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 Leo Major

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Leo Major

  • Birth 23 Jan 1921 New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 12 Oct 2008 Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
  • Burial Pointe-Claire, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
  • Memorial ID 30761175

Canadian Military Figure. He was the only Canadian soldier to twice receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the Commonwealth's second highest award for gallantry in action. He was the only Allied soldier to be awarded the DCM for two different wars. Raised in Montreal, he joined the Régiment de la Chaudière at age 19 in 1940 and served in Europe as a scout and a sniper during World War II. Despite losing an eye in a grenade blast during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, he refused to leave the front lines and insisted that he needed only one eye to sight his rifle. In 1944 he captured a German commander and forced the surrender of 93 soldiers during The Battle of the Scheldt in southern Holland. On April 14, 1945 Private Major single-handedly liberated the town of Zwolle by setting off grenades and tricking the Germans with the impression that the Canadian Army had them surrounded. For this action, he was awarded the DCM. At the end of the war he returned to Canada and worked as a pipe fitter. In 1950 during the Korean War, he was asked by a Canadian commander to join the Royal 22e Régiment and held the rank of Corporal. He won his second award for bravery (Bar to DCM) after leading a sniper team to capture a key target, Hill 355, and holding it for three days until reinforcements arrived. After the war, he lived with his family on the South Shore, Montreal until his death at age 87. He made many trips to the Netherlands and was revered as a hero and honorary citizen of Zwolle. "I fought the war with only one eye, and I did pretty good."

Bio by: Milou


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Milou
  • Added: 21 Oct 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 30761175
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Leo Major (23 Jan 1921–12 Oct 2008), Find A Grave Memorial no. 30761175, citing National Field of Honour Cemetery, Pointe-Claire, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .