Memorial Cross Group- ”Johnny” Bolster, Normandy
1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence Medal; War Medal 1939-1945; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal; and Canadian Memorial Cross (C.120696 Rfmn. W.J. BOLSTER). Naming is officially engraved on the Cross. Original ribbons, very crisp detail, in original boxes (stars and medals) and case (CMC) of issue, extremely fine. Also includes: Queen's Own Rifles Cap Badge; two Queen's Own Rifles Shoulder Flashes; two CANADA Shoulder Flashes; Lapel Poppy; Canadian Pacific Telegram dated June 14, 1944; newspaper Death Notice; Memorial Cross Notice to his Widow; and two photographs. Accompanied by copies of his Attestation Paper, Service Records, Casualty Records, Will and Death Certificate. Footnote: William John "Johnny" Bolster was born in Cobourg, Ontario on November 12, 1914. He signed his Attestation Paper in Kingston, Ontario on March 23, 1943, stating that he was married to Ethel Aurora Bolster and his trade as Assistant Manager in a Variety Store Chain (Zeller's). He had had previous military experience with the 22nd Medium Battery in Cobourg, from March 1933 to 1935. After training in Canada, he was sent overseas on September 11, 1943 and disembarked in England on September 20. Bolster was assigned to Army Headquarters and was placed as a Clerk "C". On June 6, 1944, Rifleman Bolster was with "B" Company of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada. It was on the coast just to the north that the 3rd Canadian Division landed but he did not reach the beaches of Normandy, having no chance to defend himself from enemy fire. The landing barge which carried him as one of the Queen's Own was blown up. Although he did escape to the water, he was killed from enemy fire. In total, 335 officers and men of that division were killed in action or died of wounds. At the conclusion of that brutal day, there were only a handful of men left. His wife, Ethel Bolster of Brantford, Ontario, received a Canadian Pacific Telegram from the Director of Records in Ottawa, Ontario, dated June 14, 1944, eight days after that fateful day. It read: "Regret deeply C120696 Rifleman Wiliam John Bolster officially reported Killed in Action Sixth June 1944". Upon the Regiment's return home in October 1945, she learned that, not only had her husband died bravely but had gone into danger on his own insistence. Bolster had been working at Army Headquarters in England but when he found out that his unit was to move, he begged permision to go with his friends. He is buried at Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Calvados, France. In this cemetery are the graves of Canadians who gave their lives in the landings in Normandy and in the earlier stages of the subsequent campaign. Canadians who died during the final stages of the fighting in Normandy are buried in Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. There are a total of 2,048 burials in Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery.