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75 years later, Regina Rifles commemorate D-Day

Click to play video: 'Royal Regina Rifles commemorated on D-Day anniversary' Royal Regina Rifles commemorated on D-Day anniversary
WATCH: Of the thousands of troops who landed in France 75 years ago, hundreds were from Regina. – Jun 6, 2019

Veterans, soldiers and the public gathered at the Victoria Park Cenotaph on Thursday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasions.

Of the nearly 150,000 allied troops who took part in the invasion, hundreds were from the Canadian regiment, the Regina Rifles. To this day, the actions of the Regina Rifles on D-Day remain a point of pride among their ranks.

“The Regina Riflemen trained for almost five years from 1939 to 1945 to prepare for their D-Day deployment,” said Regina Rifles honorary Lt.-Gen. Randy Brooks, who commanded the Rifles in the late 80s.

Early in the morning of June 6, 1944, four Regina Rifles companies landed on Juno beach at Courseulles-sur-Mer with the goal of capturing the region. They succeeded by nightfall, capturing Courseulles and several other inland towns.

“The landing craft arrived, the ramps came down, the soldiers fought their way through the beaches, the obstacles and the towns on the coast to an objective on the map they called elm,” Brooks said. “The Regina Rifles were the first regiment to achieve their objective on D-Day.”

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Brooks said 458 Regina Riflemen died during and after the D-Day landings.

A map of the Regina Rifles’ path of assault on D-Day. It can be found in the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 001 Regina. Their regiment number (56) can also be seen, along with the regiment’s nickname, the “Regina Johns”. Connor O'Donovan / Global News

READ MORE: Canadians gather on Juno Beach to mark 75th anniversary of D-Day

Second World War veteran Jeanne Tweten attended Thursday’s ceremonies. Tweten served as a radar operator for the British Royal Air Force on the Isle of Wight. She recalled reacting to the D-Day invasions with a mixture of emotions.

“It was a good thing. It was a pity that so many people got killed, but that’s what happens in wartime, unfortunately,” Tweten said.

Conservative Party leader and Regina-Qu’Appelle MP Andrew Scheer also attended the commemoration. He spoke highly of the efforts of the Royal Canadian Legion Regina Branch.

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“We’re always only one generation away from losing our freedom and ability to live our lives the way we do in Canada,” Scheer said. “The legions are doing a great job of capturing those memories so that future generations of Canadians can have a very tangible awareness of what the fight was like.”

READ MORE: From Prairie boy to aviation legend: Second World War veteran recalls D-Day

Global News also spoke to Second World War veteran Harold Hague on Thursday morning. Hague worked on a minesweeping ship during the D-Day invasion. Echoing Scheer, Hague said that though humanity will likely never see an invasion like that of D-Day again, its details should never be forgotten.

“Young people need to remember these things so that they don’t take their freedom, their free way of life for granted.”

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