Archive | June 2014

June 23-27, 1944 – Juno Beach

June 23 – Large convoy of transports and Tank Landing Craft are leaving tonight. Air raid last night. We sent a case to shore with acute appendicitis. Concert party on board tonight, conducted by Can. Corps H.Q. – assisted by our orchestra. We expect to sail tomorrow night.

June 24 – We expected to sail but for some unknown reason a large convoy went out but we remained behind. Gen. Simmons was taken off board tonight, we think he is being flown to Normandy. Concert party tonight.

June 25 – Hundreds of planes over today. Church Parade taken by Capt. Walker. No excitement. We expect to sail tonight. 8:05 p.m. – Our men are briefed and we are now pulling out on the Estuary of the Thames. First air attack, but only a fool doodle bug which landed one mile away from us. We expect to enter the Straits of Dover in a couple of hours, so may get a few odd bursts from their long range guns. We expect to in about tomorrow night and will land on Juno Beach, just near Baeux.

June 26 – Uneventful night, we all had to sleep in the hold and it was very stuffy. We have had morning inspection and are now sitting in the Ambulance on deck. It is very rainy and foggy this morning. I imagine about now, we must be somewhere off Worthing in the English Channel. 10 p.m. – we pull in by the Cherboug Penninsula

and drop anchor. The sea is alive with ships of all sorts and descriptions. We are remaining on board tonight. The trip over has been entirely uneventful.

June 27 – We are putting in towards the Beach – but do not know what our next step is. At 8 p.m. a L.C.T. (Landing Craft Tank) pulled alongside and the marching parties climbed by rope ladder to the deck and pulled into shore. The tide was going out so we could not get right in. Our vehicles waded to shore, assisted by a caterpillar and then we were carried to dry land on the same caterpillars. We landed Graye Sur Mer and marched to the Assembly Areas, then marched to “Ellow” a short distance east of Banville, where we bedded down for the night. Several air raids during the night, but none near us. Our two ambulances are down the road about one mile. We expect our full convoy along shortly, when we will all proceed to Amblie.

Captain Earl Bourbonnais, 23rd Field Ambulance, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, inoculating Nicole Pierre, Basly, France, ca. 27-28 June 1944. Credit: Lieut. Ken Bell / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-190148

Captain Earl Bourbonnais, 23rd Field Ambulance, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, inoculating Nicole Pierre, Basly, France, ca. 27-28 June 1944. Credit: Lieut. Ken Bell / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-190148

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June 21-22, 1944

June 21 – We are lying in the Thames Estuary with hundreds of other ships, waiting to sail, but as there is a storm in France we cannot land so are waiting here.

June 22 – The Manchester Reg. and ourselves put on a combined concert party tonight. We have our Orchestra on board tonight, conducted by Can. Corps H.Q. – assisted by our orchestra. We expect to sail tomorrow night.

June 20, 1944

Still here, sleeping in a tent. The vehicles have gone to the docks. I believe we go in buses later. Nothing very exciting. At 6 p.m. we load in buses and drove ten miles to dock side, where we loaded on board MTS 132 – a Victory ship. On board is 6th Can. F.D.S., 13th British F.D.S. commanded by a Scottie from Edinburgh named Major McLaren, 211 British Fld. Amb. Col. Logan, 2nd Crops H.Q. (Tactical) and one Co. of Manchester Regiment. Our two ambulances are on deck, so all Officers are living in them. Mac, Dibb, Hans, Ronnie, and I are in one and Howard Ellis, Andy Anderson, Padre Walker, and Paul Carson in the other.

This, I think, says it all.

 Return To D-Day: Utah Beach & Tears

Army Sgt Major Robert Blatnik returns to Omaha Beach, Normandy France (credit: Doug Dunbar/KTVT/KTXA)

Army Sgt Major Robert Blatnik returns to Omaha Beach, Normandy France (credit: Doug Dunbar/KTVT/KTXA)

June 16-19, 1944

June 16 – These darned rocket things are still coming over, and a good many hit and run bombers are also coming. Don’t know what it is all about, but they don’t seem to be causing much damage. Our farewell Unit dance tonight. Code word just came in, means we are moving soon.

June 17 – AVD Unit of two officers and 16 men are joining us tonight. Two more vehicles to be waterproofed before morning. Everything is loaded, men briefed and all is in readiness for move tomorrow morning to the marshaling area. We will go aboard, probably an L.S.T. either tomorrow night or the following morning and away we go to Normandy. It will be awfully good to be moving again, as this waiting is very tiresome and the boys are raring to go.

June 18 – At 2 a.m. the 1st Can. V.D. Section arrives for attachment, no waterproofing. Capt. Ellis and Capt. Anders are the Officers. At 4 a.m. we start on convoy thru Canterbury and pass into London. Given a grand send off by the natives of London. Arrive in Camp in Tilbury area about 4 p.m. and bed down. Ordinary marshaling camp. Very dusty and not very comfortable, but not bad.

June 19 – All issues made and everything readiness for the move. Rather monotonous staying behind barb wire, with armed guards outside. Several air raid alarms, but no excitement. All our vehicles move off at 4 p.m.

 

Two French women placing flowers on the grave of a Canadian soldier, Bernières-sur-Mer, France, 18 June 1944. Credit: Lieut. Frank L. Dubervill / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-169264

Two French women placing flowers on the grave of a Canadian soldier, Bernières-sur-Mer, France, 18 June 1944.
Credit: Lieut. Frank L. Dubervill / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-169264

June 15, 1944

Still no further word. It is getting pretty monotonous sitting around all packed, just waiting for word to go. I expect it will come one of these days. Canadian Army Show here tonight. Am having a muster parade today. Brig. Farmer the DDMS came over today and we went out and inspected the stretcher carrying device I had designed for the Storm Boats. They are good too. Lots of excitement here tonight. Air raid warning about midnight followed by what appeared to be his radio controlled planes (V-1 or buzz bombs) coming over. Three were knocked down. They kept coming all night. A very beautiful sight, but somewhat noisy.

A V-1 rocket, also known as a buzz bomb. V-1s were first launched at London, England on June 13, 1944.

A V-1 rocket, also known as a buzz bomb. V-1s were first launched at London, England on June 13, 1944. Earl Leroy Ware

 

 

June 13, 1944

Lea Hall. RCAF Blackouts. Mighty good all Canadian show (Doc Alexander may have been referring to an RCAF bomber run over Cambrai, France that included a Lancaster piloted a crew that included Andrew Mynarski, VC). Everything packed. We are just hanging around waiting for our turn to go in.