The History of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada: Volume 2, 1939–1945: Volume 2: 1939–1945 9780228017141

The definitive history of Canada’s Black Watch Regiment, whose legendary status was forged in battle across three centur

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The History of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada: Volume 2, 1939–1945: Volume 2: 1939–1945
 9780228017141

Table of contents :
Cover
The History of The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada Volume II: 1939–1945
Title
Copyright
CONTENTS
LIST OF APPENDICES
LIST OF MAPS
PART IV THE ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939–1945
CHAPTER 1 MOBILIZATION AND GUARDING CANALS, 1 RHC MOBILIZED – AUGUST 1939
First Division Mobilized
1 RHC Mobilized for 2nd Canadian Infantry Division
5th Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division
The Provisional Officers Training School
Struggles at the Home Front, 1940
John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir
Waiting to be Mobilized, 2 RHC, 1940
The Summer of 1940 – Modern War Realized
Colonel Hutchison and the Home Front
The 2nd Battalion RHC: March 1942 to July 1943
2 RHC 1942
2 RHC Disbanded July 1943
Wartime Training 1943 to 1944 – Nothing to Snuff at …
Montreal and the Second World War
Hutchison’s Highland Mafia
Ravenscrag, Beer and Highland Cadets
Retrospect: The Home Front 1939–1944
CHAPTER 2 REGIMENTAL COMMANDERS, 1939–1944: DIEPPE, ITALY AND UK
The Battalion in Aldershot, England
Dramatis Personae
Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Gault Blackader and his Regiment, 1940–42
Six Out-Sourced Black Watch Officers in the Mediterranean
Lieutenant Colonel Jim Weir, The Cape Breton Highlanders
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Boyd Somerville, The Cape Breton Highlanders
Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Doucet OBE, The Perth Regiment
Yugoslavia Jones, Commando
Lieutenant Colonel Charles Petch OBE, NNS, 4th PLDG
Lieutenant Colonel John Bourne, FSSF
1 RHC in Great Britain 1942–1944: Four Commanders, Three Colonels
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Douglas Cantlie
Operation Jubilee – Dieppe 19 August 1942
The Black Watch Mission
The C Company Grenade Incident
Edward Force – Blue Beach 0545 hrs
Captain MacLaurin’s Mortars on Red Beach – 0530–1230 hrs 19 August 1942
Trapped Aboard LCT 127
Captain John Alexander Kenny – MIA
Recognitions for Gallantry
Post-Dieppe Training for War 1942–1943
Musical Chairs: Cantlie, Henderson and again Cantlie – 1 RHC April 1943 to January 1944
Criticism: The Farewell Address
En passant: Lieutenant Colonel Henderson
A New RSM – Stuart Cantlie Prepares for Normandy
“Worthy” – Black Watch in the Armoured Corps
July 1944 – Dress Rehearsals Done, War at last
CHAPTER 3 NORMANDY – THE BATTLES FOR VERRIÈRES RIDGE: JULY–AUGUST 1944
Upholding Their Good Name
Into Normandy
The Tactical Situation Circa July 1944
Verrières Ridge: The First Battle 18–24 July – Operation Atlantic
Lieutenant Colonel SST Cantlie and His Battalion
Operations Atlantic and Goodwood, 18 July–21 July “The Best Tank Country West of Paris”
Counterattack vs. Counterattack: 21 July, 1 RHC, Operation Atlantic
The Purgatory of Verrières Ridge 21–24 July 1944
Verrières Ridge: The Second Battle 25–26 July – Operation Spring
Germans Facing Simonds
Planning 5th Brigade’s Portion of Spring
Black Watch Planning for Spring
The Enemy: The 272nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division
Lying in Wait: 9th SS Pz and 2nd Pz Kampfgruppen, Plus the 10th SS Aufklärung Abteilung
Securing the Start Line: Operation Spring, 25 July 1944 – The Calgary Highlanders
“Monty’s Moonlight” – Leichenlicht
Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie, 0500 hrs 25 July
Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie Killed: 0530 hrs 25 July
The Duffield Patrol
Radio Orders from Above
Major Griffin’s Attack Plan
B Squadron, 1st Hussars
Captain Gordon Powis, The Senior Forward Observation Officer
Griffin’s Meeting with Brigadier Megill
CHAPTER 4 NORMANDY – THE BLACK WATCH ASSAULTS VERRIÈRES RIDGE, 25 JULY 1944
The Attack
Forward, Without Tanks – H Hr 0930
1st Battalion RHC, Verrières Ridge – Reorganized, 25 July 1944
The Hell of Verrières Ridge
The Supporting Armour
The Whirlwind of Fire: Panzer Counterattack
Major Phil Griffin and The Black Watch – Into the Bloodied Wheat
Major Griffin Killed: 9th SS Overruns the last of The Black Watch: 1700 hrs
Wer die Höhe überschreitet ist ein toter Mann
Captain Gordon Powis – Officer Commanding 1 RHC
Holding the Line: Captain Ron Bennett’s Rearguard
Shell Alley
Sergeant Vernon Blake MM
The Last Effort to Reach Griffin: R de Mais Attacks, Evening 25 July
Command Shake-Up and Finale
Conclusion
The Shock of the Lost Battalion: Censorship and The Simonds Critique
The Motzfeldt Report: Report on Battle of St-André and May-sur-Orne 25 July 1944
The Question of Griffin’s Victoria Cross
The Apotheosis of the Regiment
CHAPTER 5 FRANCE, HOLLAND AND THE SCHELDT – AUGUST TO DECEMBER 1944
Rebuilding the Battalion – August 1944: Once More into the Breach …
The New CO – Lieutenant Colonel FM Mitchell: Less Than Four Days …
Delicate Diplomacy and Martial Ill-Boding: Mitchell vs. Megill
Verrières Ridge. The Third Battle, 5 August: Attacking May-sur-Orne
After Action Accountability
Operations Totalize and Tractable – A Battlefield Pause
The Battle of Bourgtheroulde – 26 August 1944
Good-bye to Normandy
Montreal: The Aftermath of Verrières
Back to Dieppe and the Channel Ports – September 1944
The Battle of Spycker 12–13 September 1944
Post-Spycker Confrontations: Mitchell vs. Megill
The Scheldt
Brigadier WJ Megill and The Black Watch
Training Replacements
Fall 1944 – Two Bloody Months
The German Infanterie Division 346 – The Antwerp–Turnhout Canal Line
St-Leonard and Brecht, 29 September–1 October 1944
Hoogerheide, 8–9 October 1944
“Black Friday” – Operation Angus, 13 October 1944: The Black Watch vs. The Blue Baron
Goes – 28 October 1944
The Walcheren Causeway: 31 October 1944
November to December 1944
D Company Raid – Grafwegen, 7 December 1944
Regimental Sergeant-Major Leitch
CHAPTER 6 THE LAST YEAR OF WAR: JANUARY TO MAY 1945
Hogmanay, 1945
Ave Atque Vale – February, 1945
The Rhineland: Ops Veritable and Blockbuster, 8 February to 11 March 1945
Commendations in the field of battle: The Hochwald 25–26 February 1945
Fighting through March, 1945
Black Watch COs and their Brigadier
Spring, 1945: Lieutenant Colonel Motzfeldt
Clearing Germans: Terborg, Groningen and Stenum: 1 April to 4 May 1945
Laren Attack: Motzfeldt Wounded, 5 April 1945
Colonel Sydney Thomson – “An Outstanding Stranger”
Groningen: Civil House-Clearing
Stenum, 26 April 1945 – The Last Act
Lieutenant Colonel VE Traversy
Resolution – A Regiment’s War
A Highland Melting Pot
NOTES TO PART IV
PART IV – ILLUSTRATIONS
PART IV – MAPS
APPENDICES
INDEX

Citation preview

The History of

(Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada Volume II: 1939–1945

The History of

(Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada Volume II: 1939–1945

Roman Johann Jarymowycz

Published for

The Royal Highlanders of Canada by

McGill-Queen’s University Press Montreal & Kingston • London • Chicago

© The Royal Highlanders of Canada 2023 isbn 978-0-2280-1710-3 (vol. 1, cloth) isbn 978-0-2280-1711-0 (vol. 1, epdf) isbn 978-0-2280-1713-4 (vol. 2, cloth) isbn 978-0-2280-1714-1 (vol. 2, epdf) isbn 978-0-2280-1716-5 (vol. 3, cloth) isbn 978-0-2280-1717-2 (vol. 3, epdf) isbn 978-0-2280-1719-6 (set, cloth) isbn 978-0-2280-1720-2 (set, epdf) Legal deposit second quarter 2023 Bibliothèque nationale du Québec Printed in Canada on acid-free paper

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Title: The history of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada / Roman Johann Jarymowycz. Other titles: Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada Names: Jarymowycz, Roman Johann, 1945–2017, author. Description: Includes bibliographical references and indexes. | Contents: Volume II: 1939–1945. Identifiers: Canadiana (print) 20220429960 | Canadiana (ebook) 20220429987 | isbn 9780228017196 (set ; cloth) | isbn 9780228017134 (v. 2 ; cloth) | isbn 9780228017202 (set ; epdf) | isbn 9780228017141 (v. 2 ; epdf) Subjects: LCSH: Canada. Canadian Army. Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada—History. Classification: LCC UA602.R6 J37 2023 | DDC 356/.10971—dc23 Book design by Mike Bechthold. Unless otherwise noted, all images were sourced from the Black Watch Archives. The Black Watch of Canada welcomes any updates, corrections, or additional contributions to this history. This and other supplementary material may be found at www.blackwatchcanada.com/history Please contact [email protected] with your submissions. Every reasonable effort has been made to acquire permission for copyright material used in this text, and to acknowledge all such indebtedness accurately. Any errors and omissions called to the publisher’s attention will be corrected in future printings.

Contents

List

of

List

Appendices | x of

MAps | x

Part IV the RoyAL highLAndeRs of cAnAdA in second WoRLd WAR 1939–1945

MobiLizAtion

And

guARding

the

ChaPter 1 cAnALs, 1 Rhc MobiLized – August 1939 | 3

First Division Mobilized | 3 1 RHC Mobilized for 2nd Canadian Infantry Division | 5 5th Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division | 6 The Provisional Officers Training School | 8 Struggles at the Home Front, 1940 | 10 John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir | 11 Waiting to be Mobilized, 2 RHC, 1940 | 12 The Summer of 1940 – Modern War Realized | 13 Colonel Hutchison and the Home Front | 15 The 2nd Battalion RHC: March 1942 to July 1943 | 17 2 RHC 1942 | 19 2 RHC Disbanded July 1943 | 20 Wartime Training 1943 to 1944 – Nothing to Snuff at … | 21 Montreal and the Second World War | 22 Hutchison’s Highland Mafia | 24 Ravenscrag, Beer and Highland Cadets | 25 Retrospect: The Home Front 1939–1944 | 26

v

RegiMentAL

ChaPter 2 coMMAndeRs, 1939–1944: dieppe, itALy

And

uK | 27

The Battalion in Aldershot, England | 27 Dramatis Personae | 28 Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Gault Blackader and his Regiment, 1940–42 | 29 Six Out-Sourced Black Watch Officers in the Mediterranean | 31 Lieutenant Colonel Jim Weir, The Cape Breton Highlanders | 31 Lieutenant Colonel Robert Boyd Somerville, The Cape Breton Highlanders | 33 Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Doucet OBE, The Perth Regiment | 34 Yugoslavia Jones, Commando | 35 Lieutenant Colonel Charles Petch OBE, NNS, 4th PLDG | 36 Lieutenant Colonel John Bourne, FSSF | 38 1 RHC in Great Britain 1942–1944: Four Commanders, Three Colonels | 39 Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Douglas Cantlie | 39 Operation Jubilee – Dieppe 19 August 1942 | 41 The Black Watch Mission | 42 The C Company Grenade Incident | 43 Edward Force – Blue Beach 0545 hrs | 44 Captain MacLaurin’s Mortars on Red Beach – 0530–1230 hrs 19 August 1942 | 46 Trapped Aboard LCT 127 | 49 Captain John Alexander Kenny – MIA | 50 Recognitions for Gallantry | 50 Post-Dieppe Training for War 1942–1943 | 51 Musical Chairs: Cantlie, Henderson and again Cantlie – 1 RHC April 1943 to January 1944 | Criticism: The Farewell Address | 54 En passant: Lieutenant Colonel Henderson | 55 A New RSM – Stuart Cantlie Prepares for Normandy | 57 “Worthy” – Black Watch in the Armoured Corps | 58 July 1944 – Dress Rehearsals Done, War at last | 58

noRMAndy – the bAttLes

foR

53

ChaPter 3 VeRRièRes Ridge: JuLy–August 1944 | 61

Upholding Their Good Name | 61 Into Normandy | 62 The Tactical Situation Circa July 1944 | 64 Verrières Ridge: The First Battle 18–24 July – Operation Atlantic | 66 Lieutenant Colonel SST Cantlie and His Battalion | 66 Operations Atlantic and Goodwood, 18 July–21 July “The Best Tank Country West of Paris” Counterattack vs. Counterattack: 21 July, 1 RHC, Operation Atlantic | 74 The Purgatory of Verrières Ridge 21–24 July 1944 | 76

vi

|

70

Verrières Ridge: The Second Battle 25–26 July – Operation Spring | 79 Germans Facing Simonds | 80 Planning 5th Brigade’s Portion of Spring | 82 Black Watch Planning for Spring | 83 The Enemy: The 272nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division | 84 Lying in Wait: 9th SS Pz and 2nd Pz Kampfgruppen, Plus the 10th SS Aufklärung Abteilung | 86 Securing the Start Line: Operation Spring, 25 July 1944 – The Calgary Highlanders | 88 “Monty’s Moonlight” – Leichenlicht | 88 Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie, 0500 hrs 25 July | 89 Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie Killed: 0530 hrs 25 July | 91 The Duffield Patrol | 93 Radio Orders from Above | 94 Major Griffin’s Attack Plan | 95 B Squadron, 1st Hussars | 97 Captain Gordon Powis, The Senior Forward Observation Officer | 98 Griffin’s Meeting with Brigadier Megill | 99

