Excerpt From Assault On Juno

Chapter Two

A coin toss decided it. Two of the four Queen’s Own Rifles companies would be part of the assault on Juno Beach. The four company commanders tossed coins to decide who would have the honor. The Dalton brothers won. They would each have the honor of leading the chage. But likely one or both would die. Majors Charles and Elliott Dalton were both brothers and close friends. Charles, commander of ‘B’ Company, was six years older and considered it his job to protect Elliott. The fact was, Elliott should not have been in the coin toss anyway. But when ‘A’ Company’s commaner fell ill at the last moment, he replaced the man.

Charles decided to try to stop this. He found Lieutenant Colonel Jock Spragge on the bridge of New Zealand passenger liner SS Monowai. Spragge commanded the Queen’s Own. Fond of his men, he had decided on the coin toss that would determine who led the first landing wave. Unable to make the decision on his own, he let chance decide.

“Don’t send Elliott in on the first wave,” Charles said. “You know what it will do to our mother if we both die.”

Spragge knew. The Queen’s Own were a tight-knit Toronto regiment. Every officer knew the families of his fellow officers. Charles, who was thirty-three, had joined the regiment’s cadets in 1925. Elliott had soon followed. Spragge had known the two brothers ever since. He had been in the Dalton home many times. “There’s nothing I can do,” he replied. To set aside the result would be unfair to whoever replaced Elliott. Charles understood. So he did not argue as hard as he would have liked. Instead, he returned to the ship’s deck.

About the Author

Mark Zuehlke is an award-winning author generally considered to be Canada’s foremost popular military historian. His Canadian Battle Series is the most exhaustive recounting of the battles and campaigns fought by any nation during World War II to have been written by a single author.

Recent Posts

Scoundrels, Dreamers & Second Sons

British Remittance Men in the Canadian West Between 1880 and 1914, thousands of British remittance men came to the Canadian West, urged overseas by a rapidly changing British society. In a land of cowboys and loggers, their attempts to recreate the aura of landed...

Excerpt From Through Blood and Sweat

From the museum, a group of us travel in several cars to the junction of the main highway and the road to Valguarnera, where fifteen markers have been planted. They have been set out in three groups of five. The dozen or so people present conduct a short ceremony at...

Through Blood and Sweat Released

"We should not need [monuments] to picture a past battlefield and the horrors endured there. But their presence definitely helps to focus the mind, reinforce the solemnity of emotion that is so inherent in the act of remembrance." Through Blood and Sweat takes readers...

2014 Winner of the Pierre Berton Award

Proud to have won the 2014 Governor General's History Award for Popular Media, The Pierre Berton Award. Great honour to receive the award personally from the Governor General David Johnston at Rideau Hall, Ottawa. Article From CanadasHistory.ca

Conatct Mark:

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)


    Your Message