​The Battalion (1942-1945)

Ex Coelis (From the Clouds)

 

The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was established in July 1942. It served in Europe where it landed at Normandy on D Day, 6 June 1944.  It participated in the Battle of the Bulge and later dropped on the River Rhine as part of Operation Varsity. After the end of the war, the Battalion returned to Canada where it was disbanded on 30 September 1945.

 This battalion stands out among so many fine units during World War Two as  they never failed to complete a mission, they never gave up an objective once taken and had advanced further than any other Canadian unit.


The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was created by an order of the Canadian War Cabinet on July 1, 1942. Its early mandate was to be a highly mobile quick reaction force that could easily respond to any invasion threat within Canada, as there was a great fear at that time that the Japanese might invade. It was thought that such a mobile force would be able to quickly respond to and repel any invaders, especially in the more remote islands in British Columbia.
Planning began in earnest with the Canadian Military Headquarters sending two groups of potential paratroopers, one each to the airborne schools of the American and British armies, both of which already had well-established training programs. The goal was to combine the best aspects of both the American and British systems in an attempt to create the best system of airborne troopers to meet Canada’s needs.


The initial group that traveled to Fort Benning in the United States consisted of seven officers and 20 other ranks, including the unit’s first commander, Major H.D. Proctor. The American course consisted of four stages, each stage one week in duration and teaching a different aspect of airborne training. The focus was on harsh instruction in an attempt to weed out those that were not strong enough to meet the high expectations of the paratroopers – any hesitation on the part of the trainee meant immediate dismissal. Training was done using a variety of equipment including 250 foot high towers using pre-deployed parachutes and actual jumps with the American T-5 parachute from C-47 Dakota aircraft. Five jumps from an aircraft were required to earn the coveted parachute wings.Major Proctor was the first casualty of the young Parachute Battalion, killed during their first training jump when his rigging lines were severed by a following transport aircraft.

Lieutenant Colonel G.F.P. Bradbrooke took command of the unit following the death of Major Proctor. He would lead the unit until he was appointed to the General Staff at CMHQ London on August 23, 1944.The RAF Ringway group was larger, consisting of 25 officers and 60 other ranks. The British system was vastly different from that of the Americans, only lasting sixteen days. The course was more intensive, focusing on skills necessary in the airborne descent. The system was also different in that the aim of the instructors was to help along the trainee, building up their confidence to complete the task at hand. The trainees also needed to complete seven jumps, not the five in the American system, two from static balloons and five from aircraft.It was decided to continue parachute training for Canadian soldiers at Fort Benning while a Canadian parachute training centre was being built at Camp Shilo, Manitoba. The first class of 54 recruits arrived in Fort Benning to commence their training on October 10, 1942, with a new class of candidates every week following.Training continued throughout the fall reasonably well, but there were some problems in recruiting members for the new Parachute Battalion. With both the official purpose being home defense, and the fact that recruiting calls went out accepting volunteers from NRMA soldiers (whose terms of enlistment prohibited them from being involuntarily deployed overseas), many eager soldiers were

hesitant to volunteer for a unit whose primary role was perceived to be solely home defense.This fact was brought home when a call for parachute qualified soldiers for a new 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion (later to become the Canadian contingent of the First Special Service Force) resulted in a large number of soldiers volunteering for this newly formed battalion, mostly because of the promise that this new unit would see service before the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion would. Many of the men from the First

Special Service Force ended up as replacements for 1CanPara when FSSF was disbanded in December 1944.This recruiting problem was addressed by requiring all new volunteers who were NRMA conscriptsto volunteer to go “active” before transfer, thereby allowing the unit to be available for overseas service should it be required. It seemed to have worked, because a second call for recruits for the 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion made in the spring of 1943 was unsuccessful in recruiting many for this second battalion.The facilities at Camp Shilo were finally ready by early spring and the Canadian paratroopers left Fort Benning on March 22, 1943 having qualified 34 officers and 575 other ranks. The parachute training started at Fort Benning continued at Camp Shilo while the Battalion aimed to improve on the skills they had already learned.

