New Heritage Minute highlights Canadians who fought on D-Day
Published Thursday, May 30, 2019 3:14PM EDT Last Updated Sunday, June 2, 2019 5:39PM EDT
One week before the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Historica Canada is marking the occasion with the release of a dramatic new Heritage Minute film highlighting the sacrifices of soldiers from New Brunswick in the Second World War.
The 60-second spot begins with a woman’s narration as scenes of young men in battle play out on screen.
“They were just kids from New Brunswick,” she says solemnly. “Never even left the North Shore before. Dad trained them the best he could, but how could they possibly be prepared?”
The “Dad” she’s referring to is Maj. Archie MacNaughton who died at the age of 47 on D-Day. He had fought in the First World War and led the North Shore New Brunswick Regiment (NSR) during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 in France.
“This was the biggest operation the world had ever seen,” the narrator says in the short film.
The large-scale amphibious operation is considered to have turned the tide in the Allies’ favour and paved the way for the eventual liberation of France and the collapse of Nazi Germany.
More than 14,000 Canadian troops participated in the operation on D-Day with the Canadian army being assigned to take Juno Beach. The Heritage Minutes episode reenacts MacNaughton’s North Shore New Brunswick Regiment taking part in the fighting that day on Juno Beach.
“He’d already served in the First World War, earned the right to stay home, raise his children, but how could he send those boys into battle and not be by their side?” the narrator asks.
“Many were killed that day…”
The film then shows MacNaughton’s character freezing at the sight of a young girl who reminds him of his daughter back home.
“One was my father,” the woman says.
There is the sound of yelling and gunfire before the screen goes to black.
On D-Day alone, there were 381 Canadian soldiers and airmen who died. Another 584 Canadians were wounded and 131 were captured.
On its website, Historica Canada writes that the Heritage Minute short film is intended to pay tribute to all of the Canadian soldiers who fought on D-Day.
“Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstance,” the description for the D-Day episode reads.