150th Anniversary Battlefield Tour

From 6 Jun to 8 Jul 2012, 28 members of the Association & the Regiment toured WWI & WWII European Battlefields. The Tour was organized by former Commanding Officer, BGen Garry Thomson, CD.

It began with a visit to the beach where The Royal Regiment landed as part of the 2nd Canadian Division on 5 Jul 1944. The Tour then followed the route taken by the Royals after their landing. On reaching the town of Louvigny, near Caen, a wreath was placed at the Memorial erected by the Town in 1974. That year the Regiment mounted a brass plaque commemorating the role of The Royal Regiment & the 8th Reconnaissance Regt who freed the Town of Louvigny in 1944. A marble plaque was mounted that same year on an outside wall of the Town’s Church. It lists the names of 55 Royals who were killed, or later died of their wounds in the battle. Later the Mayor and Townspeople hosted a reception in the Town Hall for members of the Tour and local Citizens. The Tour then followed the Falaise Road to the point where the Royals helped close the Falaise Gap. The Tour then moved on to the Town of Dieppe and the beach at Puys, “Bluebeach.”  A wreath was laid here at The Royal Regiment of Canada Memorial. As this year is the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Dieppe, it was covered in great detail.

Geography dictated that we visit First World War sites before we covered any more WWII locations. The Ypres Salient and Mount Sorrel were covered extensively. Wreaths were laid in the Menin Gate in memory of the The Toronto Regiment (3rd Bn CEF) and other members perpetuated CEF Battalions, the 58th, 123rd, 124th, 124th, 170th & 204th Bns CEF. Another wreath was laid at the memorial for the Ypres Salient.

Moving south we visited Beaumont-Hamel and the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Memorial. Then we moved on to the newly restored Vimy Ridge Memorial and laid a wreath there to honour the memory of the fallen members Toronto Regiment (3rd Bn CEF) and other perpetuated WWI CEF Battalions.

We then returned to follow the WWII battles. We took the route followed by the Royals to Antwerp in Holland, the South Beveland Isthmus and along the Scheldt Estuary right out to the Walcheren Causeway. The Dutch have reclaimed enough land to join the former island to the peninsula. This ended the Battlefields and Cemetery part of the tour.

The group then returned to Paris. The final two days of the tour were spent viewing museums, a cruise on the Seine River and even some shopping.  A wonderful time was had by everyone throughout the trip.  BGen Garry Thomson was thanked and congratulated for planning & organizing such a great 150th Anniversary Tour.