Welly Arsenault is een van de drie Canadezen die omkwamen bij de bevrijding van Zwolle, op 14 april 1945. Arsenault is de bekendste van de drie, omdat hij Leo Major vergezelde op diens verkenning naar het centrum van Zwolle. Arsenault en Major maakten deel uit van het Regiment de la Chaudière.
Het openbare dossier van Welly Arsenault biedt weinig aanknopingspunten om nabestaanden te vinden, maar uiteindelijk weet ik een nabestaande te traceren met hulp van lokale stamboomonderzoekers. Via Facebook zoek ik contact met een van de getraceerde familieleden. Ik stel mijn vraag in het Engels en binnen een dag heb ik een reactie in gebrekkig Engels, vermengd met Frans, van een van de achterneven, die weinig weet, maar me wel het telefoonnummer geeft van een nicht van Welly: Elisabeth Arsenault.
Elisabeth Arsenault neemt de telefoon snel op, als ik haar bel. “Ah, oui?” Ik probeer haar in het Engels duidelijk te maken wie ik ben en wat ik wil. Maar voordat ik mijn eerste zin heb beëindigd, heeft ze de telefoon al opgehangen. Een telefoontje van iemand met een vreemd nummer uit het buitenland die ook nog met een vreemd accent Engels spreekt, dat kan niet vertrouwd zijn, denkt ze kennelijk.
Ik doe meteen een nieuwe poging. Ze neemt opnieuw op: “Ah oui?”
Amechtig probeer in mijn beste middelbare-schoolFrans uit te leggen wie ik ben en wat ik wil. Deze keer hangt ze niet op. Maar haar Frans vergt meer kennis van de Franse taal, dan ik heb. Desalniettemin komen we er met (denkbeeldige) handen en voeten toch uit. Ik in mijn beste Engels aangevuld met af en toe een woord Frans, en zij in het Frans met af en toe een woord Engels. Zij geeft mij een email-adres dat toebehoort aan haar zoon Eric, met wie ik daarna per email correspondeer. Eric stuurt nog wat vage foto’s van Welly, maar hij, noch zijn moeder, weet uit de familiekronieken nog verhalen van Welly op te diepen.
Welly Arsenault, naar wie in Zwolle een plantsoen is vernoemd in Zwolle-Zuid, is vooral bekend als de man die sneuvelde toen Leo Major in zijn eentje de stad bevrijdde.
Leo Major vertelde in 1995 in het Zwols Historisch Tijdschrift hoe Welly door Duits mitrailleurvuur omkwam. Welly en hij zouden als vrijwilligers verkenning uitvoeren in Zwolle. Het doel was na te gaan of er nog vijandelijke troepen in de stad waren. Welly en Leo vertrokken om half tien ’s avonds voor hun nachtelijke verkenning.
Bij het kruisen van de spoorlijn ter hoogte van Zalné (Heinoseweg) ging het mis.
Major: “Kort na elf uur stak ik de spoorlijn over en ging een eindje verder naast de weg liggen. Willy trachtte hetzelfde te doen, hij stak de spoorlijn ook over om zich bij mij te voegen, maar hij maakte een geluid met zijn granaten, waarop de Duitsers hem beschoten met een regen van vuur. Ik wist direct dat hij dood was.” Welly
Leo kroop naar Welly om diens machinegeweer en zijn granaten te pakken, die hij daarna nog volop zou gebruiken bij zijn ‘verovering’ van Zwolle.
Zijn stoffelijk overschot werd afgevoerd naar een tijdelijke begraafplaats in Almen, tussen Zutphen en Lochem. Hij werd herbegraven op de Canadese Begraafplaats in Holten.
Welly zou voor zijn inspanningen bij de bevrijding van Nederland postuum onderscheiden worden. Op 10 januari 1946 kreeg zijn vader een brief met de heugelijke mededeling dat Welly was benoemd tot Lid van de Orde van de Bronzen Leeuw door Koningin Wilhelmina. Het was een schrale troost voor zijn ouders en zijn broer en zus.
Welly krijgt een definitieve begraafplaats in Holten: Plot 3, rij B, graf 5.
Welly, Willy of Willie?
Welly Arsenault is onder verschillende voornamen bekend. Toen zijn ouders werd gevraagd om een inscriptie te leveren op zijn grafsteen op de Canadese begraafplaats in Holten leverden ze de volgende tekst aan: “A la Memoire de Willie Fils bien aime De M. Et Mde. Henri Arsenault” (Ter herinnering aan Willie, geliefde zoon van de heer en mevrouw Henri Arsenault). De familie gebruikte in formuleren die moesten worden ingevuld na de dood van Arsenault de schrijfwijze Willie. In de geschiedschrijving van Leo Major, die zich beschouwde als een goede vriend van Arsenault, wordt de schrijfwijze Willy gebruikt. Die schrijfwijze is ook terug te vinden op het straatnaambord dat de gemeente Zwolle heeft geplaatst bij het Arsenaultplantsoen. In de officiële stukken van het Canadese leger wordt consequent de schrijfwijze Welly gebruikt. Die schrijfwijze komt overeen met de ondertekening die Arsenault zelf op een aantal stukken plaatste. Al laat die ondertekening in enkele gevallen ook de ruimte voor de schrijfwijze met een i en plaats van een e. Arsenault laat in dat geval wel consequent de punt boven de i weg.
Alex Serediak heeft geen straatnaam in Zwolle, zoals Leo Major. Er is geen plantsoen naar hem genoemd, zoals voor Welly Arsenault. Toch droeg hij in niet geringe mate bij aan de bevrijding van de Overijsselse hoofdstad in april 1945. Hij verloor er zijn leven.
Net als Thom Thomas is Serediak bij Zwolle gesneuveld, maar zijn naam komt nauwelijks terug in de Zwolse annalen, terwijl het verhaal van ‘bevrijder’ Leo Major tot mythische proporties is gegroeid.
Om Serediak te vinden belde hij alle mensen met die achternaam in de omgeving van Edmonton in Canada. De belronde langs meer dan 20 Canadezen bleef vruchteloos. Niemand was bekend met het in Zwolle omgekomen familielid. Pogingen om via het genealogie-platform Ancestry in contact te komen met stamboomonderzoekers bleven vruchteloos. De onderzoekers die Serediak in hun stamboom hadden opgenomen, reageerden niet op herhaalde verzoeken om informatie. Soortgelijke zoekslagen via Facebook waren net zo vruchteloos.
Van der Wolf zocht vervolgens hulp van de regionale afdeling van de nationale Canadese omroep CBC. Dat leidde tot resultaat. CBC traceerde Patricia Farrus, achternicht van Serediak. Alex Serediak is de oom van haar moeder.
Farrus kende het verhaal van haar oudoom en haar familie had het graf van Alex in Holten al bezocht, in 2016. Desalniettemin was ze diep getroffen door de moeite die Van der Wolf had gedaan om haar te traceren.
Farrus wist dat haar oudoom op de Canadese Begraafplaats in Holten was begraven. Dat is lang niet altijd het geval. Familieleden weten vaak wel iets, maar vaak zijn de gegevens over de laatste rustplaats uit het collectieve geheugen gewist – en soms zijn de verhalen over de manier waarop iemand is gesneuveld niet meer dan een gekleurde en fantasievolle invulling van een vervaagde herinnering.
In 2016 stelde Canadese nationaal archief (Library and Archives Canada) in 2016 de ‘service files’ van de in de Tweede Wereldoorlog gesneuvelde militairen beschikbaar stelde voor genealogisch onderzoek. De dossier bevatten geselecteerde documenten uit de dossiers die vaak vele honderden pagina’s omvatten.
In het verleden moesten gerichte verzoeken worden gedaan bij Libray and Archives in Ottawa om dossiers van soldaten in te zien. Het kon weken tot maanden duren voordat de dossiers beschikbaar kwamen. Nu is een betrekkelijk eenvoudige zoekslag via ancestry.ca genoeg om dossiers van soms wel 100 pagina’s te kunnen inzien met verrassende details over de betrokken militairen.
Het genealogiepakket van Serediak omvat 64 pagina’s. Uit het dossier komt het beeld naar boven van een jongen van Oekraïense komaf. Bruine ogen, bruin haar, 1.76 meter lang en 73 kilo zwaar. In zijn dossier staan verschillende geboortedata vermeld. Serediak zelf meldt bij zijn aanmelding in 1944 en in zijn soldijboekje 25 juli 1920 als zijn geboortedag.
Alex was op zijn 14e van school gegaan om op de boerderij en later in de mijnen aan het werk te gaan. Later kreeg hij een baan als elektricien bij de vliegtuigfabriek Boeing in Vancouver.
Hij had geen bijzondere interesses en bij zijn keuring vielen ook geen capaciteiten op, die hem geschikt maakten voor bijzondere legeronderdelen. Geschikt als infanterist, vond officier E.J. Kebblewhite bij de keuring op 3 mei 1942.
Hij had zich in augustus 1941 gemeld, toen hij was opgeroepen op basis van de nationale Canadese mobilisatie. In februari 1943 werd hij ontslagen uit de dienst, toen hij in Nanaimo (British Columbia) in het ziekenhuis lag om aan zijn ontstoken keelamandelen te worden geholpen. “Unable to meet required military physical standard”, werd in zijn dossier vermeld op 30 januari 1943.
Maar in mei 1944 werd hij alsnog fit genoeg bevonden om in de gelederen te worden opgenomen. In december 1944 werd hij naar het Verenigd Koninkrijk verscheept en twee maanden later, op 23 februari 1945, kwam hij op het Europese vasteland. Hij was ingedeeld bij het Canadian Scottish Regiment.
Op 14 april trokken de Canscots, zoals het regiment kortheidshalve werd genoemd, vanuit Den Nul in de richting van Zwolle. Het leek een leuk voorjaarstochtje, afgaande op de beschrijving in de war diary. “The trip was long and full of delightful scenery”, aldus de dagboekschrijver van het regiment. Het regiment verzamelde zich ten zuiden van Zwolle, waar de Zuthemerweg uitkomt op de Wijheseweg. De Canscots trokken achter Regina’s (Regina Rifle Regiment) de stad door, zonder enig oponthoud. De vijandelijke troepen hadden zich al terug getrokken naar het westen, over de IJssel. De Canscots namen posities in bij Frankhuis, ten noorden van de stad.
De laatste twee meldingen in de war diary op 14 april zijn: “Casualties Other Ranks: Killed 2 Wounded 2.”
