A dive into the Twente Canal near Almen
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.
8 Canadion Reconnaissance Regiement (14 CH)
6 Apr 45
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)
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
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.
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
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
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.
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)
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
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.
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.