© copyright Wigger KF van der Horst, Digitale bewerking; Henk Kersten/Stichting Noviomagus.nl
|“The Canadian Army was to move to the Nijmegen area of Holland where it would relieve US Paratroops Regiments defending the Nijmegen Waal Bridge”.
With morale at a high pitch, the battalion moved after lunch on the 9th of November from Ghent en route to Grave, Holland. It was a confusing move and it would seem the battalion reached its destination more by the Grace of God than by good judgement.
DUKWs were to pick up the men on the afternoon of the 10th for the final stages of the journey, but these amphibious vehicles did not arrive until 20.30 hours, and the battalion started off, leading the 9th Infantry Brigade, at 21.00 hours.
Instructions were arrived at Grave that the Glens would take over from the 2nd Battalion, 505 Paratroop Infantry Regiment of the US Army. This unit was stationed at Persingen and Groenendaal in the vicinity of Nijmegen, and the turnover was accomplished at 23.00 hours on the 11th of November 1944.
It was soon established that enemy troops on this front included the 84th German Division which the 3rd Canadian Division had fought in the Falaise Gap, France. Companies from the 1052nd- and 1053rd German Infantry Regiments were quickly identified. On the right flank was a German Division new to the Glens, the 190th, comprising the 30th and 520th German Grenadier Regiments. Also within the same area were elements of the 9th German Paratroop Division and the German 86th Division.
On the 19th of November 1944, two shells were put through the tower of the church in which the Regimental Aid Post was installed.
Then followed a period of daily patrols, one of which, commanded by Lieutenant James S. Smith, received special commendation from Division and Brigade. The main idea of all patrols was to take prisoners and as the battalion had no succes in its night patrols, daytime patrolling was started.
On the 22nd of November 1944, the 9th Brigade was relieved by the 8th Brigade and the Glens went back to the vicinity of Beek for a seven day period of training, kit inspections, bath parades, pay parades and the like.
Major-General ‘Dan’ Spry visited the battalion on the 24th. Captain B.M. Thompson, wounded before Boulogne, rejoined the unit.
On the 26th of November 1944, as the troops were forming up for church parade, a rocket or parachute bomb fell in the battalion area. It demolished a house near the parade ground and broke all Windows in the Battalion Headquarters and nearly buildings. Privates George Edward Mahar, (Photo / Groesbeek CWC) and Douglas R. Schofield, 19 (Groesbeek CWC) were killed and fifteen men were wounded. Sergeant Lyle L. Boice, 22 (Photo / Groesbeek CWC) and Private Francis K. Black (Photo / Groesbeek CWC) later died of wounds received at this time. There were a number of civilian casualties, including two litttle girls killed.
On the 28th of November, Lieutenant-Colonel Roger Rowley and Major John G. Stothart received the decoration of Companion of the Distinguished Service Order for their gallantry in the Battle of Boulogne. The following day the unit took over from the ‘Regina Rifles’ - 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade, and were quartered in dugouts heated by a variety of home-made stoves, ‘D’-Company, however, occupied twenty Pup tents.
Then, on the 4th of December there was another switch and the SD&G took over from the North Novas, the posts of ‘A’- and ‘D’-Companies were in Germany. Fifty reinforcements arrived on the following day and started their training programme at ‘B’ Echalon.
While the men were in the line, bath, pay and dental parades, tactical exercises without troops and administrative work were mixed up with patrol activity and ‘Stand-tos’ of 100%. The German push in the Ardennes sector occupied the attention of the troops.
The festive season was not without its heartbreaks. On the 24th of December, A/Corporal Louis J. Jacques. 20 (Photo / Groesbeek CWC) was ‘presumed killed in action’, on the 29th of the month Private William A. Boate, 25 (Groesbeek CWC) died of his wounds.
At this time Lieutenant Reg Dixon was promoted to Captain and transferred to the 3rd Division HQ as an Intelligence Officer, and Lieutenant F. Keith Pelton then took over the duties of Intelligence Officer in the battalion.
The high point of the day was the postponed Christmas dinner which included canned turkey and the traditional plum pudding. There was some excitement afterwards when the petrol stove in the kitchen exploded. The kitchen, together with the adjoining house where Battalion Headquarters personnel were billeted, caught fire. Most of the unit equipement was rescued but the house and its contents were destroyed (‘Elsbeek’ at Berg en Dal). The companies served dinner in their lines and were visited by the Brigadier and the Commanding Officer.
There were no fatal casualties in January 1945, but Lieutenant C.B.S. Avery and 58 men were wounded during the month. There were the usual daily patrols and occasionally the battalions exchanged positions. The days and nights were not without excitement, however. The persistent sound each night of a horse and wagon in the enemy lines, for instance, puzzled everyone; many men thought it was a phonograph record and that the machine was moved from place to place to perplex the Canadians.
On the 12th of January 1945 a German Patrol camouflaged in white suits, got too close to an ‘A’-Company platoon, Private Scott challenged the first figure he saw and then shot him in the head with his rifle. The alarm brought up the rest of the platoon and they engaged the Germans. Scott’s shot had killed the officer. A German Corporal was also killed and some soldiers wounded.
The enemy retreated in haste, leaving a machine gun and two panzerfausts behind, but marks in the snow indicated that they had dragged some of their wounded away with them.
The famous ‘Hotel Glen’ was still being maintained as a 24-hour rest centre. Comfortable, homelike, with a canteen, a nightly showing of films, and a supply of periodicals, it was an invaluable asset to the unit. A certain amount of 48-hour leaves were also being granted to Brussels, Ghent and Paris.
Four or five inches of snow fell on the 30th of January but fine rain on the 31st tended to melt it and provide slushy ground.
SD&G Charles Reginald Dunk CQMS got a picture of the ‘Karolingische Kapel’ in the summer of 1945 from Miepie Schenk in Nijmegen. The handwriting of the name
"Miepie Schenk" is recognized by herself and her brother Theo Schenk.
Photos from Mr. T. Gault are made during the “Tour along the battlefields, back to Juno Beach” by the Dutch photographer Gerard Niestadt, Hilversum, Netherlands and SD&G Capt. Ralph B Gault. The Tour - organized by Capt. Gault - took place in October 1944. Approximately 40 Glens participated.
Special Thanks to: Mr. Henk Kersten, Mr. Jeroen de Groot, Mr.Vincent Uyen and Mr. Rob Essers for their coorporation in identifying the locations of the