Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Soldier Joked in '44 about Channel Swim; Granddaughter Does It 70 Years Later

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Soldier Joked in '44 about Channel Swim; Granddaughter Does It 70 Years Later

Article excerpt

English Channel swimmer makes grandfather proud


REGINA - Seventy years after a soldier from Saskatchewan joked about swimming the English Channel, his teenage granddaughter has actually done it.

Meghan Chisholm, 19, of Swift Current made the crossing from Dover to the French coast on Tuesday in 14 hours and 39 minutes.

"I was really proud of her. That's a real challenge," Denis Chisholm, 90, said Wednesday from Regina.

"Meghan, when she makes up her mind to do something, she does it."

In the summer of 1944, he was standing on the shore at Cap Griz Nez in France. Chisholm was a member of the Regina Rifles Regiment and it had only been a few weeks since the D-Day invasion.

He was 20 at the time and was with the Canadians as they fought their way inland from Normandy, crossed the Seine River and turned out to the coast.

The region had heavily fortified German coastal batteries and was also used by the Nazis to launch the dreaded V1 flying bombs, also known as buzz bombs, which hit English cities late in the war.

"I remember standing on Cap Griz Nez and talking to an old buddy from Winnipeg. I said, 'Johnny do you think we could swim that?'" Chisholm recalled.

"You could see the white cliffs of Dover. It was a beautiful day.

"We were just kidding around. We were in the middle of the war. And England looked very enticing with the white cliffs."

A few months ago, Chisholm learned that Meghan would attempt the swim that he and his friend had only chuckled about.

Meghan has been swimming competitively for years and is a lifeguard, swimming instructor and coaching assistant for the Swift Current Barracudas swim team.

She had always wanted to do a long-distance swim. Her successful attempt was also a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Canada. But despite long months of preparation, surprises happened Tuesday morning when she set out.

Her father, John, explained in an email that Meghan wasn't the only swimmer to depart and was slated to start fourth. But the swimmer in the No. 2 slot backed out, bumping her up to an earlier start time.

Meghan and her family made their way to the Dover docks at 5:30 a. …

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