An event on Saturday provides a rare opportunity to share in an in-depth historical look at Canada’s contribution to D-Day efforts that culminated in the Battle of Normandy on June 6, 1944.
It’s fitting that “More Than D-Day: Remembering Canada’s Involvement in the Normandy Campaign, and the Liberation of France” will take place at the Bay Street Armoury. Members of the Canadian Scottish Regiment, at that time and to this day based out of that armoury, were among the first Canadian Soldiers ashore, and the regiment has managed to preserve first-hand diary accounts from soldiers who took part in the battle.
Operation Overlord and its centrepiece battle of D-Day is one of the most recognizable moments in the Second World War, said Kate Humble, the curator at Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard National Historic Site and BC Coastal Field Unit. “It brought together multiple nations and all three branches of the armed forces in the largest seaborne invasion in history,” she explained. “We are keen to connect the people of Victoria with their shared past through this event, which will bring home how our local efforts contributed to the success of the battle. I find the material the Canadian Scottish Regiment has to share particularly moving.”
Dr. David Zimmerman from the history department at the University of Victoria will be on hand to give a talk between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. about the latest research into Canada’s involvement in Operation Overlord. “It’s a great opportunity for people to discover their local military museums and hear a top-notch historian all in one place for free,” Humble said.
Participants include the Canadian Scottish Regimental Museum, the 5th Field Regiment Museum, the Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum, Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse Historic Site, and the Victoria Scale Modellers Club.
The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., includes WWII Canadian military vehicles on display, the forward fuselage of a Lancaster bomber, miniature military dioramas depicting battlefield scenes, military uniforms and equipment and field kits and firearms. There will be an audio-visual presentation on D-Day and the Normandy campaign and live military music as well.
The Ashton Armoury Museum’s display will highlight how the success or failure of any military campaign was dependent on the efficiency of its supply chain, noted Wayne Dauphinee, co-curator, militaria for the Ashton Armoury Museum.