RMC Ex Cadet & the Fight to Close the Falaise Gap

A Little Bit of RMC History

‘Not worth taking prisoner’ — 2780 Don McEachern (RMC ‘1940)

Wetaskiwin Times Advertiser Jan. 10, 1945

Wounded in the right leg when his tank exploded just at the end of fighting to close the Falaise Gap in August 1944, Lt. Don MacEachern, son of Mr. and Mrs. N. MacEachern of Wetaskiwin, returned to the city Monday night.

In command of three tanks when he was wounded Lt. MacEachern told The Times, “I was a prisoner for five or six hours. After I was wounded I was taken prisoner but they didn’t think I was worth carrying away so they left me. Two of my men were killed and another fellow and I were wounded. The rest were taken prisoner. After they marched away two men of the same regiment came along, typical Nazis. One, in a mixture of French, German and English told me I was crazy to come all the way from Canada to fight against the glorious Third Reich.”

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The soldiers his unit was fighting when he received his wound were men of the S.S. guards whom Lt. MacEachern considers much superior to the rest of the German Army.

Don MacEachern was born in Wetaskiwin 23 years ago. His father, Norman MacEachern won the D.S.O. and bar in the last war. Don was an active member of the High School Track Team and helped organize the Students’ Union.

He entered the Royal Military College at Kingston the first of September, 1940, leaving it a year later to join the active army. While in Kingston, he won the Silver Bugle for the highest individual points in the track meet as well as two silver cups, two silver medals and two bronze ones.

He took an officer training course at Brockville and Camp Borden being commissioned in February, 1942, in the Canadian Armored Corps.

He was gazetted to the B.C. Regiment and went overseas in September, 1942. After a period of two years in England, he went to France in July of last year, 56 days after D-Day. Asked how the fighting was in France, he said, “Okay,” and added nonchalantly, “I guess it was just like all the fights.”

He was wounded on August 23 and was flown across the channel to a Canadian hospital in England. After three and a half months in hospital he was returned to Canada.

He is now on 30 days leave pending discharge.

He plans to stay in Wetaskiwin.

A younger brother Kenneth received his wings and commission in the R.C.A.F. at the end of last year on his 20th birthday.