| Jack A.
France, Belgium, Holland, Germany
Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
It got pretty cold in January and the QOR network
seemed to be working pretty well as we started receiving boxes of
scarfs, socks and gloves, that had been sent over by some kind ladies
who were connected to the QOR of C Chapter, I.O.D.E. I never did
find out who they were, but we sure appreciated the items. We usually
wore our socks for a week or two at a time and when we moved to
Nijmegen, some other organization starting socks over by the hundreds,
all hand knitted. From then on I changed every week and left the
'dirty' ones where some civilian could find them. I
was too lazy to wash them. At least they wouldn't be wasted.
In mid-January, a bunch of us were given four day passes to Brussels.
The trip there was quite an ordeal, since we all rode in the back
of a 60 cwt. truck, with no heating and the gas fumes coming in
under the truck flaps. It's a wonder that we survived.
When we arrived, we were all billeted at a large
hotel and even had private rooms. What a luxury. I headed for a
liquor store called 'Simone Simon.' Kind of a strange name,
but that was the name of the owner. I asked him if had some good
Cognac and he started opening some bottles. When I asked him what
he was doing, he replied that one should always sample a bottle
of wine before buying! I bought five bottles of the best. That night
I went out to see the town and ended up at a large dance hall, with
a full size orchestra, playing. As was usual in that part of the
world, they played fast and loud, almost like a marching band. They
drank a couple of my bottles of cognac and played Strauss waltzes
for me all night.
The next morning I was awaken by a loud pounding
on the door. It was the housekeeper coming to make up the beds,
another surprise. I had been warned to leave a tip or else the housekeepers
would likely steal something. I left a 20 franc note, and when I
returned that night everything was OK. Some of the boys had some
equipment missing. That night we went to a cafe for a drink and
the first thing I knew, the female in charge came over with ten
lovely looking gals and for a price we could take our pick! I picked
out a pretty dark haired gal and she was a little nervous. I guess
she was just an apprentice. It was a waste of money. I went back
to the dance hall to listen to the music.
The last night saw us back at the dance hall again
and I had my last bottle to finish. Two ladies came in and sat at
my table. It was a mother and her twenty year old daughter. After
they drank half of the bottle of cognac, they started to get friendly.
They couldn't speak English and I didn't speak French
too well, but we got along OK. I told the old gal that I wanted
to have a 'go' with her daughter and she laughed and
with her hands made a motion to mean that her girl would get pregnant.
I threw some condoms on the table and after a while she said that
it would be alright. So I was invited to spend the night with them.
It was a lot of fun, the daughter must have been practicing, because
it was quite a session! The next morning, her mother brought us
breakfast in bed!
Since all good things have to come to an end,
I got dressed and was ready to leave, when the door bell rang. It
was the girls 'boy friend,' an English soldier coming to visit
his girl. What a laugh! The mother explained that I was a friend
who had just dropped in to say hello, and was leaving. I couldn't
get out of there fast enough. It was a long trip back, with a hangover!
Near the end of January, we moved to a small village, called Nebo.
Here we stayed in houses. This was a welcome change from sleeping
outside or in barns. Some of the boys went out and 'discovered'
some empty houses and they returned with a pile of mattresses. The
next item that was borrowed was a piano and it was pushed down the
main road and set up in one of our billets. One of the guys could
play very well and thus we had a little entertainment. A week later
we moved again. This time closer to the city and the billets were
a lot better. Some of the civilians let us use the basements for
cooking and even let us use the dining area for taking our meals.
Being closer to the city meant that we could go
out and look around the place. Nijmegen was a nice place with some
damage from the shelling and bombing when the Airborne had landed.
The place was full of troops and we knew that this time out wouldn't
last long. A lot of 5.5 guns were being brought in and placed at
about one hundred yard intervals, all aimed to the east. There was
one just outside our house and the gun crew stayed in the basement.
Outside there were huge piles of ammo, for the guns. We knew that
something big was going to take place very soon. More recruits started
arriving again and the whole battalion started battle drill courses.
This was necessary to give then some ideas of what was coming up.
What a time for this exercise, with the snow coming down and the
whole place like a mud hole. It was a case of grin and bear it.
