Box 024, folder 38: Joseph E. H. Leblanc

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LEBLANC, Joseph E. H. Canadian 3rd Div. Box 24, #38

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[inserted] RCA EXCERPT* [end of inserted]

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.

Q.- 1 What is your full name? A.- 1 Joseph Edouard Hector LEBLANC

Q.- 2 What was your unit and division? A.-2 "C" Company, 1st Battalion North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment of 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade of 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.

Q.-3 Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? A.-3 St. Aubin sur Mer at [underline] approximately 0820 hrs. [end underline] 6 June 1944.

Q.-4- What was your rank on June 6,1944? A.-4 Captain and 2nd in Command of "C" Company, North Shore (NB) Regt.

Q.-5 What was your age on June 6, 1944? A.-5 29 years - (Born 7 May 1915)

Q.-6 Were you married at that time? A.-6 No.

Q.-7 What is your wife's name? A.-7 N/A

Q.-8 Did you have any children at that time? A.-8 N/A

Q.-9 What do you do now? A.-9 Officer in the rank of Major, with the appointment of Area Supplies and Transport Officer and Commanding Officer, No 4 Company Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, Canadian Army (Regular), Montreal, Que.

Q.-10 When did you know that you were going to be part of the A.-10invasion? In the latter part of May 1944, during the briefing of (Operation - Overlord) at the Concentration North of Southampton. However the actual order for the invasion was only given whilst aboard the InfantryShip,HMS Brigadier on June 5, 1944. Maps for the Assault were issued at this time. Q.-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? A.-11 Re-briefing the troops for the assault, boat drills, letter writing, special messages home, dice games, card games, chatting, sing songs (ie "Hitler thinks hell win the war, Parlez-vous-----. He hasn't heard of the Old North Shore". Prendre un Petit Coup c'est agreable'. Recitations (ie "The North Shore Cannon Ball", Step dancing by our Campbellton and Dalhousie experts. The Padre was kept busy "Water Proofing" and cheering the boys who went to see him or met him on the deck.

Q.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). A.12 Everybody was well briefed and knew exactly where they were going. Rumors, if any did not affect them nor spread around the ship. Their morale was excellent.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2Your name [underline] J.E.H. LEBLANC [end underline] Major

Q.13 Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? A.13 No (diaries were forbidden).

Q.14 Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during landing or during the day? A.14 Yes - killed Major J.A. MacNaughton, OC "A" Coy; Sgt Ned Ridgley, Sgt Elliott, Sgt H. McCormick, Cpls Walker - Clancy - Sgt Clouston, "D" Coy Wounded: Sgt Young, Sgt Girvan, etc. Q.15 Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties: A.15 I spoke to several Officers, NCOs and Men prior to them becoming casualties. Having been a Platoon Commander in "A" Coy prior to be coming 2 IC of Charlie Coy, I knew all the Officers, NCOs and Men of that company very well and spoke words of encouragement to those who were wounded. On the beaches when I was cutting wire to make a gap so that platoons could pass, Major MacNaughton came to me and advised me to be careful, Later on during the day, I met him and he congratulated me for having succeeded to bring so many people off the beaches without casualties and when I told him of our difficulty in flushing out the Germans from the buildings, trenches and dugouts in Tailleville, he smiled and in his fatherly way he said he would give us assistance. This was the last word spoken to me by this wonderful officer because he was killed shortly after. [crossed out] Q.16 Were you wounded? A.16 Not on D-Day but later wounded at Carpiquet on July 4, 1944. Q.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? A.17 It was like pins and needles all over the body due to blast and a severe pain in the back. However, after a shot of morphine given by Lt. H.R. McQuarrie I was ready to keep on going. The RSM,Padre and MO did not agree and I was evacuated to England. I returned to NWE Theatre on 15 September 1944- and to my Unit in November where I remained Carrier Platoon Commander till the end of hostilities. [end of crossed out] Q.18 Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seemed funny now, even though it may not have seemed funny at the time? A.18 When we had been sailing aboard the Assault Landing Craft for about 15 minutes the water being choppy, numerous stomachs began to react. Faces turning a greenish yellow - proof that pills were not too effective - many chose to take their chances with bullets and therefore stood up in the craft. As it turned out nobody was wounded and the boys had an opportunity to smile and wave to the other Assault Craft. For some it was their last farewell to their soldiers friends.

Q.19 Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? A.19 The initiative taken by C Coy to head for their objective of Tailleville turned out to be favorable as to casualties on the beaches. When we were enjoying a cigarette waiting for H hour to cross the start line just south of St. Aubin Sur Mer, the Germans started shelling the beaches and the town of St. Aubin Sur Mer. The entire company less three casualties which occurred on the beaches were free of enemy shelling and our own shelling. Reasons being we were under the "umbrella of fire" too close to the enemy and our own people knowing where we were. Enemy mortar fire started on us once we had started towards our objective Tailleville.