The stage was set for the unit’s future when on April 7, 1943, Canada agreed to contribute the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion to a new British Airborne Division that was being formed. They would be fighting as a part of the British 3rd Parachute Brigade, 6th Airborne Division under Brigadier J. Hill as brigade commander with Major General Gale as the division commander. The Canadian paras boarded the requisitioned liner Queen Elizabeth bound for the UK on July 23, 1943 with 30 officers and 543 other ranks and landed in Greenock, Scotland July 28.

 

When the Canadians arrived in England it was of utmost importance that they started immediate conversion to the British method of parachuting, which was quite different than that of the American system the Battalion had been using previously. The biggest difference was in the parachute system used. In the US and Canada the unit used the American T-5 assembly and exited the side door of a cargo aircraft, but now that they were a part of the British 6th Airborne Division they needed to be trained on the British X-type parachute and deployment method.

 

The main, and most obvious difference, was the absence of any reserve parachute on the British X-type. Not only did the British jump through a hatch in the floor of converted bombers where a reserve parachute would not fit, but they jumped at lower altitudes where a reserve parachute would not have time to deploy after a mishap. The advantage to the conversion training was that the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was one of the only units able to use either US or British transport aircraft.

 

The unit needed to bring itself up to British training standards in several other areas as well, including qualifying soldiers as heavy machine gun, mortar, and anti-tank rifle teams, in wireless operations, and intelligence. There were also 50 soldiers that were sent for training in the use of the new leg kit bag that gained so much notoriety on the D-Day jumps, both with British and American jumpers. 

The Canadians took to the training in earnest. Their first brigade-level exercise was Exercise SCHEMOZZLE, November 9-10, 1943. Its intended role in forecasting events to come was to see the effectiveness of units separated from the main force during a simulated drop. The exercise was deemed a success as all companies managed to complete their objectives even with their scattered nature.

 

There were several more exercises the Battalion participated in over the late fall and early winter, all preparing the men for the inevitable. On January 5, 1944 the 6th Airborne Division was mobilized for operations within Europe. Mobilization Order 98, the order for 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, alerted the Battalion on February 23, 1944 to be ready no later than February 29 for combat operations in Europe.

 

The Battalion, sensing their imminent deployment to the continent, picked up the pace of training. They completed their first battalion-level drop, Exercise MANITOBA on January 20, 1944. The main points of this exercise was to practice co-operation with the RAF 38 Group, to see if they could land the entire Battalion on the drop zone within five minutes of the first jumper leaving the plane, then clear the DZ within fifteen minutes.

Following their first successful battalion-level drop, the Battalion participated in the first Brigade-sized drop on February 7-8, called Exercise CO-OPERATION. The goals were much the same as Exercise MANITOBA, with co-operation between the RAF 38 Group and the USAAF 435th Troop Carrier Group

as well as to see if they could get all 1,370 paratroopers landed on the drop zone within 10 minutes and have the DZ cleared within 30 minutes.

 

With several more successful exercises under their belt the Battalion made their final preparations for the impending invasion of France. On May 24, 1944 the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion loaded onto transport and left Carter Barracks in Bulford, England for their transit camp in the vicinity of Down Ampney. It was there that they would soon learn their fate.

Operation OVERLORD was an ambitious and dangerous plan, with the Americans having responsibility for UTAH and OMAHA beaches to the west, while the British had responsibility for GOLD, JUNO, and SWORD beaches to the east. The need to simultaneously drop two American Airborne Divisions limited the British drops to one division. The airborne forces were to go in before the beach landings, to sow chaos within the German command and to seal off approaches to the beach so German forces couldn’t reinforce the beach defenses. All the Canadian units except 1CanPara (being assigned to 6th Airborne Division) landed at JUNO Beach.

 

 

C Company was tasked to lead the airborne forces into battle, heading out with two sticks from the divisional pathfinders (22nd Independent Parachute Company) a half-hour prior to the rest of the division as pathfinders to secure Drop Zone V (“VICTOR”) while the pathfinders of 22IPC set up Eureka beacons to mark the DZ. After completing that task they were to head into the nearby town of Varaville where they were to destroy communications, headquarters, and defensive positions in the town, as well as to guard Royal Engineer elements who were tasked to blow the main bridge. Upon successful completion of their tasks they were to then defend the town against

enemy movement until relieved by the 1st Special Service Brigade who were landing later that morning and would quickly make their way inland. After being relieved they were to fall back to the Battalion position at the Le Mesnil crossroad and set up defensive positions.