The only good part was that we were still able to stay in some of
the houses. One of the guys disconnected the gas line to the kitchen
stove and turned on the gas and lit it. The flame shot out three
feet and warmed us up! It was a wonder that the place didn't
Since we were using some of the house facilities,
toilets, washing and heating, it was decided to keep track of the
water, gas and hydro used. I had the job of going around the dozen
houses and checking all the meters. At one place I met the prettiest
girl that I had ever seen and she took me down to the cellar to
show me where the meters were. She could speak a little English
and I guess we must have taken too much time, because her father
came down and gave her hell in Dutch. I couldn't make out
what he said but he looked kind of mad. One of the boys used to
write to her after the war, but I don't know if anything ever
came of it. We had a great time for a week or so, playing cards
at night and drinking some of the good Dutch gin. Everything was
in short supply so we gave them whatever we could do without. The
people sure appreciated it and when we finally had to pull out,
it was almost like leaving home!
After nearly three months stay in Nijmegen, it
was rumored that there were five hundred girls pregnant! I wondered
who the lucky guys were. I think that some of the citizens were
glad to see us move out. During this period of rest and overhauling
of the equipment, I was sent to Ravenstein along with six other
soldiers, to take a course on operating the new radio sets. Ravenstein
is twelve miles from Nijmegen and is a pretty little village. The
first thing I noticed was, that the citizens swept off the sidewalk
and road in front of their houses and places of business.
We had three days of instructions in operating
the sets and then we strung a wire about four blocks to our billets.
I had the headset hung on a nail, by my bunk, and in the morning
I could hear music coming out from the earphones. It seems that
the long wire acted as an aerial, so we put the earphones in a tin
dish and you could hear the music all over the barracks. One day
while walking around the village, I met a pretty young lady, and
was invited up to her home for a meal. What a surprise, she had
ten sisters. Her father was the local high school principal. I don't
know how her mother managed it, but she put on a great meal. Afterwards
the girls took turns playing the piano, in duets and also three
at the same time. The father taught music at the school and that
was how the girls got their love of music.
The village people were so nice to all of us,
they thought we were heroes or something. I asked the Officer in
charge if we could have a small celebration before we left and he
was a little curious as to what I had in mind. I suggested that
we could invite the town folks and have some music and coffee and
doughnuts. He said to arrange it with the cooks. When I told the
cooks what we were planning, they said they didn't have any
supplies. I had seen them taking food out to the black market at
night to sell and make some money for themselves. When I told the
cooks about this they were kind of mad at me but in the end agreed
to supply the coffee and food. Everyone had a good time and the
people really went for the food. I still have pleasant memories
of that village and I have a photo showing all ten girl lying on
the river bank. All too soon it was back to Nijmegen and the big
push into Germany.
The battle plan was to be carried out in two parts. Part one was
to clear out the enemy in the northeast sector along the Rhine river
and the second phase was to clear them out of the Siegfried Line
and the Hochwald forest area, to the southeast. The Siegfried Line
consisted of a great number of concrete piers, that were intended
to keep out the tanks. Someone had hung up some signs advertising
that this was the famous Siegfried Line and some clothes and rags
were hung up on a line, with a sign stating that this was the washing
hanging on the Siegfried Line. At the time there was a popular song
out called 'Oh we'll hang out our washing, on the Siegfried
On the morning of February 8th, I was awaken by
the noise of the big 5.5 artillery guns that were outside our billets.
It was around 3.30am (0330 hrs.) . I watched them for a while and
went back to sleep. I woke up around 0700hrs, when a loud bang shook
the house. One of the 5.5' shells had exploded in the breech
of the gun and parts of the barrel were peeled back, the way you
would peel a banana. The Sergeant in charge lost his leg and two
others were injured, but no one killed. There were 1200 guns of
all sizes firing for eight hours, along with the 4.2 and 3 inch
Also for the first time 'Monty's'
moonlight was used. Large searchlights were turned on and aimed
towards the enemy sites and the beams were deflected off of the
clouds. This lit up the area for the attackers and partially blinded
the enemy. It was still scary for the infantry to go forward. The
Germans had flooded a large part of this area, which meant that
they were also stranded on isolated bits of ground, and these pockets
were blasted by the artillery and bombers. Some of the smaller towns
were wiped out completely. By the 11 February the water was so high
that most of the troops were taken out by the Buffaloes and American
D.U.K.Ws. This was a truck and boat combination that worked well
on the water.
The next phase was started with almost the same
type of bombardment and the attack was started in the morning of
February 26th. Monty's moonlight was used again and did prove
effective and may have helped some. It was tough going for the infantry,
we could see some of the actions. The new mortar platoon IC wanted
to spot the mortar fire by himself, which was OK by me, so I stayed
with the battalion HQ. Group. We kept going up towards the front,
as the forward line moved up. There were shells flying all around
us and it was a wonder we weren't hit. The sniper fire was
the worse, when you heard the whine of the bullet it was too late
to duck, it had already gone by!
