Dennis Gerard McLaughlin was born in Edmonton, AB in 1917. The Canadian Press reported him as having been seriously wounded in February 1944, shortly after arriving in Italy with the 10th Field Squadron a few months earlier. He fought bravely through Italy and the Netherlands, becoming one of only ten Canadian soldiers receiving a bar to the Military Medal, the second one for gallantry under fire in Holland.
Sgt McLaughlin was in 3 Troop led by Lt Doug Graham. A short description of 3 Troop's time in Italy is included in Doug Graham's story which tells of his actions at Coriano Ridge on the same night, netting him a Military Medal. See: Lt James Douglas Graham, 10th Field Squadron, Military Cross for details.
After the war, Sgt McLaughlin re-enrolled in the Royal Canadian Engineers and served until 1968 – including serving in Korea with 23rd Fd Sqn RCE. He retired while serving with Number 3 Engineer Stores Depot in Camp Petawawa. The Construction Engineering headquarters building in CFB Petawawa is named for Staff Sergeant D.G. McLaughlin, MM and Bar, CD.
On the night of 12/13 September 1944, 11 Canadian Infantry Brigade was attacking the Coriano Ridge. No.3 Troop, 10 Field Company [sic], was detailed to open one wheeled and one tracked diversion across the Besanica, all bridges having previously been demolished. From 0100 hours on, the crossings were under continuous mortar fire and light machine gun fire from Coriano. Shelling was intermittent but heavy and made it impossible to work anywhere in the area. By 0500 hours it was apparent that tanks and supporting weapons were vital to success as enemy armour was moving in on the leading companies. Appreciating the situation and with full knowledge of the risks involved, Sergeant McLaughlin on his own initiative led a Sherman bulldozer down to the diversion. The light was not sufficient for the machine to work alone and Sergeant McLaughlin, under continuous fire, personally directed the work of the Sherman and successfully completed the crossing. By his personal bravery and coolness under heavy fire, Sergeant McLaughlin enabled armour to cross the Besanica in time to counter the enemy thrust and thus made it possible for the infantry capture of the ridge. During the period 1 September-31 December 1944, Sergeant McLaughlin has continued to lead his troop in an outstanding manner, often beyond the line of normal duty, particularly when under fire.