Operation Overlord, the long-awaited invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, began with Allied armies from the United States, Britain and Canada landing on the coast of Normandy.
It was 5:00 a.m. on June 6, 1944 – D-Day. The sun was just rising revealing the shadowy outline of 7,000 ships crossing the English Channel toward France.
It was on this day that the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landed on Juno Beach and 14,000 young Canadians stormed ashore in the face of fierce opposition from German strongholds and mined beaches.
In fierce hand-to-hand fighting, they fought their way into the towns of Bernières, Courseulles and St. Aubin and then advanced inland, securing a critical bridgehead for the Allied invasion.
Their courage, determination and self sacrifice brought success in those critical hours. The fighting was fierce and frightening and it came at a high price - the battles for the beachhead cost 340 Canadian lives with another 574 wounded.
By day's end, the Canadian forward elements were deeper into France than those of any other division. The opposition the Canadians faced was stronger than that of any other beach, except Omaha.
The victory was a turning point in World War II and led to the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany.