D-Day in The Leader

The SD&G Highlanders were part of the 9th Canadian Highland Infantry Brigade, the reserve brigade on D-Day. Members of The Glens landed at Bernieres-sur-Mer with Landing Craft Infantry Large 299. The landing craft hit a mine on the way to the beach.

MORRISBURG – There were no banner headlines in the The Leader. No bold declarations. No breathless descriptions. June 6, 1944. It was just another day in Morrisburg. Other than routine war bulletins (if any news can be considered routine after nearly five years of war), there was nothing in the local paper suggesting to the people of South Dundas, that something monumental had just taken place in that war. Government censors allowed only trickles of information to be released.

Canadians across the nation remained unaware that a world away, the Allies had just launched the greatest amphibious assault in history. Over 150,000 Allied soldiers landed on the teeth of Nazi defences all along 50 miles of Normandy beaches.

June 6. In Canada, the name Juno did not yet stand for pride and for Canadian courage. Soon it would. Only gradually did stories creep into The Leader that hinted that something mighty was going on in Europe.

June 16, 1944 – A photo and caption in The Leader on the third page.

Lieut. Bud Utman of Winchester, formerly proprietor of the Bud-Tex Men’s Shop at Winchester and popular young orchestra leader who was killed in the invasion of France on June 8, 1944. Bud Utman’s orchestra was a regular feature for some time at the Saturday night dances here, and the young man was well-known and well-liked.

June 30, 1944 – A front page photo in The Leader:

Lieutenant (Nursing Sister) Gladys Meyer, Morrisburg, Ontario, checks the pulse and temperature of Pte, Robert Crist, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, who was wounded by mortar shell fragments on the beaches of Normandy. Gladys is a daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Arnold Meyer of Morrisburg and went overseas shortly before the invasion.

June 30, 1944 – Pilot officer Douglas McGillis, son of Mr. & Mrs. Norman McGillis of Morrisburg, has returned home for the first time in three years, which time he spent with the R.C.A.F. overseas.

July 7, 1944 – Flight Sergeant Dwight E. Casselman, son of Mr. & Mrs. Grant D. Casselman of Williamsburg is reported missing after air operations over France.

July 7, 1944 – News Item

Towering over them, six-foot, three-inch Gen. Charles De Gaulle is greeted by citizens of Bayeux, first French town to be liberated by Allied invasion forces in Normandy. The girl he was pictured with was wearing a brassard with the Cross of Lorraine, symbol of De Gaulle’s Fighting French.

Local SD&G Highlanders before shipping out to England. Presenting Arms (shovels and wheelbarrow) (l-r): Cpl. Glen Hummell – Morrisburg, Pte. Sam Gilbert – Finch, Lt. Haydon Asselin – Cornwall (killed in action), Pte. Adrian Asselin – Cornwall, Pte. Jimmy Alec McDonald – Alexandria (wounded, triple amputee), and in the wheelbarrow Pte. George Leblance – Cornwall (KIA). Thank you to Bill Shearing from the SD&G Highlanders for the D-Day photos.

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