Box 024, folder 31: Ernest A. Jeans

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JEANS, Ernest A.

Canadian 1st Can. Parachute 6th Brit. Airborne

Box 24, #31

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ERNEST. A. JEANS 9 LEAMINGTON AVE. TORONTO 18, ONT.

CanadianAB

EXCERPT

For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-day [inserted] 1st Can/3rd Bge [end inserted]

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 iTHE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.

What is your full name? ERNEST ARTHUR JEANS

What was your unit and division? 1ST CANADIAN PARACHUTE BtN. BRITISH 6th AIRBORNE DIV. 3RD PARA. BRIGADE

Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? I PARACHUTED NEAR VARAVILLE, PROBABLY AROUND ONE OR TWO A.M. ON THE MORNING OF JUNE 6.

What was your rank on June 6, 1944? CORPORAL

What was your age on June 6, 1944? 20

Were you married at that time? NO

What is your wife's name? ----

Did you tyave any children at that time? NO

What do you do now? TEACHER AT BLOOR COLLEGIATE IN TORONTO, ONT.

When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? NOT really until a deay before we left when General Gale spoke to us in an assembly in a large aerodrome & told the soliders what he expected of us and that we were to be part of the invasion. However we had been in the

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? We went to the airfield on the evening of June 5, got in planes and took off for Normandy. I don't recall any feeling of danger or fear, I think because it in a way was unreal. I was later on the operations across the Rhine & I remember looking around the plane at the occasion & the men who had been with me on D-Day who knew what might happen were uneasy. However I don't remember really any feeling of uneasiness on D. Day. We talked, and tried to rest, but with all our equipment it was rather uncomfortable. (over on reverse side)

What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in whieh you made the crossing? (Some people remember seutfcle-but to the effect that the Germans had poured gasoline on the water and planned to set it afire when the troops came in).

[inserted] staging area for about 2 weeks and had gone through a detailed study of maps and san tables of a proposed shore. Most of us realized that because of the stricy security near us that it was the real thing. However we didn't know until the last where we were going. [end inserted]

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TRIP ACROSS (on plane) We had been told that the enemy anti-aircraft batteries would [crossed out] [illegible] [end crossed out] been knocked out before the troop carrying planes arrived. I got the first shock of the thing when we hit the coast & the plane rolled & shook so much that some of us were thrown to the floor. I remember wondering if the rest of the information was as accurate as this. When we approached the D-2, the plane throttled down & the men prepared to leave. I was in a plane with most of headquarters Company, since I was a medical corporal, the doctor- [now Dr. Colin Brebner of Kirkland Lake Ont] & the [inserted] Dave written to him [end inserted] medical sergeant, Dan Wright [of Br. Columbia] were with me I was no. 19, and Sgt. Wright no. 20. in a plane of 20. Something happened as we approached the D-2 and only 18 men got out and Dan Wright and myself had to sit down again, quite a let down after you are Keyed up to a situation. We thought perhaps we were going back to England & I remember [crossed out] feeling [end crossed out] having a great feeling of dissappointment that I had come all this way & now would be going back. However the plane may a second run on the D-2 & the two of us bailed out. Here is the curious fact that of the two men in that plane only Dan Wright and myself ever reached our objective. The other 18 were either killed, wounded, or captured. Dr. Brebner had some very interesting experiences, in which he told me about later when I met him in England after we returned from the continent in Sept 1944. He was injured in the drop and taken by the [crossed out] Que [end crossed out] French underground, and later captured by the Germans.

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-for Cornelius Ryan 2Your name Ernest A. Jeans

Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? No. But I remember rather vividly the things that happened.

Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during landing or during the day? No, not any of my personal friends

Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties: No

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? --

Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it may not have seemed funny at the time? When I landed, it was, of course, dark and I really had no idea of where I was to go or any idea of direction. I think the pass-word was "ham and eggs" and I saw this figure approaching me in the dusk and he called out ham and I said " Is that you Dan Wright?"- It was - & it was something we laughed about for a long time afterwards. I also remember meeting a solider from "C" company of our Bn. which had dropped as the Pathfinder Company for the whole Brigade & consequently had jumped 2 or more hours before me. It was their job to capture a stong point

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? [inserted] in the town of Varaville, either a radar or communications centre, I asked him if Varaville had been taken yet and he replied, which shocked me a little, to the efferct that he hadn't ever been to Varaville. The confusion of a night drop by so many airborne troops was nevere repeated again. In the crossing of the Rhine we dropped in the daylight. [end inserted]

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3Your name Ernest A. Jeans

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?

Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? Either in an Airfield in England or en route to Normandy

Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? On June 6th, I was working in an emergency hospital set up in a farmhouse near Les Mesnil a small brick making community near Varaville.

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? Dr. Colin Brebner- Kirkland Lake Ont. Mr. Wm. Patterson- he is a teacher at George Harvey Vocational School [inserted] Have written [end inserted] York Township Toronto, Ont. Mr. R. Taylor- Police Officer in Toronto Mr. Fred Topham- who later won the V.C. in the crossing of the Rhine is now employed with Toronto Hydro, in Toronto. I have put my present address on the top of the first page and would be glad to help in any way possible.

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 IP 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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