Select any soldier to learn more:


Brigadier James Hill was a World War II Commander, who joined the British Airborne Forces at an early stage, fought in North Africa and went on to play a vital role in the D-Day landings and the crossing of the Rhine.

After education at Marlborough and Sandhurst, Hill joined the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers, the family regiment, in 1931. Although he left the regular army in 1936 to marry, he rejoined at the outbreak of war and was immediately sent out to France spending a very cold Christmas in 1939 on the Maginot Line.

Continue Reading

Major Richard Cornell Hilborn, MiD

Major Hilborn was born May 10, 1918 in Preston, Ontario and was the second child of four. He was accepted into the Royal Military College (R.M.C.) in Kingston, Ontario on September 4, 1937. He attended the Militia camp during the summer as a 2nd Lieutenant attached to the Highland Light Infantry. When the war broke out, Hilborn left R.M.C. on December 20, 1939, reported to the Military District #2 (Toronto) and joined the Toronto Scottish Regiment. He had not yet completed his degree but promised himself he would do so as soon as the war was over. He was taken on strength with the Machine Gun Training Centre on January 1, 1940 and later qualified as Mortarman.

Continue Reading

Major Kenneth Arril, CD

Kenneth James Arril was born January 27, 1918 in Port Arthur, Ontario. He first enlisted with the Lake Superior Regiment in 1932, and was quickly promoted to L/Cpl. on May 7 of that same year.  A few years later on April 19, 1938, he was promoted to Sergeant. That same year he transferred to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) in Winnipeg. Arril was promoted to Warrant Officer Class II (WO2) on July 26, 1941. He was then transferred to A27 Reconnaissance Training Centre in Dundurn, Saskatchewan where he qualified as Driver (Wheel & Track). Having potential for leadership, Arril was made Officer Cadet in 1942 and completed the requisite training to be commissioned. He and was promoted to Captain in March 1943 and completed Demolitions Course No.5 in November.

Continue Reading

Major John Hanson, M.C.

John Philip Hanson was born in Salisbury, England on June 24, 1916 and was one of 7 children. His father was Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Hanson, OBE. The Hanson family immigrated to Canada and settled in Quebec, where Hanson became fluent in both English and French. He attended Herbert Simon Public School in Montreal, Westmount High School and Sir George Williams University. He was very much a well-rounded athlete, being actively involved in several sports such as football, boxing, water polo, tennis, swimming, track & field, hockey and skiing. Hanson was employed as a construction foreman just prior to enlisting in the military.

Continue Reading

Company Sergeant Major (CSM) George William Green, D.C.M., M.M.

Sgt. Major Green moved to Canada from Cresskill, New Jersey, U.S.A. and was a mechanic by trade. Green joined the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps on November 3, 1941 and qualified as a Class 3 (Wheel & Track) driver on April 25, 1942. Green was promoted to A/Cpl on January 9, 1943 and promoted again to A/Sgt by July 6, 1943. He had also qualified as a mechanic June 30, 1943.

Continue Reading

Sergeant Darrel L. Harris

Sgt. Harris was born on October 29, 1921 in Cardston, Alberta. He was the eldest of four boys and three girls who were raised in a tiny house in Magrath during the depression.

On September 10, 1939, Canada declared war on Germany and 13 days later Harris presented himself at the recruiting office in Calgary where he received his attestation papers to join the Army. He was quite pleased to learn he would be paid the sum of $1.30 per diem. The uniforms issued at that time were from the Great War period of 1914 - 1918 and Harris’s first set of army boots were second-hand. It didn’t take him long to wear them out, requiring a new set. During basic training, he received a Ross Rifle, also from WWI. Advance training took place at Camrose, Alberta.

Continue Reading


Sergeant Howard Ruebin Holloway was born in Middlesex, London England, before immigrating to Canada. He was raised in a family of 3 boys and 1 girl. Prior to enlisting in the Army, Holloway was a Drug Store Clerk for 6 months before changing jobs to Trucking for Harvey Flacombe in Saskatoon. By the time he enrolled in the army, his older brother was already serving with the RCAF. Holloway enlisted in the army at the 12 “A” District Depot in Saskatoon on December 13, 1941. 

Continue Reading

Sergeant John Peter Schlathau

John Peter Schlathau was born in Gleisdorf, Austria on June 2, 1920. His father immigrated to Canada in 1923 and was joined by the family in 1928, where they settled in Richmond, Saskatchewan. Within six months, Schlathau had learned English and joined Scouts Canada. The skills that he acquired in this organization enabled him to save his sister Joan who had a mishap and almost drowned in the North Saskatchewan River. Decades later on a family outing to Sauble Beach, Ontario, he saved the lives of his sister-in-law, a non-swimmer, who had run into the lake to assist his drowning son Martin.

