World War II

Memories: D-Day landings

D-Day landings - 6 June 1944

© Susan Comber-Dault 

Location: heading for the beach at Beny-Sur-Mer
Date: 6 June 1944

William Cuthbertson Calbert May 1944By Robert J G Comber, Rifleman
Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, R.C.I.C.

This memory visits the reality of warfare
Some readers may find it upsetting.

My closest pal Bill (William Cuthbertson Calbert) had not seen his new English wife for a long time, so he decided he would steal away home for a few hours. This was a breach of regulations that called for severe punishment.

Never-the-less he went to see his wife one last time before being called away. While he was gone I kept a watch on both our carriers. All the while he was gone I complained about him leaving me to this task. It was not long after that though I was glad that I had let him go. That was the last time he was to see his wife, Alice.

As Bill and his crew left the barge in their carrier on 6 June heading for the beach at Beny-Sur-Mer they fouled a sea mine and became a blinding ball of flames and twisted steel sizzling in the sea. It was a hard thing for me to watch from shore. Only then did I realise what was taking place around me. The wreckage was vast and startling, the terrible waste and destruction of war, and loss of human life. Anything and everything became expendable.

Age: 22
Date of Birth: 18 Aug 1921
Date of Death: 06 Jun 1944
Rank: Rifleman
Unit: Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, R.C.I.C.
Force: Army
Service Number: B66122
Reference: RG 24
Volume: 25517
Extra Information: Son of William Cuthbertson Calbert and Annie Calbert; husband of Mary Alice Calbert, of Locust Hill, Ontario.
Grave Reference: I. B. 11.

Related links

Library and Archives Canada

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Photo 1 caption: William Calbert in his Bren Carrier, May 1944
Copyright: Susan Comber-Dault

Photo 2 caption: The image was taken on or around D-Day 1944 and shows a destroyed Bren Carrier probably belonging to the Queen's Own Rifles.
Copyright: Clive Law

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