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A Canadian Navy D-Day Operations Group of 6


A Canadian Navy D-Day Operations Group of 6

A Scarce Canadian WW2 ‘D-Day Operations’ Group of 6 awarded to Engine Room Artificer John Bernard Koster, HMCS Alberni, Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve, killed in action when this vessel was sunk in the English Channel by the U-Boat U-480 on the 21st of August, 1944, having earlier taken part in Operation Neptune as an escort for the troop-ships heading towards the Normandy beaches, comprising: 1939-1945 Star (E.R.A. J.B. Koster. R.C.N.), Atlantic Star (E.R.A. J.B. Koster. R.C.N.), Africa Star (E.R.A. J.B. Koster. R.C.N.), Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, 1939-1945, War Medal, 1939-1945, Canadian Memorial Cross, GVIR (J. B. Koster E.R.A. 4th CL. R.C.N.V.R.), also sold with Royal Life Saving Society Medal, Bronze Issue (B. Koster June 1938); the first three engraved in thin upright capitals, the next two unnamed as issued, memorial cross officially impressed, life-saving medal engraved on reverse; campaign medals court-mounted on board for display, the last mounted separately on board for display.

Lightly polished, extremely fine.

(7) John Bernard Koster was born in 1920, the son of Michael and Mary Koster of Toronto, Ontario. He enlisted to serve with the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve in February 1942, serving aboard the Flower-class Corvette HMCS Alberni. With this vessel he served with the Newfoundland Escort Force assisting the Atlantic convoys, and also on 3 occasions played a role in the rescue of survivors from torpedoed vessels in the Atlantic, which were being constantly menaced by U-Boats.

The Alberni served briefly in the Mediterranean during 1943 before being called to serve as one of the 12 RCN Corvettes with the allied fleet supporting Operation Overlord and the D-Day-Landings in the spring of 1944. Here she assisted in escorting landing craft and larger ships in convoy towards their landing areas. On the 26 July 1944 HMCS Alberni successfully shot down a German Junkers 88 that attempted to attack her at almost sea level, firing at the German aircraft with her starboard Oerlikons, and also had a several near misses with mines. In her hunt for German U-Boats during 1944, HMCS Alberni unfortunately also became ‘the hunted’.

On the 21 August 1944 the Alberni was attacked by U-480 under the command of Hans Joachim Forster, who fired a ‘Gnat’ torpedo which directly hit the port side near the engine room (where Koster would have been working). The vessel sank stern first within 30 seconds of the impact, with four officers and fifty-five ratings lost. The commander, two officers and twenty eight ratings were subsequently rescued by nearby British motor torpedo boats. It was here that Engine Room Artificer Koster was killed in action, and his name is remembered at the Halifax Memorial. Sold with CWGC casualty report, original ‘Commemoration Service’ pamphlet (1945), medal award receipt, a few small newspaper clippings, and copy portrait photo.