James Ernest Sawdon was born in Winnipeg MB on 17 March 1921. Sawdon’s father was Ernest Sawdon. James had three brothers; William who was 21, Robert who was 19 and Donald who was the youngest at 18 years of age. His sisters were Marjorie who was 23 and Barbara who was the youngest out of all the children at thirteen.
Sawdon was a truck driver before the war, but he indicated on his employment record sheet he did not desire to return back to driving after he came home from the war.
Sawdon enlisted in the Royal Canadian Engineers in Winnipeg, MB on 1 June 1940 at age 19. Sapper Sawdon completed his Pioneer training in Canada and was initially posted to the 2nd Battalion, RCE and arrived in England with them on 2 September 1940. On 2 December 1943, he was transferred to the 6th Field Company, RCE. By this time the Company was focused on Assault Training. This focus sharpened in the first few months of 1944 as preparations for the D-Day landing and assault intensified.
During the D-Day assault, Sapper Sawdon was part of L/Sgt W.A. Meek’s team supporting No 7 Platoon of A Company of The Regina Rifle Regiment during their assault on 'Nan Green' beach. He had calmly remarked to his colleague Sapper Spencer the night before the landing, “I will be meeting my mother in the morning” (his mother had died a few months earlier). He landed in the first wave and died on Juno beach - killed by rifle fire at the water’s edge. Sawdon was 23 years old.
James Ernest Sawdon is buried in the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in France.
....Based on research by a student at Smith Falls Collegiate Institute in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada and by the 6th Field Engineer Squadron Museum Association.