We were a mile or so back of the 'front'
and could see and hear the artillery fire accompanied by the attacking
'Typhoons.' There were a few small towns, being defended by
some of the toughest German troops. I guess this was to be their
last stand before the Rhine River, in this area. Some of the buildings
changed hands several times, due to the fact that the platoons were
down to less than half strength, and could not hold on when counter-attacked.
One particular group of houses was in front of Major Dunkleman's
sector. The enemy had just re-taken some houses from them and they
were in danger of being overrun. I heard later that Sergeant Cosens,
went kind of wild and talked a British tank driver into attacking
several buildings. The Sergeant aided by some riflemen, managed
to clear out the area and save the day. Later while he was going
around checking on his men, he was killed by sniper fire. He was
awarded the Victoria Cross, posthumously. I heard one Officer say,
that he thought that this action was the worse since D-Day!
On March 3rd. the attack was started through the
woods called the Balberger Wald. It was a mess with tanks running
over land mines, that had been planted all over the area. When the
infantry stepped off of the roads, they would step on small personnel
mines that could blow your foot off. The carriers were left behind
and a Sergeant, from the mortars, and I were going through the woods,
when the shells started dropping all around us. I dove in one of
the tracks left by the tanks and the Serg. fell on top of me, just
as an air burst occurred overhead. Some of the shrapnel bounced
off of his back pack. I think that he saved my hide that day. It
was pretty bad just following along behind the infantry and I wondered
how the chaps ahead of were surviving.
Some of the tanks were stuck in the mud and one
threw a track just as the enemy started a counterattack. They were
however beaten back, and the rest of the tanks went forward clearing
out several buildings. The Colonel came up in his carrier with two
men from the platoons and he told me to jump in. The battalion was
moving up to consolidate the ground covered by the tanks. The two
men were dropped off at two points, to await the arrival of their
platoons and the Colonel and I went up a short distance, got out
and started walking up to a section of high ground. Just as we got
near the 'T' section in the road we heard the 'moaning
minnies' coming in, and the Colonel yelled 'hit the
ditch." The mortar bombs fell all around us but the blast went
over our heads. Then I was told to go up the road to a small group
of buildings and the Colonel went the other way.
I felt kind of uneasy going up the road alone,
with just my sten gun for company. When I reached the first house
a German soldier came around the corner and just as I was about
to shoot, I noticed a Red Cross arm band on him. There was a bunch
of German civilians, beside the house, who were in the process of
burying four people who had been killed by an incoming shell. The
shell had gone in the cellar window and killed the four and wounded
nine others. I went down to have a look and it was not a pretty
sight. I knew that I was not very welcome there, but explained that
some first aid people would soon be there to help them out. The
German soldier was very cordial. The war was over for him!
When our mortar section arrived, I showed the
Lt., to a house that I thought would do for the night. It wasn't
good enough for him, so he looked around and picked out another
one. He might have been a hero in the rifle company, but he didn't
have too much personality. When we would be separated from the unit,
during these phases of battle, we were pretty much on our own, in
preparing meals, etc. The Lt. didn't like the way we looked
after our ration boxes and thought that they should be under someone's
watchful eyes. I got the job. When I mentioned to the gang, what
he had said, Dunkleman's former batman pulled out a 45cal.
automatic and pointed it at my stomach. He said those boxes are
staying right here. I looked him in the eye and said that if it
bothered him that much, he could leave the f...... things there.
I turned on my heel and walked out, fully expecting to have him
shoot at me. He was kind of an oddball and I don't think he
had too much upstairs either, which made him a dangerous foe. I
heard later that he was supposed to be the son of some Huron Chief.
I had never trusted him from the first time that I had met him in
France, so I steered clear of him from then on.
This operation had cleared the enemy, out of the
west side of the Rhine River from Nijmegen to Wesel and the Americans
were crossing the river south of our positions. It was time for
the battalion to regroup and some trucks arrived to take us back
to the Reichswald Forest for a rest. Everbody started looking around
for old boards and pieces of tin, so they could build some temporary
shelters, to keep dry. It looked like a shack city but it was better
than sleeping on the wet ground.
Since we would be out of action for a while, some
leaves were granted and I was lucky to be given a seven day pass
plus two days traveling time. There were about twenty of us and
we were taken to Nijmegen and put on a train for Calais, France.
