Italy campaign from June 25, 1943 to May 2, 1944. (Trooper H.Q. Squadron 1st Army Bde. N.B, Regt. T.)
Assigned to the Canadian Scottish Regiment on October 17, 1944.
At approximately 1800 hrs 21 Oct 44 "C" Coy 1 Cdn Scottish Rifles was preparing to move the carrier section forward to relieve another Unit. M/105938 Private Nimcan, J. handed his rifle to L/67676 Private Gustilov, J. who was in their carrier. The safety catch was on the rifle, one round was in the breech, and the magazine was loaded. In some manner, while being placed in the compartment, the rifle was discharged. The bullet striking K/42136 CQMS (Company Quartermaster Sergeant) MacLean, R.G., and fatally injuring G/37109 Private Harvey, C.V. The evidence shows that this Unit was warned to keep on the out-look for unfriendly civilians and to keep their weapons handy. They knew they were moving to a forward area.
The Canadian Scottish Regiment war diary reports on October 21, 1944:
MR 180112 (Noordstraat/ IC van der Lindestraat, Biervliet, Netherlands)
Total strength: Officiers, 37 Other ranks 778.
Weather: Cloudy and cool with showers.
The Battalion awoke to the usual dull skies and cool breeze that we have become accustomed to in this country. The cold is penetrating giving us visions of long underwear and great-coats which may be necessary soon. Breakfast was served under Company arrangements - troops declaring it is much more convenient to eat meals when no shells are making themselves unwelcome guests. We were informed that the Scottish were forward Bn of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade, so would follow close behind the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade (Highland Light Infantry, Stormont Dundas Glengarry Highlanders and North Nova Scotia Highlanders) to push through them at the proper time.
It was decided that two Coy of the Scottish would go forward to reinforce the HLIofC at square 1115 (Gaternisseweg/ Sasputsestraat, Netherlands) and to take position when the HLI moved in to attack Schoondijke, Netherlands 0914 (Nijverheidsstraat/ Willemsweg/ Landbouwstraat). The 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade is engaged in clearing the way for the capture of Breskens and Fort Frederik Hendrik, Netherlands. When they have accomplished that the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade will follow through with a thrust along the coast to the West.
To date opposition has been quite strong with the enemy defences being greatly assisted by te Heavy Artillery situated near Vlissingen, Netherlands on Walcheren Island across the channel. Their trip by carrier completed "B" and "C" Coys settled into their new areas 118153 (Scherpenheuvel/ Kreekweg, Netherlands) and 115145 (Statendijk, IJzendijke, Netherlands). They found that the roads were muddy sloughs and that the farmyards were morasses. However, they slipped and slid their way along and go no worse than wet. (It seems that the writer of the war diary was not aware of the accident when he made the rapport.) The remainder of the Battalion enjoyed the relaxation of a quiet day.
Reorganization for the move forward was completed with the satisfaction of the Company Commanders. The Canadian Legion arrived and put on a double showing of the comedy "My Sister Eileen". The "Cinema de Scottish" was located in a cafe so could not accommodate all of its "patrons" in the confined space. And so again to bed.
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!