Box 023, folder 49: Arthur H. Boon

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Boon, Arthur H. Royal Can. Army 1nD-Day book 3rd Can. Inf. Div. Release

Gunner on tank JUNO 19th Canadian Army 0930- Field Regiment But arrived St. Aubin Sur Mer off-shore 7:30 began firing on beach 0820 [crossed out] On LCT [read] [Maid] + A Million Men [end crossed out] Boys hoped for a better time than at Dieppe On run-in [inserted] rudder of [end inserted] craft damaged by shell-fire, [illegible] [around] in circles * Saw elderly lady carrying small baby running toward beach.

Release with PG BOX 23, #49

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For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-day

THOUSANDS OF MEN, ON LAND AND SEA AND IN THE AIR, PARTICIPATED IN THE INVASION OF NORMANDY BETWEEN MIDNIGHT JUNE 5, 1944 AND MIDNIGHT JUNE 6, 1944. IF YOU WERE ONE OF THEM, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.

What is your full name? Arthur Henry Boon

What was your unit and division? 19th. Canadian Army Field Regiment (S.P.) R.C.A. 3rd. Canadian Infantry Division. Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? St. Aubin Sur-Mer. We arrived off the French coast at 7.30 A.M. and began firing on the beach until 8.20 A.M. After the infantry had landed we went ashore at approximately 9.30 A.M. What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Gunner.

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 19

Where you married at that time? No.

What is your wife's name? I was married in 1956 and my wife's name is Lois.

Did you have children at that time? No.

What do you do now? I am employed by the Canadian National Railways, Stratford, Ontario.

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? In October 1943 my regiment was detached for 5th Can. Armoured Div. and placed with 3rd Can. Inf. Div. and told that we were to be part of the invasion. What was the trip like during the crossing of the Channel? Do you remember, for example, any conversations you had, or how you passed the time? I remember the crossing of the Channel quite well as the water was very rough and since we were in a Landing Craft Tank, which is not a very large craft, we were bounced around quite a bit. I passed some of the time reading a pocket book entitled " A Maid and a Million Men", which I never did finish reading. Also we checked and re-checked our equipment. Some of the conversation was about where we would land, how each of us would personally make out on the landing. One thing we all agreed on was that we didn't care where we landed just so long as we got off the choppy channel onto the ground again. What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in which you made the crossing? (Some people remember scuttlebut to the effect that the Germans had poured gasoline on the water and planned to set it afire when the troops came in). Some of the rumours where to the effect that we were going to land in Holland, others thought in Belgium. I believe some of the rumours came about because we had been in paid in French money in Southampton and they didn't believe we would land in France. Some of the boys talked about Dieppe, and hoped that we would have a better time of it [inserted]no matter where we landed.[end inserted] than the 2nd Canadian Division had there in 1942. I never heard the rumour about the Germans pouring gasoline on the water and I doubt that anyone would of believed it as we believed our security was good and that we would catch the Germans by surprise, which we did.

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-for Cornelius Ryan 2Your name: Arthur H. Boon

Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? No.

Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day? Yes. Some of my friends were killed and wounded during the day of June 6th 1944.

Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties? No one on my Landing Craft was killed or wounded on the landing, but I had friends on some of the other crafts who [crossed out] where [end crossed out] were hit. Our Regiment was spread out onto several landing craft and after we loaded in England I never had a chance to talk to any of my friends on the other crafts until after we made the assault on the beaches of Normandy.

Were you wounded? Not on the Invasion, but I was wounded later in Holland.

Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were surprised that felt nothing? When I was hit I felt a sharp pain, and very surprised and once I saw the blood coming from my hand I realized what had happened and grabbed the wound to stop the bleeding.

Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it may not have seemed funny at the time? When we were making our run in on the beach, the rudder of our landing craft was damaged by shell-fire and we just kept going around in circles and couldn't get in close enough to land until the navy fixed the rudder. It didn't seem very humourous at the time, but now when I look back on it, we must have looked rather foolish going around in circles with shells dropping all around us, and every one else heading for the beach. We must of had a lot of luck with us that day as we never got hit again and were able to land without losing a man or tank off our craft.

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? I recall very plainly an incident which has stayed with me ever since that "D" Day Landing. As the tank I was on came off the landing craft and we moved across the beach the sniping and shell-fire was quite heavy, and as we moved up a road exit from the beach I saw an elderly woman carrying a small baby running towards the beach. I'll never forget the expression of fear that was written on her face. I have often wondered since whether they survived that day.

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-for Cornelius Ryan 3Your name Arthur H. Boon

In times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliance; others do incredibly stupid things. Do you remember any examples of either from D-Day? When the rudder on our landing craft was hit by a shell on the run in on the beaches, one of the motor mechanics on one of our tanks went believe with the navy men and worked on the rudder until it was fixed well enough to enable [crossed out] [illegible] [end crossed out] us to land. The navy mechanics claimed that it couldn't of been fixed if it hadn't been for the skill of our mechanic. Our mechanic's name was [Bdr.] L. [Harrower].

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? In the English Channel on a Landing Craft Tank, approximately half way across the Channel.

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? We were a few miles from the town of [Basly] on the road to Caen, France.

Do you know of anybody else who landed within the 24 hours of D-day, June 6, as infantry, glider or airborne troops, or who took part in the air and sea operations, whom we should write to?

PLEASE LET US HAVE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOK. WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL CONTINUE YOUR STORY ON SEPARATE SHEETS IF WE HAVE NOT LEFT SUFFICIENT ROOM. FULL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WILL BE GIVEN IN A CHAPTER CALLED "WHERE THEY ARE NOW;" YOUR NAME AND VOCATION OR OCCUPATION WILL BE LISTED.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.

Cornelius Ryan

Frances Ward Research, The Reader's Digest

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February 26, 1959

Mr. Arthur Henry Boon 53 Cherry St. Stratford, Ont.

Dear Mr. Boon:

Some time ago we asked you to fill out a questionnaire in connection with a book on D-Day which is being prepared by Mr. Ryan for publication in the Reader's Digest in book form.

Due to the overwhelming response to this request, we have been deluged with material and have not had a chance to write to each and everyone as yet. However, we do want to thank you for being patient with us and to tell you how deeply grateful we are for your cooperation in sending us your questionnaire.

In order for us to edit your material for use in the book, it will be necessary for us to have your signature on the attached release, which we would thnk you to return in the enclosed selfaddressed envelope.

Again many thanks for you help.

Sincerely,

for Cornelius Ryan

aw encl.

Last edit about 3 years ago by Johnmeps
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