On the 69th Anniversary of the Allied offensive into German-occupied Europe, Queen’s Archives is pleased to present a small sample of a transcript from a CBC radio broadcast by Leonard W. Brockington, who had served as chairman of the CBC in 1936, was special assistant to Mackenzie King from 1939-42, and served as an adviser to the British Ministry of Information in 1942-43. Brockington spent nearly one week aboard the Destroyer “Sioux,” providing an account of the D-Day invasion:
The duty of the fleet destroyers was to protect the minesweepers from any surface or underwater attack and to see that they were not hampered in any way from carrying out their task.
We saw the coast shattered from end to end by the pattern bombing of hundreds of Flying Fortresses.
At 5.30 it was daylight and what a sight met our gaze. A great semi-circle of hundreds of ships lay off the enemy’s coast.
Brockington continued with a minute-by-minute account of when the Sioux and surrounding ships started to open fire:
At 6.40 the ship anchored and at 7.10 with a target of 10,700 yards the captain ordered our gunners to engage the enemy. At 7.34 we were still bombarding and had obliterated our direct target.
Thunder answered thunder, tanks were ashore; guns went ashore; men went ashore; fires broke out; the coast was enveloped in smoke which cleared away and returned in changing phases.
By five minutes past eight everybody was standing around watching the planes overhead. As those of us who were able to do so breakfasted on bacon and beans, we listened to the B.B.C. announcing the landing.
Brockington concluded his broadcast recollecting his conversation with the Chief Engineer that evening:
“Chief,” I said, “many fleets of ships have crossed these waters to bring destruction to innocent people and slavery to the free. This armada is different. It is the first that ever set out to bring freedom to all men.”
“Yes, sir,” he said,” and that’s what makes everybody feel good – and every Canadian glad to be here.”