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43.  These awards were earned in two actions -- "C" Coy's attack on the enemy position at VARAVILLE on D-Day (see para 10) and an assault by "B" Coy east of the LE MESNIL crossroads on 8 Jun. In the VARAVILLE engagement Capt. Hanson, 2 i/c "C" Coy, took command of the company when its Commander, Mej. H. M. McLeod was killed. Although he himself was wounded, he successfully led the action that resulted in the taking of the German pillbox and the enemy headquarters, inflicting many casualties and taking 40 prisoners. Pte. Ducker, a medical orderly attacked to "C" Coy, under heavy mortar and machine gun fire gave medical assistance to the Company Commander and three others fatally injured when a German 75 mm shell detonated the Canadian P.I.A.T. ammunition, caring for them until certain that they were beyond aid (W.D., 1 Cdn Para Bn, 6 Jun 44). In the same action Sgt. Minard displayed exceptional qualities of leadership and initiative in commanding his platoon when its officer was killed. On 13 Jun he again distinguished himself when he exercised a steadying influence on his platoon during the relief by his company of part of 5 Black Watch, who were being strongly attacked at a chateau south of BREVILLE (see para. 16).

44.  On the morning of 8 Jun, after his company's return from ROBEHOMME, Capt. Griffin led one and a half platoons of "B" Coy to assault a group of strongly held buildings in the BOIS DE BAVENT (at 144730) east of the LE MESNIL crossroads. The enemy was driven out with heavy casualties, and a counter attack with superior forces was successfully held off. Sgt, Lacasse and Sgt. Morgan won their decorations at the same time. The former, though thrice wounded, led his section across an open field swept by fire, to knock out an enemy L.M.G. position; the latter displayed skill, initiative and complete disregard of his own personal safety as he conducted his platoon's successful assault upon the occupied buildings. In the same action Cpl. Noval and L/Cpl Geddes (at that time both private soldiers),operating as a Bren gun and sniper team to give covering fire, accounted between them for no less than 25 Germans (C.M.H.Q. File 21/Gen/8, Citations, FRANCE.

45.  Two major awards were won by personnel of 1 Cdn Para Bn during the operation at GOUSTRANVILLE on 18 Aug 44 (see para 28). Capt. (later Major) J. A. Clancy was awarded the Military Cross, the citation noting his behaviour on that day as but one example of "his devotion to duty and outstanding gallantry" throughout the entire campaign in Normandy. As acting 2 i/c of "A" Coy he led a platoon in the assault against the southern bridge. By the momentum of his attack in the face of strong machine gun fire the bridge, which was vital to this Brigade, was captured before the enemy could demolish it. In the same engagement St. G. W. Green, an acting platoon commander in "A" Coy, reorganized his platoon when it suffered heavy casualties and led his men in two attacks that resulted in the killing and capture of more than 25 Germans. Although severely wounded sgt Green continued to control his platoon until he was able to hand over to his Company Commander. For this action, and for his inspiration to his men through the campaign up to that time he was awarded the Military Medal.

#. B.62282 Sgt. G. W. Green


46.  1 Cdn Para Bn was not the only. Canadian unit to serve with 6 Airborne Div during Operation "OVERLORD".

(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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