Watch: "It was organised confusion": Canadian D-Day veterans share their memories, 75 years on

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By Viola Stefanello
U.S. reinforcements land on Omaha beach near Vierville sur Mer, France.
U.S. reinforcements land on Omaha beach near Vierville sur Mer, France.   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Cpt Herman Wall/US National Archives/Handout via Reuters

The navy "running around on these funny ships", the fierce wind, the choppy bay. 

75 years after the Allied forced landing operation started in Normandy on June 6, 1944, Canadian veteran Charles Louis Scot-Brown remembers it all.

"It was organised confusion", he says. Instructed to get the two local radio stations with his fellow soldiers, he recalls: "We started to clean out the inside and we used smoke grenades to get them out of the radar stations. Then we took them prisoners".

Scot-Brown was one of the 156,177 troops who were deployed throughout on D-Day, from five infantry divisions and three airborne divisions. He landed on Juno Beach, together with the other 21,000 Canadians who took part in the operation. The Americans would be sent to Utah and Omaha beaches, the British to Gold and Sword beaches.

Today, there's one thing the World War II veteran knows for sure: "It was not a matter of if we were going to win it. We had to win it". He went on to fight in Belgium, the Netherlands and later Germany and retired in 1970, after reaching the grade of Captain.

"Make sure you don' get killed"

"Our operations was to go over at a relatively low level and bomb a very small launching site. We had to fly lower than normal", remembers Jack Burch, who served in the Royal Air Force at the time. He was 19 when D-Day happened. "There were 125,000 members of bombers command, there were 55,000 casualties. That is how dangerous it was", he says today.

George Chow, another Canadian veteran who had enrolled at the young age of 19, unbeknownst to his parents, in 1940, was on the Normandy beach as a simple driver for the intelligence officer: "The main thing is that you got to keep making sure that you don't get killed. That's about all it is".

His memories of that day still haunt him: "When we went over there, we saw bodies on the side of the road. It's pretty sad. It could be your own people too. You try not to think about it".