News

Saanich veterans remember D-Day

Second World War veterans Augustine Rimmer, left, Maurice Hundleby and Earl Clark - Photos by Broadmead Lodge and Kyle Slavin/News staff
Second World War veterans Augustine Rimmer, left, Maurice Hundleby and Earl Clark
— image credit: Photos by Broadmead Lodge and Kyle Slavin/News staff

Veterans living at Saanich’s Broadmead Lodge, which is home to 47 per cent of veterans on Vancouver Island living in care facilities, recall their memories of June 6, 1944.

••••

“Our offices and barracks were in a hospital. We didn’t know about D-Day until after it happened. We got wind of it and immediately a parade was arranged. It was a long parade, about three miles. We marched a long way, and afterwards, we were driven back to the barracks. We sat around with our feet in tubs of water. At night, we had a mixed party – it meant we had the Navy men join us. There was some dancing ... it was a celebration for our victory.”

- Albertine Rimmer, Women’s Royal Naval Service, stationed in Greenrock, Scotland

••••

“I’ll never forget D-Day. I close my eyes and I can be back there in an instant. When the landing barges hit the beaches, you had to race like crazy, if you didn’t you might get mowed down. I remember the planes coming in and spraying us with machine gun fire. I’ll tell you it was hell. ... Dead and dying all over the place.  You couldn’t sleep ... you had to be on the alert.”

- Earl Clark, D-Day Veteran, Canadian Scottish Regiment 1st Battalion

••••

“I was stationed here in Victoria back then. One of my postings was the Tyee Camp which was just across the Bay Street Bridge. ... Six gun crews were stationed around there, too. They were protecting the base because earlier the Japanese had knocked down the Estevan Lighthouse by submarine. ... I remember seeing Hitler in the newsreels. There was no television back then – you had to go to the movie theatre to get up-to-date on things. It all seemed so far away on the other side of the world. It certainly was lonely here in Victoria. I didn’t see anybody I knew on the streets because they were all overseas.”

- Maurice “Maury” Hundleby, Army clerk stationed at CFB Esquimalt

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