As I type this, it is just about 0600 hours, June 6, 2019, off the coast of Normandy, exactly seventy-five years after the D-Day Invasion.
My father was an officer with the 43rd Battery, 12th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, part of the Canadian contingent assigned to Juno Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
The 12th Field objective was to land at Courseulles-sur Mer, “Mike Green” as they knew it.
The air bombardment began at 0300 hours. At about 0630 hours the LCTs deployed for their firing run-in and at 0715 the blue flag broke out and corvettes, destroyers, cruisers, four regiments of artillery, landing craft rockets and landing craft guns began firing.
The first 12th Field Regiment vehicle landed on “Mike Green” at 0845 hours and as the remainder landed and deployed they were immediately called upon for supporting fire, starting at about 1400 yards. In doing so, they were the first artillery regiment to fire in France.
About 1530 hours the main exit had been cleared of mines and they moved to their first position inland, near Bannville. Casualties and equipment losses were not that serious and they had twenty-four guns in action off the beach.
In a few short paragraphs I have provided a quick overview of a day that in many ways likely defies description.
My father basically never talked about his wartime experiences. I have gotten the majority of my knowledge from online research and a book entitled “Into Action With The 12th Field”, essentially a history of the regiment.
I was prompted to write this today after encountering so many emotional individual tales depicting D-Day.
This is but a small portion of one of the most massive events in history, however it is an important portion to me. My father survived D-Day, and survived the remainder of the war, although he was injured in March 1945. He survived long enough to meet and marry our mother, raise three children, and do many amazing things until his death in 1992.
Interestingly, my father’s brother was serving on one of the Royal Canadian Navy corvettes that were part of the D-Day armada. He also survived and outlived his brother.
In some ways, this was not very easy to write, however to me it was important to do so. I do thank you for reading and appreciate any comments you may have.