Beny-Sur-Mer Cemetery

Coates, Harry James

B38171 Rifleman Harry James Coates was born on 15 November 1920 in Melfort, Saskatchewan, the son of James Lewis Coates and Irene Leeter. He had a brother James Lewis who also served overseas in WWII and a sister Eleanor Marie Thomson.

(His father had served in France with the 19th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force during WWI.  While on a working party in May 1917, he was partially buried and unconscious for eight hours after a shell exploded. His “mate” was killed. He was eventually discharged as medically unfit – suffering from “shell shock” – what we’d call PTSD today. He died in 1922.)

Harry attended St Mary’s School, Cathedral High School, and St Vincent’s Commercial School. He was working as an orderly at St. Joseph’s Hospital when he enlisted.

He enlisted on 1 August 1940, in Hamilton, Ontario at the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Depot. On 8 April 1941, he was transferred to The Queen’s Own Rifles which were training in Sussex, New Brunswick at the time. He travelled with the Regiment to the United Kingdom, arriving in Scotland on 29 July 1941.

On D-Day, 6 June 1944 Coates was with B Company in the first wave to land on Juno Beach. He was killed in action and is buried in Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, grave reference T F. 16.

"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"

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