noRMAndy – the bLAcK WAtch

ChaPter 4 AssAuLts VeRRièRes Ridge, 25 JuLy 1944 | 101

The Attack | 101 Forward, Without Tanks – H Hr 0930 | 102 1st Battalion RHC, Verrières Ridge – Reorganized, 25 July 1944 | 102 The Hell of Verrières Ridge | 104 The Supporting Armour | 108 The Whirlwind of Fire: Panzer Counterattack | 110 Major Phil Griffin and The Black Watch – Into the Bloodied Wheat | 113 Major Griffin Killed: 9th SS Overruns the last of The Black Watch: 1700 hrs | 115 Wer die Höhe überschreitet ist ein toter Mann | 116 Captain Gordon Powis – Officer Commanding 1 RHC | 116 Holding the Line: Captain Ron Bennett’s Rearguard | 117 Shell Alley | 120 Sergeant Vernon Blake MM | 121 The Last Effort to Reach Griffin: R de Mais Attacks, Evening 25 July | 122 Command Shake-Up and Finale | 123 Conclusion | 124 The Shock of the Lost Battalion: Censorship and The Simonds Critique | 126 The Motzfeldt Report: Report on Battle of St-André and May-sur-Orne 25 July 1944 | 127 The Question of Griffin’s Victoria Cross | 130 The Apotheosis of the Regiment | 131

vii

fRAnce, hoLLAnd

And the

ChaPter 5 scheLdt – August

to

deceMbeR 1944 | 135

Rebuilding the Battalion – August 1944: Once More into the Breach … | 135 The New CO – Lieutenant Colonel FM Mitchell: Less Than Four Days … | 137 Delicate Diplomacy and Martial Ill-Boding: Mitchell vs. Megill | 139 Verrières Ridge. The Third Battle, 5 August: Attacking May-sur-Orne | 140 After Action Accountability | 142 Operations Totalize and Tractable – A Battlefield Pause | 143 The Battle of Bourgtheroulde – 26 August 1944 | 147 Good-bye to Normandy | 150 Montreal: The Aftermath of Verrières | 151 Back to Dieppe and the Channel Ports – September 1944 | 152 The Battle of Spycker 12–13 September 1944 | 153 Post-Spycker Confrontations: Mitchell vs. Megill | 158 The Scheldt | 160 Brigadier WJ Megill and The Black Watch | 160 Training Replacements | 162 Fall 1944 – Two Bloody Months | 164 The German Infanterie Division 346 – The Antwerp–Turnhout Canal Line | 165 St-Leonard and Brecht, 29 September–1 October 1944 | 166 Hoogerheide, 8–9 October 1944 | 168 “Black Friday” – Operation Angus, 13 October 1944: The Black Watch vs. The Blue Baron | Goes – 28 October 1944 | 176 The Walcheren Causeway: 31 October 1944 | 177 November to December 1944 | 180 D Company Raid – Grafwegen, 7 December 1944 | 181 Regimental Sergeant-Major Leitch | 184

the LAst yeAR

of

ChaPter 6 WAR: JAnuARy

to

MAy 1945 | 187

Hogmanay, 1945 | 187 Ave Atque Vale – February, 1945 | 190 The Rhineland: Ops Veritable and Blockbuster, 8 February to 11 March 1945 | 192 Commendations in the field of battle: The Hochwald 25–26 February 1945 | 194 Fighting through March, 1945 | 197 Black Watch COs and their Brigadier | 198 Spring, 1945: Lieutenant Colonel Motzfeldt | 199 Clearing Germans: Terborg, Groningen and Stenum: 1 April to 4 May 1945 | 200 Laren Attack: Motzfeldt Wounded, 5 April 1945 | 201 Colonel Sydney Thomson – “An Outstanding Stranger” | 202 Groningen: Civil House-Clearing |

viii

204

169

Stenum, 26 April 1945 – The Last Act | 205 Lieutenant Colonel VE Traversy | 206 Resolution – A Regiment’s War | 207 A Highland Melting Pot | 209

notes to Part IV | 211 pARt iV –iLLustRAtions | 243 pARt iV – MAps | 277 aPPendICes | 295 Index | 319

ix

Appendices Appendix A – 1 RHC Battle Honours and Decorations Second World War | 295 Appendix B – 1 RHC Command Structure: Operations, Second World War July 1944–May 1945 | 299 Appendix C – The Canadian Army in Normandy | 300 Appendix D – 1 RHC Black Watch as at 25 July 1944, Normandy | 304 Appendix E – Battle Casualties and Fire Plan

|

306

Appendix F – Operation Spring Trace / Reference Map | 308 Appendix G – Motzfeldt Report | 309

List

of

MAps

The Dieppe Raid, 19 August 1942 | 278 The Black Watch Campaign in Europe, July 1944 to May 1945 | 279 Operational Situation Normandy, 8 July 1944 | 280 First Battle Normandy: Operation Atlantic, 18 July 1944 | 281 Operation Atlantic: Black Watch, 18–21 July 1944 (Map 1) | 282 Operation Atlantic: Black Watch, 18–21 July 1944 (Map 2 – Counter Attack) | 283 1 RHC area Tactical Ops: Verrières | 284 2 Cdn Corps Operation Spring, 25 July 1944 –Simonds’s Plan | 285 Tactical Analysis of Lt Gen GG Simonds’s Operational Art / Black Watch role in Spring | 285 Black Watch Role in Operation Spring, 25 July 1944 – Phase 2 | 286 Bourgtheroulde, 26 August 1944 | 288 The Battle of Spycker: First Phase | 289 The Battle of Spycker: Second Phase | 289 Woensdrecht “Black Friday” 13 October 1944: First Phase | 290 Woensdrecht “Black Friday” 13 October 1944: Second Phase | 291 The Walcheren Causeway, 31 October 1944, 1300 to 1900 hours | 292 The Walcheren Causeway, 31 October 1944, 1930 hours to 1 November 1944, 0100 hours | 292 The Rhineland, 8 February to 11 March 1944: Operation “Blockbuster” | 293 x

Part IV

The Royal Highlanders of Canada in the Second World War 1939–1945

Chapter 1

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939

First Division Mobilized I believe it is peace for our time … And now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, after the Munich Agreement, 30 September 1938

The summer of 1939 was tranquil. Camp was over and the Regiment had scattered to their accustomed vacation spots. The battalion commanders, Lieutenant Colonels Ibbotson and Hutchison, were relaxing at their cottages on the Lower St Lawrence and Maine respectively. The newspapers were full of the all-too-familiar rants of Adolf Hitler in regard to the Treaty of Versailles, Danzig and the Polish borders. The British government, wary of stumbling into an unwanted war, continued what seemed a hesitant policy. After the 1938 Munich Conference, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain pursued a course of cautious rearmament, though hoping for reconciliation with Germany. Concurrently, he sought to create entwined defence pacts with key European powers as a means of deterring Hitler from war.1 The professional Canadian military had only a hazy understanding of mechanical operations, and while fighters and bombers were considered important assets in modern warfare, they were not seen as the key to victory. Most officers (including many generals) were unfamiliar 3

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Chapter 1

with the specific operational aspects of the German concept of Vernichtungsschlacht (battle of annihilation – later the popular “Blitzkrieg”2), and it was not until the fall of that year that words like Panzer, Stuka and Messerschmitt became household terms. Canadians were flabbergasted when, on 26 August, the government published General Order No. 124 which called out ninety-nine units of the Non-permanent Active Militia to guard the country’s vulnerable points and man its coastal defences. Select battalions were named to protect the vital west to east communication system across Canada. An internal security force (ISF) was created, and the Militia found itself in the midst of a pre-emptive muster. The 2nd Battalion RHC was called out to secure the locks along the Soulanges Canal, forty miles south-west of Montreal – the artery that bypassed the St Lawrence rapids and connected the city with Toronto and Detroit. The Regimental Commandant, Colonel Kenneth Blackader, was appointed to command the entire ISF Militia District No. 4 (Montreal) and immediately set up a tactical headquarters beside the waterway. Subsequent to this, National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) published General Order No. 135 which created a Canadian Active Service Force (CASF) of three hundred individual units; this formed the nucleus of a headquarters for the 1st Corps CASF which would include two infantry divisions. The units that were chosen were chuffed but far from ready. It would, however, be some months before the battalions became effective fighting units.3 To the Regiment’s great surprise, the 1st Infantry Division did not include the Black Watch. The new formation fielded two Quebec regiments, The Royal 22nd Regiment (the Van Doos) and The Royal Montreal Regiment, named as the machinegun battalion of 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade. That the city’s three senior veteran regiments (The Black Watch, The Victoria Rifles and The Canadian Grenadier Guards) were excluded perplexed many Montrealers. The Black Watch, while gratified that their old mates from the CEF’s renowned 7th Brigade (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, The Royal Canadian Regiment and The Edmonton Regiment) were named to the division, could not help but be disappointed. The logic behind this was that each of the three brigades would have at its core one permanent force battalion (distributed one per brigade). In this case, the PPCLI, RCR, and R22eR which were chosen geographically (Western Canada, Ontario, and Eastern Canada). Although never mentioned, this meant that the Black Watch would be denied “formal infantry representation in the division likely to be first to see action.”4

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 5 1 RHC Mobilized for 2nd Canadian Infantry Division What little equipment the Regiment had was taken. Regimental War Diary, after 1 RHC was mobilized, September 1939

When Canada declared war on 10 September 1939, orders were received to mobilize the 1st Battalion RHC for the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. Immediately, Hutchison conferred with Blackader and Ibbotson at their posts on the Soulanges Canal. The 1st Battalion required commanders, but NDHQ also stipulated that a senior officer must remain to administer the Regiment. Blackader and Ibbotson, both bachelors, elected to drop one rank in order to serve as officer commanding and second-in-command. That done, Blackader began to supervise the mobilization of the Regiment’s CASF Battalion – “1 RHC.” Lieutenant Colonel Paul Hutchison became the new Regimental Commandant and Colonel S Echenberg OBE was given command of the Internal Security Force. To accommodate the situation, Blackader (commanding the CASF battalion) was to operate out of the CO’s office in the Regimental Armoury, while Hutchison graciously went on full time duty in the ladies’ powder room. His orders were “assist Blackader, administer the home Regiment and oversee the 2nd Battalion in its ISF duty.”5 Battalion Sergeant-Major L Powell succeeded Warrant Officer Class I Ovenden as RSM. For two and a half dreary months, the 2nd Battalion continued to patrol the Soulanges Canal. It was thankless, boring work – there was little prospect of stumbling across German saboteurs. Everything (boots, underwear, socks and uniforms6) was in short supply and because modern rifles were assigned to mobilized units, the men were armed with the outdated Ross rifle. Worse still, angry employers were demanding that militia soldiers return to work. Regimental expenses were rising. The ad-hoc system was no solution. The issue was bureaucratic. Callouts were temporary. As long as soldiers remained militiamen, the Regiment assumed the cost. However, should a battalion become activated, then key items such as uniforms, kit, provisions, and pay would be the responsibility of Ottawa. Things had to change. By November, “veteran companies” were formed and gradually took over guard duty. The 2 RHC was returned to Militia (NPAM) status; however, with the 1st Battalion now active, the militia part of the Black Watch comprised only seventy other ranks.7 Hutchison enlisted the services of two corps reserve officers of the Regiment, both veterans of the First World War: Major Hugh Johnston DSO MC, and Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) John Molson MBE. They agreed to become OC and

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2IC of the reconstituted 2nd Battalion. As a start, Major Johnston was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.8 Recruiting was exasperating for it included the rejection of very keen but unfit young men, and also heightened the anxiety of CEF veterans eager to serve again: Many of the Regiment’s originals unfortunately failed to pass the medical examination for various reasons, chief among those being “over age.” These men, mainly veterans of the Great War 1914–1918, will be sadly missed as the accumulation of knowledge gathered over a period of years would have been an invaluable asset during the battalion’s preliminary training.9

Nevertheless, the 1st Battalion was soon at war establishment. Practically all the officers volunteered, and Blackader was able to choose a strong contingent: Captain Stuart Cantlie was made Adjutant, and “the company commanders were ‘Jake’ Jaquays, Jim Weir, Steve Cantlie, Weir Wright, and Jim Routledge. The captains included Ed Rawlings, Frank Mitchell and Charlie Petch.”10 The Armoury became a hive of activity, although the remaining battalions looked on with some concern, for 1 RHC had taken all the Regiment’s supply of kilts! 5th Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division As with the first formation, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division was raised from all parts of the country. The 4th Brigade was from Ontario, the 6th from Western Canada; and, although the 5th Brigade was designated as representing Eastern Canada, it was mainly from Montreal. The Black Watch was brigaded with Le Régiment de Maisonneuve (R de Mais) and Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal (FMR). The Division’s Machine Gun Battalion, attached to headquarters, was Le Régiment de la Chaudière.11 In a private meeting with General AGL McNaughton (GOC 1st Canadian Division), Colonel Hutchison told him of the Regiment’s uneasiness at the practicality of being brigaded with two French Canadian units and its disappointment that its 2nd Battalion was not also mobilized for inclusion in the expeditionary force. General McNaughton assured Colonel Hutchison he was aware of the situation.12 As early as June 1939, NDHQ hoped to better represent both Canadian cultures in the military: “We are particularly anxious … that one of the infantry brigades initially mobilized should be predominantly French-speaking, with a French speaking commander and staff.”13 The Montreal units were downtown chums, and the FMR had a notably distinguished militia lineage. Two decades after the Great War, the Canadian Army operated almost exclusively in English and had surprisingly few staff-trained officers for its formations, especially its designated corps and army

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 7 headquarters. It had even fewer French-speaking senior officers. While the creation of a francophone brigade lay many years ahead, the interfacing of French and Englishspeaking soldiers was an idea greatly favoured by General McNaughton. When the 2nd Canadian Division arrived in the United Kingdom, the Calgary Highlanders (6th Brigade) were temporarily attached as a replacement for the FMR (then guarding Iceland’s harbours). He approved: “[It] would give French and English-speaking Canadians wider contacts. Men from the Prairies would be working daily with Frenchspeaking Canadians from Quebec.”14 The Calgary Highlanders remained in the 5th Brigade and Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal in due time became part of the 6th. As preparation for 1 RHC’s departure continued apace, it became clear the Armoury was stretched beyond its limits. Personnel from Montreal continued to live at home while out of town recruits slept in the company rooms. Every office and empty space was packed. Eventually, the Regiment rented several floors in the Caron Building across the street to serve as temporary barracks. The Officers’ Mess was reorganized to provide lunch and dinner for all officers on duty; the luncheon mess remained active for the balance of the war.15 The entire Armoury was cared for by Sergeant JJ Rooney, a devoted fifty-year veteran. The Regiment determined to maintain a sense of normalcy and tradition and completed the year with the annual church parade, the reunion dinner and a modest St Andrew’s Ball. Military life remained crowded. The District’s ISF headquarters operated out of the Officers’ Mess anteroom while the Regimental HQ operated from the powder room. Eventually, two additional headquarters were added: a rear HQ for the 2nd Battalion and a Regimental Depot for 1st Battalion. Volunteer clerks from downtown offices worked evenings to help manage the flood of paperwork. Mabel Fetherstonhaugh became secretary for the Regimental Council. A Black Watch Women’s Division was created to raise funds and collect supplies to assist soldiers and their families.16 Hutchison and the Regimental Adjutant, Captain Cleghorn, worked from 8 am to midnight. The headquarters’ schedule was later adjusted to permit Hutchison to return to his civilian profession; he worked from 8 am to 10 am, from 12:30 to 2:30 pm and every night for some months longer. It was a hectic timetable and would affect Hutchison’s health. Barrack difficulties were solved when the 1st Battalion was ordered to Toronto in late November. Sportingly, they left 150 kilts for the home station to be set aside for leave parties. The tour was short as they were soon moved to Valcartier and then to Newfoundland to defend the airfields at Gander and Botwood.17 Finally, the 1st Division sailed from Halifax on 10 and 22 December 1939 but with less drama than in the previous war. The 2nd Division would not leave for Europe until July 1940. It seemed as if Britain and France were hopeful the risk