A Company was to jump with the main body of the attack. They were tasked to protect the left flank of the British 9th Parachute Battalion in their attack on the Merville Battery as well as clear the town of Gonneville sur Merville. After the successful completion of their tasks they were to escort 9PARA to Le Plein then make their way to the Battalion position at the Le Mesnil Crossroads.

B Company was to jump with the main body of the attack as well. Their main task was to escort and protect a Royal Engineer section tasked to blow the bridges in Robehomme and then occupy road and track junctions. They were to hold until destruction of the Robehomme Bridge could be affected, at which point they were to make their way back to the Battalion position at Le Mesnil.

HQ Company jumped into DZ V with the rest of the Brigade, then made their way to seize and establish the Battalion defensive position at the crossroad at Le Mesnil and wait for the line companies to rendezvous there. Additionally, this position also defended the Brigade HQ position.

 

 The Battalion paraded for the last time before the invasion at 1930 hrs, June 5 before loading transport to their respective airfields. C Coy headed off early with the pathfinder elements to Harwell Airport, the rest of the Battalion to the airfield at Down Ampney. At 2230 hrs C Coy lifted off for France, with the rest of the Battalion lifting off at 2245 hrs to head for their respective tasks. Between 0020 and 0029 hrs on June 6, 1944 the paras of C Company, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion became the first Canadians into Normandy since the failed Dieppe Raid of 1942.

As is widely known the paratroopers were widely dispersed that night, largely because many of the Eureka beacons were damaged on landing and the heavy antiaircraft fire caused the pilots to fly higher, faster, and more erratically than planned, with some pilots getting so lost as a result they dropped troops almost at random. All of the landing signals (both Eureka beacons and visual signals) for Drop Zone V were lost or damaged, and in other DZs pathfinders were dropped on the wrong DZ and set up their beacons without realizing it, further fouling the drops.

In addition, both the evasive maneuvers and the extremely heavy loads carried made it more difficult and slower to exit the aircraft, resulting in each stick being dispersed far beyond what was expected. Many men were drowned when they landed in the flooded ground or in the surf miles away at

 



the invasion beaches. Many more men were injured, lost key equipment, or were unable to rendezvous because they dropped into deep mud in the marshy ground.

C Company quickly secured the brigade drop zone but Major H.M. MacLeod had less than fifty of his company present when he decided he could wait no longer and set out towards Varaville. With no other options, Major MacLeod decided to split his small band into two elements. One group was tasked to secure and hold the bridge in Varaville until the Sappers could destroy it, while the Major led the other group to the Grand Chateau in Varaville to eliminate the enemy headquarters located there.

 

Upon reaching the Chateau the Canadians almost immediately came under fire from the Germans defending the building. The paras holed themselves up in the Gatehouse of the Chateau while they felt out the enemy and prepared their attack. At approximately 0300 hrs a German antitank gun hidden in the grounds of the Chateau fired at the gatehouse. This fire killed six of the Canadians including Major MacLeod, the first major casualties suffered by the Battalion in the war.

Re-enforcement’s continued to trickle in throughout the course of the battle, and by 1030 hrs the German defenders had surrendered. The Canadians took 80 Germans prisoner, at a rate of almost two Germans for every Canadian involved in the battle. By 1500 hrs elements of the British 6th Commando Cycle Troop reached Varaville and relieved C Company by 1730 hrs. C Coy then moved towards the Battalion position at the Le Mesnil crossroads. 

 

A Company did not fare any better than C Coy on their drop. By 0600 hrs only two officers

and 20 other ranks had assembled at the rendezvous. Lieutenant J.A. Clancy led them towards the Merville Battery and their assigned tasks. Along the way, they came under RAF bombardment. They arrived at the Merville Battery as the 9th Parachute Battalion was securing their position. A Coy cleared out a German defensive position in a chateau, relieving the pressure on 9PARA. After ensuring the battery was destroyed the members of A Coy provided rear guard for 9PARA’s movement to their battalion RV at Le Plein before A Coy themselves moved off towards Le Mesnil.

