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Landing on Beaches of Normandy

Heroes Remember

Landing on Beaches of Normandy

Our “B” Company, they got badly hit. One platoon of thirty five men, more or less, and they ended up with eight at the end of the day. My buddy, there’s ten in a section, eleven in a section, and he was the only guy left in his section at the end of the day. They hit right in front of a machine gun post and of them, seven of the guys were killed in the water. Doug Hessler, Rolfe Jackson and Bob Nichol, they got up to the wall. Doug was throwing grenades and he managed to clear the nest, the Jerries threw the grenades at him and he got wounded in the leg, and knocked him out of action, but not completely. He managed to silence a number of the enemy. Rolfe, he got shot through the hand, and he was out of action. And Bob was the only guy left. “A” Company, they got badly hit, but they fought hard and Charlie Martin, Bill Betridge, and Buck Hawkins, Sherrif Shephard, they cleaned the beaches, so in effect, when we came on, we landed maybe about ten, fifteen minutes behind them, and we were lucky we only had to contend with, contend with snipers and the mines on the beach. Interviewer: You could see those casualties as you passed through “A” and “B” Company? No, quite frankly, you know, you, you’re oblivious to what was happening around you. Our orders was to get up and get off the beach. Nobody could stop and pick up a friend if he was shot. You had to leave him there, let, the medical people look after them. We got out, there, LCN on our right, it hit a mine going in on the structure work that they had and they had mines tied on it, it hit a mine and the sergeant, the door got jammed, the Sergeant Dave Kingston, tall fellow went to jump out, he jumped out without a word of caution, jumped out and was up to his, so once he stood up in the water then Dave give the order to the guys, “Alright, go.” The door was jammed, so they went over the wall, and they cleared, they had casualties going up. We went down, our doors opened up okay, we went in between, run up the beach and the Lance Corporal Barber Andrew, he stopped me, I was in a path right in front of me was a mine. He saved me.

Mr. Ross continues his emotional account of landing on the Normandy beach early in the morning of June 6, 1944.

Joseph William Ross

Mr. Ross was born in Montreal on February 15, 1925. His father served during the First World War and was seriously wounded at the second battle at Ypres. When Canada declared war on Germany in September, 1939, Mr. Ross was only 14 years old, working as an office boy for six dollars a week. Later, he worked as an apprentice fitter in the aircraft division of Vickers, near Montreal. Mr. Ross enlisted in the Army on his 18th birthday in 1943. After training in Quebec and Nova Scotia, he was sent as part of the reinforcement troops to England where he was assigned to ‘C’ Company of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. His overseas action included landing at Juno Beach on D-Day, and serving throughout both Normandy and Northwest Europe (Belgium and Holland). During an encounter with German forces, Mr. Ross sustained injuries from flying shrapnel.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Joseph William Ross
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Queen's Own Rifles of Canada

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