Veteran Memories: Philip Cockburn, Tank driver, Canadian Army (1939–1946)
During the Second World War, Philip Cockburn was a tank driver with the Canadian Army, serving from 1939 to 1946.
“I was part of a tank corps with the Canadian Army in the Second World War. On D-Day (June 6, 1944), my tank floated for about a mile in the early morning waters of the English Channel before I landed on Juno Beach. I was one of the first Canadian tank drivers to arrive at Normandy. There wasn’t a lot of enemy gunfire then, but there was as the morning wore on. I lost a lot of friends that day.
“For the next year, I pushed through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. My tank floated again, this time across the Rhine River into Germany. That was on my 21st birthday.”
Today, Philip is among many veterans who live at St. Joseph's Parkwood Institute. Learn more about our Veterans Care Program.