Wanted to join the Parachute Battalion but did not qualify.
Donated blood to Red Cross on October 13, 1943.
Qualified Driver I/C Class 3 (Wheeled) on April 13, 1944.
Overseas on April 30, 1944.
Assigned to the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders on June 10, 1944.
The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders war diary reports on October 10, 1944:
Weather cloudy but mild.
0900 hrs: Since 0530 hrs, excepting brief intervals, we are being continually fired on by Heavy Arty and cannot move. C.O. asks for Skylark. The enemy may be mounting a counter attack. Ration supply and the beaches are considerably under fire.
0930 hrs: Under very heavy fire, cannot move. The plans for attack cannot proceed until the enemy guns are destroyed. We need someone in the air to do some spotting. Rations can now be picked up at the location were Bde was yesterday. (Field between Scheldedijk and Appelzakweg, Netherlands.)
1200 hrs: The counter attack on the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders has been broken up... 'Good Show' respons the Brigadier. The unit is dealing with the residue now.
1225 hrs: The enemy is forming up in front of the SDG on target 403, and the unit contacts "D" Coy of Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. The target 403 is fired most effectively, killing a 'bunch of boche'. An enemy MG has infiltrated between "C" and "B" Coy's. "B" Company is to engage it.
1245 hrs: "B" Coy now has moved to road South of Hoofdplaat. "C" Coy is being attacked. They are being fired on by Anti Tank gun believed to be on of the guns previously reported to be digging in. Artillery are to engage a 20mm gun at 147152 (Hogewegdijk at mini camping Scheldehoeve) which is holding up the NNSH attack.
1315 hrs: The C.O. reports "Attack on strongpoint by the dyke on my right effective with use of 'peashooter'. "C" Coy has reached its objective, captured the 20mm gun and taken 50 prisoners. On the R/T Brigadier Rockingham quips 'Save me a bottle of brandy'."
1320 hrs: The NNSH are now moving into the area SEAL (target 431). The HLI are having trouble on their left flank with one child pinned down.
1325 hrs: The unit is now getting 'Hell' from very heavy guns.
1330 hrs: Area heavily shelled. "B" Coy and "C" Coy are shelled from the West, probably Breskens, Netherlands by heavy guns. "C" Coy report that shells which appear to be duds are, in reality, delayed action. The C.O. at this point is quotable 'I've got 40 or 50 prisoners. I have a notion to them out on the road and let the buggers take it'. No rations, petrol or ammunition yet on the beach. Due to the bad weather the Troops are not to expect air support.
1443 hrs: The unit reports 'Skylark was over. He seems to keep the big guns quiet. If possible we'd like to keep that fellow overhead. Every time he buggers off the guns open up.' The SDG are being badly cut up by this shell fire, and have suffered quite a few casualties. Two POW's captured on the unit front were carrying man-packed flame throwers.
1417 hrs: The shelling is extremely heavy. The unit requests the Brigadier to get 'that aircraft' up immediately.
1430 hrs: Another enemy attack is reported forming up at task 403 area 168159 (Dijkeputten/ Havenstraat, Hoofdplaat). SP gun is also believed to have moved into area of DF 301.
1440 hrs: Arty support has been given us. We will soon need reinforcements as we are gradually being eaten away. Forward flanks are suffering heavy casualties. Counter attacking constantly... practically hand to hand.
1520 hrs: The heavy DF appears to have held the enemy once more. A "D" Coy Platoon has suffered heavy casualties. Our request for air support has been granted. "C" Coy has now completely cleared the area of the strongpoint.
1700 hrs: NNSH are unable to take their objective 161142 (Zuidlangweg/ Wilhelminadijk, Hoofdplaat). This leaves our left flank exposed. "B" Coy attempts to clear it up. Lieutenant Jeffs is wounded. Rain and mist.
1730 hrs: Enemy is moving toward "B" Coy at 156154 (Westlangeweg/ Zuidlangeweg, Hoofdplaat).
1740: Under heavy shell fire. Enemy is firing from Vlissingen harbour, Netherlands (Other side of the Western Scheldt river) as he has done all day. We can see the flash of the guns as darkness falls. We evacuated 50 civilians.
2100 hrs: We learn with pleasure that Brigadier Rockinham has been awarded the DSO, Distinguished Service Order.
Personal details have been collected from official Service Records and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Some of the additional information has been provided by War Diaries, Libera Me (G.E. Spittael), Polder Fighting (R.W. Catsburg), Veterans Affairs Canada, WW2 Talk, Aircrew Remembered and other sources. The commonwealth-adegem.com website is not responsible for incorrect information.
Everything has been collected and processed voluntarily by Michael van de Velde, Netherlands. Along the way I had great support from expert researchers and other volunteers. Thank you!