Thursday, October 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Woman recalls father’s role in D-Day invasion

bates column sig

By
From page A2 | May 29, 2014 |

“As time proceeds, memories diminish, and the significance ebbs into oblivion. Occasional bursts of remembrance may capture a moment in time and permits some symbolic gesture of recognition for an event that occurred 70 years ago: the Normandy invasion.”

“Presidents, prime ministers, and royalty will assemble on the week of June 6, 2014, to commemorate that profoundly historic event . . . . Elected and appointed leaders of nations will make speeches, recounting the events. Then, as quickly as they assembled, the crowds will disappear and the events they came to commemorate will drift with the tide.”

That’s from the June 2014 edition of American Legion Magazine. But local resident and retired teacher Cathy Canaday will never forget Bert Dawson, her father, and the role he played in the Normandy invasion.

“Our parents’ generation did not talk about the war, so most of the information here was gleaned from a biography written by my daughter, Patricia, for an eighth-grade book contest,” Canaday wrote in an email. Her book, “My Hero,” took first place at a Solano County Reading Contest. Then in 2004, when her daughter was in college, the Canadays traveled to the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion and plan to attend the 70th anniversary next month.

World War II started when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. By 1940, Germany had invaded Austria, part of Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France. Later that year, Germany began an air attack against Britain to prepare for an invasion.

Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, her father Bert Dawson joined the Army Air Corps. There was a great need for pilots because this was an aerial war fought against Hitler and the Germans. Pilot training was offered first to college graduates and then later to those who could pass a rigorous I.Q. test. Her father passed the test and went to Biggs Field, Texas for training.

Being a typical 19-year-old, Dawson buzzed a farmer riding a tractor during his solo flight and was immediately busted from staff sergeant to private first class. When asked what else he could do, his reply – “I can shoot” – immediately sent him to gunnery school, where he qualified as expert and regained his staff sergeant rank.

Assigned to the 8th Air Force, 453rd Bomb Group, he shipped to Norwich, England, to participate in the European Theater of Operations. After completing aerial gunnery school, Dawson became a gunner on a B-24 Liberator. His plane was aptly named “The Round Trip” and carried its crew through 33 combat missions.

One of their greatest missions included the first daylight raid on Berlin. The group targeted the diesel engines plant, believed to be manufacturing the engines for flying bombs. The 34 planes that attacked the plant carried 71 tons of bombs.

On June 5, 1944, all soldiers were told to stand by, no phone calls, and to report for briefing. Doors locked and roll taken; the secret briefing began with a wire from Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. The operations officer, Lt. Col. Jimmy Stewart (the actor), told the group that the enemy defenses must be destroyed. “The success of all men of all nations participating will be profoundly affected by our efforts,” he said.

Dawson’s 453rd would bomb the beaches for the D-Day invasion. Much to their disappointment, the overcast skies made it impossible to see very much below. On the way back from bombing St. Laurent, her father looked down and compared the landing “to an invasion of ants.”

While the fighting went on in Italy, U.S. and British bombers ceaselessly pounded German cities and military bases from the air. These attacks gave the Allies control of the skies over Western Europe. After a few weeks of heavy fighting and a buildup of troops, supplies and ships, the Allies broke through the German defenses.

D-Day arrived June 6, 1944.

Canaday proudly remembers her father’s awards, which included the Air Medal with three oak clusters, the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with four bronze stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Good Conduct Medal.

I wish the family a safe journey to Normandy next month to commemorate her father’s heroic deeds on behalf of our country.

Mayrene Bates is a trustee on the Solano County Board of Education. Reach her by email at Mbates34@aol.com.

Mayrene Bates

Mayrene Bates is a trustee with the Solano County Board of Education.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • BobMay 29, 2014 - 7:18 am

    Very warming story thank you and please know I thank your father for what I have today. I lived in Norwich while building oil rigs in the North Sea in the mid 70's and flew in and out of the airport there. I often saw the areas that the bombers would sit when not flying and wondered what squadrons flew from here and wondered about the men that flew them. You've answered a lot of questions for me, I volunteer at the Travis Heritage Center and your mention of Jimmy Dolittle, Jimmy Stewart, B-24's completes the picture. Thank you

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • P.J.May 29, 2014 - 9:36 am

