Remembering D-Day and the Battle of Normandy
Today is the 67th anniversary of D-Day — the first day of a major Allied invasion of occupied France that led to the end of the Second World War.
It was a massive undertaking, involving the Allied fighting forces on land, sea and in the air.
On June 6, 1944, more than 450 Canadians parachuted inland before dawn on the beaches of Normandy and engaged the enemy.
A few hours later, 15,000 Canadian troops began coming ashore at Juno Beach in the face of enemy fire. Their courage and skill helped lead the Allied advance and soon, the Canadians had captured three shoreline positions.
“D-Day operations, which marked the beginning of the Battle of Normandy, were executed by an alliance of nations – led by Canada, the U.S., Free France, and the United Kingdom – collaborating and fighting together for a common cause,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a press release. “On that day, they overcame incredible adversity to establish the beachheads that led to the overthrow of an enemy so well entrenched in northern France.
Through the summer of 1944 the soldiers of the First Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy continued fighting against a powerful enemy, suffering and inflicting heavy casualties.
On August 25, 1944, Paris was liberated by the Allies, ending the Battle of Normandy. Nine months later, the Allies achieved final victory in Europe.
The triumph at D-Day and the Battle of Normandy was not without sacrifice. Of the 90,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served in this military campaign, 5,000 would make the ultimate sacrifice.
- For more information on Canada’s contribution to D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, visit veterans.gc.ca.