author and his wife had the remarkable luck to accompany the
veterans of the South Alberta Regiment as they returned to Europe
to retrace their conquering route into Germany. On this trip
they planned on honouring their battles and their fallen comrades
by placing several bronze plaques at significant points along
the tour route.
Prepared by James Stoness with
the Bronze Plaque Tour in Bayeux
Today, a party of twenty five, members and families of the veterans of the South Alberta Armoured Regiment (SAR) returned to Europe. Their trip on the ferry from Portsmouth, England to Cherbourg, France, was much faster and more peaceful than that in the dark days of 1944. During the morning the tour passed by sites liberated by the landings in Europe , and visited the invasion beaches. At Juno they walked along the beach where the Canadians came ashore, proudly remembering that the Canadians were the only group in the Allied Invasion Force to accomplish all their first day objectives. The remnants of mulberries are still visible in the Atlantic Ocean. These mulberries were used to unload cargo and move it to shore.
In the afternoon the SAR group visited the War Museum in Bayeux. This museum has a display which features the South Alberta Armoured Regiment in action during the attempt to close the Falaise Gap and trap a large part of the German army. In this battle Major Dave Currie won the Victoria Cross. This was the only VC won by any group during the battles of Normandy and the only one by the whole of the Canadian Armoured Corp.
At a short ceremony, Certificates of Honour were presented to the veterans. A Certificate of Honour for the late Lt. Col. Gordon (Swatty) Wotherspoon was presented to his son, Richard Wotherspoon..
Dr. Jean Pierre Benamou, founder and curator of the Bayeux War Museum, acknowledged and sang the praises of the Canadians for their contributions toward the campaign in Normandy. Dr. Jean Pierre Benamou has been acknowledged by the United States and has been decorated by the British with the Order of the British Empire. It would seem that it is long overdue for Canada to do likewise.