 

B Company suffered a similar fate. all ranks at the RV point when Robehomme to complete their D-Day objectives. When they arrived at the bridge they met a mixed group of Canadian and British paratroopers , including the company 2IC, Captain D. Griffin, and began to set up defensive positions to await the arrival of the Royal Engineers who would blow the bridge.

 

By 0630 hrs the Sappers had not yet shown up so Captain Griffin decided to destroy the bridge using whatever explosives the men under his command had. Unfortunately, the strength of the blast was not enough to completely destroy the bridge, and although the structure was severely weakened it still stood until the engineers finally arrived a short time later to fully destroy the bridge.

 

B Company then held key positions in the area, unable to establish wireless contact with any other unit, and observed enemy movement for the next day. Having been sent out to obtain a situation report, Lieutenant I. Wilson (the Battalion Intelligence Officer), arrived and led this band (now up to a strength Lieutenant N. Toseland only had about 20 he decided to move his small force to of 150 men) of paras out at 2330 hrs June 7th on a cautious trip to the Battalion position at Le Mesnil, arriving at 0330 hrs on June 8th.

Headquarters Company had troops dropped all across the Brigade Area of Operations. While the Battalion staff managed to rendezvous on the drop zone with much of the Brigade HQ, the 3” Mortar and Vickers platoons were scattered amongst the line companies by misdrops, and lost the majority of their equipment when the leg bags failed (the Battalion had never jumped 3” mortars and Vickers MGs in leg bags previously.)

The mortarmen and machine gunners from the heavy weapons platoons attached themselves to whatever local unit they could locate, and fought as such until each unit entered the Battalion position at Le Mesnil. The elements of the Battalion HQ and HQ Coy that successfully rendezvoused on DZ V proceeded to establish the future Battalion position at Le Mesnil by 1100 hrs, taking with them any Brigade HQ elements they encountered, including a 6 pounder antitank gun.

 

The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion had a very successful first 24 hours, having achieved all their pre-set goals with complete success. Unfortunately this success did not come without a price, counting 367 all ranks out of the 547 that jumped, either killed, wounded, taken prisoner, or missing in that first day.

 

Operations in Normandy continued with the Canadians vigorously defending the crossroads at Le Mesnil until June 17, 1944. They were involved in some very severe actions, the most notable being the attack on the Chateau St-Come at Breville. A German garrison was centered on this position giving stiff resistance to the British troops looking to clear the area. It was apparent by the afternoon of June 12 that help was badly needed and so Brigadier Hill rounded up elements of C and HQ Companies to help relieve the beleaguered Brits at the Chateau. The fighting was savage raging for several hours. The Germans had self propelled guns supporting their attack and in several locations the Germans actually penetrated the paratrooper’s perimeter, with hand-to-hand fighting between the combatants. The ferocity of the Canadian paras, combined with assistance from naval and artillery batteries, forced the Germans to fall back and abandon their position at the Chateau which was secured by the evening.

 

The fighting continued and by the time the Canadians were finally relieved at Le Mesnil they had suffered 10 dead and 109 wounded in the 10 days of fighting for the crossroads.

During the period of July 4 to the July 20, when the Battalion was in an extended rest position they were re-enforced by 7 officers and 100 other ranks from an infantry replacement depot. None of the men were airborne qualified; as it was decided that 1CanPara’s current operations were simply those of line infantry there was no necessity to have parachute qualified re-enforcements. After their leave period the Canadians went back on the line on the defense in Normandy. Operation PADDLE saw the Canadians again mobilized for offensive operations on August 16. The 6th Airborne Division was tasked to harass the enemy rear guard in a drive to the Seine River focusing on the enemy’s right flank.

 

The first action by the Canadians was at 0800 hrs when they were tasked to clear the Germans from the Bois-de-Bures. The going was tough due to the many booby traps the enemy had set up to delay any pursuing forces, but by nightfall the Battalion had crossed the Dives and had managed to engage the enemy rear guard. Two days later during Operation PADDLE II, the Battalion was given another difficult task, to capture the four bridges over the St Samson Dives sur mer Canal.

 

The attack went in at 2300 hrs on August 18 with each company tasked to a different bridge. A Company was the only unit to capture its bridge completely intact; they duly named it Canada Bridge and decorated their new “trophy” with the Canadian parachute badge. By August 19 the area between the Dives River and St Samson Dives sur mer Canal were completely controlled by the 3rd Parachute Brigade.

