The Second World War

Second World War Resources on this site

The Queen’s Own mobilized for the Second World War on 24 May 1940. The Regiment’s first assignment was the defence of the two strategic airfields of Botwood and Gander, Newfoundland then a posting to New Brunswick for additional training and integration into 8th Brigade.

1941 Visit by Queen Mary to QOR

Eventually, the Regiment was posted to England, in July 1941, as a part of the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Division. During the Regiment’s training in the UK, the Colonel-in-Chief, Queen Mary (see above), visited the battalion in Aldershot.

See also what Rifleman wore on D-Day.

Bernières-sur-Mer June 6th 1944 1100hrs
Bernières-sur-Mer June 6th 1944 1100hrs

The Queen’s Own’s first action came forming part of the assault wave of the D-Day invasion, 6 June 1944. The Dalton brothers — Majors Charles O. and H. Elliott– were the assault company commanders in the landing. The Regiment hit the beach at the small Normandy seaside resort of Bernieres-sur-Mer, shortly after 0800 hours, on 6 June 1944.

See also the War Diary of the 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada from 30 May to 29 June 1944 transcribed by Master Corporal Graham Humphrey covering the D-Day landing and subsequent actions and of list of those killed in action on 6 June 1944.

They fought through Normandy, Northern France, and into Belgium and Holland, where they liberated the crucial channel ports. In capturing the tiny farming hamlet of Mooshof, Germany, Sergeant Aubrey Cosens was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. For more information on the battle see The Regiment’s “Toughest Scrap” February 26, 1945 by Col (Ret) William Ball

See also Rifleman J. William (Bill) Ross’ Memoirs for one man’s story of the war.

The last action of the war for The Queen’s Own Rifles came at 1200 hours on 4 May, when C Company attacked a cross roads just east of Ostersander, Germany. It was taken by 1500 hours, and the order came to discontinue fire on the enemy unless fired upon. Unfortunately, two members of The Queen’s Own lost their lives on this the last day of the war in Europe. The official cease fire came at 0800 hours on 5 May 1945 followed by VE Day on 8 May. The battalion paraded to a church at Mitte Grossefehn and Major H.E. Dalton, now the acting Commanding Officer, addressed the Regiment. During the war 463 Queen’s Own were killed in action and are buried in graves in Europe and almost 900 were wounded, many two or three times. Sixty more QOR personnel were killed serving with other units in Hong Kong, Italy and Northwest Europe.

1945 Officers Dinner in Amersfoort Holland

Dear Sweetheart: Letters home from a soldier…

It was the Second World War. A million young Canadians were marching off to risk their lives. One of them, David K. Hazzard, was separated from his beloved wife Audrey, but soon found a way to fight the loneliness – with his pen.

He wrote hundreds of letters, beginning each the same way – ‘Dear Sweetheart.’ They are a riveting account of what he went through.

How did he cope without Audrey and his two young daughters? How did they cope without him? In the weeks ahead, the series Dear Sweetheart will publish new letters daily. In the end, their story is our story.

We tell it as a homage to those who died, the 180,000 veterans who survive, their children, their grandchildren – and Canada’s fighting families today.

Click here to access the Dear Sweetheart letters on the

14 thoughts on “The Second World War”

    1. They gave up so much, for us all. Its important to not forget. Recently I visited the Legion in Port Perry Ontario where my father was past president many years ago. They have a very nice display on hand for many that served in WW II..


  1. i am wondering if Lt Col Geoffrey Keeling served with your regiment. He was present in Monty’s tent when the German’s surrendered to Monty at Luneburg Heath. He was wearing a green beret.


  2. I would like to discover where my father (Rupert Leslie) was on Liberation Day, in the Netherlands. Indeed, I am interested in discovering his location during the course of the War in 1944 and 1945. Can I do this by requesting his service record, or other means


  3. Years ago I found a picture of my grandfather among some pictures of the QoR during WWII. There were pictures of each company, and I managed to find my grandfather among them. Do you have access to these photos? His name was Charles T. Ashby


  4. Question: Is their a summary of the route the QOR C Company took throughout the war? My father was part of this unit and told me some stories (he was part of the unit fired upon when the 2 soldiers (his friends) died last day of the war).I see this situation posted on your website He died before he could travel the route as part of a reunion trip the QOR organized years ago. He was planning to do the trip. cheers John Oyler


  5. Hi everyone, I’m looking for pictures of jimmy sackfeild my great grandpa. He was one of the 5 that made it past the beach of juno. Also if anyone from the platoon is still alive I’d like to hear some stories. Thanks you


      1. I have been trying to find out information on Leonard J. Warner
        B119318 WW2 I would like to know his path during the war what battles he was in before he died would love to get information on him for my boys even information on the battles he was in so they can understand his time line during the war we were told that he was MIA and never found his body and shot down in a plane which I understand might not of happened at all I would like my boys to know the whole story on what he did


  6. looking for any possible pics of my grandfather….not sure if you have any….would be greatly appreciate iif you could send me some if any. thomas beadreault…..i believe he was a cpl in the queens own rifles…


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