SAWYER, JOHN

Birthdate
Birthplace
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Age
20
Parents
Son of Norman Edward and Audrey Sawyer of Huntsville, Ontario, Canada
Religion
Protestant-Presbyterian
Occupation
Labourer
Service number
B/138800
Engagement
1943-01-18, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Overseas
1943-08-25, United Kingdom
Disembarked
1944-07-23, France
Date of death
1944-09-08
Died
Belgium, Drowned
Force
Rank
Awards
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's), R.C.I.C.
Cemetery reference
Plot 7 | Row F | Grave 6

"THAT IN BLESSING I WILL BLESS THEE AND IN MULTIPLYING I WILL MULTIPLY THY SEED"

Military grave
Additional info

Assigned to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada on October 16, 1943.

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) war diary reports on September 8, 1944:
The race to Gent, Belgium started again at 0800 hrs. By 1300 hrs we were approaching Brugge, Belgium, when reports of strong enemy resistance were received. According to civilians the enemy still had about 3000 men in Brugge; they had blown all the bridges across the canals that surrounded the city and had covered the main approaches with Anti-Tank guns and Machine Guns positions. To the South-East of Brugge along the line of the canal 'Zuider Vaardeken' (actually an extension of the Gent-canal). He was holding positions in considerable strength. It was decided that the river crossing would be made by the Argylls near Oostkamp, Belgium, about three miles South of Brugge. In the meantime "A" Company and the Scout Platoon with one Squadron of the South Alberta Regiment would go to a point farther North along the canal, where they would fell out enemy positions and provide a diversion. At 1530 hrs the three remaining Rifle-Companies moved by march route into Oostkamp. Apparently it was considered that the crossing would be a routine matter, since no boating material was brought up, and no serious Artillery program was laid down. The first problem was to secure a means of crossing the canal, which was about 50 ft. wide, and extremely deep. Major Mackenzie had noticed some civilians boats along a small river that flowed through Oostkamp. On investigation only two of these large, heavy punts were considered suitable for our proposed crossing. These transported to the canal bank by the Engineers. These boats were the only means for crossing the canal that the Battalion had. About 1730 hrs, the leading Company "D" began to cross. At first, enemy fire was negligible, but then, as he discovered our intention, he began to direct Mortar and 88mm fire on the crossing. Even before the Companies reached the other side of the canal, casualties were heavy. In two hours "C" Company's strength was reduced from 63 to 46. Nevertheless, there was no returning and by 2359 hrs, all three Companies were reported as being across, although they were still clinging, rather precariously, to a narrow foothold on the other side of the canal. The area on the other side (Moerbrugge, Belgium), which the map showed as having only a scattering of buildings, was actually closely built up, so that the sufficiently difficult task of making a river-crossing, was added the even more difficult one of street-fighting.

SAWYER, JOHN - Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
A photograph attached to John's service records. No details. It could be John and one of his younger brothers.