 

At this point operations in Normandy began to slow down for the Canadians. On August 23 Lieutenant Colonel Bradbrooke was appointed to the General Staff at CMHQ in London. Major G.F. Eadie took temporary command of the Battalion while Major J.A. Nicklin (the battalion 2IC) was on medical leave.

 

August 26 saw Major General Gale drafting a “Special Order of the Day” thanking his troops for their hard work as the 6th Airborne Division was pulled from the line. During operations in July and August of 1944 the Battalion suffered 14 other ranks killed, 24 wounded. Of the 547 who jumped into Normandy only 197 made the return trip to Bulford.

 

 

 

1stCanadian Parachute Battalion’s record in Normandy was impeccable. They never retreated, abandoned, nor lost ground they defended, and as part of the 6th Airborne Division managed to liberate more than 400 square miles of French countryside and captured more than 1,000 German prisoners. Also, of the 60 officers and men decorated in the 6th Airborne Division, eight were from the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, two officers and six other ranks.

On September 1, all non-paratrooper re-enforcements were transferred out of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. Orders to return to England had arrived by September 2, and the Battalion boarded the ship bound for their wartime home of Bulford, on September 6, 1944.

 

The Battalion was brought back to strength by reinforcements from the 1st Canadian Parachute Training Battalion (the 1CanPara replacement holding unit in England). Major Nicklin was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and served as Commanding Officer of 1CanPara from September 8, 1944 until he was killed in action during Operation VARSITY on March 24, 1945.

On December 16, 1944 approximately 30 German divisions smashed a wedge between the Americans and the British in the Ardennes Forest beginning the famous "Battle of the Bulge". The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was called up to service on December 23, 1944.

 

The British 6th Airborne Division was slated to jump into the Ardennes to assist in the battle but foggy conditions prevented this. The men were transported by ship from Folestone to Ostende on Christmas Eve. On Boxing Day (December 26, 1944) the Battalion was in Rumes, Belgium awaiting orders to move. Because the soldiers were hastily transported they were not equipped the necessary winter clothing needed to keep them warm during one of the coldest Belgium winters in years.

There are reports of men wrapping their feet with burlap to keep them from freezing. While on the move through the town of Bande the men discovered one of the many atrocities that took place during the war. Thirty-seven old men, children and women were herded into the basement of a house and subsequently massacred by gunfire and grenades. The Canadians were told by locals that the crime was committed by the SS and 14th Panzer Grenadiers. On January 22, 1945 the men arrived in Holland and dug in along the Maas River near the towns of Buggenham, Numhem, Roggel and Haelen. Battalion HQ was set up at Aldenghoor Castle. For the next month, regular overnight and 24

hour patrols were sent across the river either by boats or by crossing the remnants of the bridge at Buggenum. On February 26, 1945, the Battalion was returned to Carter Barracks in Bulford, England.

On February 25, 1945 the men of the British 6th Airborne Division were given their briefing by the commander of the US XVIII Airborne Corps, Major General Matthew B. Ridgeway. 14,000 men of the British 6th Airborne and the American 17th Airborne divisions would assault into four drop zones and six landing zones within ten minutes to destroy German defenses against the approaching allied ground forces.

 

Aerial photographs taken earlier indicated 826 antiaircraft guns. Along with the guns came German Fallshirmjaeger (paratroopers), and a mix of disparate smaller units from several divisions. The total operation would be carried out using 72 C-46 aircraft, 540 C-47 aircraft and 1,300 gliders.

 

The job of the 3rd Parachute Brigade (8th and 9th Battalions of the Parachute Regiment and the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, totaling 2,200 men) was to destroy gun-pits and fortifications in the village of Bergerfürth and to take the ridge south of town called Schnepfenberg. 3rdPara Brigade’s drop zone (DZ “A”) was 800 by 1,000 yards and expected to be met with stiff resistance.

On March 24, 1945 the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion awoke at 0200 hrs and made their way to the airfield where they would embark at dawn. Unlike Operation TONGA, Operation VARSITY was a day drop to avoid the confusion and losses inherent to night jumps. This could prove to be very hazardous because it made the paratroopers extremely vulnerable to heavy ground fire.

