A few years ago my brother came upon why he received the Croix de Guerre online:
BELLIVEAU, Joseph Gerald Bernes, Able Seaman (V-50977) - Mention in Despatches - RCNVR - Awarded as per Canada Gazette of 20 January 1945 and London Gazette of 26 December 1944. Home: Campbellton, New Brunswick. BELLIVEAU. Joseph Gerald Bernes, V-50977, AB, RCNVR MID~[20.1.45] Croix de Guerre avec Palmes en Bronze(France)~[30.3.46] "For gallantry, skill, determination and undaunted devotion to duty during the landing of Allied Forces on the coast of Normandy." BELLIVEAU, Joseph Gerald Bernes, Able Seaman (V-50977) - Croix de Guerre avec Palme en Bronze (France) - RCNVR - Awarded as per Canada Gazette of 30 March 1946. NOTE: No London Gazette of 18 December 1944 which some sources show as his London Gazette date. "On the night of the 4th and the 5th July, 1944, during five separate engagements with the enemy, this rating coolly exposed himself to a very heavy fire to clear a stoppage of his 2 Pound Gun."
July 4, 1944 Action off Trouville. The night of the 4th and early morning of the 5th brought a prolonged engagement with E-boats. Boats 459, 462, and 464 were on their usual protective patrol about the assault anchorage. Shortly after midnight, radar indicated the approach of enemy craft from Le Havre. A few minutes of stalking followed; then 'starshell' revealed a line of nine E-boats two thousand yards away, making for the anchorage. As the Canadians opened fire, the German craft broke off into the dark, one of them trailing after the other, heavily hit and ablaze. The rest were overtaken in about half an hour, and the boats of the 29th ripped in through a smoke screen to damage a second craft. Pursuit was complicated by the appearance of a German dive bomber, whose efforts inconvenienced the Canadians, but failed to encourage the disorganized E-boats to make a stand. When the chase was finally abandoned at the entrance to Le Havre, one E-boat, lost in smoke, was considered sunk, and two others had been badly damaged. This was the longest-fought coastal forces action in history. It appeared that another unit of E-boats had come down from Fecamp, and run straight into the E-boats with which the 29th had just disengaged. A terrific all-German battle ensued, and the air was filled with massive quantities of green and yellow tracer going back and forth. The E-boats were fighting each other! Of the some 17 German E-boats in the area, three were sunk, with a possible total of four in all. After these actions, the 462 starboard engine broke down. While limping away to the control frigate they were dive-bombed by a Heinkel. The two remaining boats, 459 and 464, sighted two German minesweepers escorted by two R-boats. As the M.T.B.'s turned in for a torpedo attack, they were seen, and the enemy opened up with 'starshells' and 88 mm shells. The shore batteries opened up as well. Their shells came crashing angrily about the boats, making a most uncomfortable barrage. The German Convoy turned back toward Le Havre. The crews of 459,462, and 464 were absolutely exhausted, both physically and mentally. The three wounded boats limped back to Portsmouth for repairs.
This year I will remember and miss my grandfather, whom I loved dearly. And remember my grandmother, who also served her time to the war. I love them both