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The Normandy Landing

Heroes Remember

The Normandy Landing

And we could see our shells landing. When we hit 3,000 yards from shore, orders came, “Now, start firing!” And each gun, four guns and they had a platform built at the front corner of the gun cause they had extra sides on it. And I was standing on that platform and a guy would drag, bring a shell up to me, hand it to me, I’d hand it to the loader. But the trouble was these cardboard containers were fine when the, when they’re dry, but all the stuff got soaked and they had to find enough people who weren’t doing anything with jackknives to cut the tops off so they could get the shells out. But we got our 150 rounds per gun fired and they were afraid this might ruin our waterproofing and the concussion, but it didn’t. There was six batteries of ours, six guns, barges were firing at one and the other was firing at the same thing. We were firing over the head of the Winnipegs.We were with the, they were the Reginas, the Winnipegs, and the Canadian Scottish were in our brigade. Interviewer: That’s the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and the Regina Rifles? Yeah, and they were the main assault parts of that landing and we were firing over the head of the Winnipegs. Interviewer: So you were providing close artillery support for the initial landing? Yes. Yeah. Interviewer: And each gun was expected to fire 150 salvos? 150 rounds per gun. Interviewer: Okay. And once those were finished, you were then to make your way ashore? Yeah. We went in there and the barges got as far as they could and they dropped the ramp down and no way. I watched the first SP go off and I waited to see if the front end would raise up. It did and it floated ashore. And everyone in our barge got ashore fine. Then we lined up, I was riding a Bren gun carrier. I was looking over the top to see if it was gonna float or not, and it floated ashore. And we got all lined up on the beach and heading down the beach to where we were supposed to exit. At that point, an officer hollered at me to, Lieutenant Standard, “Rogers, get out of that Bren gun carrier.” Myself and another man got out and our job was to walk ahead of the convoy and move any dead bodies we might run over. That was my first view of war. And you walked ahead. Anybody, any Winnipeg dead was, you either put him back in the water or drag him up the beach so our vehicles wouldn’t run over him. Interviewer: Were there many casualties? There wasn’t so many on our beach, but there were some that I wil never forget. One in particular, he was floating in the water, head towards the beach, and there was a hole in the top of his helmet that you could put a, your foot through. This was just flapping back and that was my first actual experience of death, battlefield death.

Mr. Rogers, along with his regiment, was assigned to provide artillery support from off-shore barges for the troops moving onto the beaches at Normandy, France.

Frederick Rogers

Mr. Rogers was an infant when his father died as a result of gas poisoning during his service in the First World War. His mother brought him and his only sister to Canada when he was about two years old. Mr. Rogers joined the Essex Regiment Tank (militia) in Windsor, Ontario when he was 14 or 15 years old. He went on to complete Grade 10 and at the age of 16 went to work on a farm to support himself. He enlisted in the Canadian Army on February 18, 1941. Basic training was provided in Kitchener, Ontario and he was then sent to Camp Petawawa and, finally, to Sussex, New Brunswick to join the 12th Field regiment as a replacement. The regiment arrived in Liverpool, England on July 31, 1941 and were immediately taken by train to Bramshot, England.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Frederick Rogers
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
12th Field Regiment

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