Guy D'Artois
Major Lionel Guy d'Artois (1917 - 15 March 1999),DSO, GM, Croix de Guerre was a Canadian Army officer and SOE
Special Operations Executive
The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...


Lionel Guy (generally known by his second name) d'Artois was born in Richmond, Quebec
Richmond, Quebec
Richmond, population 3,336 , is a town nestled amidst rolling farmlands on the Saint-François River between Sherbrooke and Drummondville, in the heart of Estrie in Quebec, Canada.-Richmond today:...

 in 1917. He joined the Militia
(part-time army reserves) in 1934, at the age of 16. In 1936, he became a student at the Université de Montréal
Université de Montréal
The Université de Montréal is a public francophone research university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It comprises thirteen faculties, more than sixty departments and two affiliated schools: the École Polytechnique and HEC Montréal...

, but dropped his studies in 1939, to enlist as private.

He later joined the First Special Service Force and in 1942 he was commissioned. In 1943 he volunteered for SOE. He served in F section until 1945. He parachuted into the department of the Saone et Loire, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 one month before D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

, under the codename "Dieudonné". There he organized, armed and operated with units of the Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

. His service in France during the Invasion period were recognised by the award of the Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

 (DSO) from Britain and the Croix de Guerre
Croix de guerre
The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

 from France.

After the war, he was promoted to major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 and made commanding officer
Commanding officer
The commanding officer is the officer in command of a military unit. Typically, the commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as he sees fit, within the bounds of military law...

 of the new Canadian Special Air Service Company
Canadian Special Air Service Company
The Canadian Special Air Service Company was a Canadian Airborne Special Forces unit in operation between 1947 and 1949.-Role:As opposed to a purely military function, the Canadian SAS was originally given functions of airborne firefighting, search and rescue and aid to the civil powers...

 company. In 1947 there was an unusual episode in which he was tasked with the rescue of a severely-injured missionary from a remote district in the Far North. The mission took seven weeks altogether (which suggests that Canon J.B. Turner was himself a pretty tough character!), and resulted in d'Artois being decorated with the George Medal
George Medal
The George Medal is the second level civil decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.The GM was instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI. At this time, during the height of The Blitz, there was a strong desire to reward the many acts of civilian courage...


He served with the Commonwealth occupation forces in Japan, and then did an operational tour with 1st Bn., Royal 22e Régiment
Royal 22e Régiment
The Royal 22nd Regiment is an infantry regiment and the most famous francophone organization of the Canadian Forces. The regiment comprises three Regular Force battalions, two Primary Reserve battalions, and a band, making it the largest regiment in the Canadian Army...

, the "Van Doos", during the Korean War.

One of the fellow students on his SOE course in 1943 had been a 19-year old WAAF
Women's Auxiliary Air Force
The Women's Auxiliary Air Force , whose members were invariably referred to as Waafs , was the female auxiliary of the Royal Air Force during World War II, established in 1939. At its peak strength, in 1943, WAAF numbers exceeded 180,000, with over 2,000 women enlisting per week.A Women's Royal Air...

 officer. Already having two years of service under her belt, she had then volunteered for SOE. She was also training for special operations and, like Guy, was parachuted into France before D-Day, though into a different district and 'Reseau', in the department of the Sarthe
Sarthe is a French department, named after the Sarthe River.- History :The department was created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790, pursuant to the law of December 22, 1789, starting from a part of the province of Maine which was divided into two departments, Sarthe to the east and...

. She worked as a courier for Hudson's Reseau 'Headmaster' on the edge of the Normandy Landings. The work was dangerous and she was arrested. However, she managed to maintain her cover and was released, surviving through to liberation by the advancing ground forces. This 20-year old veteran was herself later decorated. When the couple had both returned to Britain on the successful completion of their separate missions, they were reunited and were quickly married. Assistant Section Officer Sonya Butt
Sonya Butt
Sonya Esmée Florence Butt MBE, also known as Sonia d'Artois, was a heroine of the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.- Early life :Sonya Butt was born in Kent on 14 May 1924...

, MBE, war heroine, became Mrs. Sonia d'Artois and quietly disappeared from public view to become a wife and mother. Though not unique, by any means, this must have been one of the most distinguished romances of the War.

The couple moved to Quebec and raised a family of six children: three boys (Robert, Michel & Guy) and three girls (Nadya, Christina & Lorraine).

In 1999, Major L.G. d'Artois, a hero in war and peace, died in a Veterans Hospital.
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