In Honour of Current Events

I know that our own coverage of D-Day is still quite far in the shows future, but in recognition of the 75th anniversary, I present another obscure Canadian anecdote.



So, is this the Canadian version of Eisenhower’s speech?

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I believe that Eisenhower’s speech was given to all of the Allied soldiers involved in the operation.

This letter was written by Henry Duncan Graham “Harry” Crerar, and disseminated to the soldiers of the First Canadian Army on the eve of the invasion. Crerar had been promoted in March 1944, and given command of the aforementioned force. The First Canadian Army was approximately 251,000 men strong, of which 75,000 were already fighting in Italy and had been since the Sicilian Campaign.

As the number of Canadians in England grew between 1940-1942, they were simply called " The Canadian Corps" with no number. The 1st Canadian Infantry Division went to Sicily in 1943 and joined forces with the 5th Canadian Armoured Division, officially becoming the I Canadian Corps. What was left in England continued to grow in size until it was named the II Canadian Corps, with both Corps coming under the designation First Canadian Army. The II Canadian Corps was all the Canadians in Northwest Europe, the I Canadian Corps was everybody in Italy. In January 1945, the I Corps was transferred to the Netherlands to be reunited with the II Corps and they remained a united force until the end of the war.

That is why he talks of “linking together” with the I Canadian Corps, they were still in Italy at the time.