C120696 Rifleman William John Bolster was born November 12, 1914, in Cobourg, Ontario, son of Charles and Florence A. Bolster.
He was married to Ethel Aurora Bolster however they had no children.
Bolster was living in Peterborough and working as an Assistant Manager of a variety chain store when enlisted as a Gunner in Kingston, Ontario on March 23, 1943. He had previous service in the 22nd Medium Battery based in Cobourg.
He arrived in England on the 20 September 1943 and trained as a clerk. After various postings and courses, he was taken on strength with The Queen’s Own Rifles on 14 April 1944.
“On June 6, 1944, on the beaches of Normandy, many gallant Canadians died. But Rifleman William John (Johnny) Bolster didn’t reach the beaches and he had no chance to defend himself from enemy fire. The landing barge which carried him as one of The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada was blown up, and he escaped to the water only to be shot through the heart. Rifleman Bolster was with “B” Company of the Queen’s Own, and at the end of that brutal day, there were a mere handful of the men left.
Mrs. Bolster learned none of these details until the Regiment came home in October 1945, and in conversation with Col. Dalton she discovered not only that her husband died bravely, but that he had gone into danger on his own insistence. He had been working at Army Headquarters in England but when he knew his unit was to move, he begged permission to go with his friends. Born in Cobourg, Ont., the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bolster, he lived in Brantford for about two years, but during that time he became a part of the community, attending St. Luke’s Anglican Church, becoming a member of the Y.M.C.A., and taking an active part in sports.”*
Bolster was killed in action on 6 June 1944 while landing on Juno Beach. He is buried in Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Grave Reference: I. G. 4.
*Source: Album of Honour for Brant County World War 11 1939 – 1945 Published in 1946 by The Brantford Kinsmen Club.