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of all-out war would quietly go away. In comparison, by the winter of 1914 the first Black Watch battalion had long sailed for England, and within three months of “Rabbie Burns Day” (25 January) the 13th Battalion CEF had won its first battle honour at Ypres. In 1940, despite the state of war, no one was prepared to start bombing cities and risk poison gas reprisals, which, unlike the past conflict, could now be delivered by aircraft against metropolitan populations. It was, as a Time magazine writer smirked, Sitzkrieg, not Blitzkrieg. Winston Churchill dubbed it “The Twilight War” and the world media began referring to it as “The Phoney War.” The Allies were hesitant to launch a significant land offensive despite promises to assist Poland, which was over six hundred miles from Paris and London, on the wrong side of Germany. Little would change until the summer. The Provisional Officers Training School Black Watch veterans had often discussed what steps the Regiment would take to ensure a proper supply of regimentally trained officer reinforcements in the event of another war. Their musings proved astute. Since September, the Regiment was flooded with officer applicants. In the first three weeks, Hutchison personally interviewed 250 potential candidates, fifty of whom appeared to be desirable junior officer material. It was decided to form a regimental officers’ school. There was no shortage of qualified instructors. Brigadier GE McCuaig DSO was appointed Commandant; Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Walter Macfarlane MC was OIC Training; both were stockbrokers. The instructors were a Canadian military who’s-who and included Colonels Rykert McCuaig DSO, Stanton Mathewson DSO, Andrew Mills DSO, Kenneth Perry DSO, and Hugh Wallis DSO.18 Most were retired Commanding Officers of the Regiment, and all had considerable practical experience regarding command in battle. The Regimental School was titled “the Provisional Officers Training School of the Regiment,” or POTS. A comprehensive syllabus was quickly produced. Training was conducted three nights a week and most weekends. At first, it was a familial gathering. Of the initial thirty-five candidates (called officer cadets), about 25 percent were relatives of past or present officers of the Regiment. In the first year, of six hundred applicants, only one hundred fifty were accepted. By early fall of 1939, The Black Watch was training two thousand recruits (including POTS) out of the Bleury Street armoury. Full-time staff was on hand every day to attest and medically examine the lines of applicants – on some days, numbering over a hundred. Although POTS was a success, it was also considered a nuisance by Militia headquarters, despite the fact that there was a lack of district schools and no teaching

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 9 staff. Military District No.4 headquarters had relocated downtown, to the Sun Life Building.19 This meant the Regiment laboured under a constant, often meddlesome, supervision. The Watch demonstrated commendable initiative and often beat its headquarters to the punch. Not a good idea in the modern military. POTS ruffled staff officers’ feathers: In so far as the Dept of National Defence was concerned the school was entirely unofficial … Authorities, when they realized what the Regiment was doing, frowned upon it and on a number of occasions District HQ ticked off the commandant for “training too many junior officers”! This was disregarded and in due course the vast majority of the POTS graduates became field officers on active service, several lieutenant colonels and one full colonel among them.20

NDHQ ordered a two-month probationary period. This was politely ignored by the Black Watch. Nevertheless, the Regiment followed the spirit of the directives, and candidates were not gazetted as officers until after the required probationary period. A fifth of the group were judged not to be up to regimental standard. The others were posted into the 2nd Battalion. All candidates considered sufficiently trained by the Regiment were obliged to go on active service. POTS continued under increasingly trying conditions and little cooperation. District qualification examinations were conducted under impossible circumstances; the candidates had to wait all day but were only permitted to begin writing at 11 pm. Arrangements were so poor that many wrote lying on an Armoury floor. When the results were announced it was indicated 80 percent had failed. The Regiment was baffled. A second group was tested with 46 percent failure rate. Although experienced officers insisted the officer candidates were extremely well trained by POTS, criticisms continued. The McGill COTC joined the Regiment in formal complaints against the method of testing and correction. Eventually, matters were straightened out, with the vast majority of the candidates declared qualified. All went on to successful careers in the Active Force. However, the end was in sight. With the creation of a formal officer training school in Brockville, the Black Watch terminated POTS in the fall of 1940, when the last group of officers graduated. In January 1940, Colonel Hutchison was asked to provide fresh reinforcements for the 1st Battalion, and a Black Watch Company for No.2 Holding Unit to be stationed in England. The Regiment promptly supplied two field officers (Majors HS Bogert and AC Evans), six subalterns and 115 other ranks from 2nd Battalion to the 1st Battalion. At the same time, Lieutenant Colonel Stanton Mathewson DSO reverted to Major and recruited “an efficient group of NCOs and in due course proceeded to

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England … it is doubted that any regiment in Canada had a better record than the RHC in producing the drafts for active service quickly.”21 Struggles at the Home Front, 1940 Nationally, sluggish recruiting compounded by administrative delays worried both military and government alike. In January, Paul Hutchison was interviewed by a prominent Liberal Member of Parliament and questioned about military difficulties. It was access to power of a sort but nothing like the open door to cabinet machinations enjoyed by Cantlie during The Great War. Hutchison frankly admitted that the best minds available in the Permanent Force were not in Ottawa. He was asked for, and submitted, a list of recommendations which included Eric McCuaig and Hugh Wallis.22 When Defence Minister Norman Rogers was killed in an air crash in June 1940, Colonel the Honourable JH Ralston was appointed to the Cabinet and eight of Colonel Hutchison’s list were given key staff jobs. Mobilizing Highland regiments presented a problem for NDHQ – uniforms. It was a complex mix of élan and martial tradition versus practicality. However, for a government committed to avoiding conscription, anything that produced volunteers was sacrosanct. Recruits clearly liked kilts. It was a manly dress. The problem, besides cost, was supply. It was obvious that wearing kilts into battle, despite heroic conduct in the past war, was an anachronism. All modern soldiers would wear the same battledress: trousers, not trews, and certainly not kilts or balmorals. The only option left was “walking out dress” with which to show off regimental identity. Spirited correspondence followed in regard to being allowed to continue wearing Scottish dress. Like most units, the Black Watch required its uniforms immediately and lobbied “to receive the balance of three hundred kilts now urgently required for the rank and file of this battalion.”23 Eventually, faced with nineteen Highland regiments and one Irish regiment, all on active service, NDHQ settled on a khaki general service tam o’ shanter (similar to the Watch’s balmorals). Regiments could adjust their headdress to meet their specific traditions. The 1st Battalion quickly replaced their glengarries with balmorals when they arrived in late September 1939. Blackader recalled: “We bought the Red Hackles ourselves.”24 In Montreal, the 2nd Black Watch battalion found garrison routine dull and frustrating. Modern equipment continued to be impossible to acquire. After six months of war, no one had yet seen a Bren Gun let alone a Bren Gun carrier (a small tracked vehicle, about the size of a jeep). When war broke out Canada had only twenty-nine Bren Guns in total, twenty-three anti-tank rifles, and four modern anti-aircraft guns. Machine guns, anti-aircraft guns, mortars, and modern wireless (radios) were simply

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 11 not available. A shortage of .303 rifles and ammunition resulted in musketry training being terminated. Essential kit (helmets, gas masks, web equipment, and compasses) was also in short supply. Regimental headquarters tried to solve a flood of unrelated problems: a six weeks’ lag in dependents’ allowances, no free railroad transportation for troops on leave, supernumerary officers paid as privates in camp, etc. Militia warrant officers and sergeants, requested as such by the Active Force as instructors, were required to report as privates. At one point, it was even proposed that all military bands and unit identification be eliminated. Headquarters played down regimental individuality, abolishing unit shoulder badges and forbidding “distinctive dress”. The Regiment was even prohibited from advertising for recruits. “It almost seemed as though NDHQ was making every effort to prevent the units from doing a war job and yet depending on them to supply the recruits for the active force.”25 Hutchison was ordered to alter recruiting posters, replacing “Join the Black Watch” with “Join the Army” – although the over-zealous staff missed the next exhortation: “and wear the Red Hackle!” The Regiment continued to interview officer applicants. The demands of two active service battalions soon exhausted the supply of junior officers trained by POTS during 1939–40. One solution was a tighter relationship with the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps (COTC) at McGill and Bishop’s Universities as well as closer liaison with the Officer Training Centre at Brockville. By good fortune, Brockville was commanded by Colonel (later Brigadier) MF Gregg VC, who had served in the ranks with 13th Battalion CEF during the First World War. These efforts, helped by recruiting drives in Montreal, sustained the pool of Black Watch trained soldiers for the battalions on active duty. In early 1940, the departed 1st Battalion was replaced by a new reserve battalion, 3 RHC, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Molson. The Regiment also formed a Reserve Veterans’ Company. John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir A Canadian’s first loyalty is not to the British Commonwealth of Nations but to Canada and Canada’s King. Lord Tweedsmuir, 193726

Over the years, the Governor General had become fond of the Royal Highland Regiment of Canada.27 In fact, Tweedsmuir appeared to be one of the few personae in government who continued to favour the Regiment. Contrary to precedent, the Governor General accepted the Regiment’s invitation to be its guest of honour at the November 1939 Reunion Dinner. It turned out to be the largest attendance ever

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achieved up to that time, 183 mess members, in spite of the fact that both the Regiment’s battalions were then on active service. The Governor General delighted everyone by speaking entirely about the Black Watch and recounting Scottish anecdotes that no one present had heard before. Sadly, it was Tweedsmuir’s last Regimental Dinner. Four months later, on 13 February, Colonel WSM MacTier MC, now commanding 12th Militia Brigade, led a garrison funeral parade. The cortege was preceded by bands from seven regiments, which included the Black Watch, RCAF and the RCMP. It was the last major garrison parade until the end of the war. As requested, The Black Watch provided Lord Tweedsmuir’s Guard. The Governor General’s ashes were placed aboard HMS Orion and sent back to Great Britain. The Regiment returned to prepare for a mechanized war unlike anything anyone could have imagined. Waiting to be Mobilized, 2 RHC, 1940 The formation of a 3rd and a 4th Canadian Division was announced, as well as plans for an armoured division. However, the 2nd Battalion RHC was still not mobilized, which remained a great disappointment. Being passed over was puzzling, given that eighteen reserve battalions would be called out to fill fresh brigades. When being assured by NDHQ that new divisions were still being raised on a territorial basis, Colonel Hutchison could not help noting that Montreal, one of the largest military districts, was not represented in these divisions; moreover, one-quarter of the units mobilized had had no field service in the 1914–18 war and half were very junior in the Militia List. By the autumn of 1940, the strength of the Reserve portion of the Regiment was more than two thousand all ranks. It was no longer possible to parade for training, to give each company a separate company room, nor insist upon uniformity of dress. Hutchison argued that 2 RHC ought to be made active rather than any one of a number of smaller rural units which would not have the capacity to keep a field unit up to strength.28 The colonel was passionate about his Regiment and extremely worried, but there were no sympathetic ears. Montreal was marginally represented in the new divisions, but primarily by armoured units. The Black Watch’s equestrian rivals, The 17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars, were made the reconnaissance regiment for 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and given the title “the 7th Reconnaissance Regiment”. The Canadian Grenadier Guards put aside bearskins, donned black berets and mounted tanks, becoming the 22nd Armoured Regiment (CGG) of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division – a formation commanded by a former Black Watch soldier, Major General FF

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 13 Worthington.29 It was certainly curious that of five, and soon six, Canadian divisions created, only one Black Watch battalion was included. This was not 1914. The inner sanctums of government were out of reach to the Regiment. Was this a punishment for the Black Watch’s alleged excessive pride in regiment or its ground-breaking POTS experiment? It was impossible to ascertain. A Regimental Advisory Board was formed to “assist the Regimental Commandant with advice and counsel on matters of policy whenever he considered it necessary.”30 Chaired by Brigadier Eric McCuaig, it met regularly to discuss general problems and offer guidance. The Regiment was always at odds with headquarters, whose officers seemed unfailingly contentious. Colonel Hutchison noted that there were difficulties with the French-speaking Staff at MD #4 HQ, which was becoming very French in character. A greater concern was the lack of support given to the Reserve Army by NDHQ and the local Permanent Force staff. He was supported by other Montreal regiments whose COs had done what they could – but without much result. Hutchison finally decided that the stage had been reached when units must gather as a group and put their views before the District staff. Accordingly, he asked the Brigade Commander, Colonel WSM MacTier MC and the Brigade Major, JC Kemp DSO MC, to arrange a meeting with the English-speaking COs. It was subsequently decided to meet regularly once a month at a luncheon in a private room at the University Club for the balance of the war period.31 The Summer of 1940 – Modern War Realized The time has come to abandon the title “Militia.” We have a Royal Canadian Navy, and a Royal Canadian Air Force and it would seem logical, and in accord with common speech that we should have a Canadian Army.32

The fall of France in May 1940 jolted western general staffs. It was finally recognized that Blitzkrieg was an operational doctrine but with strategic consequences: Panzer divisions, grouped as large mechanized corps, had conquered Holland, Belgium and France. The BEF and the 1st Canadian Division barely escaped from the continent. The Canadian force landed in France on 11 June, too late to stem the armoured torrent, but just in time to join the retreat. It dodged the Panzers, leaving some of its heavy equipment on the docks at Brest. “Although there was evidently no enemy within two hundred miles, the withdrawal was conducted as a rout.”33 Getting back to England was little comfort. The real concern was the Luftwaffe. The German Air Force had wrested air superiority over Europe and now was set to finish the

