Haven't Left Yet...But Preparations Begin

Trip Start Jul 11, 2009
Trip End Jul 25, 2009

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Sunday, June 7, 2009

Yesterday being the 65th anniversary of the D Day invasion I felt it appropriate to spend some time reading about the Canadians landing in Normandy. I read about the different regiments that were part of the third division landing (the Chaudieres, The Queen's Own Rifles, The Royal Winnipeg Rifles and The Sherbrookes and more). One interesting tidbit I read, was that several of the Chaudieres' landing craft hit concealed mines in the water and so the men had to throw off their gear and swim for the beach. While the Queen's Own Rifles fought the Germans, the Chauds reorganized near a wall and tried to get some equipment together. As they regrouped and moved forward, many of the locals were delighted to learn that they spoke French! You've got to love Canada! Despite their losses, Canadians made it further in land that day than any other force.

I was interested in finding out more about this man named Reg Barker in whose name my son has received a bursary from Queen's University. He was a natural leader amongst his men as he was a relative "oldtimer." I have been told by his neice that he was 36 when he enlisted. Before the war Reg was a talented athlete. He played football for Queen's (thus the bursary in his name) and then went on to win the Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts in 1937. He was also part of the 1932 Canadian Olympic Rowing team and a heavy weight boxer... so I can just imagine what kind of a natural leader he would have been. He was sadly taken prisoner and executed by the Hitler Youth 2 days after the D Day landing . (The Hitler Youth... now there's a whole other story!) As I look at the Itinerary for this upcoming Pilgrimage I see that we will spend July 13 and 14 visiting the area where Reg made the supreme sacrifice...Reg and his comrades. They were the very best that Canada had to offer. I cringe at the thought of these young lads being cast into such horrific demise...the promise of their young lives...lost...and yet, someone had to stand up to tyranny!
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