June 6 marks D-Day. Along 80 kilometres of well-fortified beachfront in Normandy, 155,000 soldiers, 5,000 ships and landing craft, 50,000 vehicles and 11,000 planes of the Allied forces attacked Hitler’s Fortress Europe in 1944, marking the beginning of the end of the Second World War.
Among them were more than 14,000 Canadians who despite casualties of more than 1,000, including 359 dead, achieved all of their initial objectives that day, pressing inland farther than the British or American forces.
Canadian forces established a beachhead between Courseulles and St-Aubin-sur-Mer, pushed through the gap between Bayeux and Caen to Carpiquet airfield 18 kilometres inland.
In the two-part film Bloody Normandy: Juno Beach and Beyond, veterans tell their stories of that campaign. Historian Terry Copp has been tracing the Normandy Campaign in Legion Magazine, beginning with Canadian Military History in Perspective Army: Part 90 in the Sept./Oct. 2010 issue.
The Juno Beach Centre in France has seven exhibit rooms with displays of photos, maps, artifacts, films and recordings of the invasion.