Hoe Serediak sneuvelde is niet duidelijk. Zijn stoffelijk overschot werd tijdelijk begraven in Raalte op de Protestantse Begraafplaats. Op 5 februari 1946 kreeg hij een definitieve rustplaats op de Canadese militaire begraafplaats in Holten.
Patricia Farrus, de achternicht van Alex Serediak, wist niet zo veel over haar oudoom te vertellen. Ze had haar moeder wel eens over Alex horen praten, maar eigenlijk hadden ze geen enkele informatie. “Mijn moeder vertelde dat er foto’s van hem waren, maar dat was het zo ongeveer. Ze hebben nooit gehoord wat er gebeurd was. Ze hoorden alleen maar dat hij in de oorlog overleden was”, vertelde ze vorig jaar aan CBC-nieuws, nadat Edwin van der Wolf haar had gevonden.
Thomas Thomas kreeg in 2020 een plaquette in wijkcentrum Het Anker in Westenholte. Voor Alex Serediak werd een plaquette geplaatst bij het monument voor gesneuvelde piloten aan de Pilotenlaan in Zwolle-Zuid. Pas 75 jaar na de bevrijding van Zwolle.
Als het aan de moeder van Gerard Jourdain had gelegen, was haar zoon nooit het leger in gegaan.
Gerard Jourdain (geboren op 4 mei 1923) was de vierde van twaalf kinderen van Mary en Wilfrid Jourdain. Moeder Mary deed er alles aan om te voorkomen dat haar zoon Gerard naar het front in Europa zou worden gestuurd. Ze schreef een brief aan de minister van defensie om hem ervan te overtuigen dat het een verkeerd idee was om haar zoon naar Europa te zenden. Zij claimde dat hij leed aan hemofilie. Mocht haar zoon ernstig gewond raken, dan zou hij binnen de kortste keren doodbloeden, betoogde zij. Ze schreef de brief aan minister Andrew McNaughton in november 1944. “Ik neem aan dat hij [zij bedoelt haar zoon Gerard] tot de 16.000 behoort die binnenkort naar overzee zullen vertrekken”. Dat was een foute beslissing van premier Mackenzie King, vond ze. De regering had immers beloofd dat er geen dienstplichtigen naar het front zouden worden gestuurd?
De moeder van Gerard Jourdain refereerde aan de politieke balanceer-act waar de Canadese regering zich voor gesteld stond.
De dienstplicht lag in de Tweede Wereldoorlog politiek zeer gevoelig in Canada. De opvattingen lagen verdeeld langs de scheidslijnen van de taal. De Franstalige Quebecois waren tegen dienstplicht, de Engelstalige rest voor. De Canadese regering vond in 1939 een compromis: er kwam een dienstplicht voor ‘home service’, dienstplicht in eigen land. Naar het West-Europese strijdtoneel gingen alleen soldaten die daarvoor tekenden. Pas in november 1944, toen duidelijk was dat het niet lukte om de verliezen op te vangen met vrijwilligers, besloot de Canadese regering om toch dienstplichtigen naar het front te sturen.
De moeder van Jourdain schreef aan de minister van defensie: “Een dergelijke beslissing van Premier King heeft ons enorm teleurgesteld! Ik liet mijn zoon in de gelederen blijven omdat ik vertrouwen had in de beloften van onze leiders (…). Ik vind het misdadig om mijn zoon naar het front te sturen.”
Daar kwam nog bij dat het met Gerards gezondheid niet goed zat, volgens haar. Gerard had inderdaad een geschiedenis van veel ziekenhuisopnamen, zo valt uit zijn dossier op te maken. Hij lag in het ziekenhuis vanwege griep, met mazelen, en met andere klachten.Mary Jourdain vroeg de minister om haar zoon ongeschikt te verklaren voor de dienst overzee. “Als u me dat plezier doet, ben ik u altijd dankbaar.” Ze stelde dat hij spontane bloedneuzen had en daarbij veel bloed verloor. “Dus concludeer ik dat hij nog steeds lijdt aan hemofilie.”
Dat was een conclusie die niet werd gedeeld door de medisch verantwoordelijken in het leger. Captain J. Maroosis (Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps) stelde op 8 december 1944 dat Gerard Jourdain uitgebreide indirecte antwoorden gaf op vragen, maar dat uit niets bleek dat hij aan hemofilie leed. Zijn conclusie was dat de fysieke gesteldheid van Jourdain perfect in orde was.
De secretaris van de minister liet moeder Jourdain weten dat er geen reden was om voor haar zoon een uitzondering te maken. En dus werd Gerard Jourdain in januari 1945 verscheept naar het Verenigd Koninkrijk. Begin maart werd hij naar ht Europese vasteland gebracht, waar hij eind maart bij het Régiment de la Chaudiere werd ingedeeld.
Jourdain sneuvelde op 6 april 1945 toen hij met zijn regiment zware gevechten voerde om Zutphen te bevrijden. Jourdain werd tijdelijk begraven in Almen, bij Het Elger.
Hij werd later herbegraven op de Canadese Begraafplaats in Holten: Plot 2, rij F, Graf 16.
Bron: Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Canada; Service Files of the Second World War – War Dead, 1939-1947; Series:RG 24; Volume: 26564.
Toen Charles (Henry Oswald) Lloyd in maart 1941 werd ingeschreven voor actieve dienst in het Canadese leger werd als beroep genoteerd: trumpeter, RCMP. De trompettist moest de verschillende trompetsignalen van de Royal Canadian Mounted Police kennen en kunnen laten horen. Maar hij was niet meer actief bij de Canadese politie – de Mounties. De 19-jarige Lloyd was op dat moment zonder werk en hij zei dat hij wel een carrière in het leger ambieerde.
Lloyd hield van paardrijden, schaatsen en hij vond het ook leuk om softball te spelen. Maar zijn rol als trompettist was hem wellicht het meest lief. De opleiding was er een beetje bij in geschoten, liet hij weten – dat kwam omdat hij misschien wel vijf keer was verhuisd in de tijd dat hij naar school ging.
Desalniettemin maakte hij een goede indruk. Hij was een gezellige jongen die goed kon vertellen, oordeelde Lieutenant F. Whewell in 1942. Whewell vond dat Lloyd nog wel extra training nodig had om goed te functioneren in het 8th Recce regiment.
Lloyd meldde zich in Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada), waar hij in 1941 woonde. Hij was 19 jaar eerder geboren in de plaats Morden (Manitoba, Canada) als zoon van Gladys en Cyrill Lloyd. Gladys en Cyrill waren vanuit Engeland naar Canada gekomen. Zij waren in 1916 in Engeland getrouwd. Vader Cyrill kwam in maart 1938 te overlijden op 50-jarige leeftijd.
Lloyd werd ingedeeld bij het 8th Recce regiment (14 Hussars). De 1,77 lange en 57 kilo zware jongwas een tijdje brildragend geweest. Maar in 1941 had hij geen bril meer nodig voor zijn grijze ogen.
Na drie maanden dienst in Canada werd hij al verscheept naar het Verenigd Koninkrijk, waar hij successievelijk van gewoon soldaat werd gepromoveerd tot sergeant en korporaal.
In juli 1944 ging hij naar het Europese vasteland. Hij bleef ongeschonden in de strijd tot hij begin april 1945 in de omgeving van Laren (Gld) kwam. Zijn regiment zag hoe de bruggen over het Twentekanaal door de Duitsers werden opgeblazen, terwijl ze met hun voertuigen tot op enkele honderden meters waren genaderd.
Een paar dagen later trok hij in de richting van Holten. Zijn regiment moest verkenningen uitvoeren over de Schipbeek. Op 6 april 1945, om tien uur in de ochtend, viel Lloyd neer. Hij was getroffen in de maagstreek – mogelijk door een Duitse scherpschutter. De kogel was dwars door hem heen gegaan.
De hospik die hem hielp noteerde dat Lloyds conditie nog redelijk goed was, hoewel hij een zwakke pols had bij een hoge hartslag. Lloyd werd naar het ziekenhuis in Lochem gebracht waar op dat moment tal van gewonde Canadezen werden geholpen. Daar kwam hij om kwart over 12 aan. Zijn toestand verslechterde zienderogen en om 13.40 uur stelde de arts vast dat hij was overleden.
Zijn moeder, die inmiddels in Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada) woonde, kreeg op 9 april 1945 een telegram met de melding dat haar zoon was overleden als gevolg van verwondingen die hij had opgelopen. In een toelichtende brief van een week later las ze dat Charles was overleden als gevolg van een schotwond in de buik, bloedverlies en shock.
Charles werd tijdelijk begraven op de algemene begraafplaats aan de Zutphenseweg in Lochem. Later kreeg hij zijn definitieve rustplaats op de Canadese Begraafplaats in Holten: plot 3, rij C, graf 6.