    So many died on the beaches of Normandy that day. So many lives contributed to the freedom from tyranny that Hitler had inflicted on Europe. Mayrene, thank you for giving us this beautiful story. "The Greatest Generation" is dying, and the need to keep the truth alive is as important today as it was 70 years ago.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rudy MadronichMay 29, 2014 - 11:06 am

    That is the greatest generation and they did what they did to preserve the freedoms that we have today it is very sad that what they fought for is now being taken away from them and their children by this current president all in the name of political correctness and liberalism. America is not the great nation that was left to so by that generation. We must never forget the sacrifice they made. We must stop asking what the government can and will do for us we must ask our self's what can we do for this country.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • QuestionsMay 29, 2014 - 11:44 am

    My attention was drawn to the statement that he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. This is a very high award, given for valor in combat. I have reviewed several listings for DFC awardees and am not locating Mr. Dawson. Is there proof of this award supported by any documents?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Children run for the sake of running

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Day of Remembrance focuses on domestic violence prevention

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
60th Air Mobility Wing gets outstanding unit award

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Real McCoy ferry to shut down Thursday

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Nairobi, oldest giraffe at Six Flags, dies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Audubon group to offer wetlands walk, bird workshop

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
 
Trailer rolls, knocks down pole, damages roadway

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
Pumpkin bob set at Fairfield city pool

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Canada’s PM says shooting rampage was terrorism

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
California malpractice cap generates big spending

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Huge gold nugget going up for sale in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Healdsburg bans tobacco sales to anyone under 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Davis votes to return armored vehicle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
Study looks at lane splitting in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

125 San Francisco inmates to get computer tablets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 5 Comments

 
Social Security benefits get another tiny increase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Teens’ travel renews concerns about terror appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Blackwater guards found guilty in Iraq shootings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Methodist panel hears appeal over gay wedding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

AP-GfK Poll: Public wants tighter Ebola screening

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Key features of rigorous new US Ebola monitoring

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Goofy dinosaur blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Mexico: Mayor linked to deadly attack on students

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

Nigeria truce is shaky, no news of abducted girls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Iraqi Kurdish lawmakers OK fighters for Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Analysis: Fowle was North Korea’s easiest US case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
UK man faked coma for 2 years to avoid court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Missile, fire from Egypt wounds 2 Israeli troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Prisons agree to end race policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

.

Opinion

Don’t make this mistake after voting

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Living a Democrat PC nightmare

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 22 Comments

 
Real reason to vote yes on 46

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

Keck did good job researching issue

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

My husband visits dating sites, stays out until 3 or 4 a.m.

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
NBC promoting Weir, Lipinski to top skating team

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Annie Lennox embraces jazzy ‘Nostalgia’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Renee Zellweger: ‘People don’t know me in my 40s’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sax player behind ‘Baker Street’ solo dies at 60

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
‘SNL’ adds black woman to cast from writers room

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

.

Sports

Carr confident despite Raiders’ winless start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
AP source: Goodell told to testify in Rice appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Kings measuring success on ‘wins and losses’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants’ bullpen melts down in 7-2 loss to Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors hoping Kerr is final piece for title run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local Report: Armijo XC teams finish MEL 10-0

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

World Series rating for opener drops to low

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Beaten Giants fan shows significant progress

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Polian, Wolf nominated for Pro Football Hall of Fame

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Slumping Bears hope to slow No. 6 Oregon, Mariota

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Stanford picked to win Pac-12 regular-season crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA owners fail to pass lottery reform

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Leafs-Senators game postponed after shootings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Phony World Series tickets, merchandise seized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Request denied to remove judge on Peterson case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Probe: UNC academic fraud was ‘shadow curriculum’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Brad Keselowski not concerned with popularity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
SHR swaps crews for Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

From Mexico to the World Series, Petit Giants’ shines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
’85 World Series Royals relishing playoff run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

FedEx, UPS make plans for a better holiday season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
The top 20 US cities for tech startup funding

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

‘Silicon Beach’ brings tech boom to Los Angeles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Government ups air bag warning to 7.8M vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Camel maker Reynolds snuffs out workplace smoking

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

BofA to refund Apple Pay customers charged twice

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
.

Obituaries

Mark Dean Lindsay

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Keith Bowen

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Blanche Stevens

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dr. Robert M. Takamoto

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9