On this 73rd anniversary of D-Day, we remember those who fought for our freedom.
From the Veterans of Canada website.
On Land, By Sea, In the Air
Allied aircraft paved the way for the landings, bombing the coastal defence in the months leading up to the attack. On June 6, 1944—D-Day—a massive Allied force crossed the English Channel to engage in Operation Overlord. Their destination: an 80-kilometre stretch of the heavily-defended coast of Normandy. There were five landing zones, given special code names: Juno Beach (Canada); Gold Beach (United Kingdom); Sword Beach (United Kingdom and France); and Utah Beach and Omaha Beach (United States).
Seven thousand vessels of all types, including 284 major combat vessels, took part in Operation Neptune, the assault phase of the D-Day offensive. Destroyers and supporting craft of the Royal Canadian Navy did their part and shelled German targets while many Royal Canadian Air Force planes were among the 4,000 Allied bombers (plus some 3,700 fighters and fighter bombers) which attacked the German beach defences and inland targets.
More than 450 Canadians parachuted inland before dawn on June 6 and engaged the enemy. A few hours later, some 14,000 Canadian troops began coming ashore at Juno Beach in the face of enemy fire. Their mission: to establish a beachhead along an eight-kilometre stretch fronting the villages of Courseulles-sur-Mer, Bernières-sur-Mer, and Saint Aubin-sur-Mer. Once secure, the troops would push inland to capture the city of Caen, an important communications centre for the Germans.
Against difficult odds, the Canadians advanced against the best troops the enemy had. Victory in the Normandy campaign, however, would come at a terrible cost. Three hundred and forty Canadians were killed on Juno Beach on D-Day alone and the Canadians would suffer the most casualties of any division in the British Army Group during the Battle of Normandy. More than 5,000 made the ultimate sacrifice, losing their lives, and lie buried in a place far from their homes and loved ones. Others returned home with injuries to body and mind that they carry to this day.
Images from Veterans of Canada website.