As usual the cars were full up and since it was an overnight trip,
we had to sleep wherever we could. I crawled up on the overhead
baggage racks and had some sleep. We were a great looking sight
when we got on the ferry to Dover, England. On the way across, our
Pay Sergeant mentioned that he was going to London to get married
and wanted to know if any of us would be going there also. It seems
that he wanted a Queen's Own to be his 'best man'
at the wedding. Since I wasn't going anywhere in particular,
I mentioned that I would be available.
His future in-laws lived in a lovely place in
the west end of London and they gave me a nice welcome. I had not
had a haircut for six months and I looked kind of scruffy so I asked
his future father-in-law if there was a barber around. There were
all closed, so we went to a friend of his, that had a barber shop
and he gave me a nice trim, since it was for a special occasion.
The wedding was held in an old church and it was a very nice ceremony.
The strange part was, that after the wedding, we all boarded the
train at Victoria Station and went to Brighton, on the south coast,
for the reception. It was a real fancy dinner and dance. The first
such party that I had ever attended. Someone had decided that I
should be paired off with one of the bridesmaids, but stupid me,
I had an eye out for another one. I found out later that she was
already engaged. I think that I had a few too many drinks that night.
A couple of times I wandered the halls looking for the young lady's
room and the lady of the house kept steering me back to my room.
The next day she told the others, that I was sleepwalking. She was
a fine lady!
After we got back to London, I headed for Aldershot,
to look for my brother. He had been wounded in Italy and had been
shipped back to England for repatriation back to Canada. When I
found him, I had another surprise, my brother-in-law had just arrived
with a batch of reinforcements from Canada. Being married and working
in an industry that was making tank parts, he had been exempted.
I guess the shortage of 'cannon fodder' meant that all
who could be spared were being shipped over.
After a few beers I caught the train for Brighton
and then a bus for Henfield, to spend a few days with the Greenfields.
I had 'picked up' a small accordion in Germany and I
gave it to their son. I found out later that he learned to play
it and had a small band also. I must have been a nervous wreck,
because I think that I slept twelve hours a day. I know that the
I felt better when I left them. I spent a couple of days in London
with brother Joe and Fred. While we were walking around Trafalgar
Square, two of the V2's came down about two miles from there
and we could feel the shock of the blast. There was no air raid
warning and no sound except the big explosion. At the end of my
leave, they came down to Dover to see me off on the ferry boat.
The trip back was a repeat of the trip down and I got back all tired
out. There was a lot of activity going on and the rumors were that
we would be crossing the Rhine River for the final push.
A lot of cleaning up had gone on while I was away.
The troops had bath parades and were given some new clothes, so
they looked like soldiers again. Trucks were checked over and some
training started for the new replacements, that had arrived. They
even had route marches. I think that the object of route marches,
was to keep us all occupied. Near the end of March, we heard that
the British had crossed the Rhine near a small town called Rees,
and a floating bridge had been placed across, just East of there.
On 28 March the QOR'S crossed over on the new bridge, aptly
named the Lambeth Bridge. It was quite an experience driving on
the floating span. The current was very fast and we kept thinking
that it would fall apart. After watching a tank go over we were
reassured that it was safe. After crossing the unit swung west towards
Emmerich, Germany, and took over a sector from another battalion.
On the 31st of March, just north of Emmerich,
the enemy were holding out in a wooded area, and the mortars were
brought up along with the artillery to shell the woods. While this
was going on the Lt. came over and told me that we had to go back
across the river for more mortar bombs. I grabbed a 1500cwt. truck
and after two hours we finally found the ammo depot. On the way
back, after crossing the bridge again we got turned around and after
cutting across some fields, we found the road again and discovered
that we were lost. We ended up in Rees, which had been 'taken'
by the British Commandos and they had gone on through. The town
was deserted and the only person there was an Officer in a scout
car, talking on his wireless. He yelled over and wanted to know
what in hell we doing there. The Lt. jumped out and went over with
his maps to find out were we where. Just then I spied a German flag
hanging on a fireplace mantel in a hotel lobby. The front of the
place had been blown out and I thought that it would be a good trophy
to take home. I tore in the hotel lobby and I was looking for some
wire to attach to the flag in case it had been bobby trapped. The
Lt. started yelling to come on out and get going. I grabbed the
flag and ran back to the truck. I think the Lt. wanted it, but I
kept it and I still have it.
