I am Simon Goldenthal. I was the eleventh man taken on when the Queens Own Rifles were mobilized on June 5, 1940. I was one of Mackenzie King's potato sack army (due to the lack of kit bags. I move ahead to winter of 1943 . I have a lot of stories in between but this is the main one. I was A Company clerk and was sent to London to refresh my shorthand and typing skills which I passed successfully. I returned to my unit and found my position as company clerk had beaen taken by one George Dalzell. When I complained to the acting Company Commander he informed me I was no longer Company clerk. I appealed to the regimental adjutant who sympathized with me and he had me transferred to the pay office.
I enjoyed this position and it was not May 1944; the entire invasion force was locked down, no one allowed in or out of camp. On June 5 we boarded ship whose name I can't recall. We sailed into the Channel, and road anchor. The weather was less than great and the water rough causing an enormous amount of sea sickness, ;me included. We were provided with breakfast which few of us could eat. In the early morning of June 6 we started to move toward France and about 3 A.M. The big guns; of the war ships began to fire with an enormous noise, the smaller guns of the destroyers and other smller ships also took part.
As the sun rose we started to move toward shore, we were all given a shot of rum and headed inland. We stopped either ten feet or more from shore, and I was at the back of my little boaat being a non-combatant. All hell had broken out shells were landing near us, some made direct hits on the boats causing a great loss of lifae. Came my turn to jump into the water which was now turning red with blood. I waded through water above my waist hit land and ran like hell to the sea wall where I flopped down. I could see the carnage taking place in front of me like a panorama. I could see men screaming, dying being wounded, losing limbs. It was frightening and believe me I was scared stiff. After about two hours things died down, they had started removing wounded to the hospital ship, and my job was about to begin. It was my job to recoard casualies on a nominal roll that I carried with me in an oilskin pouch.
The burial party had removed the lower part of the dog tags from the dead who were lined up at one sid oe the beach, all 65 of them. They put them in a box and brought them to me for the recording. I went over them one by one and was getting sicker as I checked off names I had served with for years. I was even sicker when I came across the name of " George Dalzell, the man who replaced me as company clerk. There but for the grace of God go I. I think I had turned green when the Beachmaster came by, told me I looked terrible and gave me a shot of scotch from a flask he carried.
Between the scotch, the rum and the fact I hadn't eaten since leaving England almost knocked me out. I sat in a daze for quite a while, and finally snapped out of it long enough to finish my job. I then took the papers to the Battalion Orderlyi room clerk to forward on to the Paymaster Genera.. I then staggered over to the sea wall, sat down and began to cry. I cried for what seemed an eternitiy till I was all dried out. Aat that time the Pay Sergeant came over too me and said our HUP was ready and I boarded the truck and then began my trek across Europe which ended on VE day in Germany. I had come through the entire war without a scratch.
When the regiment marched up Bay Street in Toronto in December 1945, Of the original 900 enlisted men there were only 12 of us left with the regiment on that day.