Bron: Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Canada; Service Files of the Second World War – War Dead, 1939-1947; Series: RG 24; Volume: 26383
South Saskatchewan Regiment 8 Apr 45 MR 074074 Sh 3704 At 1045 hrs Brig JV Allard, DSO and Bar, visited Comd Post and gave Lt-Col V Stott, DSO, infm concenring future ops. At 1100 hrs Lt-Col M Harris visited the CO in connection with the roudns of arty falling short in C coy area previous to and during the crossing of the SCHIPBEEK CANAL, the night before. At 1140 hrs Lt-Col V Stott, DSO, held a short adm O Gp. First the general situation on the Cdn front was given and then strenght chits and rfts personell were gone over and allotted to coys. At 1445 hrs Lt-Col V Stott, DSO, called a “Huddle Green” which means an ops O Gp and to be prepared to move off immediately it is over. At 1500 hrs the O Gp got under way with the CO giving the general enemy picture. Following this he detailed the intention of the S Sask R, namely to capture and hold main road and railway line area MR 055096. Method – it is to be done by coy infoltration. Code words, objectives and routes were marked on cy comds maps by the Int Sec (see trace). The remainder of the bn supporting arms to report to Comd Post after the O Gp. The leading coy to start fot its objective by 1630 hrs. RAP to remain at MR 084066 and on ordrs from Lt-Col V Stott, DSO, to move to codeword “Lead”. Comd Post to remain in present psn and then move to “Lead” and then on to “Copper”. Mortars to move to “Lead” with Comd Post and then on to “Tin”. IN support the bn has 2 tps of tks and the 6 Cdn Fd Regt RCA. At 1540 hrs the O Gp ended and the cou comds returned to their coys. At 1550 hrs Capt HA Osborne, IO, visited LtCol V Stott, DSO, with the latest infm from 6 Cdn Inf Bde. At 1550 hrs Brig JV Allard, DSO & Bar, visited the CO with infm concerning the 2 Cdn INf Dv activities and to tie in one or two small points. At 1715 hrs B coy reported on objective “ Lead” with no enemy opposition. There has been a decided lack of enemy shelling during the day and it was expected B coy’s attack would bring it on, but much to everyone’s surprise it still remained quiet. At 1830 hrs C coy reached B coy objective and reported 1 enemy 40 mm gun firing from MR 059094. At 1853 hrs A coy reported 2 pls on “Tin” and that Lt Dick Kerr had been wounded. At 1854 hrs Lt McKenna of Tor Scots Regt reported with his MMG pl to the Comd Post. It is now under comd of S Sask R. At 1905 hrs A coy reported “Tin” complete and approx 15 enemy inf withdrawing northwest towards “Copper”. At 2000 hrs A coy reported 1 PW, the first to be captured during this battle. Quite a difference from the crossing of the SCHIPBEEK CANAL. At 2009 hrs C coy reported on “Lead” and asked for some targets. At 2030 hrs C coy reported on “Copper” complete and were told to send a patrol 300 yds south of “Copper” to clear any enemy out of the woods in that area. At 2123 hrs D coy reported “Iron” complete. The Wesp Flamethrowers were used at thier objective. Major F Stiles at one time was OC of Carrier Pl and has a very good knowledge of the proper use of this wpn. At 2135 hrs the RAP moved to “Lead” and all coys were infm of the new location. At 2210 hrs B coy reported “Silver” complete and that they had captured a German smb. A guard was placed on it until CO and MO could have a look at it in daylight. At 2313 hrs A coy reported “Gold” complete with no shots being fired. Enemy activity during ths bn operation has been very light with shelling and mortaring nil. At 2330 hrs word was received that Lt RK Kerr had died of wounds. lt Kerr was a sgt with the bn during the DIEPPE Raid and later returned to Canada for his commission. He returned overseas and rejoined the bn in Holland wher he fought up to the present time. His services with the bn will long be remembered by those who knew him. The rest of the night passed quietly with no fire coming from the Jerry lines. The boys were quite happy to leave things as they were in exchange for a good night of sleep.
Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG) CIC 7 April Cloudy with some rain early in the morning but cleared late in the afternoon. Bn HQ moved today to MR 075983 in the outskirts of HOLTEN. CO returned to BHQ today having been with the forward Bde ever since the 28 Mar when he crossed the Rhine with 6 Bde HQ. A coy pls remained in the same posn today with the exception of 3 pl which moved to MR 08520522 where they were kept busy, targets being called almost every hour. 4 pl fired in support of Cams of C and SSRs. B coy HQ moved again with 4 Bde HQ, this time to MR 054018. 6 pl moved tot MR 097029 an 7 to 081034 this afternoon […]
South Saskatchewan Regiment 7 Apr 45 MR 079058 Sh 3704 At 0140 hrs a recce party was sent out to recce a new psn for Cmd Post near the canal crossing. At 0200 hrs Comd Post arrive at their new HQ MR 079058 and by this time coys had reported in concentration and waiting for [???, unreadable] hour. At 0250 hrs a report was received for Major G Stilles, that the assault boats had not arrived so Lt-Col V Stott, DSO, set the zero hour back half an hour. At 0305 hrs word was received that the assault boats had arrived and everyone breathed a sigh of relief as no one was looking forward to swim. At 0320hrs members of Bn HQ were sitting huddeled in a bsement 4 ft by 12 ft anxiously waiting for the sond of shells. Suddenly, amidst the sound of “Roger out” and the chatter carried on by the members of the Comd Post gp, the first shell was heard, and a sigh of relief went up, vor it denoted the beginning of the crossing of the SCHIPBEEK CANAL. At 0330 hrs arty was reported falling short in C coy’s posn so Lt-Col V Stott, DSO, stopped the fire. The shells were reported landing in area MR 065066. At 0345 hrs our scouts had returned from D coy with 1 pw, later identified as belonging to the Pioneeer coy of the Pioneer Training Bn, 6 Para Div. At 0350 hrs D coy reported 2 pls on ther objective. At 0400 hrs C Coy reported “Orange” complete and 0403 hrs D coy had reported “Cherry” complete. At 0405 hrs A coy and B coy were geven orders to move across the canal. At 0440 hrs A coy reported “Pineapple” complete. At this time the bn had all four coys across the canal with three on their objectives. At 0535 hrs B coy reported on “Apple” thus reporting the bn on its objective and closing another chapter in a very successful operation. Comd Post then moved across the canal to D coy area t “Cherry” and the bde codeword was sent in “Stokehold” at 0630 hrs. at 0630 hrs. Position MR 074074. At 0655 hrs the A Tk guns were ferried across the canal and arrived in C coy’s area. During the procedure Capt J Allen, OC A Tk pl was wounded.. By 1330 hrs all coys reported their rations had arrived. During the ferrying across the canal 1 of the amn carriers forgot to stop on the ferry and ended up in the bottom. At 1340 hrs 13 mor PW were brought in by Sp coy, bringing the bn total up to 1 offr and 78 OR plus the caprue of one wireless set. At 1400 hrs Lt-Col V Stott , DSO, decided to extend his bridgehedad and moved D coy forward tot MR 075075. During the movement of D coy a message was received from Major AM Matheson stating:- “We will have a meternity case on our hands within two hours: Can you get her out?” All coys incl the CO immediately sent Major AM Matheson a message of congratulations on his fine work. Capt AH Stephenson arrived to assist and took comd of the situation by moving the woman out in his jeep. At 1540 hrs D coy reported complete on their new posn. At 1545 hrs 2 Lts reported to Lt-Cp; V Stott, DSO, namely: Lt GS Blake and Lt JD Armstrong. Lt GS Blake has been with the bn about six months and is considered an old timer. He was posted to carrier pl as 2 IC. Lt JD Armstrong was posted to B coy as pl comd. At 1600 hrs the mortar kpl reported in psn and ready for action at MR 077055. At 1640 hrs the Fus MR reported a counter attack on their C coy psn. Enemy strength was estimated to be around 1 pl. The counter attack was succesfullly beaten off. The rest of the day passed quietly. The IO made the round sof the cous and laid on patrols to keep in touch with the enemy. A cou to contact B coy of the Cans of C on our left. C coy to send a patrol out northeast. D coy to send a patrol to line of railway and rd. Petrols were to leave at 2100 hrs and return by 0100 hrs. Their job was to contact the enemy, find out their strength and return. This was crried out and both patrols reported in (See patrol report and trace). During the night “Jerry” behaved himself so the men were able to get a well deserved rest. Weather: Sunnny and clear with cool wind.
The Calgary Highlanders Holland Lochem Sheet 3703 Tac HQ 064996 7 Apr 45 There was no further word of a move when the Bn roused at 0700hrs and with the exception of being ready to move any time, routine went on as usual with all ranks getting as much rest as possible. Coy Comdrs were called in at 0900hrs and given what information the C.O. had and a huddle was called at Bde for 1030hrs. Coy Comdrs were once more called in at 1330hrs and told that a possible move time was 1700hrs, all depending on the progress made by the RHC building a bridge at 076060.
1st Bn Black Watch (RHR) of Canada 7th. Apr., Sat. Weather – overcast with showers. The men spent a quiet day today. In the late afternoon an 0 Gp. was called where it was announced that we will be moving up tomorrow to a concentration area on the outskirts of HOLTEN, which town will be the next Bn. objective. Movies were shown in the afternoon and again in the evening..
1 C Scot R 957042 April 7 Total strength: Officers, 40 Other Ranks, 824. Cloydy and cool in the morning, mild in the afternoon. Today the Bn rested in their areas at EPSE, being reminded occasionally that the enemy is not far away when the odd shells came hurtling in. We weren’t in the position nor the mood, to be aggressive today; but that din’t mean we wouldn’t get in the mood if the opportunity presented itself. 1400 A reccde party left to recce a new concentration area at OKSE (sqs 9705, 9704). 1700 The Command Post followed the Coys to the Conc Area and became established at 967042 ( for disposition of Coys see Trace). All Coys spent a quiet night and cought up on a bit of needed rest. Casualties: Officers: Sick: Lt H. Bernhardt Lt R. Cumming Other Ranks: Wounded: 5
12 Canadian Field Regiment R.C.A. 7 T-day we fired a great number of targets into DEVENTER. Had some medium shelling of our guns, no casualties and no damage done. We fired some red smoke for the “tiffies”. The weather has been perfect for our aircraft and they seem to be making good use of it. OPs report the visibility as excellent. Capt L.F. KIRKPATRICK received his majority and takes over command of 16 Bty
Régiment de Maisonneuve 6 April 45 The weather is fair and mild. Our BN is still in the same area. The recce patrols were succesful and we did not suffer any casualty. Our C.O., Lt-Col. J. Bibeau, went to an O Gp at Bde around 1630 hrs. Lieut L.J.A. Woods comes back from his snipers cours in ZON Holland. The morale of the troops is good; we had 23 reinforcements today. “A” ech moved up close to our positions. It started to rain about 1700 hrs tonight. We had two movie representattions, one at 1630 hrs and the second one at 1900 jhrs; these were representation were given by the K of C in a barn where cows were spectators as well as soldiers.
6 Apr 45 Weather:- Cloudy. Our Squadron are out probing around again this morning, trying to find a bridge that isn’t blown, across the SCHIPBEEK Canal. One German casualty was brought in at 0900 hrs, with a stomack wound. At 1030 hrs, three airman were brought in, 2 Flight Serjeants, and a Flight Lieutenant. The Serjeants had been down for 7 months, and the Lieutenant had joined them about 3 months ago. Since then they had been hidden by the Dutch people. Later on the day, two prisoners were brought in, who claimed to be Italian (they are still P.W.s as far as we are concerned). In the same vehicle an Officer from the R. de Mais was returned to us. He had been taken prisoner by Jerry when his Regiment had been attacking LAREN, a few days ago. Since that time he was taken to HOLTEN, and then started for DEVENTER on foot, on the road he knocked down one of his guards, and put the boots to him, the other escort (an Austrian) went one way, while the R. de Mais Officer headed back for our lines in another direction. He was picked up by the “C” Squadron.
1st. Bn. Black Watch (RHR) of Canada 6th. Apr., Fri. Weather – overcast. Early this morning the FUSILIERS de MONT ROYAL went through Coy. at MR 065011. Today Lt-Col. SYDNEY W. THOMSON, D.S.O., M.C., late of the SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS of CANADA was appointed C.O. of the BLACK WATCH. Capt. R.DAVEY O.C. of B. Coy. was today promoted to the rank of Major. He moved to A Ech., now also stablished in LAREN, and will proceed to England tomorrow on a short course. Lt. T.J. LARKIN, of the Anti-Tank platoon was promoted to the rank of Captain. The of C. showed a movie tonight in a somewhat damaged cafe on the edge of town. The day was spent in re-equipping and regrouping.
Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG) CIC 6 Apr 45 Lightly cloudy and cool, occasional showers during the day. 1 pl moved twice today, firt to MR 06502285 then to 08520522 where a few mortar bombs landed nearby – co cas. They did not fire during the day. 4 pl are located ad MR 05730557 fired 84 HE and S smoke in sp of 6 bde driving some of the enemy from their posns. At 1800 hrs, 2 pl moved to 08430512 ran into some enemy MG fire on the way – no casualties. They saw a flud riddles spitfire near their posn. 3 pl fired several tanks during the night. B coy spent a quiet day with bath parades an a cinema in the afternoon. 5 pl moved to MR 107978. D coy pls remained conc in same area. Laren is reported to be cleared, 6 bde are passing through . In the afternoon Schipbeek Canal was reached and coys of the Cams of C crossed, SSRs and FMRs to follow. Little opposition encountered and enemy is believed to have withdrawn to Holten.
The Calgary Highlanders CA (o) Holland Lockem Sheet 3703 Tac HQ 064996 Weather – Cold and showery; visibility – poor At 0800hrs the two first Coys, “A” and “C”, moved off and reported on their objectives at 0830hrs, when “B” Coy moved on to theirs. No opposition was encountered and patrols were sent out immediately, taking 6 PWs, all told. Brig. W.J. Megill visited our Tac HQ, which had been moved to 064996; and gave the A/O.C., Major W.D. Heyland, instructions for the day. “A” and “F” Echs were moved up to the Bn area and small packs were delivered to the Coys. During the afternoon two Americans and one French Pilot were brought into Tac by a member of the Underground. They had been in hiding for a year and had some great stories to tell. At 1630 the A/O.C. and I.O. attended a huddle at the Bde to receive instructions on the coming operations. “B” Coy, the Carrier Pl and a Sec of A/YKs, aldong with a troop of tanks, were despatched to square 0304 to provide flank protection for the 6 Bde Axis. The Bn bedded down fully expecting to be wakened in the early hours and be on the move.
10 Cdn Armd Regt (Fort Garry Horse) 6 Apr 45. On this gloomy day, troops workd with battalions, and squadron headquarters assumed regimental airs, “coordinating this and that. Late in the day, the blob of RHQ and D sqn remaining on (…)
Royal Hamilton Light Infantry MR 078982 Sheet 3804 LOCHEM 1/2500 6 [Apr 45] 0800 It is a little cooler this morning with visibility of 500 yards. 0900 A ech moved up and set up in farm buildings adjacent to BnHQ area. 0945 ESSEX SCOT report 8 PW have arrived with four more on their way. These PW report that the enemy in this vicinity want to surrender. Yesterday the ESSEX took 100 prisoners. 1100 Rear BnHQ with all Fl ech moved off under the direction of Major WH BURTON, A/2 IC, for the bn area. 1300 Rear BnHQ arrived at the RAP old position. The RAP had quite a time taking possession of this spot, as they were forced by the enemy to become combatant and chase Jerry from the buildings they were to occupy. Rear BNHQ set up and finally had sigs tap a line into Bde. MR 102976 Sheet 3804 LOCHEM 1/25000 1335 Tac HQ moved to their new area at MR 102976 Sheet 3804 LOCHEM, and set up in the town hall. The situation proved to be much the same as we experienced back in FRANCE, where the enemy had confiscated all civilian radios in the district. These were mostly battery sets and all stored in the attic of the town hall. Tac HQ had designs on quite a number of these sets but a little persuasion by the CO on behalf of the Dutch civlians, convinced us otherwise, so they were promptly returned to their resting place in the attic. 1500 The unit Padre, H/Capt HW JOHNSON, hel a burial party at MR022976, ZUTPHEN Sheet 3805, for our own and enemy dead. 1615 Th IO visited coys and checked the identity of one Ferry NCO was killed. He turned out to be from the famous HERMAN GOERING Regt. He is the first of the kind this bn has come in contact with. 1700 Mines were reported in C coy area. Sevral of these were double Teller mines, piled two high with their fuses and detonators joined, but held apart by a spring and both held in place in a square steel casing. When stepped on or run over, the spring would collapse allowing the two detonators to explode simultaneously. It is a type our pioneers had not run across operationally before. 1730 A patrol of the carriers with Capt KW WHARTON in command, was sent out with a view to scouting the area along the canal. This patrol proved to be fruitless and no enemy were contacted. The proceeded to MR 130985 and walked from this point to MR 110990. The only discovery the patrol made was a RAF warrant officer who had made a forced landing in this area a week ago. He reports that the enemy have withdrawn form our area and that they are very short of food. 2100 The RAF chap*) was sent back to Div for interrogation and transport to his own unit which is here in HOLLAND.
[*) The RAF chap probably was Frank Roberts (reg nr 1349787), who crashed with his Spitfire TB750 of the 341Sqd on March 30, 1945 just south of the Schipbeek . Roberts was hidden by the family Schottink in Markelo. Roberts was picked up by 2 Canadfian carriers, directed by members of the resistance. (information provided by Benny Schreurs)]
1st Bn., THE ESSEX SCOTTISH REGIMENT CANADIAN ARMY (OVERSEAS) N of TWENTHE CANAL Ref ZUTPHEN SHEET 3803 1:25000 During the night patrols were sent out but no contact with enemy was made. Vehicles were heard and slight shelling occured, however no casualties resulted. According to PW information, they had withdrawn 6 Km. — information was passed to Bde and the Brigadier visited us arount 1120 hrs. and we were ordered to move forward. Our CO issued his orders at 1230 hrs. and our leading elements started to move at 1335 hrs. During the morning our bag of prisoners amounted to 14. At 1600 hrs. in the afternoon all Companies were on their objectives and had met very little opposition. Arount 1650 hrs. the CO and the IO were abele to visit all Coys.
1 Bn The Royal Regiment of Canada 6 Apr 45 Weather today was fair and warm. The Brig wisited Tac HQ at 1000 hrs. Essex Scots moved north with A Coy R Regt C moving up to protect their rear. RHLI posn was found not suitable by engrs for bridge site and RHLI hadto proceed farther east to est another bridgehead. Bn stayed in the area for the day until C and D Coys and one tp of 10th Armd Regt acting as mobile conterattack unit for RHLI. 19 OR rfts were received today and allotted as follows: Sp Coy – 1, B Coy – 8, C Coy – 2, D Coy – 8.
1st Bn Regina Rifle Regiment EEFDE MR 971972, ZUTPHEN Sheet §3803. 6th Apr 1945 0700 Wheather–Scattered clouds and showers. 130 Bde advise us we are to move at 1200 hrs NORTH toward DEVENTER (Sheet §3703, BATHMEN, 1/25,000). CSRand RWR are moving NORTH now. 1200 Coys commence to move. By 1400 hrs all the coys have moved into position as follows (Sheet §3703, BATHMEN, 1/25,000). A Coy–967030, B Coy–§71022, C Coy–964025, D Coy–967032. BnHQ is located at 964028. RWR are into sq 9605. CSR are sq9404. There arescattered sp and mortars firing and scattered snipers. It appears there are defences out in front of DEVENTER which will have to be taken out. We set up DF and SOS fire plan and wait for further orders. A patrolfrom the Scout platoon went EAST and contacted ESSEX SCOTS, 2 Div at MR 00320.
South Saskatchewan Regiment 6 Apr 45 At 0830 hrs Lt JD Cade went to HW 6 Cdn Inf Bde to gather infm on the bde movements. He was infm the Cams of C had pushed 1,000 yds northwest of LAREN and the Fus MR 1,000 yds northeast of LAREN, were, at that time consolidating. Enemy opposition was reported as light, mainly small arms fire with a few mortars landing in the general area. At 0830 hrs Bn HQ moved to MR 06019883, sh 3704. At 0900 hrs Lt-Col V Stott visited HQ 6 Cdn Inf Bde to be put in the picture on any possible bn move and all the latest developments. At 11.30 hrs the bn was put on a half hour notic to move. At 1300 hrs recce parties were warned to report to Comd Post and moved off at 1330 hrs under Comd Capt WGA Lane, OC Sp Coy. At 1330 hrs Lt-Col V Stott, DSO, called an O Gp for orders on the move to the new start point MR 058956. Time past start point 1445 hrs. Order of march for (a) gp C coy, A coy, D coy, B coy and Bn HQ. Order of march for (b) gp Bn HQ, C coy, A coy, D coy, Sp coy, MMGs and 17 pdrs. All vehs will report to Capt K Koltman at assembly area MR 051985 and be ready to move by 1500 hrs. Guides will meet the coys at MR 066023. Supper to be at 1700 hrs with sandwiches and a hot drink at 0030 hrs. Fl Ech to remain in present area and recce a place closer to the bn in the morning in sqs 0603 or 0703, along the main road. A Tk guns to be sent back to Sp coy. Eforced rest upon reaching conc area and rum to be issued. At 1445 hrs C coy of gp (a) reported the start line. At 1505 hrs gp (b) crossed the start line and arrived in conc area at 1530 hrs. Gp (a) reported in conc area at 15456 hrs. At 1545 hrs a recce party of one sec of carriers was sent out to recce a route to the SCHIPBEEK CANAL for an assault crossing, the bn is planning on during the night. They returned at 1700 hrs and infm th CO of the route up to the nanal. The Posns of the bn in the conc area at 1700 hrs are as follows:- A coy – MR 076037 Comd Post – MR 069029 B coy – MR 069032 Sp HQ – MR 065027 C coy – MR 071033 MMGs – MR 064024 D coy – MR 065034 A Tk – MR 061023 At 1900 hrs word was received that Brig JV Allard, DSO & Bar, would hold an O Gp at S Sask R Comd Post. At 1940 hrs the O Gp got under way and plans for the S Sask R assault crossing of the SCHIPBEEK CANAL were given. Support from other arms was laid on. At 2050 hrs an OGp by Lt-Col V Stott, DSO, got under way. A general picture of the enemy was given, followed by the plans for the 6 Cdn Inf Bde. The CO then gave the plans for the S Sask R, setting the zero hour at 0300 hrs. Tea and sandwiches plus a rum ration are to be issued to the men at oo30 hrs (See appx for orders) Weather: Sunny, fair, with cool wind.
