Seventy-five years after the infamous storm at “Juno” beach, Historica Canada has released a Heritage Minute to commemorate the monumental event.
The short video features New Brunswick native, Major John Archibald “Archie” MacNaughton. The 47-year-old found himself at the battle of Normandy after opting to re-enlist. Having served in a previous world war and a family of his own, he had no obligation to join the war efforts.
MacNaughton is shown in the thick of the battle on the beaches of Normandy. He bravely leads a group of young, and clearly overwhelmed, soldiers through the countryside.
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MacNaughton, rifle poised, turns a blind corner on a country home after motioning to the troops to stay back. To his surprise, In the window of the quaint home stands a small girl, shocked by the presence of a soldier pointing a gun directly at her. As he drops his weapon, and guard, he is engulfed by memories of his own little girl.
MacNaughton was killed in the midst of the June 6, 1944 battle. He received the Canadian Efficiency decoration for his commitment to 20 years of service.
The battle at Normandy lasted from June to August 1944. June 6, the day MacNaughton was killed, marks the day troops stormed the beach and began a two-month battle. June 6 is often referred to as D-Day, in recognition of the beginning of the end of the Second World War. Of the 150,000 allied troops that landed on Normandy, France, 14,000 of them were Canadian.
Anthony Wilson-Smith, Historica Canada’s CEO, told HuffPost Canada he hopes this video shows Canadians that D-Day is “about more than numbers and statistics, but [about] the people.”
While this is a story of remembrance, Wilson-Smith estimates there are roughly 50 living Canadian D-Day veterans.