TORONTO – May 30, 2019 – On June 6, 1944, Major Archie MacNaughton was among the 14,000 Canadians who stormed Juno Beach. A veteran of the First World War, MacNaughton was not obliged to return and fight again, but felt it was his duty to lead his company. As the world prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a new Heritage Minute tells Major MacNaughton’s story.
The soldiers of the North Shore New Brunswick Regiment (NSR) were largely young men, few of whom had seen much of the world beyond their farming communities before the war. At 47, MacNaughton was an outlier, a father of two children, returning to France for a second time. Part of the first wave of infantry, the NSR’s ‘A’ Company arrived on Juno Beach at the town of St. Aubin sur Mer around 05:30 and pushed through intense fighting to reach the town of Tailleville.
While their story is not as widely known as some of the other Canadian regiments who participated in the D-Day invasion, the NSR played a crucial role and paid a high price. Of the 1,074 Canadian casualties on D-Day, the North Shore suffered 124 – 11.5% of the Canadian total.
“Most of the men who fought on D-Day were not, and never will be, well-known. They were ordinary Canadians who made unthinkable sacrifices,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President and CEO of Historica Canada. “In sharing the story told in this Minute, we honour the memory 75 years later of all those who fought and risked everything they had.”
The “D-Day” Heritage Minute can be shared and embedded through this link.
Find more information about D-Day and Major Archie MacNaughton on The Canadian Encyclopedia: www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca.
This Heritage Minute was produced by Historica Canada and Bamboo Shoots Inc., and filmed in Calgary, AB. It was written by Historica Canada and directed by Christopher Petry (Smallville). Michael Shanks (Stargate, Saving Hope) and Calum Worthy (The Act, American Vandal) star in the Minute. Historica Canada consulted with historians and military organizations including Dr. J. Marc Milner of the Gregg Centre, Author Mark Zuehlke (Juno Beach: Canada’s D-Day Victory) and Jen Sguigna of the Juno Beach Centre. Peter Mansbridge provides the end narration.
This Heritage Minute was funded by private donors, including Richard Rooney, Tom Kierans & Mary Janigan, the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, Blake Goldring, John & Elizabeth Irving, and Stephen Smith. Contributors to Historica Canada’s first ever crowdfunding campaign also supported the Minute. Support was also given by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Government of New Brunswick. William F. White’s International and Dazmo Camera provided film equipment for the production.
Historica Canada offers programs that you can use to explore, learn, and reflect on our history, and what it means to be Canadian.
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