In the early summer of 1942, Harold (Hal) MacDonald, a young infantry officer from Saint John, New Brunswick, was posted overseas to join the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, then stationed in Great Britain. The North Shores were part of a growing Canadian military presence in Britain, preparing for the day when the Allies would return to the continent to help defeat the armies of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Canadian troops had begun to arrive in England in 1939, and indeed, after the fall of France in the late spring of 1940, formed an important part of Britain’s defence forces at a time when it and the Commonwealth stood alone against the combined might of Germany and Italy. By the time that MacDonald arrived, the number of Canadian troops had swelled to some 130,000, for the most part concentrated in the south of England, where they underwent rigorous training exercises and highly realistic simulated battles designed to prepare them to meet the enemy.