D-DAY LANDING More than 6,900 vessels and 156,000 men landed on five beaches during the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion. The event, 75 years ago, was a pivotal moment in the Second World War. (Photo submitted)

Summerland veterans were present at D-Day

Charlie Bernhardt and Dick Norris were part of historic Second World War event

While several of Summerland’s veterans were involved in Second World War action just before or after D-Day, at least two from the community were involved in the famous landing.

During the D-Day landings, on June 6, 1944, had troops from Britain, Canada, the United States and 16 other countries sailed across the English Cannel to begin the campaign to gain victory against Germany.

More than 6,900 vessels and 156,000 men landed on five beaches.

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More than 14,000 Canadian soldiers participated. There were 1,074 Canadian casualties, including 359 who died in battle on Juno Beach.

Dick Norris was working on one of the first 10 ships to land at Juno Beach on D-Day.

At the time, he was 19 and the youngest member of the crew of his ship.

Charlie Bernhardt was with the 3rd Canadian Infantry and part of the second wave of soldiers who landed that morning at 10 a.m.

Both men have since been recognized for their efforts on D-Day.

In early 2017— 73 years after the historic landing — Norris received an award from the French government for his service on D-Day.

“It is awarded in recognition of your personal involvement in the liberation of our country during World War II,” Nicolas Chapuis, ambassador of France to Canada said in a letter to Norris. “Through you, France remembers the sacrifice of all your compatriots who came to liberate French soil.”

Bernhardt has also received recognition for his part in the D-Day landings.

However, he has said that reflecting on the Second World War and its aftermath is difficult for him as he thinks of those who died in action.

“It’s the waste that bothers you,” he said years later. “Everybody loses in a war. Everybody.”

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Dick Norris

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