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job by conquering the skies over England. The Battle of Britain would serve as the preamble to an amphibious invasion by the Wehrmacht. England was desperate for reinforcements; the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division was soon in convoy to the UK and with it, 1st Battalion RHC. That fall, Spitfires and Hurricanes (guided by air power’s great weapon, Radar) bested the Luftwaffe’s Messerschmitts. The patriotic fervour that followed the dramatic victory in the Battle of Britain fuelled recruiting. Finally, District HQ authorized a Reserve Army camp to be held in June 1940. Lieutenant Colonel JH Molson led the Black Watch to Mount Bruno, east of Montreal. In addition to the 2nd Battalion, most of the POTS officers and recruits, and the Regimental Headquarters were deployed. They spent three weeks under canvas and there were more RHC officers in camp than the Regiment had ever had before. The training was followed by a September camp for the newly raised 3rd Battalion. The experience was rated as “excellent” – one of the reasons may have been the very successful field mess dinner. The camp was a good excuse for reunions. Molson was visited by his Brigade Commander, Bill MacTier, who brought along the new Minister of Defence, Colonel JL Ralston. The Great War comrades swapped stories at the regimental cocktail party all descending from tent and town to meet the Minister. The Watch made the fields around Mount Bruno a fashionable place to be seen. Throughout these summer camps, Major E Raymond Pease DSO, maintained a regimental open house for the officers at The Pines, his scenic country home near St Bruno. Pease had gallantly served with the 42nd CEF Battalion and was invalided out of France during The Hundred Days. After the war, Pease continued in his profession as an engineer, was director of two corporations, as well as being a successful inventor. He was best known for his experiments with hydroponics and the growing of alpine plants. The rock garden at The Pines was “generally considered the second best of its kind in Canada.”34 The Pines also boasted The Pease Library, numbering ten thousand volumes collected by his father, Edson L Pease, vice president of the Royal Bank of Canada. The summer gathering was to be the last time the Regiment visited with Pease. That winter, a terrible fire ravaged The Pines. The library was destroyed along with many fine paintings and objets d’art. Tragically, Major Pease lost his life. In November 1940, the Canadian land forces were designated as “The Canadian Army”; the term “Militia” being abandoned. The terms CASF and NPAM were also dropped and the Order in Council provided that “Units embodied for continuous service were to be designated ‘Active’ and all others (the former Non-Permanent Active Militia) as ‘Reserve’.” The director of the historical section, Colonel CP Stacey, observed: “A time-honoured term thus passed out of wartime use, and one more appropriate to the conditions of the moment took its place.”35

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 15 Colonel Hutchison and the Home Front Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. James Bryce

The year 1941 proved not as exciting as the Black Watch or the Canadian Army expected. The centre of the fighting was in Russia and the Mediterranean. Meantime, the 1st Canadian Division continued to train aggressively to repel any invasion of Britain, soon dubbed: “The storm that did not burst”. The seaborne attack never materialized. Except for bombing at night (“the Blitz”) the British Isles were safe. The 1st Canadian Corps was formed and moved to Sussex, in south-east England. The Black Watch spent much of its time waiting to use training areas. Britain was a small island, and all its arable land was reserved for farming – the threat of starvation was a real one, given the effectiveness of the German Navy, particularly its U-Boats. While the training was challenging, the areas were puny and nothing at all like the great open spaces of Canada. Save for brief visits to gun camps and troop level exercises, tank units hardly trained at all. All major exercises were roadbound efforts. Vehicles were forbidden to tear across farm fields, and the infantry was warned to stay away from growing crops. Battalion schemes were mostly platoon and company affairs. Garrison life was a mix of short exercises, drill, cleaning equipment and lots of garrison sports. British beer was popular. Many men found sweethearts and got married. It was an RSM’s headache. In Montreal, Colonel Hutchison’s challenges alternated between messes and soldiers’ family problems. He formed a regimental canteen with a full-time staff with the profits divided among the companies. The bowling alley was turned into a sand-table lecture room. He was greatly aided by the Women’s Division and willing veterans. The 2nd Battalion paraded two nights a week, while the 3rd Battalion and the 42nd Veterans’ Company paraded on the fifth night. In his dealings with District HQ and Ottawa, Hutchison typically maintained a stiff upper lip, but by 6 December 1941, he could take the frustrations no longer. The occasion chosen to show his displeasure was the annual officers’ reunion dinner, when the guest of honour was Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Bowhill GBE KCB CMG DSO, in charge of the Royal Air Force Ferry Command, with HQ at Montreal. In a calm, lawyer-like tone, Colonel Hutchison reported on the military situation as he saw it and how it affected the Regiment. He soon had the full attention of his audience, particularly the senior military guests from District and Ottawa.

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Hutchison’s criticisms focused on two irritants: recruiting and training. Why, he asked, having reached its active service quota, was the Black Watch prevented from further recruiting, thus creating a dangerous backlog of reinforcements for the 1st Battalion RHC in Britain? Why, he wondered, were Black Watch recruits (administered from MD#4 in Montreal) despatched to places as distant as Nova Scotia with the result that the Regiment’s men were trained by strangers? Finally, he again questioned the non-inclusion of 2nd Battalion RHC in the recently mobilized divisions, despite the progress of a great war. Later, Hutchison admitted “a few of the officers present did not approve of the frank criticisms … [but] many former senior officers of the Regiment, who had not been fully aware of the actual situation, expressed themselves later very forcibly as to the timeliness of the CO’s remarks.”36 The representatives from Ottawa and District headquarters smiled through clenched teeth, but their comments went unrecorded. The effect of this speech is difficult to determine. Perhaps Hutchison’s words hit home. There were discernible short-term improvements in the following year. However, the long-term effects must be sought in a military appraisal of the Black Watch’s progress through the war. Then again, it may be that all was soon forgotten considering that the next morning was 7 December and a few hours later, while returning RHC officers sought coffee and breakfast along St Catherine Street, Japanese aircraft were bombing the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, precipitating the tsunami of a truly global war. The language of instruction is a traditional Quebec concern – never truer than in Paul Hutchison’s day when “two solitudes” described the population of Montreal living harmonious, but generally separate, lives. Despite Highland trappings and a fiercely tribal outlook, The Black Watch was not, as might be believed, a bastion of Anglo exclusiveness. Although the vast majority of the Regiment was Englishspeaking, there were plenty of French Canadians in all the battalions, including pipers. When the 2nd Battalion RHC received 105 NRMA37 recruits in June 1943, lectures and training were conducted in French. The Regiment accepted and adopted all Canadians, cultures and faiths. The Mogen David in the McLennan window in memory of Lieutenant Cohen bears silent testimony to that. By 1940, the armoury bordered Montreal’s Jewish neighbourhood and took in large numbers of soldiers from the area. St Urbain Street recruits sometimes joked that the RHC on their badges stood for Royal Hebrews of Canada.38 Within the garrison, the downtown regiments were comrades and regularly competed in baseball and hockey leagues, followed by the inevitable “smokers.” Hutchison steadfastly sought to protect Black Watch customs, which he considered distinct in the military, but increasingly threatened by the modern

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 17 changes. His complaint about recruits sent to predominately Francophone battle schools was a practical concern. In the 1940s, Montreal’s English community had yet to become bilingual. New soldiers as well as NCOs were naturally at a disadvantage if not instructed in their working language. Given forethought, this should have been a simple administrative adjustment. Hutchison’s annoyance was realistic indignation. His critique of his superiors’ decisions probably made some enemies. He rose above it and went on managing his Regiment, even at personal cost. In the fall of 1942, Paul Hutchison collapsed with pleurisy and double pneumonia. His doctors strongly recommended he give up command, but he would not consider it. However, he did commit to a more balanced mix of business, military and simple rest; slowing down and depending more on his Adjutant and staff: “a good deal of coordination in the work insofar as all four battalions are concerned, but with my daily midday sessions at Bleury Street, I think we can manage even if my hours are greatly reduced there.”39 The 2nd Battalion RHC: March 1942 to July 1943 When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, “In three weeks England would have her neck wrung like a chicken.” Some chicken! Some neck. Winston Churchill, address to the Parliament of Canada, 30 December 1941

Things suddenly got rather hot as 1941 came to a close. In December, Japan entered the war and attacked every major western base and territory in the Pacific. The survivors of two Canadian regiments, one an eminent battalion from Quebec City, The Royal Rifles of Canada, had been overrun in the defence of Hong Kong. The British and American navies were now committed to the Pacific as well as the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Hitler declared war on the United States and ordered Admiral Donitz to begin unrestricted submarine warfare. Merchant ships were immediately attacked along the entire east coast; that summer German submarines began to sink ships in the St Lawrence River. Sentries at Quebec’s citadel claimed to see the faint glow of burning vessels on the horizon beyond Île d’Orléans. Between April and October 1942, twenty-one ships were sunk in the lower St Lawrence River and the Gulf of St Lawrence.40 Suddenly, after eighteen months of listless preparation, Canada itself appeared very much in the war. The Maritimes, in particular, felt as if they were on the front line. Ottawa reacted. In January 1942, ten reserve infantry battalions were mobilized. A flood of recruits and fifteen new officers transferred from the McGill COTC and appeared at the Armoury doors. Among the applicants was a young Dane,

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a cousin of Thomas Fasti Dinesen VC, who had travelled across the Pacific from Siam determined to join the Black Watch.41 On 25 March, the Regiment discovered via newspapers that the 7th and 8th Canadian Divisions would be mobilized; however, there was no mention of the Black Watch, and no advisory from District Headquarters. Two days later, reporters asked a surprised Hutchison: “Who was to command the battalion going on active service?” Shortly afterward, he was called in confidence by the District Commander and advised his second battalion would be called up for the 7th Infantry Division. By midday, it was generally known that 2 RHC was being mobilized. That afternoon, Hutchison received a brusque phone call from a senior staff officer, instructing him that all NDHQ required from the Regiment was a recommendation of a CO: the officer must be under forty-five years of age with service overseas during the existent war. Hutchison drove to headquarters and insisted upon a personal interview with the officer in charge, which was finally granted. It developed that, according to the order dated four days previously, the battalion was to be brought up to full strength that week, concentrated by 20 April and ready to move ten days later, which amounted to a space of six weeks! “This was the start of a most extraordinary method and attitude adopted by the staff to mobilize the 2nd Battalion RHC.”42 Notwithstanding the military situation, politics prevailed: a city-wide recruiting drive planned by the Regiment was cancelled – strictly forbidden until the government’s plebiscite to introduce compulsory military service was held.43 Hutchison reorganized the Regiment’s 2nd and 3rd Battalions. Instructed to turn over all stores to the new active battalion, and then advised the reserve part of the Black Watch was to be reduced to virtual nil strength for the future, Hutchison refused, citing the statement of the Minister of Defence in the House. The District HQ balked: “the matter was not pressed for the moment.”44 The relationship between the Regiment and its headquarters was a soap opera. The Black Watch nominated Major SST Cantlie, who was in Canada on a staff course, as CO of 2 RHC. Even so, NDHQ would not release Cantlie for regimental duty. He was slated for important appointments in 1st Canadian Corps headquarters. The Regimental Advisory Board assembled over the Easter weekend and agreed to name Major HM Jaquays. This was approved by NDHQ. Major JW Knox was chosen as second-in-command, but not before considerable intermeddling from District Headquarters. Finally, Hutchison confronted Brigadier E de B Panet DSO and, with the help of Colonels Wallis (who was one of the District staff officers) and MacTier, managed to discuss regimental concerns. This happened only because the Brigadier had scheduled a District Conference at the Black Watch armoury. When reminded that Hutchison had repeatedly requested such a conference, the Brigadier seemed

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 19 surprised.45 Hutchison wanted RHC officers released from the Huntingdon training centre. Eight of these officers had quit their civilian jobs expecting to be posted into the 2nd Battalion but had been left marking time away from the Regiment. The same problem occurred in trying to recoup Black Watch NCOs. Hutchison’s staff had persuaded forty-five reserve sergeants to volunteer for active service with the 2nd Battalion, but their arrival was still delayed. The Colonel noted that the Regiment had already supplied between three hundred to four hundred NCOs to the training centres and had only requested the return of twenty-five of them for the active service battalion. This was not done. District continued to insist that with the activation of the 2nd Battalion RHC, no replacement could be permitted. Hutchison asked for permission to go over Brigadier Panet’s head and telegraph Colonel Ralston while MacTier telegraphed Lieutenant Colonel GS Currie, the Minister’s assistant. Predictably, this was refused. Panet advised Hutchison that “training must go on and the centres were not to be disturbed.”46 This was an uncomfortable situation for Hutchison. He was at odds with not only Panet and his staff, but with Wallis, a senior Black Watch officer.47 Hutchison cited the Minister of Defence’s statement in Hansard that a new reserve battalion was to be raised immediately upon activation of a unit. A second conference involved Major General BW Brown DSO MC, representing NDHQ but was inconclusive. The matter was later sorted out by Ralston himself.48 The colonel perhaps complained too much, but his heart was completely with the BW. As one senior NCO put it, “if he cut himself, Hutchison bled tartan.” 2 RHC 1942 Lieutenant Colonel Jaquays was finally approved, and within the month the 2nd Battalion RHC marched off to St-Jean, Quebec to establish “St Andrew’s Camp.” The commanding officer, Homer Morton Jaquays, was the youngest officer ever to command a unit of the Black Watch. He was a Lower Canada College Old Boy and then (like the majority of Black Watch commanding officers in the Second World War), attended The Royal Military College. Thereafter, he graduated from McGill with a science degree and joined both the Regiment and The Steel Company of Canada, where his father was vice-president. They were an old Black Watch family; his cousin, Lieutenant MA Jaquays, had been killed in the Somme fighting with the 13th Battalion CEF. Jaquays was one of the originals that went over with Blackader’s 1st Battalion RHC in December 1939. He was soon appointed company commander and then brought back to Canada for staff training. The Regiment was confident Jaquays would make 2 RHC a success. He boasted thirty-five trained officers and a solid bulwark of NCOs.

