandy is full of the dead: 9,400 American graves in a huge cemetery just behind Omaha Beach, 23,000 German dead buried nearby, and 10,000 British graves to the east. In two Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries, one at Bény-sur-Mer and the second at Bretteville-sur-Laize, almost 5,000 Canadian dead lie, their white tombstones arranged in neat rows. In all, between D-Day, June 6, 1944 and late August, when the Normandy campaign came to its end and the Germans were in full retreat eastward, more than 18,000 Canadian soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. The Normandy battlefields were marked by sheer butchery, the losses equal to the worst of those of the First World War.

The huge Allied invasion fleet had put 130,000 men ashore on D-Day along with 6,000 vehicles and 600 guns. Allied aircraft logged 14,000 sorties while the Luftwaffe could put a mere 250 aircraft in the air. But the Germans had tough, powerful panzer divisions in reach of the beaches and, although the Canadians successfully drove off the first counterattacks, their advance ground to a halt, the fighting quickly turning into a slugging match.

Facing the Canadians of the 3rd Infantry Division and 2nd Armoured Brigade in the first days after the invasion was the 12th SS Panzer Division made up of Hitler Youth teenagers led by NCOs and officers who had fought against the Red Army. Fanatical and well-trained, the Waffen SS troopers fought a vicious war, aided and abetted by their leaders. One hundred and fifty-six Canadian prisoners were murdered in cold blood in the immediate aftermath of D-Day, including two soldiers left on a roadway to be pulped by passing armoured vehicles and trucks, and a padre, Honorary Capt. Walter Brown. “My unit takes no prisoners,” Standartenführer Kurt Meyer had told his young soldiers, and at least some of them had obeyed.

The enemy had more than murderous, fanatical soldiers. Their panzers were vastly superior to the Allied tanks. The Canadians, like their allies, used the Sherman tank that ran on high-octane gasoline and had a nasty habit of catching fire if hit. “Ronsons,” the Germans called them, after the cigarette lighter. The SS divisions fielded many Panthers and Tigers, far better tanks with heavier armour and a bigger gun, and only good luck could see a Sherman survive in combat. The one advantage the Canadian armoured regiments had was that the Shermans were more road-worthy than the temperamental German panzers, and there were far more of them, replacements aplenty rolling off the U.S. production lines. The Germans could not match American productive capacity, and eventually sheer numbers told.

The Germans had another huge advantage—the 88 mm gun. Designed as an anti-aircraft weapon, the 88 proved to be a formidable weapon against Allied tanks. In attack after attack, the Sherman tanks brewed up under the 88s’ fire. When dug in and serviced by well-trained gun crews, the 88 mm dominated the battle space.

The fight to move inland from the initial D-Day lodgements was long and gruelling. The British had planned on liberating Caen on June 6; it would take until the middle of July, and the Canadian troops that entered the city found it flattened by Allied bombing with the Germans still holed up in the suburbs. Repeated efforts to push the enemy back proved costly and largely fruitless, the SS and Wehrmacht troops proving very hard to dislodge from their hold on Verrières Ridge south of Caen.

By the beginning of August, the Canadians had three formations in France, the 3rd Division that had been fighting since D-Day, the 2nd Infantry Division that had never quite recovered from its losses in the raid on Dieppe two years before, and the green, ill-trained 4th Armoured Division, all commanded by Lt.-Gen. Guy Simonds’ II Canadian Corps and Lt.-Gen. Harry Crerar’s First Canadian Army. Simonds had developed a plan—Operation Totalize—to break through the German defences with their dug-in panzers, 88 mm guns and soldiers from several divisions. He would attack at night on Aug. 8, forming his tanks into columns tightly packed together and with the lead infantry riding in rapidly converted Priests, self-propelled tracked artillery that had had their gun removed, an armoured roof welded on, and the ability to give the soldiers riding inside protection from all but direct hits. The plan was to reach the crossroads town of Falaise to cut off German units retreating ahead of American troops.

Unfortunately disrupted by Allied bombing that hit the attackers at the start of the operation, Totalize nonetheless stunned the enemy. The massive attack pushed 14 km through the defenders’ main positions with minimal casualties, although bypassed Germans continued to resist. But the advance stalled 11 km north of Falaise as units got lost in the dark, and Brigadeführer Kurt Meyer, now promoted to command the battered remnants of his 12th SS Panzer Division, stepped forward to play a decisive role. Meyer sited his 88s carefully, galvanized the rattled defenders and led them in slowing and stopping the advance of the Canadians. Nonetheless, Meyer knew the jig was up: “Further Canadian attacks will inevitably lead to a catastrophe,” he wrote. “We are at the end of our tether.”