That night the mortar section stayed in a basement
of an old stone house, it was lucky that we had. Later that night
the enemy counter attacked and all hell let loose, with incoming
shells and mortar bombs. Around 2000 hours, the Lt. decided that
he should go and find out what was going on. He had been in the
rifle companies and I supposed he was looking for new orders. He
looked around the room and told me to get dressed and go with. I
had just got suited up and grabbed the sten gun, when he said that
he would go alone. Lucky for me that I stayed behind.
The Lt. was only a hundred yards down the road
when a shell exploded behind him and flipped him in the ditch. He
was pretty shook up, but was unhurt. That was one episode that I'm
glad I missed. The shelling last for several hours and we were on
alert all night. It must have been serious, for I even had to stand
guard for two hours that night. When daylight was returning, I could
see a dead German soldier about fifty yards away in the field. He
might have been killed by his own artillery. We were happy to see
daylight again. Night attacks were always a little hard on the nerves.
By noon the next day, there were no enemy around the area. From
there on it seemed that the Germans were using delaying tactics.
It made for slow progress and the battalion was broken up into separate
fighting units to search and destroy the enemy!
The main delaying tactics, employed by the retreating
Germans, were blowing up the bridges, over the many canals and rivers
that we were now encountering in Holland. This meant waiting for
pontoon bridges to be brought up, and strung across. At one small
town, instead of waiting, Major Dunkleman and his company simply
waded across under heavy fire. The big problem was, that their weapons
were all caked up with the mud and dirt. They had a lot of casualties
clearing out the town called Rha. After two days of fighting the
place was cleared and we all rolled into the city of Zutphen. The
place went wild, with all the good town folks running out and hugging
anyone they could get a hold of. After four years, they were sure
glad to be free of the enemy!
As we continued up the main road, one of the platoons
captured a bridge and a short time later were counter-attacked and
some of the QOR's were taken prisoner. The next large town
cleared was called Deventer. The welcome was tremendous and a real
festive mood was starting to take hold. It gave us a chance to get
washed up and clean our dirty uniforms. Everyone had a clean place
to sleep that night. I'm not sure where all the booze came
from but we sure had a wild time and a lot of headaches the next
morning! To cap off the day we learned that our Anti-Tank Platoon
had knocked off a German tank. Quite a feat.
We moved from town to town and it was strange
that as soon as we took a place, the flags would pop up all over
the place. The small towns were spotless and one could not help
but wonder how the people had managed to keep their places so neat.
We were making our way north-east, through Holland and it soon became
apparent that the conditions were getting worse, for the people.
The retreating Germans took everything that they could carry, with
them, and the people were going hungry. In the city of Leeuwarden,
the situation was so bad that truckloads of food were brought in.
I remember handing out compo ration to the citizens and as hungry
as they were, they were very polite and very happy to see us. The
land was empty of any produce or farm animals. It had a sobering
effect on us all.
The Battalion was still scattered all around the
countryside, clearing out small pockets of Germans, who didn't
seem to realize that it was over for them. A good many were cut
off at the Zuider Zee area. The north-east section of Holland was
cleared out and we stopped at Groningen, for a day and then headed
on into Germany. Not too far inside Germany we came upon a prisoner
of war camp. There were many French, Russian and Polish prisoners
there. When we opened the gates they came out in a swarm and were
grabbing and kissing anyone that they could get a hold of. A couple
of them grabbed Sgt. Corrigan and he stepped back kind of embarrassed,
and said that he would 'bop' the next one that tried
to kiss him. The poor people were so glad to be free and we gave
them some rations to help them out, until trucks could arrive to
transport them away.
We were now starting to move up towards Aurich,
and it was slow going. In some places the Germans had tied charges
to the trunks of the trees along the road. The trees were made to
drop across the road and in some places there would be ten or twenty
of them to be cleared before we could go on. Another tactic that
they used was to explode a 500 lb. bomb every hundred yards or so
along the highway. This meant waiting for a bulldozer to come up
and fill in the giant crater. In several places it was necessary
to put portable Bailey bridges across, to save time.
I think it was on the first of May, when we pulled
into a small town and the resistance had been fairly light, mostly
mortar and sniper fire. We were in the east part of town and I was
looking out the doorway, at some buildings, that were on fire in
the distance, when I heard something hit the door jamb. It was a
bullet from a sniper's rifle. It missed me by about a foot.
I guess he had forgotten to allow for the wind. I dropped down to
the floor and got the hell out of there in a hurry. I was a little
shook up that night!