Continue Reading

Sergeant Ronald F. Anderson

Sgt. Ronald Anderson was born November 3, 1922 in Toronto, Ontario.  

Anderson enlisted in the military, signing his attestation papers on June 18, 1940. Anderson served with the 2nd Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers from September 1940 to May 1941 and became a demolitions expert. He quickly went through the ranks until he was promoted to Sergeant. Anderson trained hundreds of troops in England prior to D-day.  Anderson was physically fit and eager to take on new challenges, so he requested a transfer to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion.

Continue Reading

Corporal Frederick (Fred) George Topham, V.C.

Cpl. Topham was born on August 10, 1917 in Toronto, Ontario. While growing up there, he attended several local schools such as King George Public School and Runnymede High School. When Topham first got into the workforce he tried several different types of employment such as hard-rock miner, rubber worker at Goodyear and as well as at a saw company. He was residing at 631 Beresford Avenue in Toronto when he first enlisted with the 48th Highlanders. His service with the 48th was very short lived, lasting only 30 days before he moved on to the Army Service Corps as a Medical Orderly. He was strong and athletic and it was recommended he join the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion.

Continue Reading


Joseph Spisak Jr. was born in Hradiste, Czechoslovakia on October 13, 1920 to Julia and Joseph Sr. He was one of 5 children and left school after completing grade 9 in order to help support his family. Spisak was very athletic and participated in a variety of sports such as baseball, hockey and golf; he also enjoyed fishing. Spisak appeared to be a natural at everything he attempted and there seemed to be nothing he couldn’t do. He was also known to be a perfectionist and was very particular about details when it came to completing tasks. Prior to the war he had worked as a movie projectionist and had driven a milk truck. 

Continue Reading

Private Loyst Kelly

Kelly enlisted on May 11, 1943 in London, Ontario and taken on strength at 1 District Depot, transferring to #12 B.T.C Chatham, Ontario. Kelly donated blood before making another transfer to No. 10DD (AF) Winnipeg Manitoba. It wasn’t long before Kelly had his sights set on becoming a Paratrooper and requested a transfer. He transferred to Para wing from No. 12 Canadian Army Basic Training Centre (C.A.B.T.C.) Chatham, Ontario on August 6, 1943. On September 23, 1943, Kelly completed his parachute training to become a Paratrooper. This was a major accomplishment and very proud day for Kelly. He went on to complete his Driver’s Course on December 13, 1943. 

Continue Reading

Private Jan de Vries, C.M.

Jan de Vries was born in Leeuwarden, Friesland, in the Netherlands on January 24, 1924 to Romke and Rinske de Vries.  He immigrated to Canada with his mother and older brother Hendrik in May1930.  They joined his father in East York, who had immigrated four years earlier.  Jan was enrolled in Secord Public School that September.

Continue Reading

Private James Moneypenny

Pte. James Moneypenny was the son of James Moneypenny and Annie Caldwell Moneypenny (nee Savage). He was born at Birkenhead, Cheshire, England on February 19, 1922.  At the time of his birth, his family moved to Ireland to Birkenhead just across the Mersey River from Liverpool where his father worked in the shipyards as an electrician.  On the 23 of January, 1923, James' father accompanied by his brothers John and William, they emigrated to the United States and settled in New York City arriving there on January 30.  They took up jobs in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. James, aged four and his mother Annie followed on June 23.  

Continue Reading

Private Esko Makela

Pte. Esko Makela was born on February 16, 1917 in Vaasa, Finland. He immigrated to Canada and found work as a tailor with a number of firms including the British Knit Co. and T. Eaton Co. He lived at 559 Norfolk Street in North Simcoe, Ontario and was a bandsman with the 25th (Norfolk) Field Brigade, Royal Canadian Artillery (Militia). Makela attempted to enlist in the Canadian Active Service Force in September of 1942 however he was not accepted due to his Finnish nationality. Determined to see combat, he persisted and was finally accepted into the Infantry on January 6, 1943. He was described as an aggressive, ambitious man, with high learning ability and keen to become a Paratrooper.

Continue Reading

Private Alan MacDonald Campbell

Pte. Alan Campbell was born in Ontario, Canada and was one of 5 children. Campbell was a Band Master for the Air Cadets and working as a musician, playing the trumpet in an orchestra before joining the military. He enlisted at No. 1 District Depot (Active Force) on March 9, 1944 in London, Ontario. The initial assessment described him as a tall 6’0” well-built young man with a pleasant personality. He was immediately sent to No. 12 Basic Training Centre in Chatham, Ontario and on March 31 he was officially assigned to the Canadian Infantry Corps.

