June 5, 1954: Veterans to relive D-Day on 10th anniversary
Stories from our pages over the last 150 years. Hundreds of Victoria and Island war veterans this weekend will relive their experiences of a decade ago on the beaches of Normandy.
Sunday is the 10th anniversary of D-Day, when the massive power of the Western Allies’ three service arms joined to deal the first blow in a series that led to the smashing of Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
“Face to face with the enemy for the first time under most fearsome conditions, the boys rose to great heights as they fought through to their first objective,” said Lieut.Col. Desmond G. Crofton, 49, of Salt Spring Island.
Then a major, he commanded “C” Company, the first unit of Victoria’s “Fighting First” Battalion of the Canadian Scottish Regiment to storm the beachheads. It was a costly action. “Three hours later and three miles in, we had about 30 per cent killed and wounded,” said Col. Crofton.
When Gordon H. Hobson, 33, of Elk Lake, a flight lieutenant with RAF fighter squadrons, looked down and saw the great mass of shipping heading for France, he recalled “the wonderful feeling I got all over me.”
“It was a feeling of being unified with them, an uplift that pep talk could never inspire.
“I felt suddenly very big and very strong. For the first time in the war, I got the feeling that we were invincible,” said the Englishman who has been resident in Canada and Victoria for the last six years. — Victoria Daily Times