LCpl John Thomas Kellington Ferguson, 6th Fd Coy

The BAYEUX MEMORIAL stands opposite the cemetery and bears the names of more than 1,800 men of the Commonwealth land forces who died in the early stages of the campaign and have no known grave. They died during the landings in Normandy, during the intense fighting in Normandy itself, and during the advance to the River Seine in August.

John Thomas Kellington "Jack" Ferguson was born in Vancouver on 16 August 1912 to Robert and May Ferguson. He left school at the age of 14 and in May 1936 married Elizabeth Mary Mayo of Vernon, BC. When he enlisted on 9 August 1940, he had been working as a welder for the Irrigation Supply Company in Penticton BC for three years. He was posted into the 6th Field Company RCE on 15 October 1940. He became a father on 12 December 1940 when his son Douglas John was born. By that time Jack was in Debert NS, but he was granted 14 days leave in February 1941 to travel by train back to Vernon to see his wife and child. Sapper Ferguson went overseas with the 6th Field Company RCE in June 1941.

For the first summer, the unit was heavily involved in building the camps that were required for the accommodation of the increasing number of Canadian troops in Canada. Then, until the end of 1942, the Company was heavily committed to training – both in the technical Combat Engineering skills required for warfare as well as participating in a number of exercises to developing their team skills and ability to support Combat Arms units. 1943 saw the training emphasis focusing on Assault Training with its focus further sharpening in the first few months of 1944 to the preparations for the D-Day landing and assault. In May 1944 Ferguson was promoted to Lance Corporal.

Lance Corporal Ferguson’s sub-section was supporting No 7 Platoon of The Regina Rifle Regiment in the first wave on D-Day. Seriously wounded by rifle fire, he did not complain as his colleague Sapper Spencer (who had also been wounded) cared for him and gave him a drink from his water bottle. Ferguson realized he was dying and asked if Sapper Spencer would take his ring and give it to his son. Spencer tried to comfort him by telling him he would be OK and so didn’t take the ring. Later that day Sapper Ferguson was evacuated to a hospital ship where he died of his wounds aboard ship and was buried at sea. His name is commemorated on the Bayeux Memorial in Calvados, France. His ring eventually reached his son.

..... Based on Research conducted by a student at Smiths Falls Collegiate Institute in Smiths Falls, Ontario, with additional material from the 6th Field Engineer Squadron Museum Association.

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