Link THE CANADIAN ARMY 1939 - 1945
In all, twenty-eight Canadians actually saw service as special agents in France during 1942-44. Of these a large number were qualified French-Canadian wireless operators from the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. This Corps provided more men for the work than any other corps or unit of the Canadian Army. Eight of these twenty-eight valiant spirits lost their lives in the service, in several cases after savage torture. Several agents dropped in the early months of 1944 were apprehended very soon after reaching France. The reason for the difficulties of this period is clear enough. Our invasion was impending, and the German counter-espionage had received orders to liquidate the resistance in France at any cost. In certain instances the Gestapo had succeeded in “controlling” a resistance circuit; that is to say, after arresting its members, the Germans continued to send back false messages to London in the proper code. As a result of such a deception, at least two Canadians parachuted straight into the arms of the Gestapo in March 1944. On the other hand, several who were dropped into France during the weeks immediately before or after D Day were able to operate effectively and return safe and sound, for now the Resistance had taken the field in strength and the Gestapo was fighting a defensive battle. During these inspiring days more than one Canadian commanded an active Maquis force of strength equivalent to a brigade.