A pleasant and thought provoking surprise

Today I received a “special edition” newsletter package from my Grandfathers WWII Regimental Association. It was completely unexpected and looks to have been compiled by some of the surviving veterans, and some of their family members. My grandfather was a infantryman serving in The 8th Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (14th Canadian Hussars) and he was in a small assault platoon. As a RECCE Regmt, their motto was First In…Last Out.

I have blogged before about one of the war diary excerpts that I was able to dig-up, which described an action that he was in, in which he was awarded a valour medal from the Dutch government. This newsletter was filled with a whole bunch more War Diary Excerpts that I simply was amazed to read. I wanted to share a couple with you that I really found amazing.It is important to understand when looking at the dates that the regiment trained in Southern England from 1942 to July 7th, 1944, and landed in Normandy exactly one-month after D-Day.

October 18, 1942  –  “Weather extremely chilly and damp. Wash houses have cold, cold water. Good Canadian mail received.”

January 30, 1943  –  “This evening A Sqn had a dance at the Drill Hall in town which was  marvellous and colossal flop.”

September 29, 1943  –  “Schoolhouse in Petworth hit by 3 bombs from sneak raids.”

May 29, 1944  –   “Inspection along with 6 Brigade by Eisenhower held on Dover road near camp.”

June 6, 1944  –  “News of invasion received.”

July 6, 1944  –  “Up and anchor away. in the crap game English, French, canadian and US money passed from hand to hand. Water calm.” (My personal favourite for the irony)

July 7, 1944  –  “French coast is sighted. No one was sea sick. Lancaster bombers are pasting the land ahead.”

July 11, 1944  –   “Carpriquet airport. First casualties, 2 boys were hit by shrapnel.”

July 21, 1944  –  “Padre bus, burying dead, our own & the enemy. Brettville-sur-Orne Beavoir Farm. Ifs more casualties, killed and wounded.”

May 5, 1945  –  “Der Tag at 0330 hrs. stop offesnive and 0800 cease fire.”

May 6, 1945  –  “German soldiers start to “wander” home.”

August 8, 1945  –  “Elburg. Speculation running high about the atomic bomb.”

August 10, 1945  –  “Rumor about the capitulation of Japan.”

This goes on and on like this, with many great bulleted points that literally make me swell with pride, and read with amazement at what this generation had to endure. My grandfathers war diary excerpt was not in here, but you can read them in their entirety here.

What I loved was the final submission of the diary, made December 1, 1945. I think it captures the essence exactly of why these were such special citizens of the World, embodied in the regular farmers, bankers and blue-collar workers of the time.

December 1, 1945

“Thus endeth the War Diary of the 1st Regt of the VIII Cdn. Recce Regt. (14CH). As the Regt goes into history we can truly say we fought with a will to win and to protect our way of life. New honors and glories have been heaped around our two badges, the Maple Leaf and the Horse Rampant in a manner becoming our slogan, Free and Fearless.”

Tell me that last bit does get you a bit.

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  • Brian McMorran October 15, 2009   Reply →

    Thank You Chris … not much to say as I am busy wiping my tears.

  • Bill October 15, 2009   Reply →

    What a wonderful gift for you and your family. How many other treasures like yours are yet to be discovered by the descendants of WW I & WW II veterans?

  • Julius June 1, 2010   Reply →

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  • Joanne Richards November 12, 2017   Reply →

    Dear Mr. La Bossiere – November 11, 2017 – I realize this post is from 2009 and I don’t know if you are able to assist me or not, for the past few years I have been researching the 8th Reconnaissance (14th Canadian Hussars) My uncle Trooper Arthur Thomas Sawers was killed Sept 30 1944 at Antwerp one day prior to the Battle of the Scheldt, I am trying to find more information of exactly what transpired for these brave men who were instrumental in the liberation of the port towns of the east coast in France, Belgium and the Netherlands etc. I do have one war diary hand written by Medical Sergeant “Pat” Paterson but it only goes to Sept.25/44 and his dates jump around a lot. I do know from that that the regiment was under heavy fire and he lists the casualties that died from their wounds and those that were KIA. I wonder if you could share any information regarding the 8th Recce or direct me to someone or somewhere who could. I got your name from the Wikipedia history of the 8th.
    I thank you kindly for any information you might have.
    Joanne Richards
    Red Deer AB

    • Chris LaBossiere June 19, 2019   Reply →


      Sorry – just seeing this. If you still want information, can your email me at chris@getyardstick.com?


  • Rob STEWART June 3, 2019   Reply →

    Thank you for sharing, Chris. My grandfather also served in 8 Recce. I am trying to collect as much info as I can about this group of fine men.

  • George Johnston June 10, 2019   Reply →

    Hello Chris
    My name is George Johnston. My father was trooper G.C. Johnston L53551. He was part of a mortar team in the 8th reconnaissance regiment. I recently came across photos of two reunions one in Calgary and one in Regina. Group photos of everyone and I’m trying to build a bit of family history for my children about what my Dad did. . He was not talkative about what he went through but was very loyal to his buddies in the regiment. I was told by his friends at on of the reunions he turned down promotions and officer school to stay with his mates. I would like to find a nominal roll of the regiment. When I was with my dad at the reunions I remembered the names of his mates. I just feel a need to know more.

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