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Victor Ray Bowers 27 th Canadian Armoured Regiment
Victor Ray Bowers 27 th Canadian Armoured Regiment Victor Bowers was born on January 16, 1912, in what used to be called Rockingham, now known as East Kemptville, Nova Scotia. He is the 6th generation of Bowers (Bauer) who came from Germany in the late 1700’s. His father, Horace Bower was from East Kemptville and his mother, Mabel Trefry was from Springhaven. He was one of five children, two brothers and two sisters. Before Victor went to war, it is known that he was a farmer. He and Ethel Julia Fitzgerald from Melbourne were married at the Comeau’s Hill Church. Enrolled with the Halifax Rifles at Mulgrave, Nova Scotia on April 12, 1941, he later found himself with the “B” Squadron of the 23rd Army Tank Regiment, Halifax Rifles, Canadian Armoured Corps. In 1939, the Second World War began. In 1940, the Minister of Defence of Canada decided to organize a regular Army Regiment in the Eastern Townships. This was formed by amalgamating the two units of the Sherbrooke Militia, the former 53rd and 54th Regiments. By amalgamating the names, this new Regiment became the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment, In 1942 the regiment resumed its role as an armoured unit, becoming the 27th ‘Armoured Regiment’. 1 The Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment, also called the 27th Armoured Regiment, covered itself with glory during World War II. On D-Day, it landed in Normandy with the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and took part in the first armoured battle on French soil. It was the spearhead of 1st Canadian Army’s thrust along the road from Caen to Falaise, and its tanks were the first to enter the city. The Regiment subsequently fought in the battle of the Trun breakthrough and took an effective part in the destruction of the German 7th Army. Apart from a day’s rest from time to time, it was continually in action from the start of the invasion. Its success is conclusively demonstrated by its battle statistics, which include the destruction of 115 German tanks. This is one of the highest figures of all the allied regiments that served in France. For their gallantry during the war, the Sherbrooke Fusiliers received 22 battle honours. Eleven of them decorate the regimental flag. Today the Sherbrooke Fusiliers continue to be one of the most active reserve units in the Canadian Forces. 1 Little is known about Victor during his days at war, as he would refrain from the topic, especially to his family. Documents suggest that he probably travelled by boat, as they landed in Normandy, France on d-Day - June 6, 1944. Then a mere 33 year old, Sergeant Bowers, a fitter in the 27th Canadian Armoured Corps, made some amazing accomplishments while on the battle field. “He has repaired and helped recover many tanks under most trying conditions in battle and has never failed to carry out his duties in an efficient and determined manner.” A map shows their entire trip commencing in Normandy, France, going up through Belgium, Holland and finishing at the German border with VE Day on May 8, 1945, making 76 brutal and terrifying combat stops along the way. Statistics show, on a “Roll of Honour” casualty list, that 89 soldiers were killed in action, 26 died of wounds, 5 missing in action, 1 was a prisoner of war, and 1 was a casualty from other causes. These brave young soldiers were all from the 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment, Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment, between the dates of June 6, 1944, and May 8, 1945, a mere eleven months to have lost so many soldiers. 1 www.army.forces.gc.ca OPERATION OVERLORD The route followed by the 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Sherbrooke Fusiliers) from D-Day, June 6, 1944 to V.E.-Day, May 8, 1945
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Sergeant Victor Ray Bowers was now a part of the the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment
Letter To His Aunt 1945 Germany 25/3/45 27 C.A.R (S.F.R) C.A.O.S. Dear Aunt Lizzie, I have thought about you many times but never got around to writing to you but now I am going to drop you a line even if it's only to say I am well and have been, or at least comparatively so, all along. I have had some close shaves but that is to be expected and we think little of it. I was writing to Ethel tonight and had to drop it in a hurry when Jerry came over from heck knows where and dropped a dozen or so bombs in our back door yard. But he won't drop any more as some of the boys just came in and said he crashed only a half mile or so up the road. So, that's one more good Jerry though there seems to be always some more. They must be getting thinned out some, I know. Anyway, I can't believe it will be much longer until it's all over. I hope not, anyway. It has been a long hard drag the last nine months. I don't know if I could take much more that I have already. But, I don't think I'll have to, as things are looking pretty good now. How have you been getting along and how is Uncle Albert these days. I understand they made pretty good fishing this year. I am glad they did as I am afraid there will be a few rainy days after this war is over and prices go down. So, I hope some of the poor people can lay away a little nest egg for later on. Well, Auntie, there isn't much news, at least none that I could write in a letter, as most all our letters are censored and we have to be careful what we write. So, I'll close for this time, with lots of love and best wishes to all. Give my best regards to Aunt Alice and Uncle Freeman. Tell them I will write soon as I get a chance. I don't often get a chance to write more than one letter at a time as in our line, we are on duty 24 hours a day. But it's not bad now to what it used to be farther back, as we can get a good night's sleep now and then, up here. But, back in France, we usually had to work about 20 hours of every day, and spend the remaining 4 hours in a trench to keep clear of Jerry's bombs. But, he don't seem to have much left to fight with any more. And, I think very soon now, he will be all finished. But, it can't come too soon to suit me. Well, Auntie, it is getting late so I will close for this time. As ever, “Victor” F.30573 Sgt. Bowers V. R. 27 CAR(S.F.R.) C.A.O.S
Military Medal Awarded to Sergeant Victor Ray Bowers
A Family Plaque
Victor was discharged from the war on December 4, 1945, "to return to civil life", as it quotes on his release documents. It should also be mentioned that he had not been injured, nor wounded while at war, no marks or scars were found on this amazing man's body. Once he returned home, he worked as a heavy equipment operator and did some work in Frobisher Bay. Upon coming back to Yarmouth, he worked for Kenney Construction, then Rodney Contractors, local construction firms. He later purchased a backhoe and went on his own. It has been said that a relatively large number of wells in the neighbouring villages and county of Yarmouth were probably dug by Victor and his backhoe. He also had a very keen eye and sights and scopes were put on a large number of guns & rifles. Members of his family were startled many times, as he had to test these guns for accuracy and usually did not forewarn anyone. Victor's wife, Ethel, passed away on July 30, 1992, and Victor four months later, on November 18th. True to form, on November 11, prior to his passing, he participated in the Remembrance Day Legion service. Victor left behind 7 children, 3 of which are deceased - Hilda (Winters), Raymond, and Merle. The remaining children are Geraldine LeBlanc of Wedgeport, Audrey Burke of Arcadia, Eldon (Tom) of Arcadia and June Muise of Quinan, as well as many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Source: Information, documents, and photos were provided by the family of Victor Bowers.