Continue Reading

Private Edward Yakey

Pte. Edward Yakey was born in Iroquois Falls, Ontario, Canada on March 16, 1923. He attended Kirkland High School while in his teenage years and enjoyed participating in a variety of sports, such as wrestling, hockey, rugby and baseball. Yakey was fluent in several languages such as English, Polish and Ukrainian. He was living at 279 Main Street East in Hamilton, Ontario and working as a machinist just prior to enlisting in the Canadian Armoured Corps on November 7, 1942. On February 24, 1943 Yakey was transferred to the 1st Chemical Warfare Mortar Company, Royal Canadian Engineers and on June 1 1942 he was promoted to Lance Corporal. On September 6 he reverted to the rank of Sapper and the next day was posted to A6 Canadian Engineers Training Centre in Chilliwack, BC.

Continue Reading

Private Clarence David LaPierre

Pte. David LaPierre was born November 9, 1923 in Owen Sound, Ontario. His biological parents were David Booey and Rebeca Courtney but he was adopted right after birth by Marcel and Lillian LaPierre. He was raised in Owen Sound and attended the Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute. Post-high school, LaPierre was employed as a moulder and produced a variety of cast items for a local business. LaPierre was residing at 1949 8th Avenue East in Owen Sound when he decided to travel to Toronto, Ontario to enlist in the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps on January 21, 1943.

Continue Reading

Private Ralph R. Kerr

Pte. Kerr grew up in Montreal, Quebec and was fluent in both French and English. He enlisted in the Army on September 21, 1942 and completed basic training shortly thereafter. Kerr requested a transfer to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion on February 1, 1943 and went on to complete his Parachute Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, U.S.A. on March 7, 1943. A few months later, he was sent to the UK to be taken on strength with the Battalion. On May 1, 1944 Kerr was assigned to the Canadian Parachute Training Company.

Continue Reading

Private Edward F. Danz

Pte. Edward Danz was born on December 8, 1913 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He left school early at the age of 14 after his father died as a result of a drowning accident. It was a tough time for him and his family, so he worked several jobs such as pin boy at a local bowling alley, bell hop at the Windsor Hotel in Sault Ste. Marie and miner at Park Hill Gold Mines. Danz was married with 3 children and actively played several organized sports such as baseball and hockey. He was living at 88 Grace Street, Sault Ste. Marie and working as a crane operator for Algoma Steel Corporation when he enlisted on November 2, 1943. 

Continue Reading

Private Cleland Peter Harper Henson

Pte. Henson was born September 9, 1917 in Dresden, Ontario. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Henson and reported to be the brother of Pte. Jehu William Josiah Henson, a descendent of the Rev. Josiah Henson. During his early years he worked as a Race Horse trainer before working as a butcher. He also worked as a Railway Porter before enlisting in the military. Henson worked under the Natural Resources Mobilization Act (N.R.M.A.) from October 9, 1940 to November 7, 1940.

Continue Reading

Private Claude Raymond Parker

Pte. Parker was born on January 27, 1925 in Whitney, New Brunswick. His father was Canadian and his mother from Wisconsin, U.S.A. He attended Whitney School while growing up and completed grade 8. He also enjoyed playing baseball regularly. His first job was farming but he worked several other odd jobs along the way before accepting full-time employment as a woodsman for a lumber company. With the war raging, Parker felt compelled to serve his country. He left the lumber company and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F.) on May 5, 1943.

Continue Reading

Private Frank Charles Ebl

Pte. Ebl was born on July 15, 1925 in Evergreen, Alberta and was the eldest of five boys. He grew up learning about farming and working for his father on their 320 acres of land. At the age of 18, he enlisted in the military on March 16, 1944 in Calgary and completed his Basic Training at Camrose, Alberta. He then received two additional weeks Advanced Infantry training. Ebl requested a transfer to the Paratroops and was accepted to do so.

Continue Reading

Private Victor Rueben Brownjohn

Pte Brownjohn was born April 9, 1924 in Barry, Wales. His family immigrated to Canada arriving in Quebec aboard the Montcalm on November 19, 1925 and continued on to Vancouver, British Columbia where they made their home. Brownjohn enlisted in the Army on April 5, 1943 and was posted to the Seaforth Highlanders on September 10, 1943. He volunteered to for the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion shortly thereafter. Brownjohn completed his Parachute Course at Shilo, Manitoba on December 4, 1943 and was an extremely proud Paratrooper. 

Continue Reading

RSM William Gerald Tobin

RSM Tobin briefly served with the Victoria Rifles of Canada, and then later joined Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) on September 18, 1940. He was selected to be amongst the very first group of 27 Canadian Paratroopers to be trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, U.S.A. He completed his Parachute Course on September 11, 1942 and was a pioneer of the newly formed 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. 

