Sunday, November 11, 2012

Always remember....

My grandfather, who passed away quite a few years ago now, was very special to me. We had a special bond. He fought in the war, however we never heard stories about it. He didn't want to share. So I know nothing of his time in the war.

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
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

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