A group of D-Day experts are creating a film to honour Canadian soldiers of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles who freed Calvados villages on June 6, 1944, at the cost of many lives.
The Association Maple Leaf of Putot-en-Bessin – where many Canadians died and others were captured, to be murdered later by the SS – is creating the short film to retrace their footsteps and highlight the important role they played alongside American GIs.
Historian Frédérick Jeanne said the group were passionate about D-Day and took part in re-enactments and “decided to pay tribute to the Canadians to give an alternative view that is close to their hearts”.
They had to find the uniforms and other hardware – including two Sherman tanks – and got backing from the last survivor, Rifleman Jim Parks, 97, who had to swim ashore on D-Day after his landing craft was sunk by a mine.
Filming vital yet overlooked role of Royal Winnipeg Rifles in D-Day. Photos: Charlotte Bailleul and Frédéric Sashin
It is hoped to show the film in 2024, the 80th anniversary of D-Day.
Funds to start filming were raised via local councils, firms and Leetchi crowdfunding - you can make a donation here.