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39.  The casualty toll exacted of 1 Cdn Para Bn during its stay in France was heavy, but not much heavier than had been anticipated. The War Office forecast of invasion activity for 6 Airborne Diy had estimated that the wastage for the first month would be at the double intense rate, i.e., 50 percent of War Establishment for officers, and 40 percent for other ranks. (C.M.H.Q. file 1/Para Tps/1: Col. J.G.K. Strathy to D.A.G., C.M.H.Q., 15 May 44). As was to be expected, the number of casualties sustained during the early days of the operation far exceeded losses for the remaining time that the unit was in France. During the first twelve days of fighting, up to the time of the battalion's first removal from the line, officer casualties amounted to 59 percent of War Establishment, other ranks 39 percent (W.E. strength was 31 officers and 587 other ranks). Subsequent losses were on a considerably lower scale.

40.  The following table, compiled from Records Office Casualty Reports, shows casualties suffered by 1 Can Para Bn for three significant periods of the total operation. The P.W. losses. in the first period were all sustained on D-Day.

Cdn Para En Casualties, 6 Jun - 6 Sep 44
Killed & D
of wounds
6-17 JunOffrs510-318
18 Jun - 4 JulOffrs-4--4
5 Jul - 6 SepOffrs-2--2

41.  The deficiencies in 1 Cdn Para Bn's strength caused by these casualties were successfully met from unit reinforcements for the first three weeks of fighting. But during July the source of supply dwindled, and the difficulty of obtaining replacements is reflected in the battalion's diminishing strength returns. On 5 Aug the unit's strength reached its lowest figure of the campaign, -- 17 officers and 315 other ranks. There was little improvement during the month, and when the battalion returned to England at the beginning of September there was a strength deficiency of 5 officers and 242 other ranks (C.M.H.Q. file 24/AEF/1/5, A.G. Stats letter, 5 May 45 ).

42.  Of 60 officers and men of 6 Airborne Div decorated in the field by General (later Field-Marshal) Sir Bernard Montgomery shortly after D-Day, five were members of 1 Cdn Para Bn. Two officers, Capt. (later Major) J. P. Hanson and Capt. (leter Najor) P. R. Griffin, received the Military Cross. # Three N.C.Os., Sgt. G.H. Morgan, Cpl. Wm. Noval and L/Cpl. R. A. Geddes, were awarded the Military Medal. (The Canadian Press News, 22 Jul 44, p.2). # The Military Medal was also won by Sgt. J. A. Lacasse and Pte. W.D. Ducker, both of whom died of wounds received in the action that earned them the decoration, and by Sgt. V. P. Minard.

# D.136859 Sgt. G.H. Morgan, B.28910 Cpl. Wm. Noval, B.146477 L/Cpl. R. A. Geddes, B.101038 Sgt. J.A. Lacasse, B.3047 Pte. W.S. Ducker and F.25506 Sgt. W. P. Minard

(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in France (6 June - 6 September 1944)

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