‘A waste of young life:’ 95 and 96-year-old Victoria veterans recall fighting on the front lines of D-Day

WatchIt's almost 75 years to the day that Canadians troops helped in D-Day, one of the biggest Allied attacks during the Second World War. Aaron Guillen caught up with two local veterans who were on the front lines.

D-Day – a battle that’s forever etched in medals and minds.

Seventy-five years ago, Frank Poole was in the skies flying over Juno Beach with his aircrew.

“Skyrockets were going off and stuff,” says the 95-year old veteran.

“I was just fascinated by everything. I had the best seat in the house.”

Poole’s mission was to lure German planes away from the heavy bombers targeting Caen, a city held under German control.

“We weren’t prepared at all,” says Poole.

“We had a little bit of training on the guns, but I don’t know if I would’ve hit anything.”

While Poole was in the sky, thousands of Canadian troops were on the ground, including Bill Capek.

“Not a bit, but a lot scared,” says the 96-year old veteran.

“You were wondering, are you next?”

Capek drove his crew through Juno Beach in a tank, an experience that haunts him to this day.

“We drove over wounded soldiers German ones, begging for help, and we just had to keep going,” says Capek.

“That’s when I told myself, what am I doing here? It didn’t feel very good.”

Months later, victory would be declared with Poole in a German prisoner of war camp and Capek fighting on the front lines.

But looking back on the war today doesn’t bring them too much joy.

Capek says he wouldn’t choose to go to the same war again if given the choice.

“All the deaths… such a waste of young life,” says Capek.

“I would say keep away from it.”

Now, both veterans continue to re-tell their war stories, in hopes that the next generation will learn from the mistakes of the past.

Aaron GuillenAaron Guillen

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