Malcolm “Mac” Stockwell, our speaker, and his son, Tim undertook an expedition to Normandy are in France with the goal of making a pilgrimage to some of the battlefields where his father, Noel as well as his uncles Bill, Ollie and Reginald fought in the Second World War. They visited:
- Vimy Ridge where on April 9, 1917 Canadians succeeded in wining the ridge after the British failed to do so.
- Dunkirk where Noel and Reg, serving in the British Expeditionary Forces were part of the retreat in May and June of 1940. Malcolm circulated an old map which his father had used to make his way to the coast where they hid in the sand dunes until typically small ships and boats fetched them home. These ships rescued 332, 226 men from the beaches.
- Dieppe Raid: On August 19, 2942, 6,000 soldiers, predominantly Canadian, assaulted formidable defences in the town of Dieppe. 60% were killed, wounded or captured. The book Dieppe Revisited was recommended. Apparently, the raid was an attempt to obtain naval codes from the naval headquarters there.
- Juno Beach: On June 6th, 1944, the Canadian 3rd Division landed on D-Day and made the deepest penetration that day inland. Malcolm showed a 1944 picture as well as a 2012 picture of Canada House, the first house liberated in France. The regimental flags are still flown on the house despite tis being a private residence.
- Pegasus Bridge: This bridge was featured in the movie – The Longest Day. The 6th British Airborne captured this bridge at night and defend it until they were relieved by ground forces. It has been saved and is now a monument.
Malcolm reported that Noel, Bill, Ollie and Reg all miraculously survived the war despite a collective 23 years of active service in the war.
At our December monthly meeting we will celebrate the Christmas season with singing of carols and other activities.