Please see the Statement from the Mayor I released today below.
Burlington, Ont. — Aug. 14, 2019
Upon returning from some time away with my family, I was extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Burlington resident and D-Day veteran William B. McConnell on July 31.
My recent trip to France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Courseulles-sur-Mer, home of the Juno Beach Centre and Museum that was created by local D-Day veteran Garth Webb, further impressed upon me the impact of the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers on Juno Beach during the Second World War.
D-Day was a seminal moment in the liberation of Europe and a turning point in the war. Thousands of young men and women volunteered to fight overseas, with many of them not returning home to their families. The world owes them an immeasurable debt of gratitude we can never repay.
Mr. McConnell served on the HMS Ramillies from 1943 through to the end of the war. On D-Day, that ship gave bombardment support prior to the landings at Sword beach, and for the following 12 days. Mr. McConnell suffered permanent hearing loss as a result.
In 2016, Mr. McConnell was award the National Order of Legion d’Honneur medal — the highest-ranking decoration in France. He was also the last former Ramillies sailor to ring the ship’s bell, located at the HCMS Star in Hamilton.
Today, the flags at Burlington City Hall have been lowered in honour of Mr. McConnell.
On behalf of the City of Burlington and Council, I offer his family and friends our deepest condolences and thank Mr. McConnell for serving his country and fighting for the freedoms we have today.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
City of Burlington