Calgary legion branch remembers D-Day invasion
Published Saturday, June 8, 2019 2:04PM MDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 8, 2019 6:21PM MDT
Members of Calgary's Horton Road Legion remembered the operation that turned the tides of the Second World War in favour of the Allies Saturday morning at a ceremony to inside their branch.
About 100 members and special guests, including Premier Jason Kenney, gathered to pay tribute to the soldiers who took part in D-Day, which launched on June 6, 1945.
Event organizer, Master Sgt. Dusty Rhodes says the event was held to ensure the sacrifices of the men and women 75 years ago are not forgotten.
“They have to remember," he said. "They have to remember a lot of boys and girls fight for this country and it would be a shame for them to forget all about it.”
Among those gathered at Legion No. 285 Saturday morning was June Stewart-Burgoyne who, as a leading wren with the Women’s Royal Naval Service, helped train the young men about to embark on the largest seaborne invasion in history.
“We were not allowed to tell anybody anything about what was going on because this D-Day was absolutely the biggest secret ever.”
Stewart-Burgoyne says at the time none of the men or women she worked with understood just how large a battle was to come.
“I only came to grips with it maybe a couple of years later.”
Stewart-Burgoyne married a Canadian soldier and immigrated to Canada as a war bride. She’s happy that the sacrifices of D-Day are still remembered, three quarters of a century after the battle.
“This has been a great honour for the boys that left us on that day to have everybody remember them.”
Of the 150,000 troops who landed on the shores of Western Europe on June 6th, 1944, 14,000 were Canadian. Additionally, over 10,000 sailors and airmen joined to support the invading forces.
Canadians suffered 1,074 casualties in the invasion, including 359 killed.