Veteran recalls his deadly role in D-Day invasion

On a moonlit night in June 1944, Martin Maxwell, a glider pilot with Allied forces, landed his aircraft near a bridge in Normandy, France. He then joined invasion troops seizing the bridge and quietly killing the German sentries with bayonets. Maxwell, 20, hadn’t even finished high school.

“It didn’t feel good, let me tell you that,” he said. “It changed my life; the war made me who I am.”

Maxwell, now 92, was born in Austria in 1924. He will be speaking of his service in the Second World War during a Remembrance Day observance at Centennial College’s East York campus on Nov. 11.

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To survive the war, he longed for home

Despite the destruction and chaos of war, Sid Giddings’ father thought constantly of home.

“He said when he was lying there and bullets were flying around his head … all he thought about was my mom and me,” Giddings said.

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A son recalls his father’s wartime survival stories

Around Remembrance Day, Michael Warren’s son recalls his father’s toughest wartime memory in Belgium during the Second World War. “My dad said the Germans knew exactly where they were,” Daniel Warren said. “Sometime during the night, (his father’s unit) started getting bombed and the commanding officer told everybody to ‘Stay in your trenches. Don’t get out.’ In the morning, my dad was the only one alive. He lost 19 of his friends. He said, ‘It’s just pure luck.’”

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Remembering the noise and commotion of wartime

John Thornton was nearly six years old and the noise of war seemed all around them, he and his mother sought shelter beneath the stairs of their home in a small town north of London, England. “There was a lot of activity at night time with the convoys coming through, particularly the tanks that came through the main street where we lived,” he said, “like a minor earthquake that would shake and rumble the houses.”

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Chance encounter at D-Day cemetery reveals soldier’s story

Isabella Meltz recently started lighting a yarhzeit candle every year for her uncle. In the Jewish tradition, the candle signifies remembrance on the anniversary of someone’s death. An unexpected encounter with a curious journalist provided Meltz the opportunity to revisit her uncle’s memory and preserve the few details of his death as a Canadian soldier during the Second World War.

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College revisits D-Day

He also remembered recovering from a wound received from a German sniper, and the welcome attention he got in hospital from “six young ladies in training.”