While many associate Juno Beach as a Canadian landing, because the 59th (Newfoundland) Heavy Regiment of Britain’s Royal Artillery did not participate in D-Day, most of the regiment landed in France via Juno Beach. My own grandfather, Samuel Barbour – who served as a Gunner (GNR) in “A” Battery of the 59th Regiment – would have walked on Juno Beach five or six days after D-Day. Along with the regiment, he would later fight through Belgium and into Holland, before being the only Allied heavy artillery to cross the Rhine River into Germany when they were selected to take part in the Battle of the Rhine and the attack on Bremen.
Following the war, my grandfather returned to a more quiet life in Newfoundland as a fishing boat captain. During an annual Remembrance Day service at the local school one year, an English teacher spoke about my grandfather. She said, “Every year on this most special day he dons the blue beret and navy jacket adorned with medals – the recognition of his service, courage and bravery. He and his beloved wife make the journey down the hill to our school. When they arrive, faces wreathed in smiles, they bring a card with a beautiful and thoughtful message of thanks and a gift for our students.”
This is the second year I have participated in this race to honour and remember my grandfather.