Private William Talbot

William George Talbot was born in Toronto on February 3, 1924, to Freda and Frederick Talbot.  During the First World War Fred served with the Second Battalion of the Canadian Mounted Rifles.  At the age of 28, he died of leukemia leaving Freda to raise 4-year-old Bill on her own.  Money was tight and at the age of 16, Bill left school to work and help with home expenses.

During the Second World War Bill enlisted with the Signals Corp in Toronto in 1942 and after basic army training was accepted into the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and qualified in Fort Benning, Georgia, U.S.A. on November 211942.   Bill served with A, B, and C Coy, eventually settling in Head Quarters Platoon.  He parachuted with the Battalion into Normandy on D-Day.  Although he landed alone he was able to join a growing group that made its way to the bridge at Robehomme which they were able to destroy.  On June 29th Bill was badly wounded at Le Mesnil but was saved by four stretcher bearers from the 224th (Parachute) Field Ambulance Regiment a Royal Army Medical Corps unit of the British airborne forces.  After several surgeries in England and Canada and convalescence in Toronto, he was discharged on May 5, 1945.

Bill met Helen Birch of North Bay, Ontario who had worked during the war at a munitions factory in St. Catharines.  They married in Toronto on January 12, 1946 and raised three children.  In 1957 they purchased a lot under the Veterans Land Act and spent over fifty years living in a subdivision surrounded by other veterans and their families.   Bill and Helen travelled across Canada for reunions of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and the Airborne Social Club and made the trip to France for the fiftieth anniversary of the D-Day landing. 

Helen died on March 24, 2020 and Bill died four days later.


Artifacts and information courtesy of Susan Wilson


Projector Infantry Anti Tank (P.I.A.T.)

Private Talbot was a PIAT gunner in the Head Quarters Platoon.  Below is a PIAT and bomb. The PIAT was designed to disable tanks, however, was also used to conduct house breaching. This is the same weapon system the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and other combat units would have used during the D-day campaign.