Veteran Stories:
William Marshall

Army

  • Twenty minutes before landing on the shores of Bernieres-sur-Mer, France, on D-Day. 1120 hrs., June 6, 1944.

    Twenty minutes before landing on the shores of Bernieres-sur-Mer, France, on D-Day. 1120 hrs., June 6, 1944.
  • Presentation of the Canadian Forces Decoration to William Marshall.

    Presentation of the Canadian Forces Decoration to William Marshall.
  • Notice of William Marshall's return home from the war, August 1945.

    Notice of William Marshall's return home from the war, August 1945.
  • William Marshall's Medals. Left to Right: Anniversary of D-Day, France and Normandy; Thank You Canada, Netherlands; KNBLO, Netherlands;Canadian Army Flying Badge; Canadian Armed Forces Flying Badge.

    William Marshall's Medals. Left to Right: Anniversary of D-Day, France and Normandy; Thank You Canada, Netherlands; KNBLO, Netherlands;Canadian Army Flying Badge; Canadian Armed Forces Flying Badge.
  • Left to Right: 1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence Medal; CVSM; War Medal; Korea Medal; Korean Volunteer Service Medal; Special Services NATO with clasp; United Nations Service; Canadian Forces Decoration with Clasp.

    Left to Right: 1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence Medal; CVSM; War Medal; Korea Medal; Korean Volunteer Service Medal; Special Services NATO with clasp; United Nations Service; Canadian Forces Decoration with Clasp.
  • The "Canada" shoulder patch on a Canadian Army tunic.

    Leigh Loggie
  • The "Canada" shoulder patch on a Canadian Army tunic.

    Leigh Loggie
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"I went to Korea as a corporal section commander in the infantry again with the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment."

Transcript

My name is William Marshall. I served with the Canadian Army in various campaigns. I joined in January of '43 when I was 16.

I went overseas and there, in England, joined the Highland Light Infantry of Canada. This unit was one of the D-Day units. We landed on D-Day and I was with the unit until the 8th of July when I was wounded. I was wounded twice that day. I then went back to the beach hospital and onto a hospital ship and then off to England and then transferred by train and ambulance to a hospital overnight and then drifted off again to another hospital where I recovered. Back to the holding unit, then was sent back. Rejoined the unit when we were in Bologne. And I then served with the unit there. Went through the Cap Grenais campaign. Went through and did the assault landing and operation Switch Back, the assault landing on the back end of the Bresken's pocket. Then we went into Ghent where we had to five day rest where the town was ours for the five days, basically. Then up to the Nijmegen area where we relieved the 82nd Airborne.

I was there all winter and then in February, I was tapped as underage and I was then sent back to England. From there I was sent back home and I was discharged in September of '45.

Then in 1950, when the Korean War broke out, I've joined again. Then I went to Korea as a corporal section commander in the infantry again with the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment. Served in Korea, came back. Went to the School of Infantry, then went out onto INA staff as a sergeant. And then I returned back to Camp Borden in 1954 as an officer cadet. And I went through my officer training. In 1955 I was commissioned into the Regiment of Canadian Guards. There I served until 1959, went out on to INA Staff. '57 to '59 I served two years with NATO. And in 1962 I took flying training and remained as a flyer until I got out in 1973.

The one major conflict that I was in with was the Highland Light Infantry of Canada. And it happened on the 8th of July, '44, where we were in, what they called, operation Charnwood. We attacked a small village, as a battalion. The main attack went in at about 7:30 in the morning with the battalion and we were about 719 strong. By the end of the day we had been whittled down because we had 63 killed, 7 who died of wounds later within the next couple of days and there were over 200 wounded. I was one of the ones that was wounded. And you make your way into a house or into some cover. I was with a group that were gathering and I was able to walk in because my legs were okay. And we stayed there until, oh, well on into the evening. And the house got hit a couple of times but it wasn't that bad. Nobody else got hurt in the house. And we were with, I would say, 20 wounded in the house. And most of the people refused morphine because we had some that were badly hit and we wanted to save the morphine for those chaps so that they would feel less pain. And that evening we were back to the casualty clearing and I can remember laying on a stretcher with a poor French woman, in tears, crying and wringing her hands and, all I could say to her was, "C'est la guerre."

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