 

The Battalion War Diary states that 1CanPara was widely spread on the drop. However this does not match observations by those that were there. Brigadier James Hill (CO of the British 3rd Para Brigade) states that the drop took a total of six minutes and was dead on target. The accuracy of the drop was also confirmed by Lieutenant Colonel George Hewetson (CO of 8PARA). Major Eadie (2IC, later CO, of 1CanPara) stated it was the best drop, “training or operational”, that he had ever done.

The drop zone proved to be an extremely hazardous place. The 8th Parachute Battalion failed to clear the DZ as planned, and the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion had to fight their way across it. The area was caught in a triple crossfire from the west, north, and from a copse of trees in the middle of the DZ. It was during this initial battle that Corporal Frederick Topham earned himself the Victoria Cross, the only member of 1CanPara to do so.

 

The fire from the ground was so intense that many soldiers never even survived the drop to be able to fight. Sadly, this was the case of Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Nicklin, the CO of 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. Lieutenant Colonel Nicklin was found hanging in a tree, boot soles clean, with multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen.

C Coy jumped first and was the first Canadian unit to enter Germany. Their objectives were taken within half an hour.

 

A Coy's objectives were taken within an hour and a half with 70% strength. B Coy's objectives were also taken in a half an hour. By 1500 hrs, recce units of the 15th Scottish Division met with the Battalion. The drop was a great success, but it came at a huge price. The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion lost 67 officers and men, the 6th British Airborne Division had 1,084 dead or wounded, and overall the Allies lost 2,500 men while casualties.

 

 

 

Despite the heavy losses, the 6th Airborne prisoners in two days. Of the 1,300 gliders, approximately 50% (650) were destroyed with 40% casualties and 100 pilots killed. Even though the area was heavily bombed before the drop, it did little to destroy the determined German opposition.

Major G.F. Eadie was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and served as the Battalion Commanding Officer from Lieutenant Colonel Nicklin’s death on March 24, 1945, until the Battalion disbanded on August 31, 1945 at Fort Niagara in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

On March 26-27, 1945, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion began to move from Bergerfürth. The high command realized that the German army was finished, and they already had their eye on the next threat. The Allies had received intelligence that German commanders in Hamburg and Denmark were willing to surrender to the Western Allies, but not under any circumstances before being cut off from hard-line SS units from central Germany and the oncoming Soviets.

1CanPara was ordered to move as deep into Germany as they could, securing as much territory as possible so the advancing Soviets would not conquer the whole of Germany and western Europe. Specifically, they were to keep the Red Army out of Denmark and beyond. For the next six weeks the men of 1CanPara covered 300 miles, on foot, by

bike, by tank and arrived on the Baltic in Wismar, here they met the Red Army, the only Canadian unit to do so.

 

When the Soviet commander arrived, he was quite put out that the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was already occupying his intended objective.

On May 8, 1945 the war in Europe ended. In two parties on May 20 and May 21, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was moved back to their base at Carter Barracks in Bulford, England, and then relocated to a repatriation depot at Hampshire on May 31, 1945.

 

 

They were able to secure passage on the requisitioned liner Isle de France on June 15, 1945. The men arrived in Halifax on June 21st to a hero's welcome as the first Canadian unit to be repatriated. Each man was offered the choice of discharge or service in the war in the Pacific, and the Battalion was given repatriation leave to visit their families. They were reassembled at Camp Niagara in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario on August 31st. Japan had announced its surrender on August 15th and formally surrendered on September 2, 1945, so there would be no men from 1CanPara fighting in the Pacific.

 

On September 30, 1945 the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was officially disbanded.

 

I shall forever remember, with great pride, that I had the honour to have under my command, both in and out of battle, a Canadian Battalion which is regarded by all of us as, as fine a fighting unit as has ever left these shores.

 

Brigadier James Hill, DSO, MC Commanding Officer 3rd Parachute Brigade

Source information on our "Sources" Page.  We would like recognize that the principal manuscript  utilized is one we have had in our group for years and have lost track of who wrote it.  If you recognize your work, please contact the Secretary for proper acknowledgement.

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© 2015-19 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion 1942- 1945 Preservation Association (USA) Inc.

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