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D-Day: Reporter's-eye view

They sailed in under cover of darkness to smash down the walls of "Fortress Europe." On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces invaded the Normandy coast of Nazi-occupied France. The Canadians' entry point was a stretch of sand code-named Juno Beach. Many would die there but, for the Canadian forces, D-Day was a triumph that is still honoured at home and on the beach they called Juno.

As assault troops headed up the French beaches, the CBC's Matthew Halton was there, watching and waiting for the German response. Halton is an experienced war reporter, and he's one of nine correspondents who went ashore with the Canadians on D-Day. It was an "incredible anti-climax," he says, citing the lack of reaction from the German air force or navy. Hitler's "west wall" has turned out to be a myth.

Now Halton is back across the Channel, listening to the singing of English birds and filing reports for the CBC. It seems like a dream to be back after all he's seen -- the beach invasion, the push inland and the welcome of French villagers. Such was their gratitude that they honoured fallen Canadian soldiers by adorning them with roses. 
. Among the other reporters accompanying Canadian troops ashore on D-Day were Ross Munro and William Stewart for the Canadian Press, Ralph Allen of the Globe and Mail, Charles Lynch of Reuters, and Marcel Ouimet for Radio-Canada, CBC's French-language service.
. This is not the only report Matthew Halton filed on D-Day. In another famous clip, Halton says: "I've been up the beaches that one had dreaded so long, and seen this great event in history."

. Halton went ashore at the village of Graye-sur-Mer with Charles Lynch and a conducting officer. They spent the night in a French farmhouse and met the other reporters the next day to set up a press camp at Courseulles-sur-Mer.
. The reporters were often susceptible to enemy fire. Shelling destroyed one of their press camps, resulting in much lost equipment but no deaths or injuries.

. In this report, Halton says Canadians were taking all their objectives by the evening of D-Day. That wasn't accurate. Among the Canadians' primary objectives for D-Day was to capture the city of Caen and its nearby airfield at Carpiquet. Though the Canadians penetrated farthest of all the Allies on D-Day, they didn't take Caen until July 9.
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC War Recordings
Broadcast Date: June 8, 1944
Reporter: Matthew Halton
Duration: 4:31
Photo: National Archives of Canada / PA-204812

Last updated: November 5, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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