CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Major David Currie battles in Normandy, wins Victoria Cross

The Story

August 18, 1944: On the first day of a three-day battle, David Currie, a major in the Canadian Army, commands a force of tanks and infantry in the village of St. Lambert-sur-Dives in Normandy. He blocks off the main enemy escape route and defends his position over the next 36 hours, repelling enemy advances and single-handedly knocking out a giant German Tiger tank. As the battle progresses, all of Currie's officers are killed or wounded. The Canadians fight this battle alone. Currie fights alongside his steadily depleting ranks before his force is relieved and victory is ensured. For his courage in this battle, Currie is awarded the highest military decoration in the British Commonwealth - the Victoria Cross. He returns to Canada in December after receiving the award before King George VI. He speaks to CBC Radio about the Canadian soldiers, his family and receiving the Victoria Cross.

Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News Special
Broadcast Date: Dec. 16, 1944
Guest: David Currie
Duration: 14:04
Photo: Lieut. Frank L. Duberville / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-140875

Did You know?

• The Canadian forces destroyed seven tanks and 40 vehicles. A total of 300 Germans were killed, another 500 were wounded and 2100 others were taken prisoner.

• Currie was praised for his bravery in the battle. The citation read "throughout three days and nights of fierce fighting, Major Currie's gallant conduct and contempt for danger set a magnificent example to all ranks of the force under his command."

• Currie had only 10 days of combat experience and two years of training as an armoured corps officer when the battle at St. Lambert-sur-dives began.

• Through the 76 days of the Normandy campaign, more than 18,500 Canadians were killed, wounded, or were classified as missing.

• Prime Minister John Diefenbaker appointed Currie Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons in 1959, a position that he served in for 17 years. He also acted as the vice-chair of the Victoria Cross and the George Cross Associations. He died on June 20, 1986 in Ottawa.


Other Second World War more