THE ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES 6 FRI Clear and warm. Bn on the move once more with C Coy leading at 1000 hrs. Comd Post was est at 96503s2 when the cous cleared their areas. The coys were est as follows. A Coy 969030, B Coy 964027, C Coy 96034, D Coy 964034. There was no opposition. At 1447 hrs the Bn was moving again with B Coy leading. At 1540 hrs D Coy was at 968052 and C Coy at 973054. At 1600 hrs B Coy was est at 977054. A Coy and Bn HQ were est at 974048. Sniping and mortar fire accounted for a few of our cas but we took several PWs at this stage. An interesting point about the building occupied by th Bn HQ was that just the day before it was occupied by a branch of the German Gestapo. Here alsoe was a solid brick building which was used as a prison and a garage which housed several German autos. A dismal sight awaited us when some of the tps discovered a brick firing bay. On this brick was smattering of blood and flesh. The earth at the base of the wall was extremely soft and one of the men was curious enough to start digging. In a few minutes time the battered body of a middle-aged man appeared. This was only part of the dismal and gruesome sight for after a few hours ten similar bodies lay on the surface. The bodies were identified the following day by a member of the Dutch Underground. He told us that the German Gestapo had held these people as prisoners for they were suspected to be members of the Dutch Underground. We were also informed that when the Gestapo heard that we were coming they murdered their prisoners and evacuated the camp. At 1600 hrs the CO held an O Gp and it was decided that D Coy was to secure brhead on the other side of the canal. The br was discovered to be blown but with the help of the Bn Pioneers a footbr was quickly erected and under hy fire D Coy moved across and secured the brhead. In doing this D Coy had a few cas but took sevral PWs. At 2200 hrs B Coy passed through D Coy and consolidated at 967060
6 Canadian Field Regiment R.C.A. LOCHEM 044918 061001 Sheet 3804 6 Apr 45 H F Fire on escape routes North-West and North-East of LAREN. @ M L targets fired in support of FMRs. 6 Cdn Inf Bde advanced NORTH of LAREN with little oppositon. Moved to area 061001. M target fired in area 2 miled West of Halten. Several shelreps received. D Fs recorded North of Schipbeek Canal in support of 6 Cdn Inf Bde. DFs recorded further West and South in support of 5 Cdn Inf Bde.
1 C Scot R (AF) 948025 BATHMEN 1945 April 6 011924 April 6 Total strength: Officers, 40 Other Ranks, 822 Weather: Cloudy and variable showers. 0630 Mobility is second nature to us and within an hour the head of the column had crossed the Start Line, but the tank support seemed to be lacking. light artillery was our only opposition in the first phases. As we approached Report Line “MARK” Trace at 952008, civilians told us were 20 or 30 Huns in the woods in sq 9300. Lt-col L.S. Hendeson sent A Coy to clear out the woods but the enemy had left before they arrived. The Bn carried on with the odd bit of nuisance resistance and Command Post was established at 948025.
Coys took up temporary positions and “Main BnHQ” was set up a stone’s-throw from Command Post. There was no question in our minds that the enemy was fully aware of our presence as MG bullets whistled around, and in some cases, through the houses. No casualties were caused by this harrassing fire, but the sound of mortar crumps and airbursts kept us on the qui-vive. Five prisoners were brought in to the Command Post, two of whom were wounded about the face but still walking. L/cpl Winkleman W., the interrogator of the “I” Section questioned the Cpl among them. He found out that they had been sent form a strong-point at 935057: the Cpl also told that the bridge had been blown at this point and the enemy were diogging in on the north bank of the river. B Coy fired on two motorcyclists who were evidently making a road recce without the knowladge that we had advanced so far. However, the maide a rapid retreat before we could add them to the PW Cage. At dusk, the Coys moved to EPSE (sq 9404), took up a tctical position, an prepared to send out patrols. Command Post was established at 957042. B Coy captured a 75 mm gun as wel as 3 PsW when the advanced into their new position. The Bn area was quite heavliy shelled as we were under observation. D Coy patrolled up to the Bridge at 936057 to confirm the report of it being blown. They observed 30 Huns digging in on the north side of the Canal. The other patrols had nothing new to report. In all we turned in 9 “Tyffie Targets”. Casualties: Officers: Sick, Major H.F. Bailey Other Ranks: Wounded 3.
5 CDN FD REGT RCA 6 Apr Engaged several HF tasks from 0100 to 0600 hrs – engaged three ML’s at 0500 hrs scale 1 three times each for 45 mins- the rest of the day went fairly quietly – recce parties went out this a.m. and regt moved in the afternoon – RHQ located 054998 sheet 3804 LACHEM 1/25 – amn exp 27 rpg’s
12 CANADIAN FIELD REGIMENT R.C.A. 6 Received the order “Prepare to Move” at 0500 hrs and the first bty moved at 0830 hrs. When they got into action at ALMEN MR 015965 we were told to move the remainder of the Regiment up and to stay on wheels. Rece parties left at 1300 hrs to go to GORSSEL and the Regiment took up psition during the afternoon. From this intermediate position the 43 Bty went into action for a short while to fire propaganda shells into ZUTPHEN. The propaganda was brought to us by a rep from Army. The weather continues very favourable and visibility is excellent. We fired a considerable number of targets for our Bde, one subunit having cleared the area of 935057. Our OPs reported that our arty fire knocked out two SP guns during the day.
1st. Bn. Black Watch (RHR) of Canada LAREN MR 0600 Ref Sh. 15, Lochem, 1:50,000, Holland. 5th. Apr., Thur. Weather – mild, and bright sunshine. Around 0100 hrs. the C.O. was called to Bde. where the final Bde. plan was outlined. The REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE and the CALGARY HIGHLANDERS had already been committed with the former meeting determined opposition largely in the form of panzerfaust (the German equivalent of our PIAT), s.a.fire, and the occasional mortar. The task undertaken by the REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE was to enlarge the bridgehead farther NORTH, and to secure the approaches to LAREN, establishing a firm base for the BLACK WATCH attack on the town. The CALGARY HIGHLANDERS would push Eastward and secure the right flank which they did with little difficulty. On his return to Tac H.Q., Maj.E .MOTZFELDT briefed the Coy.Cmdrs who then returned to their units to await the announcement of the zero hour which would depend on the progress of the REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE. Order of march:- C, B, D, and A Coys.. At 0745 hrs. the Bn. moved to the F.U.P. behind the positions of the REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE. The leading two coys. were mounted on the tanks of the FORT GARRY HORSE (A Sqn.) and our own Sp. Coy. vehicles. While moving up the axis, about 100yds. beyond the F.U.P., the leading coys. came under heavy s.a. and Anti-Tank fire from a position which we had understood to be held by the R. de MAISONNEUVE, and from the town itself, and the men on the tanks had to take cover in the ditch. Following immediately the deployment of the rifle coys. on the axis and the establishment of Tac H.Q. at 050995, about 300 yards behind the leading coys., the German announced his determination to defend the town in the form of shells from an S.P. gun, s.a. fire, and 8cm. rockets. C. Coy. suffered quite heavy casualties in the initial bombardment and one of the tanks was knocked out. At the same time, two of the rockets landed in the barnyard of Tac. H.Q., wounding the Acting C.O., Maj. E. MOTZFELDT, the Scout Officer, Lt. A.G. GUAM, the I.0., Lt. J.G. ROBERTS (who was not evacuated), and Cpl. SHARPE, G.D., C120579, of the Scout platoon, who later in the day succumbed to the injuries sustained. The I.0. called upon Maj. V.E. TRAVERSY to take command, and the Maj., after going up on foot to see the commanders of the leading companies, quickly sized up the situation and ordered these companies to withdraw and dig in, and deploying the Anti-Tank guns on the F.U.P., formed perimeter defense of that area. Maj. V.E.TRAVERSY, after a consultation with the 5th. Field Artillery rep. , Capt. E. BILLOW, and the Sqn. commander of the FORT GARRY HORSE, formul ated a new plan which among other things consisted of assaulting the town in three phases instead of the original two, the first phase being, of necessity, the elimination of the opposition emanating from the two points which the REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE were reported to have taken, A brief O Gp. was called when the new plan was outlined to the Coy. Commanders, The revised plan called for a heavy concentration of field and medium artillery on the town of LAREN , during which the coys. would go in on their objectives. The Brigadier and Capt. S.E. GRIFFIN, I.O. at 5 C.I.B. called at Tac H.Q. at 1000 hrs. and found Maj. V.E. TRAVERSY in complete command of the situation. The attack on the start line commenced at 1115 hrs. and all the coys. moved on to their first objectives, experiencing very little difficulty in so doing. The final phase was then commenced calling for the coys. to move forward to cover the Northern end of the town, The enemy was dug in in the wood beyond the town but was not aggressive except to the movement of A.F.Vs. One of the carriers of Sp. Coy. was knocked out as it was moving up to C Coys. position. The town and its approaches was securely held by us by 1600 hrs. though B and C Coys. had not a little trouble from m.g. fire for some time longer, and our 3″ mort ars had to be called in to reduce some sniping activity . The CALGARY HIGHLANDERS contacted A Coy. on the right flank every three hours from 2000 hrs. on.
South Saskatchewan Regiment MR 02459155 Sh 3803 5 Apr 45 At 0630 hrs the bn was put on one hour notice to move. And with the warning the eager gleam returned to the eyes of the bn scouts. At 0830 hrs Lt JD Cade left for HQ 6 Cdn INf Bde to gather infm on a probably time of movement. Evidently the staff had rather a tough evening at the farewell party for Lt-Col KJ Coates, 11 Cdn Fd Amb, as no infm was available. At 1100 hrs Major AJ Fraser, MC, arrived at Comd Post and infm the CO he was to be under comd of S Sask R with his squadron of Kangaroos. The boys are all looking forward to their ride in these Iron Steeds. The last ride which took place in the battle for CALCAR HEIGHTS is still fresh in everyones mind. At 1400 hrs Lt-Col V Scott accompanied by Lt JD Cade left for HQ 6 Cdn Inf Bde to attend an O Gp made necessary by a change in plans. However, everyone is still in high spirits and hope sooner or later things will be streightened out. At 1415 hrs the Bde O Gp got under way with Capt B Pearson giving a short sitrep on the enemy on our immediate front. It was interesting to note the 6 Para Div is still the controlling div on our front. However, a new element has been identified, namely, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 coys of the Fuchs Bn. However, these troops are poorly equipped, without mortars or inf guns. This group was last identified on the MAAS River. Brig JV Allard, DSO and Bar, then took over and orders were given. In support of the bde we have one sqn of Kangaroos, 1 sqn of tanks, div arty plus 1 med regt and 2 sqns of 8 Cdn Recce Regt (14 CH). The intention of the bde is to pass through 5 Cdn Inf Bde and seize and hold a bridgehead at the SCHIPBEEK CANAL MR 078060. METHOD Brig JV Allard, DSO and Bar, mentioned there are two alternatives.
