Box 024, folder 14: John W. Forth

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FORTH, John Wm. Canadian 3rd Div. Box 24, #14

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RCA Colonel J. W. Forth Army HQ., Ottawa Possible EXCERPT 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? John William Forth, MBE. C.D.,

What was your unit and division? Asst. Sr. Chaplain(r) 3rd Cdn. Inf. Division, attd. Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? 6 June 1944. 0700 hrs.

What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Major

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 41

Were you married at that time? Yes What is your wife's name? Marjorie Lorna (Baker) Forth Did you have any children at that time? Yes. - 4.

What do you do now? Director of Chaplains (r), Can. Army., Colonel Ottawa When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? May 1944

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? The crossing was rough due to stormy seas. I conducted Divine Service in several ships on Sunday June 4th - the Navy providing a small launch for transportation. Several men on the LST I was on sought spiritual consolation. The prevailing spirit was one of confidence & there was a quiet excitement. We were all tense & wondered what might be in store for us. Several officers were "afraid of being afraid" but all aquited themselves well. 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). I heard no such rumours.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 Your name Forth

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 landing or during the day? Yes.

Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties: Yes.

Were you wounded? No.

Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were so surprised that you felt nothing? n/a Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it may not have seemed funny at the time? No

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? Yes. I recall the advance thru the minefields by the Cdn. Infantry & the remarks of a British officer who was with me to the effect that "Never in his previous battle experience had he seen anything more heroic than the conduct of the Canadians at that time."

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name Forth

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? Yes, I recall a private of the Regina Rifles who was trying to dig a grave with his hands for his chum who had been killed storming ashore. I consoled him in his grief - promised to see his chum was buried & sent the lad forward to join his unit.

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? at sea off the coast of Normandy. Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? On the beach. This was the most terrifying & at the same time most spectacular night of my life.

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? Yes - have passed their names to the D.P.R. (Army).

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 . W.A. Milroy Lt.-Col. Director of Public Relations(Army) Cartier Square, Ottawa, Ontario

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