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Brigadier Eric McCuaig was invited to be the Honorary Colonel. He accepted, at the same time as he was made active and appointed commander of Camp Petawawa.49 Finally, just as 2 RHC was ordered to the Maritimes, Hutchison was at last given authority to reconstitute 4th Battalion RHC. The nucleus was the personnel of the 42nd Reserve Veterans’ Company and those of the former 2nd Reserve Battalion unable to go on active service. Lieutenant Colonel HA Johnson was named CO, Major Walter Molson was 2IC and Warrant Officer Class I GP Morison was named RSM. Brigadier KM Perry DSO was invited to be the Honorary Colonel.50 The 2nd Battalion RHC became part of the newly formed 17th Infantry Brigade, which was led by a famous Black Watch soldier (and the 42nd CEF Battalion’s historian), Brigadier Beresford Topp.51 In July, they arrived in New Brunswick to a sprawling Camp Sussex. They were soon rated as ready for deployment and that November, the 2nd Battalion was despatched to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to man coastal defences protecting the “convoy terminus” of the Allied war effort. The battalion settled in, entertained (“dinner was followed by a most enjoyable dance which included several reels”52), and even published its own newspaper, The Watch Word. They would stay at “Halifax Fortress” for the next eight months. During the Battle of the Atlantic, the year 1942 was dubbed “the happy time” by German submariners. U-Boats prowled the waters off the eastern seaboard sinking ships at will. It would take some time before a competent convoy system was put in place. Meantime, the threat of a raid by surface units from the Kriegsmarine was real. The German battleship Tirpitz and the battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were considered capable of breaking out of their Norwegian bases at any time to raid western shipping and attack key bases. The Black Watch participated in a number of exercises where the tactical scenario had a German squadron off the coast of Nova Scotia heading toward Halifax, accompanied by commandos.53 2 RHC Disbanded July 1943 The 2nd Battalion is on duty on the East Coast (Halifax area), mostly fatigue work, constant calls for drafts … Strength is fifty-fifty service and Zombie and very much below strength. Paul Hutchison to Kenneth Blackader, 21 June 194354

The coastal defence exercise narratives proved to be the most interesting part of the deployment. Once the battalion settled in, things became rather tedious. Worse, because they were kept up to strength by Bleury Street and well-trained, the battalion became a target for personnel-hungry staff wallahs. During the winter, 2 RHC supplied four officers and ninety-two other ranks (ORs) to brigade and divisional HQs; in April,

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 21 two more officers and fifty-four other ranks; in May, one officer and forty-five other ranks; in July, one hundred other ranks.55 Bureaucratic vultures reduced 2 RHC to a skeleton. Jaquays’s command was a victim of circumstances and bad luck. The battalion became a mix of Black Watch soldiers and those who volunteered to serve only in Canada (called, generally unfairly, “Zombies” by the fully committed troops) although in 1943 the difference was still moot. To add insult to injury, Lieutenant Colonel Jaquays was advised in May 1943 that the 2nd Battalion was to be broken up. It was a resounding blow to the Regiment. Hutchison did everything he could think of: Colonels Royal Ewing and Hew Clark-Kennedy went to Ottawa to speak with the Minister of Defence. Colonel Ralston “gave them a sympathetic and long interview … but in the end, the outcome was the same, namely, that the policy had been laid down and could not be changed.”56 In a letter to Clark-Kennedy, Ralston professed there was no alternative, and that it was not “a hasty decision nor [made] without the fullest endeavour to try and recognize the service which the Black Watch has given and even possibly to give it the ‘break’ if that were feasible.”57 No one believed him. NDHQ disbanded six active service infantry units still in Canada to be used as reinforcements for battalions fighting in the Mediterranean. Major NLC (Larry) Mather, a Black Watch officer seconded as staff officer to the 1st Canadian Division in Italy, recalled their arrival: “The Div is full of them – in fact, when I was BM of the 3rd Bde one unit had a platoon of Black Watch still wearing the Red Hackle (they hadn’t been able to get another headdress).” Hutchison tried to have 2 RHC soldiers stand ready as replacements for 1 RHC but this was rejected. They were sent to Italy, assigned to The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment and The Carleton and York Regiment, only to arrive in July 1944, just after the 1st Battalion had fought three bloody battles across Verrières Ridge and was in desperate need of reinforcements. It was little comfort to the Regimental Board to be proven right – again. The Regiment was given permission to reorganize. On 20 December 1943, a short ceremony was carried out at the armoury: “The 4th Battalion, RHC grounded arms as such and picked up arms as the 2nd Battalion RHC, with the pipes and drums playing the respective march-pasts of 4 RHC and 2 RHC, and the Colour of the latter being trooped.”58 Wartime Training 1943 to 1944 – Nothing to Snuff at … The Regiment was determined to maintain tradition. Mess luncheons and Reunion Dinners were continued. In addition to the ram’s head snuff box presented by the Imperials before the war, snuff was passed in two other handsome ram snuff mulls,

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bequeathed to the Regiment by the families of two honorary members: Mr Hugh Paton and Mr Forbes Angus.59 As well, the museum displayed an almost complete collection of British campaign medals since the Napoleonic era, including every Canadian campaign. Sundays were allotted for the required weekend field training and that made recruiting a tougher prospect in the two reserve battalions. Hutchison wrote: “In many ways the reserve battalions, particularly the 3rd, are almost a cadet corps … I am afraid the white collar civilians between thirty-five and fifty years of age still do not realize their obligations to serve in the reserves at the present time.”60 In late June, the Regiment attended summer camp at Farnham. It was at this camp that the tradition of flying the St Andrew’s flag from a lance head at the CO’s tent began, as well as another large Saltire at the armoury. Despite recruiting woes, Hutchison had reason to be proud of his unit’s accomplishments: “At present time we figure that about three hundred sixty officers and four thousand other ranks from the Regiment are on active service.”61 That same summer, the Black Watch organized a parade through Verdun and a military exhibit at Woodland Park. The RHQ, 2nd and 3rd Battalions, and the regimental Pipes and Drums turned out. The mayor took the salute, and an impressive ten thousand citizens gathered. Unfortunately, Montreal’s reservoir of manpower had reached the bottom of the barrel – only thirty-five recruits signed up. Hutchison directed his battalions as Regimental Commandant, but in fact, was held on a tight rein by his District HQ and had little real control over training save for drill in the Armoury. He had absolutely no authority, save tribal influence, over Black Watch battalions on active service. By the fall of 1943, General Andy McNaughton was gone, and the 1st Canadian Corps was under the uncompromising eye of Lieutenant General Guy Granville Simonds and his boss, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. Montreal and the Second World War Of the proud Montreal infantry regiments that won glory in the trenches of The Great War, only two eventually served in Europe as battalion formations: The Canadian Grenadier Guards and The Black Watch. The Royal Montreal Regiment, zealous in their “infantryness”, were first given motorcycles, then turned into a reconnaissance regiment and finally advised they were redundant as an Army Recce unit. They were disbanded and reduced to company strength.62 Montreal’s esteemed Victoria Rifles never reached the front; their active battalion was also disbanded and tasked with security duties in Canada. The Black Watch, bewildered at not being asked to mobilize their ever-ready Second Battalion, in the end considered themselves fortunate to be

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 23 left alone as an infantry battalion, still wearing balmorals and playing their bagpipes. Quebec sent twelve units into combat in Europe and Asia (The Royal Rifles). Augmenting its Great War effort, the province mobilized four French Canadian battalions (Le Royal 22e Régiment, Le Régiment de Maisonneuve, Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, Le Régiment de la Chaudière) in addition to a grand mix of Anglophone formations designated as armoured, infantry or headquarters units. Montreal gunners were well represented by the 2nd Montreal Regiment which incorporated 2nd Field and 2nd Medium Brigades, a total of nine batteries. In addition, the 6th Field, 6th Medium and 13th Field Brigades grouped Quebec gunners from Montreal and throughout the province. Montreal Engineers went to war as two complete field companies (4th and 16th).63 There was an impressive phalanx of five Quebec armoured units, three of them from Montreal: the 7th Recce Regiment (The 17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars), 22nd Armoured Regiment (The Canadian Grenadier Guards), and, reconfigured as the Headquarters Squadron for the 5th Canadian Armoured Division, The 6th Duke of Connaught’s Royal Canadian Hussars. The remaining provincial tank units (The Three Rivers Regiment and The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment) won fame grouped with the 1st and 2nd Armoured Brigades – independent formations formed to support the infantry. In addition, Montreal contributed extensively to a complex aggregation of air force squadrons, naval units and support regiments. Curiously, despite a series of opportunities to resurrect a second battalion to active status, the Black Watch was variously and vexingly overlooked and ignored in preference to junior and smaller rural units. The Regiment that had provided three fighting battalions to the CEF was, (some might suggest) grudgingly permitted but one active battalion in a growing field force that included five infantry and two armoured divisions with a total of 44 infantry battalions! Most were from counties that were hard-pressed to keep a battalion at strength. Admittedly, Montreal regiments found recruiting far more difficult than previously since besides seven divisions and a host of supporting units, there were as well new formations that suddenly were considered de rigueur, such as anti-tank, anti-aircraft and parachute battalions. In addition, there was a much expanded navy and a flashy, mushrooming air force. The Dominion was suddenly covered with airfields. Canada was host to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and quickly dubbed the “Aerodrome of Democracy” by US President Franklin Roosevelt. There were 107 schools and 184 ancillary units at 231 sites. Montreal fields included Dorval, Cartierville, St Hubert, and St Jean. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) caught the imagination and heart of a large chunk of Montreal’s pool of fighting men.

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It was no accident that when it came time to serve, Hartland Molson (carefully raised as a Black Watch prince by his father, Colonel Herbert Molson) signed up to be a fighter pilot. Despite the Red Hackle embedded in the family history, Molson, an RMC graduate, ignored the Regiment of his father, uncle and cousin.64 In this new type of war, service in a Highland battalion no longer had the cachet it enjoyed before the Great War. Still, the Regiment continued to attract distinguished Montreal families, though increasingly, in a rapidly expanding war, the specialist was soon posted away from the Regiment to tasks ever more technical and, in the case of the Pacific Theatre, ever more diverse. For example, Captain (later Squadron Leader) Henry de Gaspe Domville was a product of Bishop’s College School and McGill and had studied extensively in Switzerland. A banker, he had a fluent knowledge of French and German. Domville was selected for transfer from the Black Watch to the Royal Air Force as an intelligence officer. He was abruptly posted to the Far East and then taken prisoner at the fall of Singapore. Squadron Leader Domville never returned to the Watch; he died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Java in 1943. Hutchison’s Highland Mafia As long as 1 RHC was not in combat, commanding the Regiment from Bleury Street demanded that Hutchison be both counsellor and administrator. Whenever he could, Hutchison offered advice or wrote letters to considerate folks in high places – thereby helping both NCOs and officers. Mostly, Hutchison ensured that the physical needs of his battalions were looked after – from cigarettes to socks, and also securing legal counsel for soldiers’ families who were in want. This included confronting landlords. In October 1944, after the tragic battle of Verrières Ridge, the family of a Black Watch officer was at odds with a hard-hearted landlord; Hutchison personally intervened. Lieutenant John Edward Martin, a 1 RHC platoon commander, lost a leg and most of one hand during the ill-fated attack on Verrières Ridge. As he was healing in England, his wife arranged to exchange apartments with a sympathetic doctor who lived in a ground-floor apartment. Lieutenant Martin, who was expected to return in November, could not manage stairs and there was no elevator. Mrs Martin, with a small child, requested permission to relocate, pointing out that the exchange would not involve any loss of rental for the landlord. He coldly refused. The efforts of Hutchison and his Adjutant to mediate were brusquely brushed off.65 When these attempts at resolution failed, Hutchison called in the Highland Mafia. The callous apartment owner was a developer, constructing apartment buildings to take advantage of the wartime housing shortage. Suddenly, a Scottish building inspector found faults in the window and door placements; deliveries to

Mobilization and Guarding Canals, 1 RHC Mobilized – August 1939 | 25 the site were late; and mysteriously, two boxcars loaded with bricks went astray, shunted to a deserted siding near St Remi. Remarkably, when the fellow capitulated and offered a new and much-improved lease, all his construction woes vanished. The family lived in peace for the rest of the war. Most of Hutchison’s time and energy were spent on the Armoury and its tiresome tug of war with District Headquarters: recruiting drives, approvals for exercises or work requests were staffed over the longest possible time or postponed. In retrospect, it all seems extremely petty.66 Ravenscrag, Beer and Highland Cadets It was during the 1944 summer camp period that Colonel Sir Montagu Allan announced he would hand over his historic home, Ravenscrag, to the Royal Victoria Hospital. The event became a Regimental family occasion. On 12 July, both bands came in from Farnham and a large number of the Regiment’s senior officers past and present, attended as guests of the colonel and his lady. The Black Watch chaplain, Major the Reverend George H Donald, gave the dedication prayers. Colonel Hutchison valued Dr Donald’s counsel and there was also sympathetic advice from the former padre of the 42nd Battalion CEF, Major the Reverend GGD Kilpatrick, who was then head of the United Theological College. On 27 March, Principal Kilpatrick was asked by NDHQ to accept appointment as military spiritual director for the area, with the near celestial rank of colonel. Hutchison’s other confidant was his cousin, Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Hutchison, who at the same time commanded the 17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars, up on the mountain. Hutchison took time to deal with the most commonplace of matters, as long as they were regimental. When Lieutenant Colonel Jaquays, now in charge of the Brockville Officers Training School, decided to have a Highland mess dinner, he discovered Haggis was not to be had anywhere. He wrote to Hutchison, who instructed his staff to immediately – and in-house – solve the problem. However, the mess steward balked at procuring Haggis for two hundred. It was impossible since products had to be specially ordered weeks in advance and required the services of an expert to prepare the delicacy. The chef of the Windsor Hotel also refused to consider such a preposterous order. Finally, a catering firm agreed to take it on at the exorbitant price of fifty cents a pound for fifty pounds of fresh Haggis. Of greater consequence was the matter of the Regiment’s beer. Ration coupons made it difficult to obtain spirits on demand. The officers were obliged to hand over their personal liquor ration books to the mess. A graver concern was the men’s canteen, also put on a ration basis by the breweries. The allotment was one glass per

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man per week. Beer is important in the infantry, but particularly in the Watch. When District Headquarters was not able to improve the situation, Hutchison played his Molson card and called on the regimental family. The Black Watch was soon able “to arrange with the breweries for a somewhat increased quota of beer.”67 In late autumn, the Black Watch was asked by District HQ if it would consider taking over the Highland Cadet Corps. Once founded and administered by the 5th Royal Scots, it had drifted away from the Regiment. Hutchison advised the Regiment would be delighted to do so, providing Regiment Headquarters was satisfied with the corps’ financial situation and only if NDHQ undertook to equip and dress the cadets. Nothing further was heard of the project. Retrospect: The Home Front 1939–1944 Try as he might, Hutchison could not manage to get the Second Battalion remobilized. The Regiment was relegated to forming trained cadres and then supplying them to the army, hoping they would reach the 1st Battalion. This turned out to be a fiftyfifty chance. By the summer of 1944, the difficulties with local headquarters were as bagatelle compared to the exploits and tragedies of the Regiment’s only fighting battalion. 1st Battalion RHC landed in Normandy in July, and within a month nearly disappeared, in a series of bloody battles against a highly professional and better equipped German Army.