(1)If opposition is light, 2 sqns 8 Cdn Recce Regt (14 CH) to break through followed by the S Sask R in Kagaroos with the Cams of C mopping up on the left and the Fus MR working towards their objective on the right.
(2)The second alternative is to move by bn bounds up to the SCHIPBEEK CANAL and then over.
Brig JV Allard, DSO and Bar, told the bn comds they would be infm which of the alternative plans would be used after the move to the conc area. This depens on the results of the actions of 5 Cdn INf Bde and 8 Cdn Recce Regt (14 CH). Brig JV Allard, DSO and Bar, closed the O Gp by infm the bn comds their recce parties could leave immediately to recce the conc areas. At 1500 hrs the recce party left for the conc area sq 0598. It is becoming quite common around the bn now, as soon as a recce party leaves to see the boys start to line up for meal parades. Lt D Fairgrieves claims he has missed six meals in three days and is now trying to draw living-out allowance. At 1545 hrs Lt-Col V Stott held a short O Gp. Coys comds were given the lates role the 6 Cdn Inf Bde is expected to play. The enemy pictures was also geven. The CO then gave out the orders for the move to the conc area. The bn is to cross the start line at 1940 hrs at MR 024930. Order of march: Bn HQ, A coy, C coy, D coy, B coy, Sp HQ and 17 pdrs. Guides will meet the column at the bde DP at MR 043987. Routes and areas as per trace. Density 30 VTM. Speed 25 mph. Housing lights only. A Tk guns to remain with the cous the are allotted but to move immediately after breakfast to the same area as Bn HQ. Troops to be in their Kangaroos ready to move by 1915 hrs. At 1600 hrs the bn was placed on 1/2 hour notice to move to conc area. At 1940 hrs the bn moved off, but, much to the disappointment of the Provost Corps, took another route which bde had laid on. It seems the provost were holding a one-way road open for the convoy – all for nothing. MR 056984 Sh 3804 At 2215 hrs the bn had arrived in their conc area and by 2220 hrs all coys had reported complete. The disposition of the coys are as follows: Cmd Post – MR 056984 A coy – 059988 B coy- 055987 C coy – 056980 D coy – 059986 Sp HQ – 049985 During the move word was received that HQ 6 Cdn Inf Bde was now located in the conc area at MR 057986. A great shortage of food seems to be felt throughout the bn and everyone, incl D coy, is eagerly looking forward to the time they arrive back in Germany where food is plentiful. During the night word was received there would be no move before 0900 hrs the next day, so all coys settled down for a good night’s rest. Weather: Overcast with scattered thunder showers.
10 Cdn Armd Regt (Fort Garry Horse) A018979 5 Apr 45. This morning the C.O. attended four O Groups, and rebounded at RHQ for lunch with the strange news that half of D sqn and half of Hq sqn would move across the canal. The adjutant, having reorganized the regiment into compact packets designed to meet the needs of pursuit warfare, looked pained at this untidy improvisation, especially as the cook trucks seemed to have been forgotten. Major Bray, transformed overnight from an admin to an operations officer, left the remnant of Main RHQ to assume command of Tac Headquarters. Meanwhile the discussions about a mobile command post continued, as our unwieldy Tac Hq solved part of the relay station problem but failed to meet the military requirement of simplicity. While the Battle of Organization occupied the forefront of staff minds, the Battle of Bullets affronted the optimism of newspapers by making itself all too apparent. A sqn fought until 0500 hours, withdrew to replenish its ammunition supply, and then continued the attack on Laren (MR063004). Two tanks were reported knocked out: Lieut Livingstons was lightly wounded, his driver George Halasz, was hurt seriously. B sqn continued to support 4 CIB ( which had A sqn in support) to help the 6 CIB forward. Tac HQ plus blobs were now at 018979. It was a rainy day with one flurry of hail. Capt Beatty, back from the assault group (Rhine), assumed command of Hq sqn, and amused all hands by his luxurious twirl of a moustache and his abundant, curly, unkempt hair. The “clown’ made a welcome addition to the RHQ group.
8 Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (14 CH) MR 029978 Holland 5 Apr 45 Weather:- Cloudy and cold “C” Squadron, and RHQ m,oved across the TWENTE Canal at approximately 0800 hrs. “C” Squadron are working on the left, making contact with the 3rd Cdn Division. “A” Squadron on the right trying to get around LAREN, and contact the 4th Cdn Div on our right, at HOLTEN, if possible. It was learned this morning that Tpr Morrison of “B” Squadron was killed on the night of the 3rd of April. He was one of the six men still missing. Air Contact people who are attached to us are not getting much for their people to do, due to weather conditions. Progress throughout the day, was not to good, owing to difficulty in crossing streams and canals.
Régiment de Maisonneuve 5 Apr 45 During the attack last night, we had 23 casualties and we captured forty prisonars. Lieut P.Y. Boudreau was wounded but not seriously. Lieut C. Racicot is missing; Major Robert, his coy commander is pretty sure he is a prisoner of war. This morning, it is raining but the coys are still pushing on and captured three more objectives. There was a countra attack against D coy but is was quickly repulsed. In the afternoon, the whole BN moved up to a new position. Rations came up in time for suppers. The A/Adjt, who was left behind, rejoined TAC HQ. Lieut J.P. Chicoine is briefed by our I.O., Capt W.E. Sutherland, to make a contact patrol. Our C.O., Lt-Col. J. Bibeau is wel pleased with the day’s work. Two pers left for a 48 hr leave to Brussels and seven went to Paris. Let us hope they have a good time because they well deserved it.
5 CDN FD REGT RCA 5 Apr The day was overcast with rain several times – the ground in this area is becoming quite muddy – engaged several ML tgts in the wee small hours of the morning – engaged in fire plan in sp 5CIB at 1115 hrs and another at 1245 – sevral more ML’s were engaged during the day – many bombards were also engaged during the day for the CMO and a couple for the C.B.O. – infantry are making fair headway but sticky in some sopots – recce parties were warned to stand by about four times to-day but each time it was cancelled – amn exp 107 rpg’s.
6 Canadian Field Regiment, R.C.A. 044918 058962 5 Apr 45 We fired approximately 10 rounds per gun H F fire during the night. 6 bombards fired 5 rounds per gun rate 1 fired in support of 5 Cdn Inf Bde in the area of LAREN. 4 Cdn Inf Bde advanced along the East bank of the Canal. At 1730 hours the regiment moved to area 058962. 2 M targest fired in support of 5 Cdn Inf Bde, area South-East LAREN. D F tasks laid on by the Commanding Officer in area North-West of LAREN. Several moreps passed to RCA. 6 Cdn Inf Bde North-West of Laren.
1 Bn The Royal Regiment of Canada 5 Apr 45 The weather today was moderate with scattered showers. Bn area was shelled most of the day, shelling was also intense in Essex Scots and RHLI posns. Rear Bn HQ crossed thecanal at 1100 hrs and moved into bldgs at MR 034977.
The Brig held a conference at RHLI Tac HQ at 1400 hrs where it was decided RHLI would go east along canal bank to est a bridgehead at MR079989. A and B Coys of R Regt C to take up RHLI posn, to link up with EssexScots and protect the left flank. C sqn of the 8 Recce were in sp. RHLI reported firm on objective at 2000 hrs. 31 OR rfts were receaved today and allotted as follows: HQ Coy – 4, A Coy – 4, Sp Coy – 2, B Coy – 11, C Coy – 5, D Coy – 8.
Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG) CIC 5 Apr 45 Cloudy and cool with light rain most of the day. 4 pl supporting 6 Bde MR 049998 also supported 5 Bde attack firing 80 bombs, enemy shelled and mortared their posns, no casualties. 2pl at MR046987 occupied on the heels of the enemy, engaged two targets with 52 bombs. They moved in the evening to MR 066000. 3 pl supported 5 Bde attack later moving to MR 063999. Coy HQ kept busiy supplying sb units with amn […] etc owing to grequent moves. B coy at MR 035968. 5 pl supporting the RHLI took op pson at 083986 forward of our FKLs. Civs reported four enemy tanks had evac the posn shortly before. The pl spent a quiet night an moved in the morning. 7 pl occupied 5 pl posn. 12 and 13 pls moved to D coy HQ MR 017966, ee pl moved to 057994 to support RHC. Enemy shells wounded the CO of the RHC. Lt Baye was wounded and B.76626 Cpl Wilson, R was killed by mortar shrapnel when a shell landed in front of them as they were walking down the road. Cpl Wilson was buried on the outskirts of Almen. 11 pl remained in psn near Laren rest of coy moved up in bde convoy. CASUALTIES – Lt BAYE – wounded B.76626 Cpl Wilson, R – Killed
The Calgary Highlanders CA (O) Holland Lockem Shet 3703 HQ 065988 5 Apr 45 Weather – Cloudy and cold At 0130hrs “C” and “D” Coys reported into their objectives and Tac HQ moved up at 040985 and prepared to get a little shut-eye. A few mor PWs were sent in and were found to be members of a Fortress Battle Group. A Scout Patrol was laid on for first light, out ahead of “D” Coy to find out if there were any enemy holding them. Cpl. Potts and Pte. Levesque reported in no enemy and “D” Coy, under Capt M. Tennant, moved in. A Recce Party from FMRs arrived at 0745 hrs and looked over the area. Major W.D. Heyland, A?C.O., and the I.O. went ot Bde and were given orders for the day’s activity. The Bn huddle was called for 0900hrs and the Bn was ordered to exploit east approx 2000yds te new positions, “A” Coy leading, followed by “B”, “C” and then “D”. At 1400hrs all Coys reported complete with “D” and “C” Coys encountering considerable opposition in small arms fire. By using their PIATs to good advantage they were able to make Heinie “up anchor” and move, taking seven PW’s. One of the latter had a map up his sleeve, showing Coy location, including Coy HQ, which was engaged at once by medium Arty. A little more cleaning up was arranged between “C” and “D” Coys and “A” Coy was moved to a left flank position to maintain contact with the RHC. Tac HQ was moved to 065988. Scout Patrols were sent to investigate the wod in square 0697 and reportedd it clear. More Scouts were sent out to “C” Coy and were put to work under Cpl. Potts. No enemy were reported in the area up to 900 yds from our forward areas. Plans were then made for “A”, “B” and “C” Coys to exploit further east the following day. All objectives were patrolled and found clear. The whole area seemed to be unusally quiet and the Bn settled down for a good rest with an alert guard on.
