A Highland Light Infantry D-Day Participant Memorial Cross 1944
A Highland Light Infantry D-Day Participant Memorial Cross 1944 - Group of Six to Private John Charles Downing, Highland Light Infantry of Canada (Died of Wounds): 1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence Medal; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp; War Medal 1939-1945; and Memorial Cross, George VI (A.104686 Pte. J.C. DOWNING). Naming is engraved on the MC. Un-mounted, original ribbons, dark patina on the MC, residue in the recessed areas of the F&GS from cleaning, extremely fine. Accompanied by a Highlight Light Infantry Cap Badge (silvered bronze, unmarked, 57.3 mm x 58 mm, intact lugs and pin, gilt wear and oxidation evident), along with copies of Index Cards, Attestation Paper, Service Records, War Diary (July 8th - 9th, 1944), Medical Records, Dental Records, Pay Records, Will, Official Canadian Army Overseas Casualty Notification, Province of Ontario Certificate of Registration of Death, Medal Awards Card, assorted correspondence between the Government and his mother and a photograph of Downing's Grave Marker. Group of Seven to Corporal Cecil Herbert Downing, Royal Canadian Air Force: 1939-1945 Star; Africa Star; Burma Star; Defence Medal; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp; War Medal 1939-1935; and Canadian Forces' Decoration, George VI (CPL C.H. DOWNING). Naming is officially engraved on the reverse of the Canada suspension bar on the CFD. Un-mounted, original ribbons, light contact, oxidation evident on all three Stars, gilt wear on the CFD, very fine. Accompanied by copies of his Attestation Paper, Service Records and Service Award Card (confirming his award of the six WWII medals). Footnote: Cecil Herbert Downing (age 16) and John Charles Downing (age 14) departed Liverpool, England on March 16, 1929 aboard the S.S. Cedric, arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 24th. They were sponsored by the National Children's Homeland Orphanage party and were to engage in Farming. Their parents were John F. "Ernest" Downing and Annie Downing of 1 Arbeland Place, Ebrington Street, Kingsbridge, South Devonshire, England and had one sister, Marie Downing (Mrs. Marie Rowe). John Charles Downing was born on October 8, 1914 in Plymouth, Devon County, England. He completed Grade 8 before coming to Canada in 1929. His last job was as a Stockman with Elliott & Marr in London, Ontario before signing his Attestation Paper on September 28, 1942 (A-104686) at No. 1 District Depot in London, Ontario, at the age of 27, naming his next-of-kin as his mother, Annie Downing, stating that he had no previous military service, that he was Single and that his trade was that of Wholesale Grocer. He was posted to No. 13 Basic Training Centre at Listowel, Ontario, where he completed Basic Training (Rifle) on December 5, 1942 and Advanced Training (Rifle) on January 29, 1943 at the Canadian Infantry Corps Training Camp at Camp Ipperwash. While at Camp Ipperwash, he was treated for a case of Scarlet Fever and admitted to Westminster Hospital in London. He was allocated to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders for ten weeks, from February 19 to May 4, 1943, then returned to Camp Ipperwash. He was struck off strength of CICTC Ipperwash to the Canadian Army Overseas on May 11, 1943, disembarked on May 23rd in the United Kingdom and posted to the Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit. Ten weeks later, he was struck off strength to the Highland Light Infantry of Canada on August 5th. In 1944, the German forces had advanced to the coastline in Normandy. Downing embarked the United Kingdom on June 4, 1944, disembarking in France on the 6th, as part of the Allied force invading France by launching Operation Neptune, the beach landing operation of Operation Overlord. After the landing, Downing soon found himself participating in the Battle for Caen. In the War Diary, dated July 8, 1944, the following was noted: "All (Companies) had reached and taken their objective and were consolidating. Mortaring shelling by the enemy from ST. CONTEST and BITOT on the left flank were exacting a heavy toll by the minute. So continuous and severe was the shelling that even slit trenches were not safe. The enemy followed his old habits of bringing to bear all the fire he possessed on his own position once it was overrun." It went on to state that "During the afternoon the enemy continued to shell every corner of the village systematically and submitted many casualties on our troops. There were too many casualties for out S.Bs. (Stretcher Bearers) to handle and not enough Jeeps or stretchers available to handle all the casualties. This was a very noticeable point and has since been corrected. Only a Jeep or Carrier could hope to run through the heavy shell fire that cut the HURON-VIEUX CAIRON road." On July 8, 1944, Downing became a casualty at Caen, suffering a gun shot wound to his head, with the wound "penetrating the skull". He was admitted to No. 14 Canadian Field Ambulance but his injuries were so severe that he was transferred to No. 81 British General Hospital for treatment. His left leg had to be amputated. The doctor noted in his report that Downing's "Head turned & held to (the) right. Pupils small & equal. Restless. Not lucid, moaning. Left arm flaccid, slight swelling dorsum of left hand." A later notation stated that "I think prognosis is very poor on this man but try resuscitation." It was stated that he "Died before resuscitation measures could be taken". Downing died on July 9, 1944, at the age of 29 and was buried in the hospital cemetery, before being re-interred in Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Calvados, France, Grave 2, Row A, Plot 9. In his Will, dated October 1, 1942, he left "all my estate both real and personal" to his mother, Mrs. Annie Downing. His personal effects returned to his mother included a leather wallet, comb, safety pin, booklet with calendar and mirror, bottle opener, railroad ticket, mess sitting card, legion card and ten snape grass seeds. She noticed that other items, which included a Swan fountain pen, Wrist Identity disc, a ring, medals and miscellaneous coins were not there and she had to have the government put out a tracer for them, with all eventually being returned to her. She also received $551.34 from her son's service estate and had his medals forwarded to her on November 4, 1949. Cecil Herbert Downing enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force (R225855) at RCAF Divisional Headquarters on June 28, 1945 in Bombay (now Mumbai), India. He was posted in India for the remainder of the war, embarking Bombay on October 3rd and arriving in the United Kingdom on October 26th and placed with No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre. During transit, he was named Corporal on October 1st. From November 11th to the 19th he was at Aberdeen University, before returning to No. 3 PRC. Downing returned to Canada in 1946, posted to Lachine, Quebec in August 1946, followed by a permanent posting for the next seven years to Weston, Ontario in September 1946. He was promoted to Sergeant on August 1, 1951 and discharged from service with the RCAF on July 31, 1953.