Skip to main content

First look at memorial D-Day statue takes place, honouring Royal Regina Rifles

Share

Members of the Royal Regina Rifles along with many dignitaries gathered on the grounds of the legislature Saturday for the first look at a new memorial statue.

The statue honours the sacrifice of the Regina Rifles and their sacrifice during WWII and was viewed by the public for the very first time.

"The intensity that is on that statue is what you see on the faces of young Canadian men and women when they serve in far off places in the world,” Ed Staniowski, Former Commanding Officer for the Royal Regina Rifles, said.

Two CT-155 Harvard II aircraft with the Royal Canadian Air Force began the commemorative ceremony - conducting a flyover of the legislative grounds.

The statue stands at 8-feet tall, and was crafted by Don Begg, an Alberta-based sculptor who owns Studio-West Foundry in Cochrane, Alta.

"I look at it that when you make something in bronze, it's going to last for thousands of years after we are long gone. So, you always try to do your best because you won't be around to make excuses."

Begg said he wanted the statue to be truly authentic to what the soldiers looked like while storming Juno Beach.

"They were very good about giving us the helmet and the jackets and the boots and everything to make it authentic for what they were wearing at that time in 1944."

Juno Beach was one of five beachheads stormed by Allied troops as part of Operation Overlord on June 6, 1944.

Considered the largest land, sea and air invasion in human history, the operation would open a second front against Nazi Germany and ultimately mark the beginning of the end for the Second World War in Europe.

Operation CALVADOS," Lead planner Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Ed Staniowski, OMM, CD on the right, His Excellency the Ambassador of France to Canada, Michel Miraillet, second from left, the ambassador’s Aide-de-Camp is on the left. (Gareth Dillistone / CTV News)

To help fund the creation of the statue, the Royal Regina Rifles put together an 18 month long fundraising campaign.

"We felt that there was something that needed to be done to commemorate the regiment, the Royal Regina Rifles did on those beaches of Normandy along with other regiments, very proud regiments, Canadian regiments and the air men and women above and the navy that was supporting from the sea," Staniowski said.

The statue will be flown to France later this spring.

It will be officially unveiled at the 80th commemoration of D-Day on June 6 at Juno beach where it will be permanently installed.

"Bringing this statue on this beach is also a way to mark that, please don't touch it and remind people what happened there in June 1944,” Michel Miraillet, the Ambassador of France to Canada, said. 

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

BREAKING

BREAKING Guilty: Trump becomes first former U.S. president convicted of felony crimes

Donald Trump became the first former U.S. president to be convicted of felony crimes Thursday as a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex.

Stay Connected