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Covey Family of Leeds County

Private Donald Martin Covey

To one who gave his young life.........

a tribute from your family.

You are unknown to us but we are forever grateful for what you did.

In researching our Covey family in Leeds County, I have had the pleasure of having my questions answered with documentation that I am proud to share with you. This tribute has been posted in honour of Remembrance Day and serves as a Thank You to all young men who served and died with Donald Martin Covey in World War II.

Donald Martin Covey was born to Emmett Covey and Pearl (Hawkins) Covey in 1921 in or around Charleston Lake/ Athens, Leeds County, Ontario area. His name was listed on the cenotaph in the park in Athens and would make me curious when I was growing up there, who was he?

His father, Emmett Covey (pictured below) served in World War I and returned to Canada to marry a local girl.

Donald was the fifth child of Emmett and Pearl, and the second son. Emmett is pictured below in his uniform.

Emmett >

Donald enlisted in July 1940. He was previously employed as a farmer at Frankville, and as a guide to the Charleston waters. His unit was the 1st Battalion, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders. He arrived at Normandy on June 1 and was killed in action on July 9, 1944 during the early fighting in Normandy, age 24.

His surviving siblings are named in a newspaper article (held by the author) as Corporel Arthur Covey, in Italy, and Gerald, at home and four sisters, Betty, Frieda, Blanche, and Mrs. Wilfrid Slack of Charleston.

A family friend had the privilege to accompany a Smiths Falls high school trip in 2006 and kindly obtained a picture of Donald's headstone in France, as well as produce an actual rubbing.

Headstone Rubbing
Headstone Rubbing

Veterans Affairs Canada

General Site Records & Collections - The Canadian Virtual War Memorial

In memory of


o Private

o who died on June 9, 1944.

Service Number:C/53933


Force: Army

Regiment:Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders, R.C.I.C.

Unit: N/A Citation: N/A Additional Information: N/A Honours and Awards:N/A

Commemorated on Page 281 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance.

Burial Information:



Grave Reference: VII. H. 9.

Location: Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery is about 1 kilometre east of the village of Reviers, on the Creully-Tailleville-Ouistreham road (D.35). Reviers is a village and commune in the Department of the Calvados. It is located 15 kilometres north-west of Caen and 18 kilometres east of Bayeux and 3.5 kilometres south of Courseulles, a village on the sea coast. The village of Beny-sur-Mer is some 2 kilometres south-east of the cemetery. The bus service between Caen and Arromanches (via Reviers and Ver-sur-Mer) passes the cemetery.

It was on the coast just to the north that the 3rd Canadian Division landed on 6th June 1944; on that day, 335 officers and men of that division were killed in action or died of wounds. In this cemetery are the graves of Canadians who gave their lives in the landings in Normandy and in the earlier stages of the subsequent campaign. Canadians who died during the final stages of the fighting in Normandy are buried in Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. There are a total of 2048 burials in Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. There is also one special memorial erected to a soldier of the Canadian Infantry Corps who is known to have been buried in this cemetery, but the exact site of whose grave could not be located.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

D-Day Canadian troops land in Normandy as part of the largest invasion in history

Under heavy fire from German fortifications, Canadian soldiers landed on the stretch sand code-named Juno Beach. Many men were killed as soon as they left their landing craft, shot down in chest-high water. The survivors made their way across the beach. D-day is a triumph for Canadian troops. By nightfall of June 6, the Canadian troops had advanced farther inland than any other Allied force. The D-Day assault had claimed 340 Canadians lives, another 574 had been wounded and 47 taken prisoner.

D-Day launched the Battle of Normandy. In the first days on French soil the Canadians would initially fight the Wehrmacht troops, but were soon facing the fanatical teenaged members of the Hitler Youth in the 12th SS Panzer Division, and the 25th SS Panzer-Grenadier Regiment. One of the German commanders was the ruthless SS Brigadenfuhrer Kurt Meyer who ordered the murder of recently captured soldiers. The bodies of Canadian soldiers in the Queen's Own Rifles and other regiments were found with bullet holes in their temples. Martin came upon some of the victims.

We do not know the circumstances of Donald's death. He may have been part of the Meyer assassinations. We may never know. We do know that our young men sent as soldiers to a foreign country, were the substance of Canadian pride. Their bravery and selflessness have brought us many years of peace and the end to tyranny and oppression of all people of the world. We are truly thankful.

I am very grateful for the rubbing contribution. This was taken by a visitor to the cemetery in 2006 who went with a school trip from Smiths Falls, Ontario. My sister asked for the rubbing or a picture of the gravesite and we are very fortunate to have received it.

Below is the memorium put in the Brockville Recorder and Times, November 8, 2008.

This page belongs to Gail Covey Somervillevgsomerville@shaw.ca.