Gérard Verdonk, 18 years old in 1944, remembers a very special mission his father gave him:

The farmers of the region were requisitioned by the Germans to fetch cement and then go to the seaside, where the Germans were building defences.

verdonk gerard credit centre juno beach portrait d day

I worked on the ones at Courseulles-sur-Mer.

Once over the bridge, at my father’s request, I counted my steps and marked sticks on the wood of the cart with a knife. And when we came home in the evening he knew that if there were “x” crosses, it was about “x” metres. Within a few metres you could tell where the blockhouses were.

Gérard Verdonk

My father would then pass on this information to my uncle who was in the resistance.

Gérard Verdonk died in February 2022.

Read his history on the free web app.

Discover more testimonies of civilians and soldiers in the exhibition In Their Footsteps.

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