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South Shore Regional School Board
A Living History
My project aims to document my great grandfather’s experience with the Allied invasion force that came to be known as the D-Day Dodgers in World War II. I used real artifacts, stock video footage and first hand accounts from my great grandfather to understand Canada’s role in the invasion of Southern Europe.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
While I was doing my project, I was surprised by how few adults and children knew about the D-Day Dodgers. This forgotten army was actually fighting in Europe for 18 months before D-Day even happened, and probably had a lot to do with the success of D-Day by diverting German Forces to the South. (You may find that it’s interesting to note that the 8th Army - D Day dodgers were considered at the time to have avoided the fighting at D Day when they had been fighting a longer, tougher campaign with more casualties than the soldiers on D-Day did)
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
My project aims to help inform the Canadian public of the historic role of the allies in the World War II invasion of Southern Europe. Using my great grandfather’s first hand account, I hope to help Canadians understand the sacrifices his generation made for the freedom of our country, and the liberation of Europe from the Nazis.
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
I am aware that racial discrimination still exists all around us today and can be very subtle. I find it hard to imagine living in World War II Germany, where Jewish people were being systematically oppressed and murdered, and this was actually supported. I try imagine what it would be like if my school principal said that all students with a last name starting with “N” would have to do ten times as much homework as the other students, would have to stay late after class for extra assignments, eliminating their recess and lunch hour and giving them no credit for any of it. World War II Europe was actually far worse than that because families were torn apart, generations were nearly eliminated. Over 6 000 000 Jewish Europeans were murdered. I am so grateful that I learned from my great grandfather how Canada helped to free Europe from the Nazis.