He was promoted to Acting Company Sergeant Major (A/CSM) on May 26, 1943 and assigned to A-35 Canadian Parachute Training Centre (CPTC), Shilo Manitoba. Tobin was promoted once again on December 1, 1943 becoming the Regimental Sergeant Major of A-35 CPTC.

Continue Reading

Private Stephen Zysko

Pte. Zysko was born on April 25, 1925 in Kolonja Galezowska, Poland. In 1932 his family immigrated to Canada. During the early years of the Second World War, Zysko worked for the Canada Car & Foundry Company Ltd. It is here where he excelled at the construction of fighter aircraft, primarily the Hawker Hurricane and the Curtis Dive Bomber.

In 1944 he enlisted in the Canadian Army and joined the ranks of the elite 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. He completed one of his proudest accomplishments, graduating from his Parachutist Course at Shilo, Manitoba on October 31, 1944. 

Continue Reading

Private William Talbot

Pte. Talbot first enlisted with the Signals Corps in 1942. Later that same year he transferred to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and completed his Parachute Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, U.S.A. on November 21, 1942.

Talbot recalls parachuting into Normandy during Operation Overlord, June 6, 1944 but missing the drop zone by several miles and having to find his way to the objective. During his time with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion overseas, he served in C Coy, B Coy, A Coy and later HQ Coy with the PIAT (Projective, Infantry, Anti-Tank) Platoon. He was wounded in the leg on June 29, 1944.

Continue Reading

Private Samuel Lange

Pte. Lange was born in Edmonton, Alberta on May 3, 1916. A prospector and miner by trade, he volunteered for service on October 28, 1943 at age 27. On 12 January 1944 he was transferred to the A-35 Canadian Parachute Training Centre, Camp Shilo, Manitoba. He received his Parachutist qualification one month later and on June 1, 1944 he qualified as 3” Mortarman.

On July 8, 1944 Lange embarked for the UK to “proceed on special duty”. On July 26, 1944 he was assigned to the 1 Canadian Parachute Training Company (1CPTC) as Mortarman Instructor. The 1 Can Para War Diary outlines 1CPTC’s participation as the ENEMY Force in Exercise “FOG”, October 1944 at Carter Barracks, Bulford.

Continue Reading

Private Allan Charles Morley

Pte. Morley was born May 14, 1924 in Mossbank, Saskatchewan. Even at the young age of 9, he showed outstanding marksmanship skills. Morley joined the Army at the age of 18 on July 13, 1942 with hopes of becoming a Paratrooper. He was a remarkable soldier being very much mentally focused and physically fit. Morley completed his Parachute Course on February 16, 1944 at Shilo, Manitoba and fulfilled his dreams of becoming a Paratrooper with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. 

At no surprise, he was employed as a Sniper overseas. He participated in Operation Overlord at Normandy and also served in Belgium, Holland and Germany.

Continue Reading

Private Leo Royal Lohn

Pte. Lohn was born October 14, 1925 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and his family later moved to Toronto, Ontario where he attended high school at Parkdale Collegiate. He was originally a member of the Merchant Marine in St. Johns during the war, but it wasn’t long before he had his sights set on becoming a Paratrooper. At 5’9 and 142 lbs, he was physically fit and eager to take on new challenges, so he requested a transfer to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion.

Continue Reading

Corporal Jean P. Desabrais

Cpl. Desabrais was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. He enlisted in the Infantry in October 1941 and transferred to the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC) in 1942.

He was promoted to Corporal that same year. Desabrais requested a transfer to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in 1943 and completed his Parachute Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, U.S.A. on February 13, 1943. He parachuted into France during Operation Overlord on June 6, 1944 and also served in Belgium and Germany.

Continue Reading

Corporal Donald Scott Ticknor

Cpl. Ticknor was born and raised in Darlingford, Manitoba and worked as a farmer. He originally served with "A" Squadron of the Manitoba Mounted Rifles Defence Force from June of 1941 to December 1942. Wanting to see action, he transferred to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and completed his Parachute Course at the school in Ringway, England on September 11, 1943. Ticknor served in B Company, 5 Platoon and first saw action when he parachuted into Normandy on June 6, 1944 during Operation Overlord.

Continue Reading

Corporal Roulston Harper

Cpl. Roulston Harper was born on October 16, 1924 in Toronto Ontario. He was the youngest of three children, having a brother William and sister Maureen. Harper’s parents immigrated to Canada from Ireland in search of greater opportunities for their family, his mother Mary from Belfast and his father Charles from Dunagal, Ireland.  Harper’s father joined the police force and made a career for himself over the next 30 years.

Continue Reading