Since we were now on German territory, we had
to pay more attention to all the places that we came to. The people
stared at us wondering what would happen now that the Allies had
arrived. Whenever we stopped for the night, we would carry out a
search, of all the buildings. The houses and farm buildings were
all in one unit and you stepped from the kitchen or shed into the
cow barn proper. I was in one such barn looking around in case some
soldiers were hiding out, and I spotted what looked like a storage
area over the cows. I had one of the kids bring me a ladder so that
I could have a look. The only things that I saw were a bunch of
chickens and a lot of eggs. I gestured to the old farmer for his
cane, so that I could reach the eggs. I filled up my helmet with
them. I sure got a lot of dirty looks from all those watching. I
don't know why, I did leave them the chickens! We had a good
meal that night with 'whole' eggs for a change, instead
of powdered ones. As we drove up a farm lane, there were several
buildings that we had blasted with artillery, and in the yard, were
the remains of a German soldier. He must have gotten a direct hit,
the pieces were all over and some parts were stuck to the tree branches.
It was a gruesome sight.
Several small towns were taken, in the next couple
of days, without much opposition, since the Germans didn't
want their places blown up. The end was getting near and the last
battle was at a cross-roads just outside of a place called Ostersander.
During the afternoon of May 4th, A Lt.Col. Haurumz and the Burgomaster
of Aurich came in under a flag of truce They had surrendered the
town of Aurich and all the area around there. One of the Sergeants
had a camera and wanted to get the Col's. picture, but we
had been warned about the taking of any photos. Since it was raining
a little, I had my gas cape on to keep dry. The Sergeant gave me
the camera and I stuck it out an opening and shot two photos of
the Col., one with his flag and one of him on the motorcycle going
back. We were then told not to fire unless someone fired at us.
The official 'cease fire' came through
at 0800 hrs. on May 5th, 1945. It was kind of a shock to us and
we all stood around looking at each other, thinking that somehow
we had survived. No one said anything, that I can remember. I guess
we all had our own thoughts, on what we had gone through and seen.
The Battalion held a church parade at some small town, I am unable
to remember the name, and I'm sure that all who could, attended.
The battalion was going to be dispersed around some of the small
towns as an occupation force. It was decided to send some of us
up to look for suitable billets, since we would be staying with
the civilians. Our Sergeant Corrigan and I were chosen from the
mortar platoon and we rode in the 'bosses' carrier,
driven by J. Tran. Someone handed me a sword with a piece of table
cloth on it and we started our small convoy up to the German lines.
As we drove along the road we could see the German soldiers still
lying in their slit-trenches, with their machine guns handy. They
neither smiled nor waved as we passed by and they looked weary,
dirty and hungry and were probably happy that it was soon to be
When we arrived at the village, we dispersed and
went looking for suitable houses. The Sergeant and I went in one
house and opened doors to the various rooms to see what was available.
I opened one door and did a double take. There were two girls in
bed around sixteen and eighteen years old, and when I opened the
door they sat up in bed and they were naked. They had beautiful
looking breasts, at least that's what I thought at the time.
I called to the Sergeant to come and have a look. All the while
I was eyeing the gals. Just as the Sergeant got there, the girl's
mother came running up and gave us 'hell' in German
and slammed the door shut. She couldn't figure out what we
were doing there, since the German soldiers were right outside.
Needless to say, we didn't get to stay there! The war was
officially declared over, two days later, on May 8,1945. With the
war over, letters of congratulations, came in from the King, Churchill
and the Generals in charge, telling us that the Canadians had done
a good job!
We spent a week, billeted in houses, and this
gave us a chance to get cleaned up. With boots all shined up and
trousers ironed and haircuts, we started looking like parade ground
soldiers again. We were not allowed to fraternize with the civilians
and they kept their distance, probably wondering what was in store
for the. It was good to be able to sleep between clean sheets again.
I did a lot of walking around the city of Aurich, taking in the
sites. It is an old city, with a lot of old buildings, but in good
shape. They had missed the bombing.
A week later, we had a visit from the Brigadier,
who handed out some medals to some of our surviving heroes. A lot
of good men were missing from the ranks! He also announced that
the QOR's would be stationed in Holland, while waiting to
go home. Early on the morning of May 15th, we started for Holland.
We stopped for the night at a place called Barneveld. The next day
saw us arriving at Amersfoort, where we took over the barracks from
an English Regiment, that was heading back to the UK.
Far left: Gareau, Back Center: Couller, Standing from left: Pnkney,
Sgt. Corrigan, Wheaterstone, Marin, Bridge, Kneeling: Chalmers,
Even in those days we had a company car....
The Kaiser and myself....
TThe newspaperclipping of the ship I came home on....