Remembering the 75th Anniversary of D-Day - June 6, 1944 - The Battle of Normandy

Today marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the beginning of the Battle of Normandy during the Second World War. On June 6, 1944 and during the long summer that followed, men from all over the world came to fight in Normandy to defeat Nazism and re-establish freedom. D-Day would be the opening chapter of the Battle of Normandy which raged until late August 1944 and was a pivotal step in the liberation of Western Europe and the end of the war.

On June 6, 1944 soldiers from the United States, Great Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Norway, Poland and Australia, along with some 14,000 Canadian soldiers came ashore at the beaches of Normandy in occupied France. Thousands of Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force service members also took part in Operation Overlord, as the massive Allied assault was code-named.

On D-Day, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landed on Juno Beach. The Canadian assault troops stormed ashore in the face of fierce opposition from German strongholds and mined beach obstacles. The soldiers raced across the wide-open beaches swept with machine gun fire, and stormed the gun positions. In fierce hand-to-hand fighting, they fought their way into the towns of Bernières, Courseulles and St. Aubin and then advanced inland, securing a critical bridgehead for the allied invasion. The victory was a turning point in World War II and led to the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany.

The price they paid was high - the battles for the beachhead cost 340 Canadian lives and another 574 wounded. John Keegan, eminent British historian who wrote Six Armies in Normandy, stated the following concerning the Canadian 3rd Division on D-Day: “At the end of the day, its forward elements stood deeper into France than those of any other division. The opposition the Canadians faced was stronger than that of any other beach save Omaha. That was an accomplishment in which the whole nation could take considerable pride.”

We currently do not have record of any Albert County men killed on D-day, a number however were killed during the Battle of Normandy, including two brothers born in Hopewell Cape. Major Ronald Bennett, Black Watch (The Royal Highland Regiment of Canada), and his brother Lieutenant Harrison Bennett, Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, who both laid down their lives for Canada in Normandy, 75 years ago, in August 1944. They are both buried, about 10 rows apart, in the Canadian War Cemetery at Bretteville-sur-Laize in Normandy.

Major Edwin Ronald Bennett was mentioned in Despatches, 1st Bn., Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada. He was born in Hopewell Cape on May 4, 1917. He was killed in action on August 5, 1944 at the age of 27. He was the son of Capt. Ronald V. Bennett and Elva I. Bennett, of Sackville, New Brunswick. He was married to Dorothy Janet Bennett, of Montreal, PQ. They had no children.

Lieutenant Henry Harrison Bennett, Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (Machine Gun), Canadian Infantry Corps was killed in action on August 14, 1944 at the age of 24. He was born in Hopewell Cape on February 10, 1920. He was the son of Capt. Ronald V. Bennett and Elva I. Bennett, of Sackville, New Brunswick.

They were the nephews of Prime Minster RB Bennett. RB Bennett was said to have been extremely proud of his nephews decision to serve in the Canadian Army, and was devastated to hear of their passing only weeks after visiting him at his home in Juniper Hill.

They did not grow old, we that were left grow old
Age has not wearied not the years condemned.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We have remembered them.

The Passing of an Albert County Hero – William Henry (Bill) Balser Sr., March 31, 2019 - 95 Years Old

The Passing of an Albert County Hero – William Henry (Bill) Balser Sr., March 31, 2019 - 95 Years Old

William Henry (Bill) Balser Sr., 95, from Stoney Creek NB, passed away peacefully with family by his side at Lakeview Manor in Riverview NB, on March 31, 2019. 

Raised on the family farm in Albert County, Bill volunteered for military service with the RCAF and served from July 1941 to September 1945.

Lest We Forget - Harold Guy Turner - Died of Pneumonia 100 Years Ago Today - 04.02.1918

Lest We Forget - Harold Guy Turner  - Died of Pneumonia 100 Years Ago Today - 04.02.1918

Harold Guy Turner , 1261991, was from  Dawson Settlement Mount, Albert County, New Brunswick and was born January 24, 1894.

Lest We Forget - Spenser Allen Graves - Died of Wounds 100 Years Ago Today - 11.18.1918

Lest We Forget - Spenser Allen Graves - Died of Wounds 100 Years Ago Today - 11.18.1918

Spenser Allen Graves, 3255975, was from  Pleasant Mount, Albert County, New Brunswick and was born March 19, 1893. He was son of Mrs. L. G. and the late Mr. Graves; husband of Jennie Helma Graves,

Did you know that 4 of our Fighting Men from the First World War are buried here in Albert County?

Did you know that 4 of our Fighting Men from the First World War are buried here in Albert County?

As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War, and we pause to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. You may wish to take the time to visit the grave sites of four of our fighting men who are buried here in Albert County.

Lest We Forget - CARL CLINTON IRVING - Died in Hospital 100 Years Ago Today - 21.10.1918

Lest We Forget - CARL CLINTON IRVING - Died in Hospital 100 Years Ago Today - 21.10.1918

Carl Clinton Irving, 4062755, was from  Hillsborough, Albert County, New Brunswick and was born April 15, 1896 at Hillsborough, New Brunswick. .

