James O'Regan

Brian O’Regan: “Liberator of Dieppe” By James O’Regan


Brian O’Regan was born at the Grace Hospital in 1924, one of ten children of Kitty and Tot O’Regan. Tot was a magician, vaudevillian and safecracker – part of that sense of showmanship manifested itself in Brian.

Brian landed with the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit at Normandy, June 6 1944 and was instrumental in delivering to the world its first moving pictures of the Invasion. As the first Canadian soldier across the Dieppe city limits, one could claim that he liberated that city.

A photo featuring Brian and two Russian soldiers at the Elbe River Link Up ran in dailies around the world.

He brought home a war bride, Jean Higginson, and worked in Army public relations, helping draft rules and regs for information logistics. After a second career in government public relations, he retired a corporate officer and vice-president of Nortel, having created its public affairs sector.

His long career in Army, Government and Private Sector public relations was capped by original research into standard and on-line genealogical methods. He belonged to several associations including the Canadian Public Relations Society (past president, Ottawa Branch), British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (co-founder and past president), Ottawa Genealogical Society, Winnipeg and National Press Clubs, Canadian War Correspondents Association, Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit Veterans Association and the 1st Light Anti-Aircraft Battery Veteran’s Association.

He died in 1999.