From left, World War II veterans Fred Seeley, Bob Sear, George Chow, June Illet, Ken Brind, John Belsky, Franke Poole, and Rudi Hoenson have tea at Government House with Premier John Horgan and Lt. Gov. Janet Austin, May 27, 2019. (B.C. government)

Premier joins B.C. veterans to mark 75th anniversary of D-Day

Ceremonies recall Allied assault on Juno Beach in Normandy

B.C. Premier John Horgan is making his second visit to Juno Beach to remember the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers at the D-Day invasion of occupied France in 1944.

“Years ago, during a family vacation to Europe, I found myself standing on Juno Beach in France,” Horgan wrote in a personal blog as the anniversary approached. “I pictured the blue water obscured by boats as thousands of soldiers stormed the shore under heavy gunfire. My eyes filled with tears.”

At the ceremony, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau read an accounts of some of the veterans who landed at Normandy to launch the liberation of France, the Netherlands and ultimately Germany, where Adolf Hitler’s forces were defeated the following year.

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B.C. veterans were invited to an anniversary reception at Government House in Victoria last week, where they were greeted by Horgan and Lt. Gov. Janet Austin.

Among them was George Chow, who signed up at Victoria’s Bay Street Armoury two months before he turned 19, without telling his parents. Chow made the trip to Normandy to remember his experience at Juno Beach.

Another veteran honoured was Alice Adams of Victoria, a member of the Canadian Naval Intelligence Service who worked to intercept German naval messages. Also attending was Frank Poole, whose bomber was shot down in January, 1945. He spent two months in a prison camp before the liberation in April.

“As I stand on Juno Beach on June 6, I will proudly wear a pin that was given to me by the Canadian Scottish Regiment and I will carry a plaque, given to me by Legion Manor Victoria,” Horgan wrote. “This pin and plaque signify the stories that live inside Alice, Frank and George, and veterans just like them.”


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