Qualified Driver I/C Class 3 (Wheeled) on March 29, 1944.
The Canadian Scottish war diary reports on October 7, 1944: Total strength: Officers, 34 Other ranks 773. Weather: Clear and warm. 014006 (Rapenbrugstraat Noord, Maldegem, Belgium)
The tense atmosphere in every occupied house and along every dyke all only need a cough or sudden shot to set the area blazing again. "C' and "B" Coys were still occupying their bullet-riven houses along the road. 15 platoon was guarding the left flank. The gap between them and the Regina Rifles Regiment was to be plugged by the Royal Winnipeg Rifles as soon as possible. The constantly infiltrating enemy troops send a Coy of infantry around 15 pl's position. They were fired upon and another fierce struggle ensued. No quarter was asked or given. inside, all was a clamour. The wounded and the one dead were put in a separate room slightly more protected. Germans seemed to surround the house and to have it cut off from the rest of the Coys and from the canal. The enemy at the rear of the house - on the canal side - set up an MG firing tracers. It was not long before these fiery capsules had found the bales of hay barricading the back of the house. As it glowed into flame it foretold a quick end to the fortress. Accordingly, Lieutenant R.S. Marshall ordered his platoon to evacuate by the front door and to cross the road to another building. Surprisingly, there were no enemy there to catch them as they left. The withdrawal was completed with the nine wounded being carried to safety on the backs of their comrades. Everyone carried his own weapon and what ammo he had left but most other equipment could not be taken. The majority of the enemy carried on down between the road and the canal dyke. There they found and overwhelmed "C" CoyHQ and one section of 14 platoon. The other two sections of 14 pl. were out to the canal getting rations and could not help their Coy. The raiding Germans then quickly formed up their Prisoners of War and marched them away. Elements of "B" and "C" Coys could see this parade being formed up in the grey half light of dawn. They could only snipe at the enemy very cautiously and could not use a machine gun for fear of mortally wounding one of our comrades. The enemy protected their own skins by mixing in with the main body of Prisoners.
The whole front continued active with many casualties inflicted on both sides by the accurate sniping and MG fire. The Canadian Scottish and the Regina Rifles were in such serious straits that their bridgehead was bolstered by using two Coys of Royal Winnipeg Rifles to fill the gap on our left and by sending one Squadron of the 7th RECCE (17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars) to aid "D" Coy. The grim fighting was such that PIATS and BAZOOKAS were used to blow down walls of houses where resistance was worst. These anti-tank weapons are quite handy little house-breakers. In a counter-attack by the RWR some of our "C" Coy were found and released. Others of this Coy were able to find an escape and to effect it themselves. "D" Coy reported that they had discovered the enemy made a practice of shooting their own troops when they were made Prisoners by our men. Elements of the RECCE platoon were sent along to bolster "D" Coy as the opposition there continued very fierce. Counter-attacks and close in-fighting were the order of this day. All along the front, from RRR position on our left to our "D" Coy on our right, the enemy vainly tried to crack through our defenses to the canal.
We were a thine but but everyone had the determined opinion that we would hold the ground. On later examination of the ground it was found that more than one frantic German had been stopped forever by a savage trust with a Commando knife. All afternoon reports came to BnHQ assessing the loss to "C" Coy. First reports had been greatly exagerated: but the final compilation was indeed a serious blow to the Battalion. Captain V.R. Schjeldrup M.C., Coy Sergeant Major Berry and the others were among the most popular members of the 1st Bn. Canadian Scottish. An "O" Group was held at BnHQ by A/OC Major D.G. Crofton to acquaint the Coy Comds with the situation. Perhaps the projected 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade (Highland Light Infantry of Canada, North Nova Scotia Highlanders, Stormont Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders) Assault Landing (October 9, 1944 between Biervliet and Hoofdplaat amphibious assault) will ease this front.
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!