Colonel Paul J Fleury
German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the famous Desert Fox, in “The Rommel Papers” stated that the Allied invasion on June 6th, 1944 was “…a brilliant achievement of the first magnitude.…The functioning of the Allied fighting machine, with all its complexity, surprised even me, and I already had a fairly high opinion of their powers.” On that morning, three Allied Armies, American, British and Canadian landed on five beaches in Normandy, France in what was the beginning of the end of the Nazi occupation of Western Europe. For Canada, the 3rd Infantry Division arrived on Juno Beach as the vanguard of the 1st Canadian Army. Luckily the 2,400 Canadians in the first assault wave were faced by less than four hundred German soldiers. However, the enemy fought hard and the town of St. Aubin-sur-Mer in the centre of the Canadian beach took more than four hours to be captured. Canadian troops moved the furthest inland of any force on that first day of fighting, penetrating more than six miles inland to Villons les Buissons before being halted over fears of an approaching German counter-attack. At sea, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) provided 110 warships to support the invasion force. During the night of 5-6 June 1944, RCN minesweepers cleared the approaches to all five Allied landing areas.
More than 14 Allied warships including frigates, destroyers and cruisers provided direct fire support to Canadians ashore. Two of the warships off Juno beach were His Majesty’s Canadian ships Algonquin and Sioux. In the air, the RCAF supported the invasion with 15 Spitfire squadrons. The Spitfire’s mission was to provide air cover for the invasion fleet and escorts for RCAF bombers. Canadian manned Typhoons flew ground-attack missions dropping 2,000-pound (908-kilogram) bomb loads or firing rockets. They played an important role in destroying German armoured forces during the Normandy landings. RCAF bomber squadrons attacked key strategic targets including railways, bridges, and fuel and ammunition depots. On D-Day, Canadians suffered 1074 casualties, including 359 killed. All in all, Canada had done its part in what has proven to be the greatest amphibious operation of all time.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
On Thursday June 6th, 2019 starting at 6 pm, the Aylmer Legion Branch 033 will be marking the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in the evening with a Commemorative Event including a Remembrance Ceremony, a Dinner, Special Guests, WW2 Exhibit, Re-enactor and Presentations. Limited tickets available. No tickets will be available at the door after June 3rd. For more information visit our Facebook page @AylmerLegion33 or call 819-684-7063.