16th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers
Paul Barrette was born in Montreal QC on 10 September 1910. The son of Arthur and Diana, he had three brothers and two sisters. He left school before the age 13 and was single and working as a mechanic with the local electric power company when he enlisted on 15 July 1940.
Over the next year, Paul completed his individual training with the 16th Field Company and on 18 June 1941, his unit embarked at Halifax for the United Kingdom. In England, Paul continued his individual training to upgrade his Pioneer qualifications as well as becoming trained as a Fitter and an Engine Artificer. He progressed in rank and was confirmed at the rank of Sergeant on 5 September 1943. The intensity of unit training increased in Spring 1944 as they prepared for the planned assault on the Continent.
On D-Day, several parties from 16th Field Company landed at H-Hour ahead of the infantry to provide immediate support for their assault. Despite the high water that brought landing troubles, two sections reached the beach along with their armoured bulldozers. They cleared a 50-foot gap in the beach obstacles within a half-hour.
While working on the beach, the troops were frequently under fire from German machine guns and mortars. As they moved off the beach, enemy sniper fire was the worst problem. Sergeant Barrett was the single D-Day fatality from 16th Field Company. Paul rested in a temporary grave at St Aubin Sur-Mer until removed to his permanent grave in Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in France
..... Based on research conducted by the Canadian Military Engineers Association.