Box 024, folder 35: Gordon K. Laing

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Laing, Gorden K. Royal Can. Army in D-Day book 3rd Can. Div Release

Release with PG Box 24, #35

[inserted] 0800-0900 JUNO 3rd Canadian Bernieres-Sur-Mer [crossed out] [? chunkr because so seasick begged him to let go his belt?][end crossed out] Onboardship - Capt "Have u heard the news from Italy?" Laing "No" Capt "The boys have just captured Rome...I sure would like to see the headlines when the paper comes out in the morning." Nothing on beach Finished with Release [crossed out] J. Korn [end of crossed out][end of inserted]

Last edit about 3 years ago by Johnmeps
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[inserted] Gordon K. Laing RCA Oil City Ontario Canada [end inserted]

For Cornelius Ryan [inserted] Excerpt[end inserted] Book about D-day [inserted] Can't use U.S. stamps in Canada Thank you [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 THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.

1 What is your full name? Gordon King Laing

2 What was your unit and division? Highland Light Infantry of Canada, 3rd Canadian Division

3 Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? Landed at Bernieres-sur-mer between 8 and 9 A:M

4 What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Private. Driver Mechanic

5 What was your age on June 6, 1944? 24

6 Were you married at that time? No

7 What is your wife's name? Violet Berniece Laing

8 Did you have any children at that time? No

9 What do you do now? Industrial Painter

10 When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? As .a unit we knew at least a year before June 6th xhatrwe were to be part of the invasion, but it was only two or three weeks before that I knew for certain that I was one of those actually going, as the unit had to be cut to the absolute minimum fighting force

11 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? Choppy crossing, but we were becoming used to that from our months of land and water training. Although one of my chums did become so seasick that he begged me to let go his belt. There was only a chain around the walk at the side of the boat. We were in open topped L.C.V's, boats covered only by camouflage net s Daybreak June 6th was a beautiful morning with huge fleecy white clouds and blue sky showing between. The drivers (of which I was one) spent considerable time after leaving port on being briefed by our officers with last minute instructions as to what we were to do upon landing and where we were to form battle positions. Also given maps which we were supposed to destroy later. We were not the first units to land as we were in the reserve brigade of the 3rd div. Considerable part of the conversation was whether we were on our way for the real invasion or just another mock invasion. Although we were each quite certain this was it. I was one of the first up in the morning, although none had actually bedded down as quarters were scarce and crampted and tension ran high. We either slept sitting in our truck or sprawled in one of our carriers and were ready to move at a moments notice.

12 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). There were few if any rumours amoung us, the thought uppermost in most minds was who among us would be missing by nightfall. I think the main idea of each was that rumours would only add to the nervous strain which was building within each man, but trying at the same time to conceal from his chum beside him.

Last edit about 3 years ago by Johnmeps
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Gordon K. Laing, Question 11 con'td.

Fighter planes were flying up and down over our boats. There were boats as far as the eye could see on all sides ofus. It was a thrilling sight and I don't expect to see an armada like it again. I remember talking to the naval Captain of our boat the evening of June 5th where we me at the bottom of the few steps that led up to his quarters. He asked me if I had heard the news from Italy and I said, "No". He told me that the boys had just captured Rome and said, "I sure would like to see the headlines when the papers come out in the morning". We knew for sure then that this was to be no mock battle.

Last edit about 3 years ago by Johnmeps
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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name Gorden K. Laing Oil City Ontario Can.

13 Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? Diaries were forbidden to which most of the boys respected and adhered.

14 Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day? Our Unit did not suffer any casualties until D1 which was June 7th. We were in the reserve brigade and could not advanceas far as intended.

15 Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties?

16 Were you wounded? No

17 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?

18 Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it may not have seemed funny at the time?

19 Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else?

The most memorable part of June 6th was that there was not a man who went ashore that morning that was not fully prepared and more than willing to give his life for his chum beside him. That I believe was largly responsible for the great sucess of the Normandy invasion.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name Gorden K. Laing Oil City Ontario Can.

20 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? My rememberance of D-day and that night of June 6th is that I was alone in my truck. I drove the emergency ammunition truck for two anti-tank guns. My crew and I realized next morning how foolish it was having me alone in the truck somewhere between the two gun positions, when there was six men to each gun. My Sgt. immediately put our bren gunner with me in the truck. Which was a great relief to me.

21 Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? Somewhere on the channel on my [inserted] way [end inserted] to the Invasion beaches.

22 Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? I was lying in my fox hole behind my truck, half way between my two guns about one mile before Beny-sur-mer. We could see the German planes come up over the tree tops as they took off from what was left of Capriquet airport to bomb the beaches just behind us.

23 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? Kenneth Waters of Kenilworth, Ontario. (few miles from Arthur) He was signalman and should be able to give you considerable information. Sgt. Eddy Charboneau of Bridgeport, Ont. (near Kitchener) Major Jack Anderson, Padre. of officers Training College Kingston, Ont. He was awarded the Military Medal and bar for his great work with us. He knows of every move his boys made from when we sailed on June 5th until the war ended. Charlie Lynch of Brantford, Ont. Sgt. Wes Bunda, Wallaceburg, works for Dominion glass. Has Military Medal Sgt. Johnny Davidson, Galt. [crossed out] Coronel mcIntosh, Galt [end crossed out] Frank Kedwell, R.R.#3, Petrolia. Telephone Petrolia 800-J-4 Al Elms, Galt Norm Spurgeon, 18 Dudhope Ave. Galt, Ontario. Jim Kelly, Guelph. Won M.M. Gord Huffman, Freelton, Ontario. only other man besides myself to come back from our unit- out of six of us [inserted] from our home area. [end of inserted] Ben Bayllis, Acton, Ontario . -near Guelph.

I can be reached for an interview at my home in Oil City, ( 6 mi. south of Petrolia) almost any night, home from work around 5:30 and home on Sat. and Sun. Any time that is convenient to you durint those hours or days if you just drop a line or call Petrolia 688 J 13

Teddy Williams, Georgtown, Ontario. Wes Cadman, Courtland, Ontario. Sgt. Barnes, Kitchener. Kenny Waters would have his address. 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 ACKNOWLEDGMENT 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.

Connelius Ryan

Frances Ward Research, The Reader's Digest

Last edit about 3 years ago by Johnmeps
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