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Canadian Soldier Journal

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FC: WWII Journal | Brian Jones

1: After a very rough crossing of the English channel, most of the men vomited but I was lucky. Jumped into the water off the LCI (Landing Craft Infantry) into four to five feet deep water, mines, smoke, yelling, crying, noise can't believe, blood at least fifteen feet in the channel water; very heavy German machine gun, rifle and mortar fire and trying to run forward in the deep water, then trying to find cover after steeping over mines and barbed wire being very scared. Deep behind two of my men and tried to urge them to follow me out of the water onto the beach only to find they were both dead. Now very scared-19 years old. I tremble, I shake, I'm very disoriented. | My First Impressions of D-Day

2: June 6th 1944, D-Day | D-Day, June 6th 1944 | Today, after almost a year of special assault and combined operations training, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and our 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade were part of the Allied forces which attacked the Normandy coast of France in Operation "Overlord". Landing on "Juno" Beach, between Vaux and St Aubin-sur-Mer, we penetrated about 9 km inland by the end of D-Day. Beating back enemy counterattacks during the next several days, the troops continued to thrust inland against growing opposition, aided by highly effective tactical air support. We were ordered to launch several massive armoured and infantry attacks towards Falaise. The pursuit of the enemy into Belgium and the Netherlands began. | Our country's forces suffered 18,444 casualties during the Normandy fighting. The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, which fought with us under British command, lost over 300 officers.

3: Today we finished the battle of the Falaise Gap it's the area between the four cities of Trun, Argentan, Vimoutiers and Chambois near Falaise, France. We trapped and effectively destroyed the remnants of the German Wehrmacht (Army). | The central square in the town of Falaise. | The Battle of the Falaise Gap

4: The battle of the Falaise Gap marked the end of the Battle of Normandy, which started on June 6, 1944, and ended on August 22, 1944. Although perhaps 100,000 German troops succeeded in escaping the allies due to the delay in closing the gap, they left behind 150,000 prisoners and wounded, over 10,000 dead, and the road practically impassable due to destroyed vehicles and bodies.

5: V-MAIL dated Sept. 30, 1944 Dear Mom: I received your letter a few days ago and I got the medal. The weather over here is pretty much the same except for some rain and cool nights. It was pretty cold last night, but right now it's plenty hot. I'm writing from the rest area again. You asked if there's anybody from Gibsons in our outfit. Well there's one named Ward. He was a fireman at the 6th Street firehouse. I hope Ralph likes it where he's at. I got a letter from him and he told me all about it. If we ever get to Antwerp he'll be just going through to Germany probably. Well, that's about all for now. Your Son, Pvt. Brian

6: The Battle Of The Scheldt October 1st, 1944 | We our now on our most important mission since Normandy. Our troops must win this battle over the Scheldt River in order to capture the port. The Allies already have Antwerp, but it is still 50 miles from the sea, and all that area is controlled by the Kruats. I'll write you again once we reach Antwerp.

7: Field Marshall Montgomery ordered our division to lead operation "Vitality", which involved seizing the Beveland Canal. It was pure hell. The ground is completely flooded and also littered with mines. Once we started to attack, the engineers were able to bridge the canal on the main road. With the canal line gone, the German defence crumbled and South Beveland was cleared. Our final obstacle was to capture Walcheren Island. We attacked on October 31 and, after a grim struggle, established a precarious foothold. November 28, the first convoy entered the port of Antwerp led by the Canadian-built freighter Fort Cataraqui. Thus, with the approaches to Antwerp free and the country up to the Maas River cleared, the Battle of the Scheldt was over.

8: November 22, 1944; Conscription is enacted in Canada for overseas service. | I've been hearing around our platoon that the Defense Minister is going to enact conscription. I hope to God that Prime Minister King doesn't allow it, I can't stand the thought of our boy coming over here and seeing all this. Keep me updated, although I'll probably hear about it before you. Love, Your husband, Pvt. Brian

9: Liberation of the Netherlands | The way was now clear for us to complete the final phase of our campaign. Our group was now on the way to Northwest Europe. On March 23rd 1945, we began the assualt across the Rhine. Once it was behind us, we exploited our greatest advantage, which was the sheer number of the Allied forces.

