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Pandemonium on the Beach

Heroes Remember

Pandemonium on the Beach

We knew we had to go in. We knew we had to assemble and we were going in with the second wave. We had to assemble the unit together, those who survived. But you could see the purpose purpose of breaking us up into various landing craft. If one landing craft got hit and they were all on it, there wouldn’t be any unit at all. So when we were coming in we landed at Bernières-sur-Mer to the right of it. And first, well we were awfully sea sick because it was an awful bumpy voyage, you know, the waves and the motion. I’m not a good sailor in that respect. And we went and brought up a many a meal over the side. I had some fortifying rum and water in my mess tin and I was sipping that. But it was pandemonium on the beach, you know. The big shells going over and these salvos from the big battle ships and cruisers and destroyers and barrages of rockets from LCT’s, going over in sheets and the noise on the beach and everything and, of course, we were anxious to get going, you know. And we didn’t realize the extent of what was there for us, you know. But we wanted to get off that ship as much as possible. And when the ramp finally landed and I went out and I glanced to my right and there was a dead infantryman on his back and the sea was coming up over him and he had his hands in the high port position. Now the high port position is how they hold their rifle to wade ashore or in the bayonet thrust. And he was rigid like that and I figured, well, lots of that’s ahead. I figured he got hit before he got to the shore. And then there was all kinds of mortars and shells and bullets cracking around and it was pandemonium, you know, and there was a beachmaster there telling us to get the hell off the beach.

Coming in on the second wave and realizing they had to move in, Mr. Hannam describes the chaos on the beach.

Bud Hannam

Mr. Bertram “Bud” Hannam was born in Toronto, Ontario May 27, 1925. Having parents that immigrated to Canada in early 1912, and growing up in time of depression Mr. Hannam holds great admiration for his father, considering him his hero working as a prospector and providing so well to his family during very difficult times. Later in life Mr. Hannam moved from Toronto, to Montreal then settled in Ottawa. He decided to join the service after receiving his education. Initially joining with the Cameron Highlanders Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Mr. Hannam’s service as an infantryman would be short lived knowing that the life in the infantry was not for him. A new opportunity came for Mr. Hannam when he joined with the 23rd Field Ambulance as a stretcher bearer also providing him with a better chance to get overseas. Overseas, June 1944, a part of the D-Day invasion, on 2nd wave, Mr. Hannam served as stretcher bearer caring for the wounded. In honor of his service to our soldiers and the French people, almost 70 years later, Mr. Hannam is recognized for his service and presently has a school house/library named in his honor in the small town of Basly, France, the former casualty clearing station where he cared for the casualties during this invasion. In the town of Basly, to this day, Mr. Hannam is considered a true hero for the care he provided during Canada’s wartime. Mr. Hannam resides in Ottawa with his wife Rosey who has been an inspiration in keeping the honor of his service alive.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 2, 2014
Person Interviewed:
Bud Hannam
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Stretcher Bearer

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