At Omaha Beach, troops begin to regroup in small units, searching for exits off the beach. The beach is littered with dead and wounded troops, and the tide brings in dead men.
Private Harry Schiraldi, a medic in Headquarters, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, is killed that morning by enemy machine gun fire. His remains are initially buried in Normandy before his family requests his remains to be returned to the United States, where he is now buried at Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York.
His last letter home and the telegram his parents received are now part of the collection at The National WII Museum.
(Canadian troops on their way to Juno Beach on D-Day.)
D-Day 70: June 6, 1944 - June 6, 2014
As with World War 1, Canadians were not only considered expert and professional soldiers, they were feared by the Germans as an omen of impending attack. The Canadian forces were relied upon to provide defence on the high seas and over Britain, and to spearhead assaults for major battles. Once again Canadians had proved themselves on the battlefield and fought ferociously to win every battle they were engaged in.
Around 1.1 million Canadians served in WWII, including 106,000 in the Royal Canadian Navy and 200,000 in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The first Canadian infantryman to die in World War II was Private John Gray. He was captured and executed by the Japanese on December 13, 1941 in Hong Kong.
Canada was the first Commonwealth country to send troops to Britain in 1939.
During 1939-45 hundreds of thousands of Canadians - more than 40 per cent of the male population between the ages of 18 and 45, and virtually all of them volunteers - enlisted.
(General Montgomery addresses men of the 11th Canadian Tank Regiment (Ontario Regiment) near Lentini, Sicily, 25 July 1943.)
On 6 June 1944, the 3rd Canadian Division landed on Juno Beach in the Battle of Normandy and sustained heavy casualties in their first hour of attack. By the end of D-Day, the Canadians had penetrated deeper into France than either the British or the American troops at their landing sites, overcoming stronger resistance than any of the other beachheads except Omaha Beach.
(Canadians on Juno Beach, 1944)
By the war’s end, over 1 million citizens would serve in military uniform (out of a prewar population of 11 million) and Canada would possess the fourth-largest air force and third-largest naval surface fleet in the world.
(Aboriginal Canadians Sergeant Tommy Prince ® with his brother Private Morris Prince of the Ojibway Nation at Buckingham Palace to receive military medals. Photo: Christopher J. Woods - Canada. Dept. of National Defence)
82nd Airborne Pathfinders begin to drop into three main landing zones near Sainte-Mère-Église and two zones west of the Merderet River, in advance of the main force of Parachute Infantrymen. The 82nd Airborne’s objectives are to secure the town, control the causeway beyond, and seize the beach exits leading to Utah Beach.
Seventy years ago, the world watched as the Allied invasion of Normandy signified the turning point of Axis occupation in Europe during World War II. Thank you, Greatest Generation–your legacy will be eternal.
Her Majesty The Queen accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Duke of Edinburgh, the Price of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, attended the Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Bayeux today, 6 June.
Hundreds of veterans and British service personnel were there to honour those who lost their lives in the liberation of France on D-Day 1944.