DeVries, Jan

Jan De Vries was 18 years old when he decided to enter the war. He joined the army and passed basic training, choosing to enlist in the paratrooper – or Para – battalion. He went overseas in 1943; in England the Paras continued their training.

On June 5, 1944 the men got up and prepared the parachutes for D-Day. It was still stormy and they were surprised that they were sent off. De Vries was in one of the first Para battalions to land. He had to go in to capture a field, knock out a German headquarters, blow a bridge and protect the field so the rest of the troops could come in. Chaos reigned the first night, but he did achieve his objective, going on to fight his way through Normandy, the Netherlands, and into Germany. Jan is an Order of Canada recipient and we are very pleased to have hosted him at Crestwood.