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Loyalists and the Invasion of Normandy

Loyalists and the Invasion of Normandy

As we approach the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy in 1944, we have created this page dedicated to Loyalists and their descendants who participated in the landing at Juno Beach or the subsequent battle for Normandy.

Guidelines: A paragraph or two about the Loyalist ancestor, a lineage from Loyalist to descendant (just names of husband and wife in each generation) and the remainder about the WWII participant. If information is known about their activities around the time of the invasion, that should be a focus. Suggested length 6 - 800 words, but can be shorter or longer. Submissions to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

Alphabetical Index of Entries

Loyalists and the Invasion of Normandy

John Brecken UEL and Gordon Aitken UE

John Brecken UE came to Prince Edward Island in 1787 with his wife Ann Wake. He was a successful merchant in Charlottetown, having declined to take the land offered him elsewhere on the Island. He acquired a number of properties and must have been quite prosperous as he could afford to leave his business and return to his birthplace in Yorkshire, England, where he died in 1827.

His son Ralph Brecken predeceased him. Ralph was married in 1797 in Charlottetown to Matilda Robinson, the daughter of Loyalist Lt. Col. Joseph Robinson.

Ralph Brecken’s daughter, Barbara L. A. Brecken married Hon. James Peake. Their son was George Ellis Peake who married Alice Rebecca Deblois.

The daughter of George and Alice was Gladys Adele Peake, my grandmother, who married Edwin Aitken.

Their son was Henry Gordon Aitken who married Dorothy Kertland of Montreal, also a Loyalist descendant.

Gordon Aitken, my father, born in Charlottetown in 1916, lived in Montreal. In 1939 he joined the 17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars where he obtained his commission. As a young 2nd Lieutenant he trained at Camp Borden and transferred to the Army Service Corp. He sailed overseas with the 3rd Division in August 1941, three months after I was born. For the next three years he trained in southern England. In 1944 Captain Aitken was the Transport Officer in the 22nd Canadian Field Ambulance Company. He landed in France on June 6th, 1944, D-Day but late in the day. His job was to get the ambulances, trucks and jeeps off-loaded so his unit could set up the required casualty stations close to the fighting units as they moved inland.

As the Canadian Army in Normandy attempted to close the gap at Falaise, they mounted yet another attack on August 14th. This time the Allied bombers led a daylight advance that went very wrong. Numerous bombs fell short, killing many Canadian soldiers, including my father. I have visited his grave in the Canadian cemetery near the village of Cinteaux, between Caen and Falaise. There is a brick with his name on it at the Juno Beach Centre. My sons and I are very proud to carry his name.

— Submitted by Henry Gordon Aitken, Jr., Heritage Branch, UELAC