Chapter 2

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944 Dieppe, Italy and UK

The Battalion in Aldershot, England Aldershot is as stiff and forbidding as a drill sergeant-major and in this oppressive barracks town the Canadians got their first impression of England. They did not like it very much. CBC, journalist Ross Munro, August 194168

1 RHC garrisoned England for nearly two years before its first action at Dieppe. It was a disappointing show. The years between leaving Canada and then landing again in France to participate in the Normandy Campaign saw the Black Watch struggle through a monotonous training schedule. They watched officers and men come and go and wondered if they would see a “proper” action. This was a delicate period in the Regiment’s war history; it included a brief, depressing raid and a confused shuffling of commanding officers which, despite the best of intentions, only perturbed and disrupted the battalion. Wartime Britons said that the Canadians took a bit of getting used to. It took some tough handling from the top before they settled down to their often tedious role in England. The Canadian commander, Andy McNaughton, a gunner and heretofore, a venerated Great War tactical technician, had been given a rough time over an unfortunate quote which sounded plucky in 1941. However, by the spring of 1942,

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after a year of inactivity, he began to be the target of snide digs. The precursor CEF had arrived in England early in the Great War and quickly left to fight Germans. This time, the Canadians tarried to prepare for a mission that was not always clear. The Canadians were first regarded as very tough cookies, full of zest and fight. Familiarity brought some disdain, and this was picked up by the American press: “Lieutenant General Andrew George Latta McNaughton says often and in many ways that his Canadian Army Overseas is ‘a dagger pointed at the heart of Berlin’; however … some of their outfits are sadly short on discipline.”69 McNaughton answered to both his Prime Minister and the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Sir Alan Brooke, because, as he observed: “in the large sense the Canadian Army is part of the British Army.” That meant that the Canadian Corps would fight where the British sent it. Meantime, England was a wet and generally uncomfortable caserne. The 5th Brigade was quartered in dull, uninspiring Aldershot, where they lived in big, prisonlike barracks, drilled on the huge squares and were too-often inspected by brass and official visitors. It was no surprise that when Mackenzie King attended a rainy corps sports meet at Aldershot on 23 August 1941, he was booed by some of the soaked troops. The Black Watch provided the guard of honour, commanded by Captain Jim Knox. “The guard proved a great success, and complimentary words were heard…[later] our Prime Minister was received with boisterous if somewhat undignified greetings, but his remarks to the troops created a friendly atmosphere.”70 The Canadians were bored and anxious to get into battle. It would come soon enough and, not surprisingly, it was the 2nd Division that was selected for the baptism of fire. The 5th Brigade was not chosen, but the Black Watch was – at least in part. By then the battalion had a mixed reputation that included exuberant as well as lukewarm evaluations. It was scrutinized with interest, and its second CO was ridden hard by his Brigadier. The state that 1 RHC found itself by late 1942 was the result of three years of garrison life. It is uncertain if there was anyone in particular to blame, but in the end, the CO paid the price. Dramatis Personae The Black Watch battalion that arrived in the summer of 1940 was in many ways a mirror image of the unit that landed in 1914. Blackader was not Loomis, but he was decidedly upper crust and showed the same patrician style. His Officers’ Mess possessed far fewer millionaires, but was composed of well-educated, polished Montrealers, reminiscent of the Royal Highlanders of the First World War.

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 29 The 1st Battalion RHC included an impressive array of graduates from Royal Military College, blending in well with the expected batch of McGill and private school chums. The “originals” were mostly the traditional Black Watch mix of brokers, lawyers and business executives. This select assembly was to generate no less than fifteen battalion commanders, who would lead a consortium of nine different Canadian units and one international special force battalion. Two officers, John Bourne and Don Taylor, volunteered to join the Canadian Airborne. In 1942, at Fort William Henry Harrison in Helena, Montana, they transferred to the First Special Service Force.71 Of the officers who left Montreal in December 1939, eleven (including Blackader, as a Brigadier) would command in battle.72 The Black Watch, as a regiment at war, eventually included a veritable praetorian guard: thirteen major generals and brigadiers and enough senior staff officers (forty-eight colonels) to run much of the army – which (it was widely believed) the Regiment thought it did.73 The Regiment tended to dominate everything from sports meets to parades. Their Colonel-in-Chief was the Queen, and it was quite obvious that Her Majesty enjoyed a special relationship with her Regiment. “To whom much has been given, much will be expected.” The Regiment was being watched very closely – by friend and foe alike. Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Gault Blackader and his Regiment, 1940–42 He was held in great respect (and perhaps fear) by contemporaries, but I found him quite reasonable. Colonel Stephen Angus

The first Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Gault Blackader, was from a prominent Black Watch Family. He was a cousin of Hamilton Gault, who left the Royal Highlanders to found the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in 1914, becoming a legend in his own right. Kenneth Blackader was orphaned as a small boy and raised by his uncle and aunt. He was a product of Lower Canada College and McGill, one of the COTC officers who suspended their degrees for the bullet-swept trenches east of Amiens. The young Blackader fought with the 13th Battalion CEF during The Hundred Days. He was wounded and awarded the Military Cross. By the 1930s, Blackader was a successful chartered accountant and continued to be an active member of the Regiment. He was promoted lieutenant colonel as OC 1st (13th) Battalion RHC, which won the Efficiency Trophy over every unit in the Montreal district. Blackader was the only Black Watch officer selected to attend the 1937 Coronation. In October 1938, he was appointed Colonel and Regimental

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Commandant, taking over from Andrew Howard.74 Solid, steady, and rather private, he was generous, but always a Scot: “[Blackader] rebelled when a bottle of scotch he purchased as a gift to the Pipes and Drums was charged to his mess account at full retail price.”75 The Regimental Sergeant-Major, Warrant Officer Class I Peter Notman (a senior clerk in the offices of a major coal company before the war), was physically impressive. He was six-foot-two and considered by those who met him, intimidating. His Regimental number (D81000) was first in the 1 RHC battalion list.76 However, by 1942, he was showing his forty-three years; he had put on weight and seldom ventured out on route marches and field exercises. Out of earshot, the soldiers made cruel cracks and wondered how he was to lead them across an invasion beach. Despite this, Notman was an exacting drill square disciplinarian and carried a pair of scissors with which to snip off the top feathers of any Red Hackle that was above the regulation height.77 In time, however, he grew complacent and loosened his tight control over the sergeants. They, in turn, began to let a few things slide, which the troops used to their own advantage – a failure in discipline not noted until Stuart Cantlie’s second tour as CO when Notman was replaced. It is, of course, unfair to single out one man. When Blackader handed over command, RHC was a splendid knight-errant – but a close examination would reveal signs of rust. Perhaps Blackader and his RSM had been together far too long and had grown too comfortable with each other. Though both were older than most infantry command pairings, Blackader, almost six feet-tall, with piercing blue eyes, had remained robust. His style impressed McNaughton, who selected him for senior staff where, to Blackader’s great credit, he survived the toughest of all taskmasters: BLM Montgomery and GG Simonds. Blackader’s First World War ribbons could have been a detriment, for both Generals Montgomery and Simonds were committed to the “youth movement,” particularly for infantry commanders. Blackader’s connections along with his common sense and command presence ensured he not only stayed on where dozens failed, but was given a brigade – not just any brigade, but a “D-Day Brigade.” Kenneth Blackader was transferred to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division which had been selected as the spearhead Canadian formation in Normandy. He would fight throughout the beachhead campaign and, during the breakout finale, was made acting Divisional Commander.78 The second-in-command, Ivan Ibbotson, was also a veteran of The Great War. Another stockbroker, and product of Westmount Academy, he served with the 73rd and then the 13th Battalion CEF. He was wounded and Mentioned in Despatches for exemplary conduct during the Canal du Nord battle. He returned to Bleury Street

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 31 and by 1937 commanded the 2nd Battalion; he was rated as “one of the most brilliant soldiers in the Montreal District.”79 Ibbotson came from 5th Royal Scots aristocracy; his father, famous for his much published spats with Lieutenant Colonel Strathy, commanded the Regiment in 1898. Ibbotson was soon appointed Brigade Major and then promoted to lieutenant colonel in July 1942; he was made GSO II and eventually posted as a senior staff officer to NDHQ. At the war’s end, when a fatigued Paul Hutchison paused to draw breath, Ibbotson was appointed colonel and given command of the Black Watch in Montreal. Five of the Royal Highlanders’ fighting colonels led other regiments.80 It is interesting to note that most of these units were Highland, and most of the seconded Black Watch COs ended up fighting in Italy: Jim Weir, Boyd Somerville, Charles Petch, and John Bourne. Six Out-Sourced Black Watch Officers in the Mediterranean What more could we wish for except perhaps the noise of trams on Bleury Street and a good old rat pie. Major William Ogilvie, Italy, 8 August 1942 When I went to the Cape Bretons I finally took down my red hackle – but I’m saving it.” Captain James Aird Nesbitt to Hutchison, Italy, 5 September 1942

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Weir, The Cape Breton Highlanders Na’ah bye, we’re from the Bay. Cape Breton Highlander, in response to a question if they were from Nova Scotia. “Who’ll take over?” “Montrealers.” He spat the word out … 81

The first culling of Blackader’s originals began in 1942: “Jake” Jaquays and Stephen Cantlie were given command of the two active Black Watch battalions. Lieutenant Colonel HM Jaquays received the coveted post of CO 2 RHC, but (unlike its illustrious predecessor, the 42nd Battalion CEF) was disbanded in 1943, along with its division, allegedly because of anticipated casualties from Italy. Jaquays, one of the more promising Black Watch officers, ended up commanding the Officers’ Training Centre in Brockville, Ontario. In the UK, 1 RHC completed its second winter by giving up a significant RHC contingent to be seconded to another Highland regiment where they were to have

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considerable effect. They were led by the second-in-command, Major James Buchanan Weir, a stockbroker and Westmount Academy graduate, who was considered shorttempered. Stephen Cantlie found him astringent and hesitated to recommend him for higher appointments, but the matter was taken out of his hands. On 1 April 1942, Weir, along with Majors Robert Somerville, Aird Nesbitt and William Watson Ogilvie (some of the toughest officers in the battalion) were despatched to join the Cape Breton Highlanders (CBH) – part of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division. The CBH considered themselves “a breed of manly men,” fiercely independent and bred of the protective island mentality. They had all grown up and attended school together: The officers did not consider it natural that they should have to order their soldiers around or punish them when they acted up. The soldiers, in their turn, felt they should be allowed to do things in their own way … A goodly number had been coal miners … they did not take kindly to the strictly-disciplined, hierarchical ways of the military. Most of all, they did not easily accept officers “from away.”82

Weir brought with him Ralph N Diplock, a strapping Warrant Officer Class II (WOII) from Verdun who knew how to use his fists, as his new Regimental Sergeant-Major. On his first battalion parade, Diplock stared down a hardnosed collection of cantankerous soldiers who didn’t have much time for a westerner from Montreal. Diplock gave them just one opportunity: “I hear you boys are a pretty tough group – anyone who would like to try me?” After exchanging looks, a mean-looking private stepped out. The confrontation lasted one second. Then Diplock brought them to attention, and smartly dismissed them to their duties. The new RSM came to be revered by the unit.83 Tough care was what the Cape Bretoners (a bearish collection of fishermen and hard-rock miners) needed. Weir, who had been criticised for being caustic, turned out to be exactly the sort of CO the battalion required at the time.84 The job had unexpected and on-going supervision. Colonel the Honourable JL Ralston, Minister of Defence, had commanded the Cape Bretoners in the First World War (then the 85th Battalion CEF). The minister kept a sharp eye on their doings. Lieutenant Colonel Weir was never loved (nor indeed even liked) by his men, but they respected him. The battalion followed orders and survived their inaugural battles. The unit’s first action was the Gustav Line against the famed 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment. The experienced German paratroopers gave Weir’s battalion a bitter introduction to war. “Jim Weir phoned to say he was having a difficult time with his [headquarters] radios because every time he put up the antennae he received a burst of machine-gun fire!” When he finally handed his Maritimers to his second-in-command, Major RB

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 33 Somerville, in November 1944, Weir was awarded an OBE. His next assignment was as CO of No.3 Canadian Infantry Training Regiment in England – a brigade-sized unit with three battalions. Promoted to full colonel, Weir commanded a succession of large formations until the end of the war. Diplock served throughout and ended the war with an MBE and was Mentioned in Despatches.85 Lieutenant Colonel Robert Boyd Somerville, The Cape Breton Highlanders Leadership, bravery under fire, prodigious and ardent devotion to duty. DSO Citation, Lieutenant Colonel RB Somerville, 1944

Robert Boyd Somerville was a product of Roslyn School and Lower Canada College. He was a stockbroker-turned-town-manager of a northern Ontario gold mine. It toughened him up: “He achieved recognition with the Cape Breton Highlanders by beating the tar out of one soldier who had refused to salute him. It cured the problem.”86 Somerville was soon beloved by the Cape Bretoners for his toughness and rakish style. He was privately called “Pete the Tramp” after a cartoon character of the same name who also wore a scarf with two turns around the neck. Both always looked as if they needed a shave – even though Boyd might have just had one. When someone at a hotel bar made a disparaging remark about the CBH, “Boyd made a roundhouse swing at him but missed and pitched headlong onto the floor … a nearby nursing sister recognized a heaven-sent opportunity – she hooked her toe under his kilt and gave it a flip-up … those were days of real sport and clean fun.”87 Somerville assumed command 3 August 1944 and led the Cape Bretoners through the Gothic Line and Rimini Lines – it was hard slogging all the way. Temperate with his soldiers but tenacious in combat, he was liked and willingly followed. By September 1944, he had been Mentioned in Despatches and in January 1945, awarded the DSO and Croix de Guerre for actions at Montecchio, Monte Marrone and Coriano Ridge. Lieutenant Colonel RB Somerville was cited for “leadership, bravery under fire, prodigious and ardent devotion to duty.”88 He left Italy with an OBE and much praise. He did not see the Black Watch again until after the war. Somerville’s company commanders included the remaining two Black Watch secondments: Majors Ogilvie and Nesbitt. William Watson Ogilvie, a Montreal manufacturer, nephew of Colonel GL Ogilvie, was an Old Boy of Bishop’s College School and a graduate of RMC. He was more comfortable in the saddle than on foot and missed his polo days at Saraguay. Ogilvie was delighted when his company was serendipitously billeted in a patrician mansion: “We are quartered in a most beautiful old house … Our house, or possibly our castle, in a lovely park, a lake with good

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swimming, an indoor riding school which will be most useful for training on wet days, a 30 yard range at our door and best of all, a greenhouse full of peaches!”89 His war ended abruptly when he was wounded on 17 January 1944 leading his company in a frontal attack (an all too common manoeuvre in Italy). That left one Black Watch officer as a Cape Breton company commander, Bill Ogilvie’s best chum. Major James Aird Nesbitt was also a Westmounter. He had a degree in economics from McGill and was blessed with top drawer family ties. He was CEO for two companies and owned Ogilvy’s – the store everybody loved. By December 1943, he was Somerville’s second-in-command. Nesbitt was handsome, with what a newspaper described as aristocratic looks. He rarely complained, but there were certain trials: “Drink is scarce. Whisky ration is 2 oz per officer per week! You can imagine how that pleases Bill Ogilvie and me.” Italy was more tolerable for Nesbitt because he was serving with brother officers and in a Highland regiment: The other day we realized it was St Andrew’s Day, so I drove to a nearby town and managed to procure (Black Market) some so-called brandy and some vermouth. With these and some lemons and oranges, we made a punch which was potent enough for us. We had the pipe band in for dinner, and it turned out to be a good party. We dined on roast chicken which we bought from a fascist land-owner – pleasant change from bully beef. We got some church candles and had them in bottles on the dinner table and felt very civilized indeed.90