1st Bn Regina Rifle Regiment Vorden MR 013904 ZUTPHEN SHEET §3803 1/25000 5th Apr 1945 0700 Weather–Drizzling rain all day. 0100 Moving has been delayed somewhat, but vehicles get on the move and after a delayed trip get into position ready to attack. H-’Hr is set for 0536 hrs. BnHQ set up at MR 009977 (ZUTPHEN SHEET §3803.1/25,000). SCHEGGERT MR 009977 ZUTPHEN SHEET §3803 1/25,000 0530 Attack goes in as planned with B Coy left, C Coy right. Fighting is not hard, with some mortar fire, and the coys get to the objective. 0820 B Coy in position at MR 972972 (ZUTPHEN Sheet §3803 1/25,000).
C Coy in position at MR 972975. A Coy left and D Coy right, then pass through and with little difficulty get to the objectives, A Coy at MR 966971, and D Coy at MR 968976. EEFDE MR 971972, ZUTPHEN Sheet §3803. 1400 BnHQ moves into position at MR 971972. Engineers have started bridging in A Coy loc and CSR and RWR expect to move throught NORTH as soon as it is complete. 2100 DF tasks with Arty, MMG and 3”Mortars laid on and everyone hopes to get full night of sleep.
1 Scot R (AF) 109890 STEENDEREN Holland 1/25000 Sheet 3903 1945 April 5 Total Strength: Officers: 40 Other Ranks, 818. 0200 The Bn moved and within two hours was concentrated in the following positions: CP 011924, the Coys in sq 0092 with Admin Bn still at 018890. There is generally a thought behind every move; this change in location now putting us on the axis for our next advance. This is to secure a Bridghead over the TWENTE CANAL in sqs 9696 and 9697 so that the Engineers can put a bridge across under our protection. However the Winnipegs met no opposition in their advace toward the canal and instead of us passing through them to form a bridgehead they continued on to our Trace 6 proposed positions. Thr Reginas crossed the canal and secured the norhtern bridge-head, thus leaving us somewhat jobless for a short period. The Coys “stood-down” and listened to the artillery pound away at ZUTPHEN, which incidentally, hadn’t yet been taken even if the newspapers said that is was. 2117 A warning order came from the Bn, supported by tanks, to move at 0700 hours next morning across the Canal and follow the Div axis of advance. Casualties: NIL.
THE ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES 5 THU Cloudy and cool. At 0045 hrs the Bn was on the move to a FUP at 001965. Comd Post was set at 007965. A and C Coys started the adv at 0540 hrs. They adv to 986967 with no opposition and B and D Coys passed through and with light oppositon secured their objectives at 975959 and 967966 respectively. Comd Post was set up at 985967. Enemy mortaring continued throughout the day and night but cas were light. Several PWs were taken in this op.
1 Bn The Royal Regiment of Canada 4 Apr 1945 Weather today was moderate with showers By 0300 hrs the RHLI completed the crossing of the TWENTHE CANAL and were in posn. The Essex Scots started crossing, pushed through us and the RHLI and reached objectives by 0930 hrs. At 1200 hrs Tac HQ crossed the canal to posn MR 031978. 5th Bde led by R de Mais pushed north-east through our rt flank coys. Shelling was fairly heavy throughout the day until approx 1500 hrs. Casualties today were Lt J M Henderson killed, 9 ORs killed and 4 ORs wounded.
6 Canadian Field Regiment RCA 044918 4 Apr 45 By 0800 hours all of 4 Cdn Inf Bde was across the Twente Canal. 10 bombards fired. 3 Cdn Inf Div moved up around ZUTPHEN. 14 ML targets recorded in support of 5 Cdn Inf Bde as they passed through 4 Cdn Inf Bde area just North of Twente Canal. Also fired a series of D F tasks. 3 M L targets fired in support of 5 Cdn Inf Bde. Bridghead enlarged despite heavy enemy mortar and shell fire.
5 Cdn Fd Regt RCA 4 Apr The day started out fairly well – it was a little cloudy but cleared up a little later in the day – a strong wind was blowing all day – nine bombards were engaged throughout the day – several ML tgts were also engaged in sp of 5 CIB – HF tgts were engaged seven times during the night – 5 CIB put in an attack on the N side of the Twenthe canal this evening – things are going fairly well but sticky in some spots – amn exp 42 rpg’s.
10 Cdn Armd Regt (Fort Garry Horse) A036930 4 Apr 45. The pursuit pace of our advance slowed down today, and for once, we did not break camp. RHQ stayed in the woods at 036930 and the Garry Brains Trust rubbed its red-hued eyes to consider the results of its early-morning bull session. Our staff officers had agreed that command within the regiment was too diffuse, information still too scanty. By common consent, a proper Command Post on wheels was declared the solution to the problem of a location to which squadron leaders could come for imformed directives. Lacking such a vehicle, and because our C.O. had to be at the elbow of our formation commander ( a safeguard against misuse of armour), the compromise involved a rotating officers’ wireless watch at night, and a duty officer system in the adjutant’s HUP at night. On the information side- the Sigs officer volunteered to have all transmissions on the 2nd Div comd net decoded, and passed to the Intelligence staff: a means of keeping embattled squadrons i the constant touch with the operations pricture on their flanks. Meanwhile, B squadron, having been rafted across the TWNTHE canal the previous day and night continued to help 4th Brigade hold and expand their bridgehead. Late in the afternoon A squadron was rafted to the other side too ( to support 5 Bde, eventually). C sqn enjoyed a lazy day, recuperating from their recent tour of constant ops. At day’s end, A sqn was reported A008980, B sqn 014993, and C sqn 035929, D sqn 036930, E sqn E981704, A cloudy day, but dry, mostly.
8 Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (14 CH) M.R. 029946 Holland 4 Apr 45 Weather:- Cool and cloudy. The day started of with our Infantry in a hell of a mix up. However, with a little time, the Recce will straighten out the situation for them, all we need is a bridge. L/Cpl Larsen of the “I” Section, left to-day for “A” Echelon, where he will stay the night, and then start back for Canada on leave. Thee are 18 men going back, having finished their 5 years overseas service. “A” and “B” Squadrons are over the Twente Canal now (2000 hrs). “C” Squadron is to cross to-morrow morning at first light. Then the three Squadrons will pass through 5th Bde to recce north and east. RHQ espect to move over about 0730 hrs.
4 Canadian Field Regiment RCA 4 Aprs 45 Activity – Support of the crossing continued, as subsequent events showed this was the last reasonably strong def put up by the enemy for some time. 5 Bde went through 4 Bde and our guns were on call to aid this op. Altoghether we fired 11 “M” tgts, 2”v” tgts and 2 “U” tgts, in addition to a HF programme at night.
Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG) CIC 4 Apr 45 Weather clear and sunny. A coy moved again. 4 pl locn MR 04329858 arriving at 2400 hrs were called to sp 5 Bde. After firing several HF tasks, 1 pl crossed the Twenthe Canal and took up posn at MR 027979. 3 pl report a quiet day in their area. 2 pl now located at MR 03359775. 7 pl B coy crossed the canal and established their gun posn at MR 025978. 5 pl report by enemy shelling in their area and at 2030 hrs they engaged an enemy SP 88 at 900 yrs rage. Their fire was very effective as nothing further came from the SP for the remainder of the night. D coy on the move again with 5 Bde convoy. Route took them NE from Vorden to Wildenbrock, then north to Xrds 0795, then went to br over Berkel Canal 027965 into Almen where they est their HQ at MR 017966. D coy pls had advanced with the inf and took up posns in conc area 035957. Roads are narrow but in good conditions, mostly paved. Littele signs of battle on the route from Doetinchem to Almen. Engenieers are having trouble bridging the Twenthe Canal, one br sank. Enemy appear to be using 88s also 105s in batteries but opposition Troops at the canal are apparently pioneer corps sent to built defences for paratps. Royal REGT of C hold posns north of canal. R de Mais crossed at 1900 hrs but heald up at railway, advanced later in the night pushing towards Laren. 11 pl accompanied the R de Mais an took up posn at MR026997 but did not fire.
1st. Bn. Black Watch (RHR) of Canada NOORDINK MR 0286 Ref Sh. 3903 Steenderen Holland 4th. Apr. Wed. Weather – sun and wind At an early hour the Bn moved to a concentration area near NOORDINK. Tac H.Q. was to establish at 01658592 but when we arrived there it was to find elements of the CALGARY HIGHLANDERS in occupation, so we moved on and set up at 023866. The Acting C.O., Maj. E. MOTZFELDT, and the I.O., Lt. J.G.ROBERTS, were called to Bde. and upon their return we were ordered to prepare for a further move, up to the Twenthe Canal, across which the 4th. Bde. had a bridgehead. The move up commenced at 1520 hrs. and we proceeded to the woods in sq. 0496. Here we settled in again and at 1900 hrs. Maj. E. MOTZFELDT called an O Gp. to outline the task which lies ahead ahead of us. The REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE and the CALGARY HIGHLANDERS will enlarge the bridgehead across the Twenthe Canal, and the BLACK WATCH will go through and take the town of LAREN. At 2130 hrs. the Bn. crossed the canal and moved up to a concentration area. One 88mm gun persistently fired in the neighbourhood of the canal crossing, and the region of Rear B.H.Q., causing however, no casualties, though there were some anxious moments in the neighbourhood of the company cookers.
Calgary Highlanders Holland Zutphen Sheet 3803 HQ 033977 4 Apr 45 Another cold morning and the Bn was well rested and ready to go on. At 1000hrs Major W.D. Heyland took over the Bn as the C.O., Lt-Col. R.L. Ellis, was confiend to bed by the M.O. At 1100hrs the A/C.O., I.O. and Major Degen (Shelldrake) were called to Bde for a huddle. A huddle was also called for Bn at 1200hrs and the information was passed on. At 1330hrs the TCVs reported to the Coys and at 1400 the Bn was on the road again to a concentration area in square 0395, arriving at 1500hrs. At 1600hrs another huddle was called at Bde and more definite information was passed down to Coys at 1700hrs. Supper arrived at 1800hrs and the Bn was ordered to move at 1930 hrs. The Bn started to cross the bridge at 013975 at 2015hrs and proceeded east along the road to 033977 were Tac HQ set up. At 2230hrs “A” and “B” Coys were taking over from their respective Coys of the R de mais and reported in at 2305hrs.
