D-Day vet remembers the cycles of war

Canadian highland regiments come ashore on Juno Beach late in morning of June 6, 1944.
Canadian highland regiments come ashore on Juno Beach late in morning of June 6, 1944.

Allan Dick helped liberate France with two wheels and a rifle.

“We had bicycles, airborne bicycles, but we didn’t use them,” he said. “We walked faster.”

Dick, now 92, landed at Juno Beach on the Normandy coast on June 6, 1944. His regiment, Hamilton Light Infantry (HLI), operated as a reserve brigade during the invasion. Nevertheless, he was wounded in the leg on June 17, 1944 and sent back to England for treatment; he spent five days in hospital and then re-joined his regiment to finish the war. Unlike Dick, not all of his friends survived the war.

“You saw your friends getting killed and they just put them in a blanket and took them to the cemetery,” said Dick.

Canadian veteran Allan Dick taking in Remembrance observance at Centennial College, Nov. 11, 2014.
Canadian veteran Allan Dick taking in Remembrance observance at Centennial College, Nov. 11, 2014.

Allan Dick has been a regular participant in the Centennial College East York campus Remembrance Day event; one of the regular flag bearers, he and his Royal Canadian Legion Branch 617 have provided colour party for the Centennial observance for 15 years.

Dick joined the HLI at 19, in 1943, trained in Canada, and was transferred to Southampton, in England, to prepare for D-Day. When he came ashore on June 6, he said he had to exit a landing craft into hip-deep water with 60 pounds of ammunition over his shoulder and face a well-fortified enemy firing back For

Allan Dick, Nov. 11 is a day to remember the friends he lost and the people who helped him along the way.

“In the army you make your own friends and your own life,” Dick said.