Guy D'Artois

Last updated

Lionel Guy d'Artois
DSO GM
Guy D'Artois and Sonja Butt.jpg
Guy and his wife Sonya Butt
Born(1917-04-09)9 April 1917
Richmond, Quebec, Canada
Died15 March 1999(1999-03-15) (aged 81)
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Veterans hospital
AllegianceCanada
Service/branchCanadian Army
RankMajor
Unit
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Awards
Relations Sonya Butt

Major Lionel Guy d'Artois DSO GM (9 April 1917 – 15 March 1999) was a Canadian Army officer and SOE agent.

Distinguished Service Order UK military decoration

The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the Commonwealth, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat. Since 1993 all ranks have been eligible.

George Medal British award

The George Medal (GM), instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI, is a decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, awarded for gallantry "not in the face of the enemy" where the services were not so outstanding as to merit the George Cross.

Canadian Army land component of the Canadian Armed Forces

The Canadian Army is the command responsible for the operational readiness of the conventional ground forces of the Canadian Armed Forces. As of 2018 the Army has 23,000 regular soldiers, about 17,000 reserve soldiers, including 5,000 rangers, for a total of 40,000 soldiers. The Army is supported by 3,000 civilian employees. It maintains regular forces units at bases across Canada, and is also responsible for the Army Reserve, the largest component of the Primary Reserve. The Commander of the Canadian Army and Chief of the Army Staff is Lieutenant-General Jean-Marc Lanthier.

Contents

Biography

Lionel Guy (generally known by his second name) d'Artois was born in Richmond, Quebec in 1917. He joined the Militia (part-time army reserves) in 1934, at the age of 16. In 1936, he became a student at the Université de Montréal, but dropped his studies in 1939, to enlist as private.

Richmond, Quebec City in Quebec, Canada

Richmond, population 3,232 (2016), is a town nestled amidst rolling farmlands on the Saint-François River between Sherbrooke and Drummondville, in the heart of Estrie in Quebec, Canada.

Université de Montréal university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Université de Montréal is a French-language public research university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university's main campus is located on the northern slope of Mount Royal in the Outremont and Côte-des-Neiges boroughs. The institution comprises thirteen faculties, more than sixty departments and two affiliated schools: the Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal. It offers more than 650 undergraduate programmes and graduate programmes, including 71 doctoral programmes.

He later joined the First Special Service Force and in 1942 he was commissioned. He served as an instructor in savate, and in August 1943 took part in "Operation Cottage", the reoccupation of the island of Kiska in the Aleutians.

First Special Service Force Joint U.S.-Canadian military unit in WWII

The 1st Special Service Force, was an elite American-Canadian commando unit in World War II, under command of the United States Fifth Army. The unit was organized in 1942 and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena, Montana in the United States. The Force served in the Aleutian Islands, and fought in Italy, and southern France before being disbanded in December 1944.

Savate, also known as boxe française, savate boxing, French boxing or French footfighting, is a French combat sport that uses the hands and feet as weapons combining elements of English boxing with graceful kicking techniques.

Operation Cottage

Operation Cottage was a tactical maneuver which completed the Aleutian Islands campaign. On August 15, 1943, Allied military forces landed on Kiska Island, which had been occupied by Japanese forces since June 1942.

In 1943 he volunteered for SOE, one of several French-Canadians attached to F section. In April 1944 was parachuted into the department of the Saone et Loire, France, and under the codename "Dieudonné" organized, armed and operated with units of the Free French Forces. His service in France during the invasion period were recognised by the award of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) from Britain and the Croix de Guerre from France.

After the war, he was promoted to major and made commanding officer of the new Canadian Special Air Service Company. [1] In 1947 there was an unusual episode in which he was tasked with the rescue of a severely injured missionary from a remote district in the Far North. The mission took seven weeks altogether (which suggests that Canon J.B. Turner was himself a pretty tough character!), and resulted in d'Artois being decorated with the George Medal (GM) alongside flying officer Robert Race.

Commanding officer officer in command of a military unit

The commanding officer (CO) or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer, commanding general (CG), is the officer in command of a military unit. The commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as they see fit, within the bounds of military law. In this respect, commanding officers have significant responsibilities, duties, and powers.

The Canadian Special Air Service Company was a Canadian Airborne Special Forces unit in operation between 1947 and 1949.

He served with the Commonwealth occupation forces in Japan, and then did an operational tour with 1st Bn., Royal 22e Régiment, the "Van Doos", during the Korean War.

War time romance

One of the fellow students on his SOE course in 1943 had been a 19-year-old WAAF officer. Already having two years of service under her belt, she had then volunteered for SOE. She was also training for special operations and, like Guy, was parachuted into France before D-Day, though into a different district and 'Reseau', in the department of the Sarthe. She worked as a courier for Hudson's Reseau 'Headmaster' on the edge of the Normandy Landings. The work was dangerous and she was arrested. However, she managed to maintain her cover and was released, surviving through to liberation by the advancing ground forces. This 20-year-old veteran was herself later decorated. When the couple had both returned to Britain on the successful completion of their separate missions, they were reunited and were quickly married. Assistant Section Officer Sonya Butt, MBE, war heroine, became Mrs. Sonia d'Artois [2] and quietly disappeared from public view to become a wife and mother. Though not unique, by any means, this must have been one of the most distinguished romances of the war.

The couple moved to Quebec and raised a family of six children: three boys (Robert, Michel & Guy) and three girls (Nadya, Christina & Lorraine).

Death

In March 1999, Major L.G. d'Artois, a hero in war and peace, died in the Veterans Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec.

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References

  1. "Canadian Special Air Service (SAS) Company". canadiansoldiers.com. 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  2. Langan, Fred (7 May 2010). "The kind of war hero about whom movies are made". CBC News . Retrieved 29 April 2013.