Lest We Forget - Royden Edmund Steeves - Died in Hospital 100 Years Ago Today - 12.10.1918

Lest We Forget - Royden Edmund Steeves  - Died in Hospital 100 Years Ago Today - 12.10.1918

Royden Edmund Steeves, 2704341, was from  Hillsborough, Albert County, New Brunswick and was born January 18, 1891 at HIllsborough, New Brunswick.

Lest We Forget - Joseph Emerson Smith - Killed in Action 100 Years Ago - TODAY - 10.07.1918

Lest We Forget - Joseph Emerson Smith - Killed in Action 100 Years Ago - TODAY - 10.07.1918

Joseph Emerson Smith  ,709142 was from Hopewell Cape, Albert County, New Brunswick and was born November 14, 1897. He was the son of Robert C. Smith Hopewell Hill, New Brunswick. . Read More...

Lest We Forget - Albert David Rossiter - Killed in Action 102 Years Ago - TODAY - 09.16.1916

Lest We Forget - Albert David Rossiter - Killed in Action 102 Years Ago - TODAY - 09.16.1916

Albert David Rossiter, 445546 was from Alma, Albert County, New Brunswick and was born December 6, 1893. He was the Son of Mr. and Mrs. David Rossiter of Pointe Wolf, New Brunswick. More...

Harold George Joyce's Return to Hopewell Cape Continues.

On May 19th, 2018 the exhibit “County of Heroes” opened to the public at our Albert County Museum. The event was well received and was covered by media outlets.

About a month later I received a call from a very pleasant lady from Ontario informing me that she was a descendant of Pte. Joyce. She went on to tell me she saw a television report about the County of Heroes and realized that she had some personal belongings of Pte. Joyce that she received from her great uncle. She graciously donated them to the museum and I received them a few weeks later.

As I was examining the many letters and artifacts, I came upon a very touching letter from Joyce’s commanding officer informing her of how her son died in battle on August 28, 1918. I almost fell off my chair when I realized that the 100th anniversary of Harold George Joyce paying the ultimate sacrifice for his country was only a few days away. So I issued a press release and, in a very short period of time, received a call from CBC television and radio. The CBC did a very nice tribute to a Pte. Joyce and treated the story with the compassion and dignity of the return, if only of possessions, of a native of New Brunswick and a son of Albert County.

But Harold’s story continues. Last week I received a visit from 10 of Harold Joyce’s decedents who live throughout the province. All converging unannounced to observe first hand the memorabilia that was now in the museum’s possession. I was honoured to unveil the artifacts and it was a very heartfelt emotional time when I read the letter that Harold’s mother received over 100 years ago. They all received a tour of the County of Heroes exhibit and they were very thankful that the Albert County Historical Society took on the challenge of building such a memorial to the fallen sons of Albert County. The only part that was of concern was the picture we have of Harold; that it is not of very good quality. I explained that during the days leading up to the opening of the exhibit, we were missing 6 pictures. Pte. Joyce being one of them. And how, on the day before we opened to the public, we found the picture that is on display, by chance, on the internet. Mrs. Carol Plume of Petitcodiac made the comment “We’ll have to do something about that.”

So yesterday I received a package in the mail, with Mrs. Plume’s return address on it. And sure enough, as I opened it Pte. Harold George Joyce jumped out to see me again. Once again I was privileged to look through pictures, his battalion badges and even a small arms ammunition belt. And two proud pictures, one as a civilian and one in full military dress with rifle. And again, I was thankful for the sacrifice of Pte. Joyce and all who fell with him over 100 years ago. Even more, I’m amazed at the the kindness of strangers and the in awe of the close ties of Harold’s family. And, of course, bewildered that Pte. Harold George Joyce, who was killed in action just over 100 years ago; Pte. Joyce who has no official burial site in France; that somehow, Harold Joyce has returned to his home in Hopewell Cape, NB.

Lest We Forget - Asa Gilbert Prosser - Died of Wounds 100 Years Ago Today - 09.10.1918

Lest We Forget - Asa Gilbert Prosser - Died of Wounds 100 Years Ago Today - 09.10.1918

Asa Gilbert Prosser, 709501, was from  Prosser Brook, Albert County, New Brunswick and was born April 22, 1892 at Prosser Brook, Albert County, New Brunswick. He was Son of Son of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Prosser, of Riverside, Albert Co., New Brunswick

Lest We Forget - Harold George Joyce - Killed in Action 100 Years Ago - TODAY - 08.28.1918

Lest We Forget - Harold George Joyce - Killed in Action 100 Years Ago - TODAY - 08.28.1918

Harold George Joyce  ,709283 was from Hopewell Cape, Albert County, New Brunswick and was born September 4, 1897. He was the son of John E. and May Joyce, of Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick. Read More...