Several days later, on Aug. 14, Simonds tried again with Operation Tractable, this time a huge daylight attack of two 150-tank squares heading toward Falaise behind a chemical smokescreen. With dreadful luck, the attack was again disrupted by errant Royal Air Force bombing: “They not only bombed us,” artillery officer Capt. T.J. Bell said, “but they machine-gunned us as well.” Faulty intelligence about the River Laison, expected to be slow moving and shallow, but which turned out to have wooded banks and a muddy bottom hard to ford, also crippled Tractable. It took fierce fighting for Simonds’ divisions to finally close what had become known as the Falaise Gap on Aug. 21. The Germans had fled eastward in large numbers before the Gap was slammed shut, but tens of thousands were killed by Allied guns and air attacks with thousands more taken prisoner.

The Normandy campaign was effectively at its end. The fighting had taken longer than anticipated, and it had cost the Allies 210,000 casualties. Hitler’s Wehrmacht and SS had suffered some 450,000 men killed, wounded, and captured, and the road to Paris was open, the enemy in full flight. D-Day and the bloody victories in the Norman countryside had begun the liberation of Western Europe.

The cost in Canadian lives had been terrible. The soldiers, almost all untried in action, had learned on the job but suffered heavily in the process. Their equipment was too frequently inferior to the Germans’, their fighting skills as well. But they had prevailed, achieving a major victory against the Nazis.

Captured by the Belgian Resistance in November 1944, Kurt Meyer was tried by a Canadian military court in December 1945 for the murders committed by his teenage soldiers. He was found guilty and sentenced to death, but Meyer’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. A true-believing Nazi to the end, he was released from New Brunswick’s Dorchester Penitentiary in 1951 and served three more years in a British military prison in Germany. Freed in 1954, Meyer became a beer salesman supplying Canadian NATO troops stationed in West Germany. He died in 1961.





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Post by Ranger66 on Fri 17 May 2019, 9:32 am

History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 16872905_web1_Jake-s-Gift
Wells playwright and actress Julia Mackey performs Jake’s Gift. A Sunset Theatre presentation of Jake’s Gift Saturday, May 18 at 8 p.m. is a fundraiser for Mackey to return to Normandy this June to perform Jake’s Gift at Juno Beach to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Da



Saturday performance of Jake’s Gift in Wells is a fundraiser for return to Normandy

LINDSAY CHUNG - May. 16, 2019




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Post by Xforce2000 on Sat 18 May 2019, 5:44 pm

Cross-country D-Day commemoration stops in Kingston

May 18, 2019

History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 Img_1102-768x576




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Post by Maxstar on Tue 21 May 2019, 11:53 am

May 21, 2019

D-Day 75th anniversary ceremony held at Kingston VIA Rail station





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Post by Zephariah on Thu 23 May 2019, 8:40 am

Remains found in France identified as those of Burlington soldier who died in WWII

Dan Taekema · CBC News · Posted: May 23, 2019

History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 Sgt-john-albert-collis
Remains recently discovered in France have been identified as those of Sgt. John Albert Collis who died on July 25, 1944. (Supplied by the family of Sergeant Collis)





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Post by Galadren on Tue 28 May 2019, 11:39 am

Graves, crypts and tombs offer history lessons in Ottawa

Published:
May 28, 2019

History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 Travel_log_ottawa_beechwood_20190527_71597244-e1559046634416
The grave site of Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden is shown at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa on Thursday, May 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick





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Post by Cooper on Mon 03 Jun 2019, 9:17 am

Last of the Mohawk code talkers dies after finally being hailed a war hero

Second world war efforts of Louis Levi Oakes and other indigenous peoples stayed secret for decades

History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 1709
Louis Levi Oakes died on 28 May aged 94.



Leyland Cecco in Toronto

Mon 3 Jun 2019


In the dense jungle battlefields of the south Pacific, Louis Levi Oakes was a target. Often flanked by bodyguards as he carried a large field pack with a tangle of transmission lines, the men surrounding Oakes were assigned to protect a valuable asset – his language.

