Finding a Needle in a Haystack

That is a fair comparison…

How to validate what my wife’s uncle said back in July 2009 at a family reunion?

His name was not in the Book.

I have looked at that picture a hundred times to find him.

The subject of WWII came up in the family reunion when my wife talked about another of her uncle, Jean Bachand, who was wounded on the beach of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

I was quite knowledgeable about WWII… so I thought!

HMCS Athabaskan did not participate in Operation Overlord. But I did not know that nor did I know anything about that ship, not even her name.

HMCS Athasbaskan G07

Jean Bachand, my wife’s uncle, died in 1964 from complications from his wounds he received on Juno Beach. He was a soldier with Les Fusiliers de Mont-Royal regiment. Little is known in the family about his service record.

I knew very little about Les Fusiliers de Mont-Royal regiment. What I have learned since then is that this regiment was not part of the invasion force on D-Day.

How could he have been on the beach?

I was told that most probably he had been temporarily transfered to another regiment that landed on Juno Beach.

Any how, he was wounded that’s for sure… You can’t make up such a story.

Pierre Bachant, Jean’s brother, was listening to all this quietly at the family reunion. He was the reason why we got together. Pierre wanted to see his three nieces and his nephew. He was 81 years-old in 2009 and he knew he had little time left.

I did not know that.

Pierre Bachant carried a secret buried deep inside.

I did not know that.

He dropped the name of a ship… Athabaskan.

To be continued…, but before I leave…

Where is Karen’s father?

Leading Seaman E. Anderson, number 3530, from Edmonton, Alberta

As a footnote to this… I think I have finally found my wife’s uncle in the picture.


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