Corporal Alwyn Kenneth Ross, C35574

Corporal Ross's head stone at Beny-Sur-Mer Cemetery.
Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery – The Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, located at Reviers, about 4 kilometres from Juno Beach in Normandy, France. (J. Stephens)

5th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers

Alwyn Kenneth Ross was born in Martintown ON on 29 June 1915 and grew up there. He had four brothers and two half-brothers. He was single, had completed three years of high school and worked as a trucker in the steel construction business before the war.

Alwyn enlisted on 13 January 1942 in Kingston ON and joined the 5th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers, early in its formation. He undertook field engineer training for about two years in Canada and also qualified as a Concreter at the Engineer Training Centre in Camp Petawawa ON. In February, the unit embarked for the United Kingdom after being stationed at Kingston, Camp Borden and Terrace BC, in July 1943. After arriving in England, their training continued with the aim of preparing for the invasion of the Continent.

On 2 June 1944, the company on to loaded the Landing Craft Tanks at Southampton for the crossing to Normandy but were informed on 4 June that D-Day was to be postponed for 24 hours. They pulled out of Southampton docks at 0730 hours on 5 June and proceeded to cross the English Channel to the Normandy beaches.

The first landing craft reached the beaches at approximately 0745 hours on 6 June where they found the tides were considerably higher than had been anticipated. Most of the craft destined for 'Nan' Beach grounded in deep water causing considerable difficulty getting their equipment and personnel off the boat. Heavy German mortar and machine gun fire opened on the craft before disembarkation and caused several casualties.

Corporal Ross was a member of Sergeant Downing’s Number 4 Section that touched down at approximately 0815 hours. The Royal Marine Assault Regiment tanks and the two D7 bulldozers went off immediately. Cpl Ross and his party of sappers went ashore and immediately started removing shells and mines from the obstacles. Machine gun fire and shrapnel caused six casualties shortly after work had commenced, leaving only one man in the section. Heavy enemy fire cost 5th Field Company one Officer, one Sergeant, one Corporal and two Sappers as well as 17 wounded during their first two hours on the beach. At age 28, Corporal Alwyn Kenneth Ross was one of those killed. He is buried at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in France.

..... Based on research conducted by the Canadian Military Engineers Association and the 5th Field Company Veterans' Association