Bill Halcro, 2010.Historica Canada
Bill Halcro during training in Toronto, Ontario, 1943.Bill Halcro
Bill Halcro (far left) is seen here advancing off of Juno Beach on D-Day, 1944.Bill Halcro
"We were kind of lying down in the landing craft. We went out in so many intervals between them. They called it 'waves.' The first fellow, he got up, got hit and fell off into the water. The second guy, he got hit in the arm and he lay down on the gangplan"
I had a cousin that was up on the ship and I talked to him. He had his hair cut that day. We passed the time cutting one another's hair. So he had it shaved on both sides and trimmed off the top like ̶ they called it at that time a ‘little beaver’s haircut.’ So I said, how come you went and got your hair cut like that? I said, what is your girl friend back in England going to think of you, you come back with hair cut like that? He said, oh, I'm not coming back. Oh, I said, that's a stupid way to talk. I said, I figured I was coming back. I said, what's your girlfriend going to think? She probably figured on getting married and going back to Canada. Well, I said, if you’re not coming back, I said, how about you give me her address and her picture; and I'll go see her and maybe I’ll take her back to Canada with me. He said okay and started pulling out these pictures. I said, I was just kidding you. I said, I didn’t mean it. I was just trying to cheer you up a little bit. No, he wasn’t coming back, he said. He was going to get killed. Anyway, that was how I left him, anyway, that was the last time I spoke to him. He got killed all right.
We [The Regina Rifles Regiment] got near to the shore. They were shooting at us all right. We were kind of lying down in the landing craft. We went out in so many intervals between them. They called it 'waves.' The first fellow, he got up, got hit and fell off into the water. The second guy, he got hit in the arm and he lay down on the gangplank there. Then it was my turn. I was the third guy out. They had to holler at me a couple of times because I was petrified. I couldn’t move, you know. I had to get out and step over that guy that was laying there, jumped off into the water; and I made it onto the beach.
There were explosives that blew kind of a bit of a hole in the ground and I got down and crawled in one of those holes. I thought I’d be pretty safe in there. There was another guy who crawled in there with me. While we were in there something seemed to tell me that we had to move. I told him, I said, we’ve got to get out of this hole right now; and we’d just got out of there and didn’t go too far, and another mortar shell landed in the same hole. He said, how did you know that one of those mortar shells was going to land in the same hole? Well, I said, I don’t know, something seemed to tell me that we had to move.
About three o’clock in the afternoon we ended up at a graveyard of all places. We were supposed to assemble there for a count; and this Armstrong, he had got wounded and he was still wanting to go. They finally had to tie him and load him in a jeep. I was laying there watching all this; and I thought, he’s still wanting to go? I thought if I could get out of here I would be gone so fast you wouldn’t have to tie me! [laughs]