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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About Rob Alexander

I am a writer, photographer and historian and the author of The History of Canmore, published by Summerthought Publishing of Banff, AB.

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