Today was a travel day from Caen to Dieppe. We toured through the Falaise area where the Canadians closed the Gap on the 7th Germany Army. As the Germans raced to escape Normandy through the Falaise Gap, the Allies fought to close it Aug 19-21 1944.

The highlight for me today was the visit and Remembrance Ceremony at Brettville sur Laize. This is where my friend Mr Finch’s brother is buried, and I visited his grave. It was very moving.

The Canadian Flag placed beside Sgt Crawford’s grave came from another Pilgrim, James Baldwin. He is a teacher from Alberta, and he had some of his students make these so he could place them on graves.

Today we met a local farmer Guy Frimout, owner of the farm next to the Canadian memorial at Trotteval Farm. Guy’s mother, now in her 90s, fed Canadian soldiers after the battle in 1944. It’s the personal stories which make this trip so poignant.

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“Closing The Gap” is also know as The battle of the Falaise Pocket (12–21 August 1944). It was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy, German troops became encircled and defeated by the advancing Western Allies (including the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division).

Outnumbered and isolated Canadians waged war against a desperate enemy. It was David Currie, the commander of the South Alberta Regiment, who made the difference. With all his officers either killed or wounded, Currie popped up all along the Canadian line, shouting encouragement to his thinning ranks and directing the fire of his few remaining guns. He even single-handedly knocked out one of the giant German Tiger tanks. When it was all over, Currie and his tiny band of soldiers had destroyed seven enemy tanks, 12 of the fearsome 88’s, 40 vehicles, and had killed, wounded, or captured almost 2,000 Germans.

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Pictured above: David Currie.

– Shaun

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