Canadian Gallantry—The Worthington Brothers

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     This is the gravestone of Lieutenant-Colonel Don Worthington. from the 28th Armoured Regiment, in the Canadian War Graves cemetery at BRETTEVILLE-SUR-LAIZE in France. Beside him lies his brother Jack, Major in the same regiment, killed in action a little over a week later. Their story is almost too sad to tell.

     Don Worthington was the commander of  the British Columbia Regiment, the Duke of Connaughts, in the 4th Canadian Armoured Division, newly arrived in France in 1944.  His assignment was to take his regiment and block the German retreat as the Canadians and British drove south to close the Falaise Gap. In the fog of war, Worthington, with some companies of the Algonquin Regiment, ended up on a hill many kilometres away from his objective. The two regiments fought to the last, losing 47 tanks and  other vehicles and several hundred men. Colonel Worthington was killed while directing the defence.

    British and Canadian doctrine held that a cadre of officers was Left out of Battle (LOB)  to reconstitute the regiment in case of that kind of disaster.

    The regiment was re-constituted and re-equipped and carried on with the pursuit. One of the officers, James Tedlie was consulting a map with Jack Worthington. Major Worthington was passing on some information and marking the information on the map. They were attacked by an American fighter-bomber which hit Jack Worthington in the throat, tearing out his vocal cords. With a bandage on his throat, Jack Worthington continued to write on the map until he could no longer. A Polish aid station took care of him, but he died the next day.

    British  and  Canadian Armoured units have a motto, “Through the Mud and the Blood, To the Green Fields Beyond.” The Worthington brothers lie together  in the Green Fields of France.

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