Kingston, Earl

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                                        EARL KINGSTON
                               School Remembers a Fallen Soldier
                                        by Dan Benoit


Earl Kingston was just 28 years old when he crossed the English Channel heading for Juno Beach in Normandy as part of the Allied invasion of Nazi-controlled Europe. It was June 6, 1944, and the soldier from Miramichi died that day in the battle that history remembers as D-Day.

But thanks to Erin MacDonald, her teacher and classmates at Ian Baillie Primary School, her great-uncle will be remembered. A brick marking the soldier's sacrifice will be added to the Juno Beach memorial in France. "In memory of Private Earl Kingston, Ian Baillie Primary School, Miramichi, N.B.," the inscription on the brick will read.

Grade 3 students at Ian Baillie Primary School have been learning about the Miramichi's involvement in one of the most important battles of the Second World War for Remembrance Day. Pat Lange, who teaches social studies at the school, has been teaching his students about D-Day, during which men from the New Brunswick North Shore Regiment landed on Juno Beach. These men were among more than 175,000 British, Canadian and American troops who landed on five Normandy beaches under intense fire to begin an invasion to free Europe from the Nazis. "I (became) interested when they opened up the Juno Beach centre in June," Lange said.

The 21,000 British and Canadians who landed on Juno Beach suffered some of the heaviest losses of the invasion, with 340 killed in action. Of the four other invasion beaches, Utah, Omaha, Gold and Sword, only Omaha Beach, still known as Bloody Omaha, suffered more causalities then Juno.

Some of the soldiers who were killed were relatives of Lange's Grade 3 students. He wanted to teach his students about the sacrifice their relatives made for the cause of freedom, so he came up with the idea of dedicating a brick at the Juno Beach memorial, he said.

Lange held a draw for the students who had lost a family member at Juno Beach to determine whose name would be put on the memorial brick. "I figured it was the only fair way to do it." Erin MacDonald, the daughter of Vicki and David MacDonald, won the draw. The Grade 3 students held a bake sale to raise money for the brick. The response from the parents was great, he said. "In two days' time we raised exactly $300."

Ian Baillie is one of only two schools in New Brunswick (the other is Riverview Elementary School in Riverview) to take an interest in the memorial, he said. The students are responding well to the lessons about the Second World War. "They're very, very interested. They're fascinated by the war."

The cost of dedicating the brick is $250. A wooden replica of the brick was purchased for $25 and the remaining $25 will be donated to the Legion poppy fund. Lange said he plans to go to Normandy next summer to take pictures of the brick.

The opening of the Juno Beach Centre at Courseullessur-Mer in Normandy on June 6, 2003, followed a seven-year effort to establish the first permanent memorial to Canada's effort in the Second World War. The museum at the centre (its website is www.junobeach.org) includes a simulated approach to the D-Day beaches by landing craft, as well as displays on the theatres of operations and the events of the Second World War in Canada and overseas. It also includes explanations of military hardware and tactics, such as how minesweeping works, or how a convoy was organized. A special section is a children's circuit aimed at those eight to 13 years old. The centre is intended to provide recognition of Canada's military and civilian contributions during the Second World War.

"It will preserve for future generations the knowledge of the contributions of that generation of Canadians and honour the gifts of valour and freedom that were given by all Canadians who participated," the centre says on its website.

Facts about the war: Here are a few facts about what Canadians did during the Second World War, as collected by CBC on-line:

 1.1 million Canadians served in the war, including 106,000 in the Royal Canadian Navy and 200,000 in the Royal Canadian Air Force  42,042 Canadians were killed in the war  54,414 Canadians were wounded in the war  14,000 Canadians landed on D-Day  450 jumped by parachute or landed by glider  10,000 sailors of the RCN were involved in the war  340 sailors were killed in the war  574 sailors were wounded in the war  47 sailors were taken prisoners of war  During the first six days of the Normandy campaign, 1,017 Canadians died  By the end of the Normandy campaign, about 5,020 Canadians had been killed. About 5,400 Canadians are buried in Normandy  In the two and a half months of the Normandy campaign, Allied casualties (killed, wounded and captured) totalled 210,000  Canadian casualties in the Normandy campaign totalled more than 18,000, including more than 5,000 dead  German casualties in the Normandy campaign totalled 450,000


Source: Miramichi Leader – November 11, 2003

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