Nesbitt once described what it was like being commanded by General Montgomery: “Monty runs his army, as I see it, on three main points – (1) Confidence – in each other and in our ability to beat the Hun. (2) Ruthless efficiency – you deliver the goods or you get fired quickly. (3) Cheerfulness – everyone does his job cheerfully.”91 Nesbitt was a stalwart soldier, Mentioned in Despatches, promoted, and designated for command when the war ended. Aird returned to Canada aboard the Île de France in October 1945: “While I didn’t have the pleasure of wearing the Red Hackle in action, I carried my original one in an envelope … although I have not been an officer of the Watch for nearly four years, I’m still very sentimental about the RHR.”92 He returned to run Ogilvy’s, one of the three great Montreal department stores. “Italy had turned Nesbitt into a smart but crusty guy [yet] despite his gruff manner, he had a soft heart and many widows and people down on their luck found a job in his store.”93 Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Doucet OBE, The Perth Regiment The Black Watch was apparently regarded as a natural source for future Highland regiment COs, even if they were French Canadian. Herbert Emile Theodore Doucet

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 35 was from a prominent Quebec family. His portrait collection of 113 photographs, showing Doucets in positions of importance in the social, political and military life of the province, was much sought after.94 Another of Blackader’s “originals”, Herbert Doucet graduated from RMC in 1925 and joined the Black Watch. He rose quickly and, in April 1943, was seconded to the Perth Regiment. A month later, he was promoted and assumed command. Lieutenant Colonel Doucet was in Italy (about to deploy his battalion with the 5th Armoured Division) when he was suddenly posted to Canadian Army HQ in England, as a senior staff officer. He became the chief briefing officer during the war and was awarded an MID and the Order of the British Empire. Doucet remained in the army, serving as the attaché in the Canadian embassy in The Netherlands, and later retired with the rank of brigadier general. Yugoslavia Jones, Commando Perhaps the most exotic of the Mediterranean Black Watch officers was Major “Yugoslavia” Jones. He joined the commandos and was dropped by parachute into the Balkans to help Marshal Tito’s partisans fight the occupying German and Italian forces. “The officers of the Black Watch were intrigued by press despatches … of a mysterious one-eyed Canadian major.”95 It was, in fact, Lieutenant William M “Toby” Jones, DCM and Bar, late of the Black Watch, with past service as a sergeant, CSM and lieutenant in 13th RHC during The Great War. Jones was born in Digby, Nova Scotia. He had a teaching diploma but decided to enlist. Jones was wounded five times, losing his left eye in 1917. He was appointed acting RSM before being commissioned. His chums were not surprised to learn he had once been a volunteer missionary: “As tough a guy as ever mounted a fire step. Jonsey believed in prayer and he read the bible, but he could fight, mister!”96 After the savage action at Hill 70, Jones was found leaning against the trench wall, head on arm, his responses making no sense: The officer ordered him below to sleep it off and later found the sergeant lying face-down on a bunk. He turned Jones over. Where once an eye had been, there was only an empty socket, still gushing red. Jones subsequently explained that he hadn’t “gone sick” because they might ship him out of the line.97

Later, he attended both Dalhousie and Toronto Universities, before pursuing a career in business and establishing his own company. Although Jones refused to wear his ribbons after the war, when hostilities were declared in 1939, he tried to enlist in Montreal. He was refused: “For one thing Jones, you’re too old. Besides you only have one eye.” Nevertheless, he was not to be denied. Jones worked his way to Britain

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on a tanker and did demolition squad work during the Blitz. He was given an RAF commission; he switched to the Imperial Black Watch in Africa and helped in the defence of Cyprus. He was promoted to major and taken by MI5 in Cairo – to be landed in the Balkans, as a British staff officer attached to Tito’s HQ. The forty-eightyear-old Jones was the subject of a dozen newspaper and magazine articles.98 His wartime exploits were legendary. Reported scampering through the mountains in a kilt, Jones was the object of a series of search and capture operations – the Germans posted a fifty thousand Reichmarks reward for “The Notorious General Jones.” To the Regiment’s delight, he survived the war and returned to Montreal where he gave a series of lectures about his adventures. Lieutenant Colonel Charles Petch OBE, NNS, 4th PLDG So we went into the line for three months as infantry on the Savio – and it was bloody … Lieutenant Colonel Charles Petch

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Petch Jr commanded two different regiments, in two different corps, fighting on two different fronts; he thus managed to become a veteran of Normandy, Italy, and finally, in 1945, Northwest Europe. Petch was born in England, grew up in Ottawa and eventually settled in Montreal. A degree in commerce from McGill led to a career as an investment banker. He joined the Black Watch in September 1939, and was soon recognized as a dynamic leader. Petch was seconded to the 5th Recce Squadron and later the 8th Recce Regiment, where he was promoted squadron commander, then second-in-command in 1941. His RHC roots may have influenced his next posting to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders (NNS). Petch was involved in the first bona fide armoured battle group action in Normandy. It happened the day after D-Day, 7 June 1944. Memorable, for it was as balanced a fight as possible. The 9th Brigade (Brigadier DGB “Ben” Cunningham) pushed forward a Canadian battle group comprised of the North Novas and the 27th Armoured Regiment (Lieutenant Colonel Mel Gordon, The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment). They were about to take Carpiquet airport and seriously threaten an early capture of Caen when they were ambushed near the l’Abbaye d’Ardenne by the 12th SS Hitler Jugend Panzer Division. A panzer Kampfgruppe commanded by SS Colonel Kurt Meyer (SS-PanzergrenadierRegiment 25) grouped with the 2nd Panzer Battalion. An even fight: Pz Mk IVs (with a better gun) vs. Sherman A1s, but both capable of knocking each other out. It was the baptism of fire for the NNS, 27th Armoured as well as the Hitler Jugend. The allies commanded the air and had good artillery; the German officers and NCOs in the

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 37 12HJ were from the 1st SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler panzer division and veterans of the Russian front. Petch and Gordon fought well. Nevertheless, it was a seesaw battle: Buron was lost, retaken, lost again. There were heavy casualties on both sides; a North Nova company was overrun, and the tank battle was close, with a slight edge to 12SS. Brigadier Cunningham, urged by a nervous Major General Rod Keller, withdrew to a “brigade fortress” at Villons-les-Buissons.99 This opportunity to take D-Day objectives was lost; the front remained unchanged and Caen was not taken until mid-July. By then, 1 RHC had landed. Petch led a battered but game outfit. The North Novas were next to join the Black Watch in the savage attacks against Verrières Ridge during Operation Spring (25 July). It marked a turning point in Charles Petch’s life. He had commanded from September 1942 to the summer of 1944; his infantry career ended during Spring on the same day as his home regiment was being cut to pieces just on the other side of a ridge. The North Novas were ordered to capture Tilly-la-Campagne, which turned out to be defended by a well-entrenched battle group from the 1st SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler panzer division. The battalion was savaged in a bitter mêlée that lasted through the night and most of the next day; soldiers fought cheek to jowl in the ruins of the village. The battle cut down the remaining officers and sergeants who survived D-Day. When ordered to attack again (“a mental blow … felt by all ranks”100), Petch refused. He took his brigade commander, DGB [Ben] Cunningham, through the battalion lines and showed him the savaged state of his command. The brigadier concurred.101 Cunningham then went to see the commander of 3rd Division, Major General Rod Keller and announced he would not send his brigade back into the slaughter that was Tilly. Keller was enraged, as was Simonds. The 2nd Canadian Corps reacted swiftly. Cunningham, Petch and Lieutenant Colonel GH Christiansen (CO, The Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders, who also had refused to continue the assault) were ordered to General Crerar’s headquarters, where they were informed they had been relieved of command and then flown out of Normandy. Petch’s career seemed to be over. However, his splendid record, during the hard fighting from Juno Beach to Caen, proved he was too valuable a war leader to lose. Charles Petch was sent back to the Armoured Corps and given command of the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards (PLDG), a reconnaissance regiment. He was enthusiastic, but wary, since they were slated to deploy in Italy where reconnaissance consisted mainly of driving along narrow roads, checking bridges and discovering German roadblocks and ambushes. This was not to be. In fact, it was to be worse. Increasing losses forced 1st Canadian

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Corps to (temporarily) convert the PLDGs into an infantry unit! This was a task they had not trained for. It was not surprising that, after six months, the regiment had the highest casualties in the Canadian Armoured Corps, in either theatre.102 Petch was stoic about it in a letter to Hutchison: “The powers that be evidently decided I’d had it as far as Infantry was concerned so gave me a Recce Regiment. Unfortunately, when I got to Italy Recce Regiments couldn’t operate – so we went into the line for three months as infantry on the Savio – and it was bloody.”103 Lieutenant Colonel John Bourne, FSSF A soldier’s soldier, knew his men and cared for them. Major T Gilday re Colonel John Bourne104

The fourth Black Watch officer to command a battalion in the Mediterranean theatre was no-nonsense John Gilbert Bourne, who would become a regimental legend. He was a product of both Selwyn House School and Westmount Academy. He differed from the collection of Protestant stockbrokers and bankers who casually filled The Black Watch Officers’ Mess. He was a Catholic and had studied English Literature at McGill. After his initial deployment to England, A/Captain Bourne was sent back to Canada to train recruits in Camp Farnham. He was bored stiff and soon volunteered for the 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion, which became the Canadian component of First Special Service Force (FSSF). It was designed to wreak havoc behind enemy lines, pioneering a style of warfare that is exemplified by the SAS and Seals in the 21st Century. Bourne trained in Montana and Vermont. The brigade was taught to fight in rough terrain, particularly mountains, in every type of weather. All the soldiers learned to parachute and ski. By October 1942, Bourne was a major and had participated in his first campaign: the invasion of Kiska in the Aleutian Islands. In the summer of 1943, the twenty-fiveyear-old Bourne was promoted to lieutenant colonel and given command of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment, First Special Service Force and deployed to Italy. “The FSSF were a tough bunch to manage, difficult to lead … they fought like cats and dogs.”105 They became better known by the name the Germans gave them, “die Schwarzer Teufel” (the black devils) – they preferred to attack at night, their faces blackened. “The Devil’s Brigade” was soon famous as an elite American-Canadian commando unit. Its battle honours included capture of that impregnable position, Monte la Difensa, in November 1943, as part of the American 5th Army. Bourne’s battalion fought in key battles: Anzio, the Rapido River, and at last, in Rome.

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 39 4th of June 1944 … while at Tor Sapienza, some 4 or 5 miles below Rome, Lieutenant Colonel Bourne received orders that his battalion was to secure and hold six main bridges across the Tiber in Rome … [he] led his battalion in a coordinated attack through the city to the Tiber, hampered at first by the exuberant populace and later by stiff enemy resistance; before midnight, the bridges had been secured … It was due to Lieutenant Colonel Bourne’s quick and well executed attack that these bridges were secured intact.106

When supporting tanks balked at moving through narrow, sniper-dominated streets, Bourne convinced the platoon to advance “by putting a pistol to the tank commander’s head.”107 He was Mentioned in Despatches and looked forward to greater challenges. Spearheading Operation Dragoon, Bourne led his battalion ashore by rubber boat during Allied landings in the south of France, 15 August 1944. To their great disappointment, the FSSF was ordered disbanded in December of that year. Of the original force of eighteen hundred, fourteen hundred were killed or wounded.108 John Bourne was posted to Aldershot in England and appointed battalion commander in Jim Weir’s No.3 Canadian Infantry Training Regiment. Although he was reunited with two other Black Watch COs, Frank Mitchell and later, Bruce Ritchie, Bourne suddenly found the war boring and seemingly faced the end of a colourful career. However, it was not to be. During the Cold War, Colonel Bourne would reappear in the Black Watch to continue his vocation where his personality and dynamic style would very much set the temper of the Regiment, both Reserve and Regular. 1 RHC in Great Britain 1942–1944 Four Commanders, Three Colonels Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Douglas Cantlie A robust looking gentleman, affable, unassuming and evidently capable.109

Within the BW aristocracy, Stephen Cantlie was le Dauphin. His father, Colonel GS Cantlie, was a living legend whose accomplishments, military and civilian, could only have been a double yoke – great responsibility coupled with greater expectations. Militarily, Cantlie could not have been better prepared. A cosmopolitan and affable officer, he was a graduate of Bishop’s College School and RMC, as well as a stint at the l’École de Cavalerie de Saumur. Cantlie was a successful stockbroker and well experienced in the workings of the Black Watch, from Adjutant to company

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commander. Given his lineage, it was only a matter of time before he would command. Blackader discounted reports from battle schools that suggested Cantlie’s talents lay as an administrator or staff officer and recommended him for colonel.110 Cantlie took command in January 1942. Cantlie’s soldiers were mainly Montrealers. As that grand regimental song proclaimed, they came from lower Westmount, Cote St Paul, the Point, Goose Village, “NDG” (Notre Dame de Grace) and particularly Verdun, which was the Regiment’s second home. By 1942, they included a healthy percentage of men from Ontario, the Maritimes, Western Canada, and the USA.111 Within the brigade, 1 RHC dominated sports. In the four years (1941–1944) that competitions were held, the Black Watch won fifteen of seventeen championships, completely controlling the hockey, boxing and soccer divisions. RHC teams went on to compete for, and often win, division and corps titles.112 The conclusion was obvious. The raw material of the battalion was the best of the brigade; the officers would simply have to prove themselves in battle. Regrettably, Stephen Cantlie did not hit it off with his Brigade Commander. G Victor Whitehead seemed to have it in for him, although their two families were good friends in Montreal. Cantlie’s uncomfortable relationship with Whitehead, an insurance executive and former CO of the RMR, centred on a theme that was to dog the Black Watch through the war: a question of minor tactics. The situation turned difficult during Cantlie’s first regimental exercise, Jumbo I, in July 1942: “the CO gave out his orders to his O Group at 2000 hrs. Brigadier Whitehead was present and made several comments criticizing the orders.”113 It did not stop there. Whitehead stalked Cantlie: “… he followed us around and had punctuated every order given by any officer with very caustic remarks. He apparently found fault with everything.”114 Two days later, at the brigade post-exercise critique, which included all officers, senior commanders of divisional artillery as well as the CRA, Brigadier P Tees, Whitehead made several merciless criticisms of Jumbo I.115 However, the brigadier’s severity may well be explained by the secret he alone possessed, that in less than six weeks, 2nd Division would land in France at the port of Dieppe. Nevertheless, his treatment of Cantlie appears spiteful and demeaning: on 11 July, Cantlie was ordered to take a senior officers PT (physical training) course. The brigadier imposed extra drills: “the hardening training has been intensified by Brigadier GV Whitehead, and the Coys are back doing ten miles in two hours.”116 It would be reasonable to assume that this stern scrutiny would make the Black Watch CO feel he was being hounded.