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- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name [underline] Major J.E.H. LEBLANC [end underline]

Q.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? A.20 From the time I landed till midnight on 6/7 Jun 44 I saw many officers, WOs, NCOs and men going about carrying out their individual tasks. Those I figured did excellent work and deserved mentioning are as follows: Lt-Col. D.B. Buell, CO; Major J.E. Bockwood, Capt Bob Ross, Lt. Blake Oulton, WO 1 McRae of [undeline] Bn HQ [end underline] [underline] C Coy [end underline] - Major R.H. Daughney OC; Lt Georges Fawcett, Lt. Hector McQuarrie, Lt. H. Day, WO 2 JHOL Murray, Sgts Malcolm, Elliott and Girvan; Ptes Adair, Hache,B. Arsenault A. Ouellette R., Smith A., Ives, Auriat JMJ, MacLaughlin and the Cpls of each section. In assisting wounded Capt J.A. Patterson our MO assisted by Padre Capt Father Raymond Hickey, Sgt Young, Cpl Daley and Capt McFethridge our Paymaster. [underline] A Coy [end underline] - Major J.A. McNaughton, Capt Leandre Belliveau, Lt.Toot Moar, Lt. Cy Mersereau and WO 2 Hugh Poley. [underline] Fort Garry Horse, 2 Cdn Armd Bde [end underline] - Troop Comdrs and their tanks gave excellent support in the taking of Tailleville. [underline] 3" Mortar Platoon [end underline] - Capt Willie Parker, and Sgt Drapeau. [underline] A/Tank Platoon [end underline] - Capt Chuck Murphy and Sgt Morrell. [underline] Carrier Platoon [end underline] - Sgt Gerard, Cpl Stymiest, Pte Horace Boulay, Pte Ahier and Pte Hachey WJ. [underline] Pioneer Platoon [end underline] - Cpl Clarke and his section [underline] FOO [end underline] - Capt Speidel and his battery of the 19th Fd Regt RCA. Q.21 Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? A.21 Aboard HMS Brigadier. Q.22 Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? A.22 After completing a liaison contact with Le Regiment de la Chaudiere on our right at Beny Sur Mer I returned to our Company Headquarters and enjoyed my first hot soup with Major Daughney at about midnight. Q.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? A.23 See Appendix "C" attached. Officers of other Units : Major W.A.Teed - Liaison Offr on D-Day present address HQ Prairie Command. Colonel Paul Mathieu - Deputy Minister Ottawa, Ont. - Regt de la Chaudiere. Major Hugues Lapointe - Fomer Member of Parliament - Regt de la Chaudiere. Lt-Col. G.O. Taschereau - AAG Manning Eastern Command, Halifax NS. - R de Chaude. Brig. K.G. Blakader- BDE COMDR 8 BDE - Present address: 507 Place D'Armes, Montl. Lt-Col. J. Sprague - CO Queens Own Rifle of C -[inserted] Later Commander of 7 CIB.[end of insert] Lt-Col. Neil Gordon - OC Coy QOR - 2 IC N Shore R and CO N Shore R 1945 - Toronto. Capt. Walter Lawson - TO 8 CIB - Present address: Montreal. Major J.M. Berry - Brasco 8 CIB - Present address: 9 Tpt Coy, Ottawa, Ont. Major D. Brennan - Adjt 3 Div RCASC - Present address: AHQ Ottawa, Ont. Major M.C.M. Cameron -3 Fd Regt - Present address: Rivers, Man.(?) [inserted] Lt-COL ARMAND ROSS - R de Chaude - CO 3 Bn R22eR (?) MAJOR MICHEL GAUVIN - R de Chaude - Dept of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS OTTAWA, ONT MAJOR LOUIS LAMOUREAU - R de Chaude - Gentleman Ushers of the Black Rod, OTTAWA, ONT MAJOR LEON TASCHEREAU - R de Chaude - R22eR (?) 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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- Appendix "A" for Cornelius Ryan Your name (J.E.H. LEBLANC Major

EXTRACT FROM THE MONCTON DAILY TIMES DECEMBER 31ST, 1945

[underline] SHORT HISTORY OF THE NORTH SHORE (N.B.) REGIMENT [end underline]

The North Shore (N.B.) Regiment is one of New Brunswick's oldest military units. Its history dates back to the rifle-green clad young men who organized simply as a rifle company at Chatham back In 1838. From this nucleus, which held together until 1859, was organized the "Chatham Rifles" in that year.

With official recognition of the unit its members were issued muzzle loading Enfield rifles by the government of the province. The members of the company then provided themselves with dark grey uniforms trimmed with scarlet. Four years later the government supplied the soldiers with scarlet tunics and blue trousers for new uniforms.

On Strength Active Militia

By the year 1866 the unit became known as the 1st Northumberland Militia, and two years later it had companies at Newcastle, Black River and Baie du Vin and became a provincial battalion. It underwent a change again in 1870 when it was organized under Royal Warrant as the 73rd (Northumberland) Regiment and placed on the strenght of the Active Militia of Canada. Other companies were then added, one at Bathurst and one at Buctouche. The year previous another company had been formed at Black Brook.

In the full strenght battalion there must have been few of hte members of the original rifle company. The development of the unit given in these three paragraphs covered a period of 32 years.

Unit's First Action

The unit's first action took place when a company of the battalion was called out on January 28, 1875, to suppress a riot at Caraquet where the people of the area had defied civil power over the public schools question. Leaving only a detachment to guard the jail, the company returned at the end of one week.

Ten years later, on May 12, 1885, another call came for a company of the 73rd Northumberlands. This time to assist in quelling the Riel Rebellion. Two weeks later, on May 26, the company was relieved of the duty.

For almost thrity years thereafter the battalion had little to do but carry on routine training and represent the militia at official functions. The most noteworthy of these was the occasion when Lord Stanley of Preston, Governor General of Canada, visited Chatham on September 30th, 1890. The unit formed a Guard of Honor which was inspected by His Excellency.

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