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Chilliwack marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day

The 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy was commemorated in Chilliwack on Friday.

It was just one of many ceremonies held across the country, and in France where Allied troops landed on June 6, 1944.

More than 14,000 Canadians landed on Juno Beach on that day – one of five landings that launched the Battle of Normandy.

Four veterans of that assault were at Friday’s service: Len Fitzgerald, John Butler, Peter Braidwood and Joe Pringle. A fifth D-Day veteran, Chilliwack’s Walter Georgeson was in Normandy attending 70th anniversary events there.

In Chilliwack, the ceremony was marked by a flyby from a CC-115 Buffalo search and rescue aircraft out of Comox. The plane, flying at an altitude of 500 feet, simulated a parachute drop to honour the 450 Canadians who parachuted inland before dawn.

Members of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion – including Braidwood and Pringle – jumped from an altitude of about 600 feet.

In all, 359 Canadians died on the first day of the invasion. Another 5,000 were killed in the subsequent Battle of Normandy, which ended in late July.

Overall, approximately 45,000 Canadians died during the Second World War.

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