A Mohawk soldier from a territory straddling the US and Canada, Oakes was the last surviving member of a secretive group of second world war soldiers who used their native language to confound and frustrate enemy forces.

On 28 May he died at his home, surrounded by family. He was 94.

Known as the Mohawk code talkers, Oakes and 16 others from the Mohawk nation of Akwesasne were part of a broader – but clandestine – facet of the allied war effort. Because critical communications were vulnerable to interception, the military recruited indigenous speakers to transmit sensitive messages. As many as 500 speakers of indigenous languages were recruited into the US military to work as code talkers, including Navajo, Tlingit, Lakota, Meskwaki, Cree and Comanche, all of whom were sworn to secrecy.

The code they used, drawn from 33 different languages, confused both the Germans and Japanese, who failed to break the code.

But the classified nature of their work kept Oakes and others silent for generations.

It was not until 2008, when the Code Talkers Recognition Act – which permitted Congress to recognise those who served in highly secretive roles nearly seven decades earlier – was passed, that the public learnt of the scope and extent of indigenous people’s contributions to the war effort. In 2016, Oakes was awarded the Silver Star, the US military’s third-highest combat honour, for “gallantry in action against the enemy”.

Born in 1925 in St Regis, Quebec, part of the Akwesasne nation, Oakes enlisted in the US military aged 19. Part of his decision to enlist in the US, as opposed to Canada, stemmed from a violent encounter with Canadian federal police, who arrested and beat his brother.

“When I was in Canada, the Mounties were bad. Really bad,” Oakes told the US Congress’s veterans history project. “They broke up [my brother’s] face and everything.”

The Akwesasne people, along with other Mohawk nations in the area, have a complex relationship with the US and Canada. They see themselves as an independent and sovereign nation, rather than a part of either country. As a result, the relationship between nations is often viewed as one of friendship and military alliances.

After his training at Pine Camp in New York and later in Louisiana, military leadersdiscovered that Oakes spoke Mohawk and assigned him to train as a code talker.

During the war, Oakes was sent to New Guinea and the Philippines and often had bodyguards to protect him from Japanese soldiers, who he said “hid up in the mountains”.

He was honourably discharged from service in 1946.

“Levi was a man who utilised his language unselfishly to preserve the freedoms bestowed upon us today,” said the Akwesasne leadership in a statement posted to Facebook.

After the war Oakes moved to Buffalo in New York, where he spent his 30-year career as an iron worker, before returning to St Regis.

“He served a unique role in fighting to protect this land, his homeland, and he’s an exemplary reminder of the many First Nations men and women who served this country with bravery and distinction,” said the Assembly of First Nations national chief, Perry Bellegarde, in a statement following news of Oakes’s death.

Last December, Oakes’s military service was honoured in Canada’s House of Commons.

“Typically when dignitaries are in the house, there’s a cautious applause,” said Marc Miller, a Liberal MP. “But when he was announced by the speaker … I’ve never heard anything like it.” Parliamentarians and guests gave Oakes a standing ovation when his name was read out. During the visit he met Justin Trudeau, and regaled the Canadian prime minister with stories of meeting his father, the former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

Miller, a Canadian army veteran, met Oakes privately in 2017 after hearing stories of the code talkers’ wartime exploits. Oakes, seated in a wheelchair, inched forward and listened intently when Miller tried to speak to him in Mohawk.

“There’s a deep irony in the fact that the language that was used to save so many lives, and to give us the freedoms we have today, upon return, was stolen from them,” said Miller. Many indigenous peoples who fought abroad faced discrimination and racism upon their return to Canada, and a government intent on vanquishing their language and culture.

“There’s a lot of focus on truth and reconciliation right now,” said Miller, of the country’s attempts to reckon – and atone for – past injustices towards indigenous peoples. “But we really need to focus on the first word: truth. And really learn the truth about those who sacrificed so much in service to us. Levi Oakes was a hero.”

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Post by Maxstar on Fri 07 Jun 2019, 6:13 pm

WW II soldier's remains laid to rest 75 years after his death

CBC News
Published on Jun 7, 2019

Sgt. John Albert Collis's recently-discovered remains have been laid to rest at the Canadian War Cemetery in France. The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry soldier died in the Second World War on July 25, 1944, but his partial skeletal remains weren't found until 2017.