10: The Canadian Army's role in these final days of the war was to open up the supply route to the north through Arnhem, and then to clear the northeastern Netherlands, the coastal belt of Germany eastwards to the Elbe River, and western Holland.

11: This time the First Canadian Army was far more completely Canadian than ever before as the 1st Canadian Corps which had fought so long in Italy had been transferred to Northwest Europe. Two Canadian Army corps would fight side by side for the first time in history. The 2nd Canadian Corps would clear the northeastern Netherlands and the German coast, and the 1st Canadian Corps would deal with the Germans remaining in the western Netherlands north of the Maas.

12: Northeastern Holland April 1945 | Major General Vokes' 4th Canadian Armoured Division crossed the Twente Canal and pushed forward to capture Almelo on April 5, before curving eastward to re-enter Germany. In the centre, the 2nd Division crossed the Schipbeck Canal and advanced in a virtually straight line to Groningen in northern Holland which they reached on April 16.

13: Western Holland | In the western Netherlands the 1st Canadian Corps comprising the 1st Canadian Infantry division and the 5th Canadian Armoured Divisions, under the command of Lieut.-General Charles Foulkes, was responsible for the liberation of the area north of the Maas River. In this region with its large cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, the people had almost reached the end of their endurance from the misery and starvation which had accompanied the "Hunger Winter." Food supplies in the cities were exhausted, fuel had run out almost entirely and transport was virtually non-existent. Thousands of men, women and children had perished.

14: Food supplies in the cities were exhausted, fuel had run out almost entirely and transport was virtually non-existent. Thousands of men, women and children had perished.

15: By April 28 the Germans in West Holland had been driven back to a line running roughly between Wageningen through Amersfoort to the sea, known as the Grebbe Line. On that day a truce was arranged, fighting ceased in western Holland, and several days later food supplies began to move through for the starving people. No part of western Europe was liberated at a more vital moment than the west of the Netherlands, and the Canadian soldiers who contributed so immensely to that liberation were cheered and greeted with great joy.

16: On April 25 the American and Russian troops met on the Elbe. A few days later in Berlin, encircled by the Russians, Hitler committed suicide. The war ended a week later. On May 5, in the village of Wageningen, General Foulkes accepted the surrender of the German troops in Holland. General Simonds of the 2nd Corps, in Bad Zwischenahn, did the same on his front. The formal German surrender was signed on May 7 at Rheims in France.

17: c | Page 1-"Impressions of D-Day" Lt. Col. Roland H.Vogt http://www.unisrv.net/realheroes/Stories/dday.ht Page 2-Author R.H. ROY http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA000578 Picture Courtesy of National Archives of Canada; photo, Gilbert Milne; neg. no. PA137013 Page 3/4-www.collectionscanada.ca/index-e.html,www.wikipedia.com,www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general Pictures courtesy of http://www.geocities.com/ww2_pictures/falaise-gap-photos.htm Page 5-http://www.private-art.com/ | Page 1-"Impressions of D-Day" Lt. Col. Roland H.Vogt http://www.unisrv.net/realheroes/Stories/dday.ht Page 2-Author R.H. ROY http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA000578 Picture Courtesy of National Archives of Canada; photo, Gilbert Milne; neg. no. PA137013 Page 3/4-www.collectionscanada.ca/index-e.html,www.wikipedia.com,www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general Pictures courtesy of http://www.geocities.com/ww2_pictures/falaise-gap-photos.htm Page 5-http://www.private-art.com/ Page 6/7-"http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=history/secondwar/canada2/scheldt" Picture Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org | Bibliography

18: Page 9/10/11-http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=history/secondwar/canada2/libneth Pictures courtesy of National Archives of Canada Page 12-http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=history/secondwar/canada2/neholl Picture courtesy of data2.collectionscanada.ca Page 13/14/15/16-http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=history/secondwar/canada2/westholl Picture courtesy of data2.collectionscanada.ca

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  • By: Brian J.
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