Allied troops conducted the largest amphibious assault in history by storming the beaches of Normandy (France) on 6 June 1944 (D-Day) to liberate Western Europe from German occupation. Among the forces that stormed the beaches was the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, a reserve infantry regiment from Bathurst, New Brunswick (NB). 

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, when the Second World War broke out in September 1939, eager volunteers rushed to recruiting centers. By June 1940, the North Shore (NB) Regiment was at full strength and began training in Woodstock (NB). On 21 July 1941, the Regiment sailed for Liverpool and spend almost three years training and rehearsing beach landings throughout England and Scotland. Their exceptional performance distinguished them as one of the top regiments in the Canadian Army and, as a result, the North Shore (NB) Regiment was chosen to be part of the first wave of the Normandy invasion.

The North Shore (NB) Regiment was tasked to assault Juno Beach. They eliminated a German artillery position and advanced the farthest inland of the Allied forces. Over the course of the war, approximately 2,300 men served overseas with the North Shore (NB) Regiment and 375 were killed.

 The only surviving film footage of Canadians landing on D-Day features the North Shore (NB) Regiment. The short footage shows the men packed into a boat, anxiously looking around as they approach Juno Beach. The boat lands, the doors open, and the men rush out into battle. A striking moment in the footage sees a young soldier glancing back with a nervous expression on his face. A nearby soldier reaches forward and places a reassuring and comforting hand on the young man’s back. The second soldier is wearing a wedding ring on his left hand. A still of this moment was captured from the film and featured on the 2019 Proof Silver Canadian Dollar to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The image represents the many men who conquered their fears and the empathy they displayed for their fellow brothers in arms.

5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown remembers the sacrifices made by all service members during the Second World War and would like to highlight the rich military history of New Brunswick. Lest we forget.

2Lt Rachel Tapley