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Post by Cool~Way on Sat 08 Jun 2019, 5:05 pm

History - Topics & Posted Articles  - Page 33 17176156_web1_D-Day-going-ashore
Infantrymen going ashore from the H.M.C.S. Prince Henry. June 6, 1944. (PO Dennis Sullivan/Canadian Department of National Defense/Library and Archives Canada)



T.W. Paterson column: We owe it to our veterans to remember them

Today I want to tell you about a man who hit Juno Beach at Normandy on D-Day.

Jun. 8, 2019 - COLUMNISTS - OPINION

Today I want to tell you about a man who, with his childhood best friend, hit Juno Beach at Normandy on D-Day.

I’ve interviewed a lot of veterans over the years in my rambles as a journalist/historian. Chatted with and BS’d with a whole lot more, sometimes off the record at their request.

Two in particular are branded on my brain; they still give me a twinge when I think of them. The first remembrance is from the First World War. The elderly man I knew, a major retired from the Royal Canadian Army, had been wounded twice and decorated twice during his two years in the trenches. The story he told me, made all the more personally relevant because I was a healthy young male of military age and it was at the time when the United States was becoming irreversibly enmeshed in Vietnam, gave me an entirely new insight into the meanings of patriotism and Country.

But he’s not the subject of today’s tale.

No, I want to tell you about a man who, with his childhood best friend, hit Juno Beach, Normandy, on D-Day.

I’m moved by the research I did for the Citizen’s special tribute to the 75th anniversary of D-Day. This, as everyone should know, was the long awaited invasion of German-occupied mainland Europe. It was the beginning of the end of the Second World War, the worst war in history, and 14,000 Canadians helped to make it one of the greatest military victories of all time.

I shouldn’t have to tell you this. Every natural-born Canadian should know it by heart and give at least passing thought to this epochal event each June 6. Just as most (I hope) take notice of Remembrance Day. And Battle of the Atlantic Day. And V-E and V-J Days.

Not too much to ask for all the human sacrifice involved, wouldn’t you agree?

Well, apparently, it is.

Sunday, in a column entitled, “Canadians pay far too little attention to our history,” Times-Colonist columnist Monique Keiran pointed out that a recent Ipsos poll found that “just slightly more than two-thirds of Canadians know what D-Day is. Fewer than 65 per cent know that Canada participated [my italics], and less than half know Canadians landed on Juno Beach.”

Residents of Atlantic Canada were the best informed and British Columbians were in the middle of the pack. Not surprisingly, most of those who did know were older.

How utterly, bloody shameful!

Okay, for me it came naturally. I grew up in a second-generation Canadian family of which two grandfathers, two great uncles, my father and two uncles, served in the First and Second World Wars. I was the first of three generations who didn’t have to answer duty’s call and am I ever grateful for that fact.

As should be every living breathing Canadian who’s never been called upon to do more for his/her country than be law-abiding and pay their taxes.

Coincidental to working on the Citizen’s D-Day tribute I finished reading Barry Broadfoot’s 1986 book, The Immigrant Years: From Britain and Europe to Canada 1945-1967. It’s a truly fascinating compilation of hundreds of interviews the late journalist made with immigrants, many of whom landed in Canada with little more than a suitcase and the clothes on their backs, and knowing only a few essential — if any — words in English.

Almost without exception, these men and women, some of them children accompanying their parents at the time of their arrival, went on to make successful lives for themselves and their families. Canada, the frontier colony that came of age as a nation during the Second World War, allowed them that opportunity.

It wasn’t all altruistic, of course. The Liberal government of the day wanted labourers to fill the grunt jobs that few Canadians wanted. Too, in the immediate postwar years, there were hundreds of thousands of ex-servicemen who also wanted secure and remunerative employment and their needs, not unfairly, came first.

So, for the immigrants, many of them from former enemy nations, many of them doctors, lawyer, teachers, accountants and artists in their previous lives, came to harvest beets, to sweep floors, to do other peoples’ laundry.

They worked hard, saved their pitiful wages and ultimately prospered.

In the course of doing all this, most of them did something else: they embraced the Canadian way of life. They came to love Canada for all the hardships and humiliations some of them suffered upon arrival. (You don’t hear the terms much any more but, in the late ’40s and through the ’50s, DP for Displaced Person and the crueller ‘Bohunk’ were in common usage.) These so-called DPs, some of them war brides, became Canadians in body and in spirit and Canada is the better for it. Theirs, after all, is pretty much the story of the millions of immigrants who settled this country almost from its beginning.

But, time and again in their reminiscences, they speak critically of us natural-born Canadians. They didn’t think we have a serious work ethic, that we seemed to want all the good things in life without really having to sacrifice our labour or energy for them. That we seem to take so much for granted, almost as our due.

They were particularly critical of us as Canadian citizens. We had it all but we didn’t seem to appreciate it. Other than those who’d served overseas during the war or lost loved ones in the conflict, Canadians hadn’t really suffered; certainly not on a comparable scale with these immigrants who’d forsaken their own wounded countries in hopes of building a future for their families.

Their own new-found loyalty made them wonder at what they perceived to be most Canadians’ apathetic approach to the land of their birth. One interviewee who’d suffered the German occupation of Holland told how he taught his children to love Canada, their country: “I tell them Canada is the most wonderful country in the world. I think children should salute the flag and sing ‘O Canada’ every morning in school. Sing it loud. Sing it with a free heart. Sing it as if you are saying, this is the most wonderful country in the world. I teach my children this, and I can do it by telling them to look around this city and watch the television and see the misery and poor in the world…”

OK, perhaps an extreme example but you get the idea. No, Canada isn’t perfect. That same television news he used to compare Canada with the rest of the world tells us, almost daily, of our own sins and omissions. Canada, too, has much to answer for in its treatment of minorities over the centuries, for example.

But — all said and done, Canada is heaven on earth when compared to much of the world. That freedom of choice didn’t come cheaply, as the replays of old photos and newsreels of D-Day so graphically reminded us.

Which brings me to the crux of today’s ramble. Back in the ’90s I helped an elderly man publish a book of his poems. Although yet in his 70s, this retired journalist’s health was rapidly failing and he had something he wanted to say for posterity.

But the story he told me about his experience on D-Day wasn’t in the book; this was something he’d carried around with him for 50 painful years. How he and his childhood chum (I’ll call him Bill) went to school together, hung out together, played together, joined the army together, were in the same unit and went to Normandy.

Together they struggled ashore onto that hell of exploding shells and mines that was Juno Beach. They didn’t get far. Within the first hour or so they were both hit by the same shell. When my informant came to, he and Bill were sprawled in a shell hole. He knew he was wounded but could hardly move and when he looked over at Bill, who was groaning, he saw to his horror that most of Bill’s face had been blown away.

That’s when, with the last of his strength before he again passed out, he cocked his rifle, and raised it, just enough to shoot his friend…

God bless every man and woman who has ever served this country and God bless all those families who’ve lost loved ones. We who’ve been so blessed to have simply inherited the benefits they so dearly won for us, owe it to them to remember them — no ifs, buts or maybes.

www.twpaterson.com





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Post by Featherally on Mon 10 Jun 2019, 11:17 am

Canadian veteran of Korean War to be laid to rest in S. Korea

Published : Jun 10, 2019 -

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Albert Hugh McBride



The remains of a Canadian veteran of the 1950-53 Korean War will arrive in South Korea this week for burial, the veterans affairs ministry said Monday.

The remains of the late Albert Hugh McBride are scheduled to arrive at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Tuesday before being buried at the UN Memorial Cemetery in the southern port city of Busan the following day, according to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.


McBride fought in the Korean War from November 1951 until January 1953 as a member of Lord Strathcona's Horse, a regular armored regiment of the Canadian army. After leaving the army in 1953, he then joined the air force and served for 22 years. He passed away in 2017 at age 85.

His burial on South Korean soil comes at the request of his wife, the ministry said, adding that it will be the ninth time that a Korean War veteran from overseas has returned here posthumously for burial.

About 2,300 war veterans from 11 countries are buried at the Busan cemetery, including those from Australia, Canada, Britain and Turkey.

During the three-year war, 21 countries sent around 1.96 million soldiers and medics here. Of them, more than 40,000 were killed in action and nearly 10,000 are still missing, according to Seoul government data. (Yonhap)





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Post by Glideon on Wed 12 Jun 2019, 7:29 pm

Victoria WWI soldier buried in France more than 100 years after death

Glenn MacDonald, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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