Regiment de Maisonneuve Map 3803 1/25000 4 April 45 Beautiful sunny day. This morning everybody was up by 0730hrs. Around twelve o’clock our C.O., Lt-Col. J.Bibeau, went to Bde to an O Gp. He held his own O Gp shortly after coming back. Major G.L. Lalonde started to go on a recce immediately after. We left our concentration area by 1430 hrs and en route we met our fellows from A ech which had moved up in the morning. Our BN concentrated near the TWENTE canal. The Brigadier was waiting for our C.O. They discussed a plan to attack on the other side of the canal. After that, our C.O. had an O Gp and gave his orders for the attack. The men were fed and they started on foot to their objectives. At 1800hrs the BN moves across the canal and makes contact with the enemy around 2000hrs. The attack starts emmediately and goes on all through the night during wich time our coys secured eight objectives. Lieut G.Benoit the A/Adjt stayed at the concentration area. Lieut R.C. Saey and 12 men came back from a 48 hr leave in Brussels. Two of our men went back on rotation leave to Canada.
1st Bn., The Essex Scottish Regiment Canadian Army (overseas) Near TWENTHE CANAL Ref ZUTPHEN SHEET 3803 4 Apr 45 Around 0310 hrs. the Coy Commanders came in for a conference with the CO where a plan was devised to enlarge the Bridgehead over the Canal. Coys moved out independently and by 0700 hrs. all Coys had consolidated on objectives under heavy enemy small arms fire and occasional artillery. Patrols were arranged to feel out the enemy and contact was made. Whilst expanding an consolidating about 60 POW’s were taken chiefly by C & D Coys. Our casualties were esceedingly light despite the opposition. By 1118 hrs. we were able to report positions firm and enemy cleared from area. To protect our flanks a squadron of tanks came across the newly constructed bridge. Annoying enemy shellfire resulted in our supporting arms neutralizing the enemy guns. Various reports came to us from civlians. We were able to sift the valuable information and take appropriate action. A contact patrol programme laid on inter Bn and inter Bde.
43rd Reconnaissance Regiment: B Sqn recce roads eading to CANAL (2706-3306) and set observation positions overlooking bridges. Regt recce parties to 3805.
6 Canadian Field Regiment RCA 044918 FMRs moved north-west and met some opposition on the bank of IJSSEL, west of our position. We engaged with one battery. Enemy were driven north along the main road East of IJSSEL towards ZUTPHEN. Three M targets fired in support of 4 Cdn Inf Bde. Three bombards and four U targets fired. H F fire during the night and we fired approximately 12 rouds per gun. SSRs and Cameons moving up.
Toronto Scottisch Regiment (MG) CIC Weather cloudy with showers in the morning and afternoon. Bn HQ moved off at 0945 hrs following Main convoy, route Terborg Doetinchem, Regelo to the new posn at MR 023880. Inf advaced some 15 miles yesterday and coys are beyond there isue of 1/25,000 maps are shooting from 1/50,000. A coy HQ had an unusual day, in that they dit not move. 1 and 3 pls remained in their posn. 2 pl located at MR 024965 where they fired 160 bombs at 13 targets. 4 pl are near Almen at MR 017065 from which point the scored direct hits with their first bombs on 2 enemy guns. 5 and six pls crossed the Twenthe Canal today and are located at MR 005981 and 017978. 7pl remained in its same posn today and fired in sp of 4 bde when it was counter attacked twice between 1830 and 2100 hrs. the attacks were repulsed. D coy moved to new posn in town of Vorden MR 025905, pls conc in that area also. Town of Doetinchem cleared today. 3 Div advancing towards Zutphen, 4 and 6 bdes are at Twenthe Canal, east of Zutphen. Some of their tps crossed the canal but were recalled awaiting advance of 3 Div as the rt flank was unprotected. Enemy had intende to make a stand in the woonds south of the canal but the Dutch resistance stepped in and while no actual fighting took place the enemy withdrew to the other side of the canal.
1 Bn The Royal Regiment of Canada B Coy reported enemy digging in on their right. 3” mortar fire was brought to bear on enemy posn. Enemy tps were reported moving north-west in area MR 042985 at 0955 hrs. During the night a class 40 raft was built by engrs and was in op, bringing over SP tps by 1000 hrs. The Brig visited Tac HQ to tell of bridge being built at MR 013975. Essex Scots and RHLI to move across tonight. CO met Coy Comds at A Coy to outline ops to come and suggest improvements in present posns. Bn area was subjected to heavy shelling starting at 1400 hrs. An “O” Gp at Bde at 1530 hrs to co-ordinate. ops. Enemy mounted several counterattacks in A and C Coy areasm but were beaten off with a number of enemy killed. Engrs had to halt work on the bridge at approx 1730 hrs as shelling was heavy and accurate. The raft was smashed by direct hits at about 2100 hrs. RHLI crossing was held up til raft repaired. Our arty and tanks took over enemy guns about 2200 hrs and shortly after the raft was repaired and the RHLI continued crossing. Strong counterattack was driven off at 2230 hrs. Casualties today were 3 ORs killed, 4 missing, 23 wounded.
1st. Bn. Black Watch (RHR) of Canada 969797, Ref Sh 3903, Steenderen 3rd. April, Tues. Weather – warm and sunny. Quite a number of prisoners were taken in the attack on the town, and during the night many more were brought in from the various areas around the town, and from the town itself. From interrogation the C.O., Maj. E. MOTZFELDT, elicited the information that the enemy had moved 320 men into the area yesterday afternoon. Many of these are now prisoners, and our bag for this attack is in the neighbourhood of 150. The men were able to relax somewhat today, and wash and clean up. From many civilian and Dutch underground sources information was tendered today on the dispositions of the enemy in the area. The leader of the resistance movement in the area was most helpful in drawing sketches of the area and in the vouchsafing of information – all of which was immediately passed on to Bde. During the morning the 4th. Bde. pushed on beyond us and established a bridgehead across the canal. Tac H.Q. was a most busy place today, seeing a constant procession of visitors – local inhabitants offering information and representatives from other formations seeking it. At 1800 hrs. Maj.E. MOTZFELDT, the Acting C.O. called an O Gp. to give details for a move scheduled for early tomorrow morning near NOORDINK.
The Calgary Highlanders 3 Apr 45 Most of the morning was rather hectic in that civilians were a big problem. Everyone wanted to help or be helped and as a result the “I” Section, in particular Sgt Willems was harrassed from every side. Brig. W.J. Megill visited the Bn and gave the C.O. particulars for a move to a new area to concentrate for a new job. Coy Comdrs were called in and route and order of march were laid on with a recce party under Cpt. R.J. Kerfoot to leave in advance. At approx 1400hrs the Bn moved off in TCVs and after a short delay on the road arrived in the new area at about 1600hrs with Bn HQ at Hengelo. A few minor patrols were laid on and at 2000hrs a civilian policeman reported a sending set at Nickmond and the information was passed on to Bde. Weather – Cold and showery
5 Cdn Fd Regt RCA 3 Apr Rained quite a bit last night and again to-day although it cleared up for a short time this afternoon – it even hailed at times during the different rain squalls – recce parties left this morning and we will now proceed tot 4 CIB area -engaged several “U” tgts in sp $ CIB who were being counter-attaked on the other side of the canal – engaged several ML tgts at 2007, 2010, 2135 and a couple of bombards – the new locn of RHQ 058948 sheet 3804 LACHEM 1/25000 – amn exp 52 rpg’s.
4 Canadian Field Regiment R.C.A. 3 Apr 45 Weather – Rain Activity – Fairly quiet until about 1030 when a flurry of “M” Tgts came down and for the balance of the day we were busy. About 1500 hrs we began to move, by Btys, to another new posn, an adv of about 3 Km, and settled as follows: – RHQ 048949 A 028946 B 029946 C 032950 D 032952 E 035942 F 037941. There was quite a lot of firing from the new posn until about 2300 hrs. Gnr Locke, H.W., OP Sig was killed in the afternoon, 20 HF tgts during the night.
1st Bn. The Essex Scottish Regiment Canadian Army (Overseas) 3 Apr 45 The weather was murky and overcast. During the morning a recce party under the command of Lieut. Fraser went to feel out the enemy near ZUTPHEN and ran into trouble. We suffered one killed and three wounded and Lieut. FRASER himself, was missing until the evening when he returned under cover of darkness, wounded i the shoulder, and gave us valuable information of enemy positions. At 1630 hrs. the CO and IO went to Bde and received the movenment order which was to take us over the canl by ferry to a new concentration area in the RRC lines. Around 1730 hrs. the CO passed his orders on to the Coy Commanders. In the meantime, our ‘B’ Coy took over from ‘B’ Coy RHLI to release it for the crossing of the canal and strengthen the bridgehead. The crossing was delayed due to enemey activity and we finally got across with our Company intact about 0245 hrs.
8 Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (14 CH) 029946 Holland 3 Apr 45 Weather:- Cloudy with slight rain . Our intentions to move this morning have been cancelled for the moment. “I” Section personnel are gradually loosing their hair, after changing the setting of maps about four times, due to the fact that there seems to be a general mix up in the intention of our next rolle. Lieut.-Col. Alway is away to see the G.O.C. Nouw, (1200 hrs) We hope he will return with something a little more concrete. “B” Squadron is trying to pass their people over the TWENTE Canal now, but it will probably take some time, as they are using a raft. Major Good left for # 1 C.A.C.R.U. to-day for a tour of duty as Instructor. In the afternoon “B” Squadron got about half the Squadron over the TWENTE Canal, and bumped the enemy about 20 minutes later in Square 0498. Unfortunately lost 4 vehicles, and at 2000 hrs 6 men were still missing. Some of them are believed to be wounded. As contact had been lost this is still unconfirmed. Jerry’s sent in 4 tanks at approximately 2100 hrs, which were reported as Panthers. The Fort Garry’s knocked out at least one, but are not sure of the second. “C” Squadron have returned from udner command of the 3rd Cdn Division. They apparently put on a damn good show by taking more prisoners in one day than the rest of the 3rd Division.
10 Cdn Armd Regt (Fort Garry Horse) 3 Apr 45. Rainy, cool day. Bridgehead over canal established with two troops of B sqn on the other side. A sqn stayed in harbour all day. C sqn moved from Doetinchem making a harbour at AO 035929. In the evening plans were firmed for B sqn to complete move over canal and for A and C sqns to follow in the morning.
43rd Reconnaissance Regiment 0130 C Sqn released from flank protection. Revert to Regt control at 1200. Regt responsiblity ceased during afternoon, due to advance of Canadian Forces, positions made redundant. Orders to Sqns, probably cross TWENTHE CANAL on 4th