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Saskatchewan Recognizes Contributions of Veterans and Royal Regina Rifles on 80th Anniversary of D-Day in France

Released on May 31, 2024

An eight-foot bronze statue depicting a World War II Canadian Soldier, commemorating the Royal Regina Rifles and their contributions on D-Day, has arrived in France for the 80th anniversary of the Juno Beach landings. The statue will be unveiled next week in Normandy. 

Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport Laura Ross will be travelling to France to represent the Province of Saskatchewan and participate in the unveiling of the Royal Regina Rifles Statue and the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. 

"This statue has travelled thousands of kilometres to be unveiled as part of the 80th anniversary of D-Day celebrations," Ross said. "The Royal Regina Rifles have a proud history, and our government is honoured to have supported them in commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Regiment's sacrifices during the Second World War."

Then called The Regina Rifle Regiment, they landed in the first wave on Juno Beach as part of the Normandy D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. Nicknamed "The Johns," the regiment was made up of young men from across the province. During World War II, 458 members of The Regina Rifle Regiment made the ultimate sacrifice, including 108 casualties, on D-Day. 

Statue of soldier landing on the beach in Normandy.

"The Rifles were a dagger pointed at the heart of Nazi tyranny," Lead planner Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Ed Staniowski, OMM, CD said. "Over the next 11 months, soldiers from across Saskatchewan made countless sacrifices, often the ultimate sacrifice for liberation and freedom. For generations the statue will be a reminder of the connection between the liberated people of France and the Province of Saskatchewan."

The Government of Saskatchewan provided $40,000 to support The Royal Regina Rifles Trust's Tour of Honour for the 80th Anniversary of Operation Overlord (D-Day). The statue was created by world-renowned sculptor, Don Begg, of Cochrane, Alberta, who will also be in attendance. 

In April, the Royal Regina Rifles Trust participated in a commemorative ceremony on Peepeekisis Cree Nation. More than 50 members of the Peepeekisis First Nation served in the Second World War. Many landed on Juno Beach as Regina Rifles. 

The statue will be officially unveiled on June 5, at Bretteville l'Orgueilleuse at la Place des Canadiens.


For more information, contact:

Maryann Anderson
Parks, Culture and Sport
Phone: 306-533-5535

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