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Juno Beach, the second easternmost landing beach, stretched on 10km on either side of Courseulles-sur-Mer.
The smaller fishing villages of Bernieres-sur-mer, Saint-Aubin-sur-mer and Langrune-sur-mer lay to the east of Courseulles. The Germans had installed their firing positions in the houses that overlooked the shore and fortified casemates and machine-gun positions in the small villages and hamlets situated in the dunes. The disastrous weather conditions had altered the visibility and the German coastal defences had been hardly touched by the preliminary bombardments. The landing on Juno Beach was scheduled for 7.30 am between Corseulles-sur-mer and Saint-Aubin and Langrune-sur-mer to the east, and was divided in two sub sectors code named Mike near Corseulles and Nan in the vicinity of Saint-Aubin. The third sub sector Love to the west of Corseulles, was not a landing sector and was kept for off-loading equipment. The assault on Juno Beach was assigned to several units of the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division commanded by Major-General Rodney Keller and supported by the amphibious tanks of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and aided by specialized engineering tanks from the 79th Armoured Division. The Canadians were also supported by British commandos, specialized armour and assault engineers. The assault was assigned to the Regina Rifles and Canadian Scottish Regiment from the Royal Winnipeg Rifles supported by the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment 1st Hussars. The French Canadians of La Chaudiere Regiment were to be kept afloat in reserve along with various units of infantry and armour of the 9th Brigade and would land once Nan was secured and would move inland immediately to link up with Sword beach.
Both groups were to be supported by the Fort Garry Horse tanks and Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers. Once Juno Beach captured, the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division had to support the Royal Marine to establish contact with the British troops landed on Sword and Gold, move together inland to seize the road Bayeux-Caen, Carpiquet airfield then Caen.
The stormy sea and the discovery of unexpected offshore shoals meant that the rising tide would not be high enough and would impair the manoeuvrings of the landing crafts through the beach obstacles.
The assault was thus delayed by 10 to 30mn (between the first assault wave and the last) and unfortunately the effect of a surprise landing was lost, giving the Germans time to prepare for the assault.
Few landing crafts struck mines during their approach while carrying the troops, but sadly many did as they withdrew and were either destroyed or severely damaged. The weather conditions and shoals also hindered the progress of the 6th Canadian Armoured 1st Hussards which were launched 1400m off the shore and landed at 7.55am and were therefore unable to support the assault troops in the first ten minutes of their landing. The delay meant that the first wave of assault had to engage in direct assault under fierce German fire until the armoured squadrons could land and support them.
This sadly resulted in exceptionally high number of casualties in first the minutes of the assault. The arrival of the armour nevertheless transformed the dynamics of the assault and the Canadian troops eventually captured the beach.


Bernieres, one of the strongest points of the German defence, was the landing sector assigned to the Queen’s Own Rifles Regiment. The Queen’s Own Rifles landed 180m farther east of their intending landing zone and just in front of the Cassine Battery where they found themselves under direct fire. They had no choice but to engage in an unprotected assault as weather conditions had hindered the launch of the amphibious tanks which landed too far from them to provide them with immediate support.
A Royal Navy ship managed to come as close as possible to the shore and assisted in neutralizing the bunkers, allowing the Canadians to move into Bernieres and attack the enemy positions. The first pigeons took off from the village to deliver messages in Fleet Street, the newspapers district in London! By noon, most of the Canadian troops had landed on Juno Beach, and some units had progressed several kilometers inland among the dunes to capture the bridges over the Seulles River. By 6pm they had captured Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer and linked up with the British troops who had landed on Gold Beach. A squadron of 1st Hussards tanks had taken control of the Bayeux-Caen road, and was the only unit that had fully reached its D-Day target.
The Canadian 3rd Infantry Division’s landing had been successful but the price paid was huge as 1,220 out of the 21,400 men who landed on Juno Beach on D-Day had been killed. When you visit Bernieres you will see the Villa Cassine also known as the La Maison du Souvenir Canadien. It is right in the centre of the village and a few meters from the location of the Battery of Cassine on Juno Beach where the Queen’s own Rifles lost so many of their men. The house was most likely the first French house liberated by the Allied Forces in Normandy on D-Day. Photos taken during D-Day have been placed on its surrounding wall to commemorate the heroic assault. The Queen’s Own Rifles Stele was placed in front of the house and commemorates the liberation of the house by the QOR at the price of huge losses on D-Day. It obviously stands on the seafront a few meters away from the La Maison du Souvenir Canadien. The Fort Garry Horse Stele stands near the bunker and honours the Canadian 10th Armoured Regiment who destroyed the German defences and contributed to the liberation of the village.
The Canadian Soldiers Plaque is also situated near the bunker and commemorates all the Infantry, Navy and Air Force troops who lost their life on Juno Beach on D-Day.
La Chaudiere Regiment Stele was erected in honour of the reserve French Canadians regiment nicknamed Les Chauds (placed under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Paul Mathieu) who along with the reserve QOR took over from the assault troops (who had suffered so many losses) and liberated Bernieres.
The Liberation Monument stands on the seafront and commemorates the Liberation of Europe by the Allied Forces on D-Day.
One of the most intriguing and beautiful memorials is the Inukshuk – Canadian Soldiers Stele which is located along the road by the car-park near the Tourist Office.


An Inukshuk is a stone road indicator in the shape of a human being which is used in the Great North. The Nova Scotia Highlanders Plaque is situated on the wall of the First-Aid Station 50m away from the Tourist Office. You will find another memorial in the shape of a stained glass window in Notre-Dame Church. The last memorial found in Bernieres is the 14th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery Monument which pays tribute to the nine Canadian soldiers who were killed on that spot on D-Day.
The monument is situated slightly off town, along the road leading to Beny-sur-Mer to the south. The Juno Beach Center is a museum that relates the role of the Canadian Forces during WWII. Next to the centre you will find another Inukshuk dedicated to all the Canadian soldiers who were killed on the beach at Corseulles. It is dedicated to the Royal Winnipeg Rifles (nicknamed the Little Black Devils) of the 7th Brigade under the command of Lieutenant-colonel J.
The Liberation and De Gaulle Monument commemorates the landing of the Allied Forces on D-Day, and the return (on June 14, 1944) of General Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the Free French Forces who had established their headquarters in London.
Nearby you will find the Canadian Scottish Regiment Stele which pays tribute to their 1st Battalion who landed in Corseulles-sur-Mer, and the Regina Rifles Regiment Stele commemorating the memory of the soldiers of this regiment who were killed during WWII. You will also find a Sherman tank and a plaque dedicated to Leo Gariepy, one of its a crew members. Recovered from the sea in 1970, the tank was restored and covered with badges of various units who landed and fought on Juno. The beach is dominated by a gigantic Croix de Lorraine that can also be seen from the road. This cross commemorates the return of General de Gaulle as it was the symbol of the Free French Forces. The Royal Engineers Plaque was placed on the Nottingham Bridge which gives access to the Croix de Lorraine. Finally a calvary situated at the mouth of the Seulles River bears the commemorative plaque of La Combattante, the Free French Navy ship on which General de Gaulle sailed back to France. The Canadians killed during the landing on Juno Beach were buried at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, 6km inland from Corseulles.



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