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Toronto Remembers D-Day, June 6, 1944


Soldiers carrying bicycles disembark from a troop carrier and wade through the water to a beach. Bombed-out houses line the beach.

D-Day invasion at Juno Beach
June 6, 1944
Photographer: Gilbert Milne
Library and Archives Canada

For four war-torn years, Hitler’s army had been in control of Europe. D-Day was the final push by the Allied Forces to win it back. It began the year-long Battle of Normandy, which would end with the German surrender on V-E (Victory in Europe) Day, May 8, 1945.

Canada’s goal was to secure an eight-kilometre-long stretch of French beach, and from there move towards an inland airfield. Lieutenant Gilbert Milne, a photographer with the Royal Canadian Navy, captured these images of the Highland Light Infantry and the West Nova Scotia Highlanders as they prepared for and carried out their assault on occupied France.
 

Soldiers, seen in silhouette,  walk across narrow wooden gangplanks to troop carriers (ships), one of which has a mouth with sharp teeth painted on its bow.

Troops from Highland Light Infantry and the West Nova Scotia Highlanders 
boarding in preparation for D-Day
June 4, 1944
Photographer: Gilbert Milne
Library and Archives Canada
Gilbert Milne 2165

Soldiers holding bicycles line the deck of a ship

Troops from Highland Light Infantry and the West Nova Scotia Highlanders
June 5, 1944
Photographer: Gilbert Milne
Library and Archives Canada
Gilbert Milne 2240

Several troop carriers are moored side by side. Soldiers and sailors crowd the decks, standing and sitting, talking and smoking.

Troops waiting in Portsmouth 
before D-Day
June 5, 1944
Photographer: Gilbert Milne
Library and Archives Canada

Soldiers and bicycles are packed close together on the narrow deck of a troop carrier. They are wearing helmets and backpacks, and some have equipment hanging across their chests as well.

Preparation for D-Day
June 6, 1944
Photographer: Gilbert Milne
Library and Archives Canada
PA 135963

 

Soldiers are eating a meal while standing on the narrow deck of a troop carrier, surrounded by tightly packed bicycles. They are balancing their dishes on bicycles, railings, spools of rope, and other items on deck. They are eating out of rectangular metal containers.

Crossing the English Channel
June 6, 1944
Photographer: Gilbert Milne
Library and Archives Canada
Gilbert Milne 1803

A tank leads a line of soldiers past a Tudor-style house. Its roof is damaged, possibly by the fighting. More houses and trees are in the backrground. More soldiers are in the foreground, just coming into the picutre.

Troops on Juno Beach
June 6, 1944
Photographer: Gilbert Alexander Milne
Gilbert Alexander Milne/Library and Archives Canada

 

Soldiers carrying bicycles disembark from a troop carrier and wade through the water to a beach, where they are lining up. A truck, a tank, and trailers loaded with ammunition stand on the beach. The land beyond the beach is flat.

Landing at Juno Beach
June 6, 1944
Photographer: Gilbert Milne
Library and Archives Canada
PA 133757

D-Day in Toronto

A group of men and women is standing outside, with the wall of Old City Hall visible behind them. A policeman in uniform is standing with the crowd.

Prayer meeting for D-Day invasion
June 6, 1944
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 90982

Reporters stand aroud a semicircular desk littered with papers. Threre are  also two phones on the desk. The clock hanging from the ceiling reads 2:34.

Globe and Mail staff wait for news
of D-Day invasion
June 6, 1944
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 90983

 

Telegram reads: Kindly convey to Allied Fighting Forces our congratulations with special affectionate goodwill to Toronto men and women serving in that area. We are exceedingly proud of their noble achievements.

Telegram from Toronto Mayor Fred J. Conboy
to Bert Wemp of the Toronto Telegram newspaper, stationed in Italy
June 8, 1944
City of Toronto Archives
Series 361, Subseries 1, File 693

 

Two women look at an edition of the Globe and Mail. The headline reads, ''Alllies land in France: Canadians in spearhead, Eisenhower anounces.'

D-Day headlines
June 6, 1944
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 90980

 

Two young men lie in hospital beds. One is displaying a manicure set, the other a pistol.

D-Day veterans Corporal Gilbert Young (left) and 
Acting Corporal C. D. Flynn examine war souvenirs
June 21, 1945
Photographer: John H. Boyd
City of Toronto Archives
Fonds 1266, Item 9719

 

For more information about D-Day, explore these websites:

D-Day at CBC Digital Archives
Juno Beach Centre
Veterans Affairs Canada
Canada: A People's History
 


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