Personal Heart-Warming Connection: D-Day 75th Anniversary Commemoration

As a lover of history and the daughter, grandaughter, great-grandaughter of a British Royal Naval family raised in the heart of Naval City, Portsmouth, Hampshire, my heart connects with the commemoration of D-Day.

Proudly participating (as a local PR Company in Portsmouth) with the 50th commemoration prior to leaving my home-town area and moving to Canada, I reflect one particular artifact that has brought me joy during my early years in Canada.

Within my personal archives, I have two supplements produced by “The News.” The first outlining the D-Day and Overlord operation, the second a commemorative supplement detailing the events that took place Portsmouth/Southsea in 1994.

When ‘Poppy Day” came around (Remembrance Day – 11 November) I discovered a wonderful connection with the Canadian Servicemen selling poppies at the grocery store, Zerhs, and A & P.

The map featured in supplement laid out where the various battalions were camped-out in readiness for 6 June 1944 – D-Day.

Before leaving I was living in the village of Horndean  just north of Portsmouth – this is where 1st Battalion Queens Own Rifles of Canada and 1st Battalion Canadian Scottish Regiment were posted.  In nearby villages of Emsworth and Wickham were Le Regiment De La Chaudiere and 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment and at the top end of Portsmouth’s island at Hilsea, the Highland Light Infantry of Canada. Just around the harbour at Lee-on-Solent (an area close to where my father was stationed in the Fleet Airarm unit at HMS Daedalus) was another group of Canadians,  the 6th Armoured Regiment.

I hadn’t realized the significance of this wonderful map, which included British, American troops…. until I chatted with an elderly gent in Zerhs, Orangeville, Ontario, selling his poppies. He knew of the various villages very familiar to me – Clanfield, Cowplain and Horndean. We chatted a little…. about the region, and what it was like at that time.

Over the years, via Portsmouth ferries, I’ve taken trips to Normandy, to the beaches, cemeteries and Pegasus Bridge.

Sometimes it is particularly heart-warming to have an exchange with someone who knows where you were, and what you are referring to….. and can connect with your past memories.

Every year since, each November, I’ve made a point to drop by and chat to whoever is on duty selling poppies. Of course as time goes along the service men and women are of a different generation, and don’t have first-hand experience of this event.

We will remember…. Operation Overlord, and all the service men and women who contributed to keeping us free!

Seeking Descendants of Justin / Early Family Toronto/Streetsville Area

The Justin House, circa 1980

I was thrilled to see a fairly local historic home on a worldwide Vintage Group I belong to on FaceBook. The Justin House was located 7523 Winston Churchill Blvd. Conc 6, (WHS) West of Hurontario Street, Lot 13, (Streetsville identifier MC0688) built in 1827, the property was formerly listed on the Heritage Inventory but demolished in 1997.

Posted by Sean from St. Clair Township..  who is interested to locate family descendants as documents and images relating to the family. Let me know if you are connected to this family.

“The following description of the house is from a report, dated September 11, 1990, from R. G. B. Edmunds, Commissioner of Planning and Building, to the Chairman and members of the LACAC. “The house, known as the Justin House, was featured in the 1877 Illustrated Historical Atlas of Peel County, and was probably built in the late 1850s or early 1860s. The original owner of the property was Martin Justin, Sr., who was born in Queen’s County, Ireland, in 1790. He applied for a land grant in 1819 for the W 1/2 of Lot 13, and W 1/2 or Lot 12, Conc. 6, Toronto Township, a total of 200 acres. However, he died intestate before the land claims were finalized and was survived by his wife Eliza, and two sons. Both Eliza and the eldest son, William, applied to gain title to the land. In 1846, William Justin won legal title to both lots and sold the W 1/2 Lot 13, Conc. 6, to his brother, Martin, Jr., for £600 sterling.

Drawing taken from the 1877 Historical Atlas of Peel County


William Justin became the Magistrate of Streetsville and an upstanding member of the community.”  At the time the photo was taken (1980) the property was owned by Lisgar Twin Service and later (1990) by Entas Developments, who had made a proposal to develop the site for purposes of high-density office/commercial use. Edmunds’ report recommended that the property be designated historical, but it was demolished in 1997. Description as of December 2010.  Thanks to Jane McCormack for providing this wonderful photo.”

More recent findings are offered by Canadiana Room at Mississauga Central Library

“In Ancestry Martin James Justin notes he was married twice … first to Mary Ann Switzer by whom he had a son, but both mother and son died shortly afterwards. Martin remarried to Mary Elizabeth Cowan, and according to a tree on Ancestry, had a son who died unmarried at 18 and two daughters.  One daughter married a Frederick Early, according to the Ancestry tree, and they had two sons but as they were born in 1905 and 1907.”