Original member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada.
To be Lance Corporal on September 10, 1942.
To be Corporal on January 28, 1943.
To be Lance Sergeant on September 5, 1944.
One brother in the Overseas Army. Gunner Mervin Harrison B/44227 3rd Anti Tank Regiment, 94th Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery.
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) war diary reports on September 9, 1944:
The situation of the Companies across the canal remained most serious. Throughout the day, "C" Coy especially was in a difficult position, even though the Lincoln and Welland Regiment had crossed in the early hours of the morning and had taken up positions on our right flank. This Company had passed through "D" Coy, which had been halted just on the edges of the canal, and was attempting to fight its way, house by house, up the Main Street to the road intersection, about 300 yards from the canal. Their men, carrying Piat (Anti Tank) and Mortar ammunition had been casualties before the Company had reached the opposite side of the canal, and they were now reduced to S.A. ammunition and Grenades. At the same time, they had lost communication with Battalion H.Q. and were cut off from the other two Companies. Repeatedly throughout the day, the enemy attacked their positions, at times in as much as Battalion strength. But the Company hung on and repulsed all attacks with heavy losses to the enemy. To Company Sergeant-Major Mitchell goes much of the credit for the success of their stand; he visited Company positions, encouraging and exhorting the men; he personally organised and led a party that brought back much needed ammunition and medical supplies and that, after a fighting patrol sent out for the same purpose, had been beaten back; and the personally broke up several dangerous enemy attacks. The conduct of the men was beyond all praise, the action of Lance Corporal L.A. Webb giving an excellent example: In spite of 20mm and M.G. fire directed against his Bren (machine gun) position in the second story of a building, he continued to fire with great coolness and accuracy against the attacking enemy., accounting in a short space, for between fifteen and twenty of them. It had been found impossible, because of heavy enemy mortaring and shell fire to construct the bridge across the canal. Thus the problem of supplies, especially ammunition, became a pressing one. Ammunition parties were organised and the ammunition was taken across the canal by boat. At 1400 hrs "A" Coy and the Scout Platoon were recalled. "A" Coy took up covering positions on this side of the canal on either side of the crossing. At 1500 hrs, Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart returned to the unit from H.Q., 10 Canadian Infantry Brigade (Algonquin, Lincoln and Welland Regiment, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) where he had been Acting Brigadier for the previous two weeks, during Brigadier Jefferson's illness. The Brigade Commander had placed him in command of the Bridgehead operation, with the Lincoln and Welland Regiment under his command. His first move was to re-arrange the Companies locations of the A.S.H. and L.W.R. Regiments, so that they had clearly defined lines of responsibility. Food, ammunition and reinforcements for "C" Coy were then sent forward. Whilst the Commanding Officer was returning from an "O" Gp at Brigade, his Scout car received an indirect shell hit. The Driver, Private Wade was wounded and the C.O. continued on foot to the Command Post. Around 1900 hrs, the enemy launched his heaviest, and as it turned out, his final counter-attack. Before, and during the counter-attack, he covered the whole area from the canal up to B.H.Q. with a heavy carpet of Mortar-bombs in an attempt to cut off and isolate our Companies and prevent the bringing up of supplies. Once more the Engineers were forced to abandon their task. Panicky reports came back that the enemy was infiltrating and crossing the canal to our side. But the attack was beaten back and the enemy's Mortaring began to abate. Major MacKenzie had been wounded on the night of the 8th (Setember) and Captain McCordic took over "D" Coy.
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!