As part of our ongoing mandate to not only preserve our heritage and history but also to make it accessible to the public we have created this online research portal. Below you will find a wealth of information on the history of Puslinch categorized for easy search. Simply choose a topic below to begin your search.
On September 1, 1939, Hitler's army invaded Poland thus beginning six years of bloody conflict. On September 3, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany and on September 10, 1939, Canada came to Britain's aid by declaring war on Germany. On October 27, Brigadier H.D.G. Crerar arrived in London to establish the nucleus of a Canadian Military Head Quarters. The call went out to all Canadians to come to the aid of the free world from all walks of life.
Patrick Francis Wafer Joseph McGarr was born on February 25, 1918, the second oldest of nine children to Matthew and Elizabeth McGarr. He had five brothers and three sisters. He was born on the family farm on Conc. 7, Puslinch Township, where the present Milburn Auto Sales is located. Patrick went to the Downey Road School in Puslinch and then to barbering school in Hamilton. He joined the army in early 1942 and did his basic training at Camp Borden He was Rifleman B97177, the Regina Rifle Regiment, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps. Patrick was sent overseas in August, 1942.
On June 6, 1944, the D'Day invasion of Normandy began with the Canadian and the British forces embarked from Portsmouth and landed at Juno Beach amid fierce German resistance. The British and Canadians fought their way ashore with support from warships and aircraft. Their objective was to destroy the German communication centre at Caen by June 10, but heavy German defence made progress slow.
By July 9, the Germans had retreated into Caen and it was taken. On July 18 the Western Allies launched the first phased Operation Goodwood for the capture of Caen suburbs. An attack was launched by a hundred bombers over the German defence. Much of the city was destroyed and as many as three thousand Frenchmen were killed. Then the artillery opened fire, four hundred guns in total, supported by the naval gunfire of two cruisers, and the monitor ship, HMS Roberts, whose fifteen inch guns had last been fired in action at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. British and Canadian armoured forces then moved forward. The barrage was so intense that the ground forces could not move for fear of being hit, but at the appointed time they did.
To the West the roadways with their hedgerows were extremely dangerous because snipers could easily hide in the thick trees. Small platoons would break into the fields with a tank equipped with special cutters to do battle
On July 25, the Americans launched Operation Cobra in Normandy, breaking out of Cherbourg Peninsula because of' major British and Canadian assault on heavily defended German positions on Verrieres Ridge between Caen and Falaise. They were subject to fire from all sides. Mining tunnels and ventilation shafts allowed the Germans to move inside, behind and along the sides of their advance. The superior German tanks devastated their ranks with over 1500 casualties, of whom about 450 had perished. Except for Dieppe, it was the bloodiest day of war for Canada.
It was on this day that Private Patrick McGarr was killed. He was buried in the Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery in France, plot 16, row C, grave 8. It is a well kept peaceful cemetery surrounded by a corn field.
Patrick's grave site was visited in July 1992 by his brother. "The beauty of the cemetery and the great respect, friendship and assistance shown to us will not be forgotten".
Our thanks to Patrick who was willing to die in a foreign land that we may have the choices we now have in Canada.
Our thanks also to the McGarr family who provided the personal information.
Steve McGarr would like to talk to anyone who served with or knew his Uncle Pat.
Membership in the society is open to anyone interested in the history of Puslinch Township giving you access to the archives, assistance with your research from committed voluteers, a newsletter and occasional events of historic interest.
29 Brock Road South
Puslinch Historical Society
c/o Puslinch Library
R.R. #3, 29 Brock Road South
Guelph (Aberfoyle), Ontario N1H 6H9