The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 56 will be hosting a service on Sunday to commemorate the 79th Anniversary of D-Day.
Members of the Legion will form at the cenotaph located in Memorial Park at 8:45 a.m. before the service begins at 9:00 a.m.
Public Relations Officer for Branch 56, John Griffin, explained why it is so important to remember this day each year.
“D-Day, or as it's known, the Normandy landings, was one of the pivotal battles of the Second World War which set the stage for the eventual liberation of Western Europe from Nazi occupation and ultimately led to Allied victory in Western Europe,” he stated. “It's also important because the Canadians played a very important role during this operation and many Canadians gave their lives during the D-Day landings and the days and months that followed afterwards.”
June 6, 1944, saw the lives of over 1,000 Canadians lost while fighting during the invasion of Normandy and was thought of as the beginning of the end of the Second World War.
Codenamed Operation Overlord, with the Assault Phase or Landings Codenamed Operation Neptune, the plan was for five infantry divisions to land on an eighty-kilometre front along the Norman Coast of France (Normandy).
Each of the five divisions would land on a beach along the coast. Each beach was given a different codename; Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.
In addition, three airborne divisions were to drop behind enemy lines the night before or in the early hours of the morning to disrupt German troop movements and to help extend the Allied beachhead when it was established.
The Canadian area of responsibility for the Normandy Landings was that of an eight-kilometre-long stretch of beach with the codename Juno Beach.
The objectives of the Canadian Forces on D-Day were to establish a beachhead, capture and clear the three coastal towns located directly behind the landing area, advance sixteen kilometres inland and occupy the high ground to the west of Caen.
Canadians and other Allied forces fought hard against the German resistance. Despite this and the fact that only one Canadian unit reached its designated D-Day objective, the German first line of defence was destroyed, and the Battle was deemed a success.
By 9:00 p.m. on June 6, 1944, when the Canadian Forces were ordered to cease offensive operations for the day, the Canadians were the only Allied force that had advanced the furthest inland.
In total on June 6th, 1944, the Canadian Forces suffered 1,074 casualties including 359 Killed in Action, of whom, 108 were members of The Regina Rifles.