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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Juno Beach Landing 70 Years Ago

Column: Juno Beach Landing 70 Years Ago

By David Murray. June 6th 1944 saw my father “Bud” Murray land on Juno Beach with his Canadian brothers in France. He was with the second wave of soldiers hitting the beach. The first group that landed got bogged down and took many casualties. My father remembered the first couple of soldiers jumping into the water from the landing craft go down in front of him. Luckily he was able to get a few feet ahead to where there was a couple of pieces of metal he could stand behind and exchange fire from his weapon. He did not realize it , his adrenaline pumping , his left leg had a big piece missing from shrapnel which had exploded just inches from him.
His group was lucky, they had an armoured vehicle land beside them and that gave them some cover. Unfortunately the driver of the vehicle popped his head up briefly, it was within an instant my dad said that a sniper shot him. The commanding officer yelled out, can anyone drive this vehicle . My dad yelled out, still not even realizing that he was wounded said he could drive it. He got in the armoured vehicle , kept the lid down and figured out how to drive this machine.
My dad drove a lot of different tractors on the farm and he could figure out how to drive most vehicles very quickly.
Wave after wave of Canadians hit Juno Beach June 6, 1944

My father was 33-years-old the day he hit Juno. He turned 18 in 1929 which saw the worst economic depression of the last century. He always was amazed, he used to tell me. There was no money anywhere before the war started. The second Canada declared war on Germany there was no shortage of money anymore. This always bothered my father. A man who played pro hockey, rode the rails from coast to coast looking for work , and getting involved politically, first on the On to Ottawa Trek and then working on Tommy Douglas’s winning campaign in October 1935 in Weyburn Saskatchewan.
My dad passed away in 1984, very seldom speaking of his experiences in the war. To all the remaining veteran’s who survived the horrors of this day. Thanks very much from my generation. We owe you all so much!

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