“It was 76 years ago today that some 14,000 Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy with Allied troops to breach Nazi Germany’s “Fortress Europe.”
“D-Day was a pivotal moment in the Second World War and set the stage for the Normandy Campaign that followed, where Canadian soldiers contributed to pushing back the occupying German forces and to liberating Western Europe. This remarkable achievement did not come without intense preparation. The Allied forces spent more than a year planning for what would be the largest combined air, sea and land operation in military history.
“Canadian participation during D-Day involved all three branches of our country’s military. The Royal Canadian Navy provided some 109 vessels and 10,000 sailors to the Allied D-Day fleet. Our minesweepers cleared a path for landing beaches in Normandy and our destroyers shelled German defensive positions, while Canadian landing craft took soldiers ashore. Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons flew many missions-both in the lead up to D-Day and on 6 June 1944-to strike German targets both inland and on the coast, as well as sweep enemy planes from the skies.
“The Normandy Campaign continued after D-Day and deep into the summer of 1944. Canadian forces continually engaged with the enemy, whether in the French village of Carpiquet, the city of Caen, or assisting with the final push to close the Falaise Pocket in August 1944. The liberation of Paris took place on 25 August 1944, officially bringing the Battle of Normandy to a close.
“But victory did not come without cost. Three hundred and fifty-nine Canadian soldiers were killed on 6 June 1944 alone, while more than 5,000 Canadians lost their lives during the course of the entire Battle of Normandy.
“As we mark the 76th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, we encourage you to read and listen to stories of Canadians who participated in the campaign, including Eugénie “Frankie” Turner, Havelyn Chiasson, Raymond Anderson, Ivan “Benny” Parsons and Charles Starkes. Today, we honour these brave individuals, and all Canadians who contributed to the Allied efforts on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy.
“Lest we forget.”
Veterans Affairs Canada