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 41 Operation Jubilee – Dieppe 19 August 1942 Terrific fire pouring into the vessel from all angles…[enemy fire] struck door of ship’s magazine blowing it [part] of the stern, damaging an engine … hit several times on bridge … drawbridge shot away and couldn’t be closed … the skipper withdrew from the beach and attempted to repair … the ship in a crippled condition … hold with 1–foot water … we manned the one serviceable pom-pom … Captain AL MacLaurin, CBC Radio, recounting the Dieppe Raid, August 1942 This is the first time the British have had the courtesy to cross the sea to offer the enemy a complete sample of their new weapons. Adolf Hitler, August 1942

The Dieppe Raid has been described as a dress rehearsal for D-Day. Some of this is certainly correct; for while the main scheme (frontally attacking a defended port), may appear fatuous in hindsight, there were many technical lessons learned that inspired the changes which made Operation Overlord such a strategic success two years later. The initial impetus for Dieppe was political. The German Army was achieving resounding victories in their second offensive against the Soviet Union. Most of the Russian industrial basin had fallen, and the oil-rich Caucasus region was about to be captured. Stalin desperately demanded a “second front” to draw off German forces. The Allied situation was precarious on all fronts. Japanese forces scored repeated successes in the Pacific – save for two carrier victories (Coral Sea and Midway); both the British and American fleets were in danger of losing control of the South Pacific, perhaps even Australia. In North Africa, General Erwin Rommel’s armies scored multiple triumphs and now threatened to capture the Suez Canal, crippling Allied communications with the Middle East and India. Meantime, the Atlantic link was also in peril: 1942 was the U-Boat’s “happy time” and the German Kriegsmarine seriously threatened Britain. There couldn’t have been a worse time for a test invasion, yet the scheme was deemed necessary. It was Lord Louis Mountbatten’s brain child. He created the operational plan but unfortunately, it did not gain the enthusiastic support of the Royal Navy. Worse, the Luftwaffe had just deployed their latest fighter into France, the very hot Focke Wulf 190. Based south of Dieppe, Jagdgeschwader 26 (known as “the Boys from Abbeville” by RCAF pilots) was less than five minutes from the beaches.117 There were a couple of crack panzer units within easy driving distance of Dieppe. The German 302nd Infantry Division defended the greater Dieppe area, from the mouth of the Somme to Veules-les-Roses (a fifty-mile front) and was well supported by indirect gunfire (“the sector was very strong in artillery”118). As it turned out, the local garrison proved sufficient to contain the landings.

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| Chapter 2 The Black Watch Mission None of my men knew what we were to do except myself until we embarked. Captain AL MacLaurin, OC Mortar Platoon, 1 RHC

It was mainly a Canadian show. The 2nd Canadian Division, commanded by Major General John Hamilton “Ham” Roberts was to be the main invasion force. Roberts was an artillery officer, another of the clutch of gunners who were to control the Canadian Army during the war. The division would attack with two of its three brigades, supported by a regiment of tanks. The landing, which included two British commando units and a detachment of American rangers, assaulted three beaches – from east to west: Puys (Blue Beach); the main effort at Dieppe shoulder-to-shoulder beachheads (termed Red and White); and on the other side of the bluffs, Pourville (Green Beach).119 The principal seaport was fortified and protected by several naval gun batteries. The Allied scheme was to use surprise and bravado. The aim was to test the German defences and the latest British amphibious landing techniques. The mission was simply to secure the port, not establish an extended lodgement. The force was to be withdrawn after the mission had been accomplished. One of the planned shocks was to be the landing of tanks directly onto the main beach. The new Churchill tank was to receive its baptism of battle. The Black Watch was not selected, as a battalion, for the assault force. That mission was assigned to units in 4th and 6th Brigades. However, 1 RHC was tasked to provide the three platoons of an infantry company (curiously, without its headquarters) and the battalion’s mortar platoon (twenty-eight all ranks, with six 3” mortars).120 The infantry company was seconded to the Royal Regiment of Canada (RRC, from the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade), which was assigned the capture of Puys, a tiny harbour about a mile north-east of Dieppe. Colonel Cantlie selected C Company, perhaps his best, which is what his father would have done. C Company 1 RHC, was a living proof of everything the Black Watch believed itself to be (as well as everything that others criticized it for): tough Highlanders led by aristocrats. The company won a string of sports championships and excelled on the ranges. Sergeants were tough hombres but well trained, regularly seconded as instructors to other units; its officers represented the city’s elite. The commander of 15 Platoon, the freshman of the group, was twenty-three-year-old Lieutenant Temple Murray Barott – eight years younger than his cohorts. In most professions, this would have been an insurmountable gap but Barott was readily accepted as an equal. He was spirited, and (as later events would prove) possessed of remarkable pluck and energy. A product of Selwyn House, Ashbury, and Bishop’s College School, where he won the Molson Scholarship, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal, Barott

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 43 was a recent BA from McGill and an exceptional athlete, playing varsity hockey and football. A week before he embarked for Dieppe, Barott visited William Anderson & Sons, military tailors in Edinburgh, and purchased “a Balmoral and Hackle, and two Ties.” 121 He would find little use for them for another three years. Lieutenant John (“Jack”) David Colson, commanding 13 Platoon, was a thirty-oneyear-old investment broker from Westmount. He was educated at American private schools (Horace Mann in New York and Phillips Exeter Academy) and graduated from Princeton with a magna cum laude in Economics. Lieutenant Murray Gilman Mather (14 Platoon) was a thirty-one-year-old executive in the MacDonald Tobacco Company (“he had a pretty good connection there; the company was owned by his wife’s father, WM Stewart”122). Murray Mather was an Old Boy of Ridley College and a graduate of the Royal Military College in Kingston. His older brother, Larry Mather, was also in the Black Watch.123 He was another Ridley and RMC product, a well-known stockbroker, a partner at MacDougall and MacDougall, and was married to Herbert Molson’s daughter. He would become a Brigade Major with 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade (CIB), then promoted to lieutenant colonel as a successful senior staff officer in the 1st Canadian Corps in Italy. He was eventually decorated with an OBE by Field Marshal Viscount Alexander. His younger brother would not share his good fortune. All three – Barott, Colson and Mather – were rated as exceptional leaders; their tactical and professional evaluations were a sea of “excellents”. They were well-liked by their men and led from the front, where they made particularly good targets for all three were six-feet or taller. Tragically, their war would last less than four hours. The other Black Watch component present at the Dieppe raid is often forgotten – the Mortar Platoon. They differed from their comrades in C Company in three key aspects: they landed on a different beach; they managed to fight for a good part of the day; and, more importantly, all came back. Division orders required the Mortar Platoon to allocate one detachment (a sergeant, five men and their 3” mortar) with the Royals at Blue Beach while the platoon itself would land on the main beach at Dieppe, with the tanks, from special naval craft. The C Company Grenade Incident The raid began ominously with a tragic accident aboard the ship, while the invasion force was still in harbour: We were below decks and were undergoing the administrative confusion of being issued with life belts (Mae Wests), plates, and eating utensils and other necessities when we were ordered to prime our No. 36 Grenades. This was going on about 1710 hrs when an urgent

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| Chapter 2 command to “Duck!” was heard from 15 Platoon area followed by an explosion. We got up and saw people bleeding and thrown about.124

A grenade went off. Like his fellow soldiers, Private H Smith was caught up in the excitement of going to war. Too many people were shouting orders; and everything had to be done at once. Ordered to collect kit and receive life jackets at the same time as the platoon was preparing grenades, Smith, having begun to prime one grenade, put it down to receive plates. Returning to his job of priming, he accidentally set off the grenade and attempted to throw the smoking bomb out of an open porthole. He missed, taking out nineteen Black Watch soldiers. Two subsequently died of wounds. Surprisingly, Smith was not seriously hurt. Murray Mather’s platoon was down eight men; Barott’s platoon lost eleven. C Company was reduced by a quarter; its fighting strength was now three officers, three sergeants and sixty-two other ranks.125 After a nerve-wracking trip across the channel, they left the Duke of Wellington and clambered into assault boats. They constituted the third wave of the assault, codenamed “Edward Force.” It was under the command of the Royal Regiment’s Captain RC Hicks, and comprised C Company Black Watch, the mortar detachment under Sergeant Alexander Oxley, and a forward observation party from the artillery – all crammed into five landing crafts. They were scheduled to land twenty minutes behind the first wave, after the Royals had established a beachhead. The Black Watch mission was to capture a six gun anti-aircraft battery on the east headland, halfway between Puys and the Dieppe harbour.126 The 88mm guns were less than a half-mile away, as the crow flies, but only reached by a circuitous route and an arduous climb. Had C Company actually arrived at their target, they would have discovered a miniature fortress of concrete emplacements, protected by mines, wire and machine-gun nests. Edward Force – Blue Beach 0545 Hrs About midnight, we were told by our officer, Mr Barott, we were to raid a part of the French coast, that it was the real thing…we were loaded into small boats were lowered at aprox 0320 hrs. We still had ten miles to go. D82705 Private Alex O’Toole, Member #15 Platoon, C Company, 1 RHC. August 1942

Edward Force bobbed in the cold Channel water, waiting for the signal to go in. The landings were late; the attack would now be delivered in daylight. C Company touched down at approximately 0545 hours under a ragged smoke screen on the corner of Blue Beach. Under Captain Hick’s request, they were landed under the cliffs at the western end. Private Alexander O’Toole, while attempting to disembark, injured his ankle and was unable to continue. He watched the ensuing battle from his landing

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 45 craft: “I saw our men go up the beach to the sea wall and disappear into the smoke screen. Our landing appeared to be unopposed as I saw no one fall as if hit. Our men, with a few exceptions, succeeded in crossing the beach to the shelter of the cliff.”127 The Black Watch smartly left their barges and followed their officers, who were the first off. Lieutenant Colson was cut down almost immediately. Murray Mather later wrote: “I was right beside Jack when he got his. A burst of machine-gun right through the eye and head. At least, he never knew what hit him.”128 The RRC’s initial objective was the sea wall which was discovered to be fortified with triple banks of concertina wire, and covered by machine gun emplacements. Although shielded from most of the machine guns, C Company endured flanking fire and bombardment by hand grenades hurled from the top of the cliffs. German mortars created additional casualties. Any explosion turned the beach rock into killing fragments. Blue Beach is an unattractive strand with shale deposits and jagged rock, about the length of a hockey rink and sandwiched between steep chalk cliffs. There is one way out – through the village. There were less than fifty Germans defending Blue Beach, but they were behind concrete, with a dominating field of fire. One machine gun, halfway up the cliff, was shielded from naval guns, and swept the entire beach causing great execution. The Regiment’s platoons were rapidly stacked up like cordwood as they tried to cut through the wire and then shredded by small arms and shrapnel. They were without Bangalore torpedoes.129 British Intelligence claimed there was no wire at Puys, when Lieutenant Colonel Doug Catto, CO of The Royal Regiment of Canada (an experienced veteran) requested it. As Catto continued to voice concern before the raid, Brigadier Churchill Mann, deputy commander 2nd Division, snapped: “If you want to keep your command, keep your mouth shut.” The Royals, unable to advance or withdraw, were steadily reduced by enemy fire. Private Bruno MacDonald recalled: “It was an awful sight on those beaches, about thirty feet from us there was a company that had been mown down by machine-gun fire, most of them dead, others dying.”130 None of this was evident from the supporting ships. The beach was blanketed by smoke. All radios were knocked out or water-logged. There was no communication with either General Roberts or Brigadier Mann or Brigadier Lett aboard HMS Fernie. The slaughter at Puys continued unreported. The three platoons, unable to manoeuvre or return fire, sought cover among the boulders and a few diminutive caves carved out of the chalk by relentless waves.131 Attempts to recover the infantry by boat were forced back by German artillery and air attack. The combined force continued to take casualties for another three hours. The Royal Regiment of Canada lost more men killed than any other unit engaged at Dieppe. They surrendered at 8:30 am, ending the debacle. With them went C

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Company Black Watch, including Lieutenants Barott and Mather. They were to spend the rest of the war in a PW camp, Oflag VII/B on the Mula River.132 Barott, however, determined to escape, broke out the next year and travelled a hundred miles before being recaptured. C Company’s casualties at Puys beach were one killed and sixty-five prisoners of war, some of whom were wounded: “we had more casualties on the mother ship when a grenade accidentally exploded.” 133 One-mile south-west, the main battle continued to rage across Dieppe’s beaches. Captain MacLaurin’s Mortars on Red Beach – 0530–1230 hrs 19 August 1942 Our craft grounded on the beach; the steel doors were opened, and the men on the winch began to let the ramp down. Letting the ramp down seemed to be a signal for all Hell to let loose. En mortar and shell fire seemed to hit us on both sides, tracers and explosives bullets were sweeping the decks … Private GB McLaren, RHC Mortar Platoon, Jubilee Jerry really had the range on us. Private Reginald Sorel, RHC Mortar Platoon, Jubilee It was daylight. There was fire from every window on the waterfront … there was a French enemy tank parked on mole firing on us…Our MG gunners were hit and wounded. Captain AL MacLaurin “Report on Dieppe Raid”, August 1942134

The Black Watch Mortar Platoon had been assigned a difficult, and what soon proved to be, impossible task. They were to land on the main Dieppe beach near the mole, disembark and advance forward to set up their base plates, thus providing supporting fire for the planned attack against the 88 battery by C Company. They had a rather tight time-window within which to accomplish this. The platoon first embarked from Portsmouth on 17 July, then in TLC2 (a Tank Landing Craft) carrying three Churchill tanks, an armoured car and a smorgasbord of infantry, engineers and explosives. This ark, groaning with vehicles, kit, equipment and munitions, was to touch down directly in front of the hotels overlooking Red Beach, and disgorge its cargo into the teeth of enemy fire.135 The armour belonged to the 14th Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment). The troop commander was Lieutenant Thomas R Cornett, riding in Cougar, a Mk III Churchill. 136 Besides MacLaurin and twenty-one Black Watch bombardiers, there was a thirty-man platoon from Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal (under Captain Lajoie), and a detachment of Canadian Engineers (under a certain Major Bert Sucharov). The major was an amphibious landing expert and had, in fact, designed the device carried by the tanks to enable them to get over the seawall.137 He was persona muy importante

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 47 in a barge already crammed with high-value targets. In addition, LCT 127 (referred to as “TLC2” in some reports) carried a Royal Naval beach party, a stretcher party and enough explosives to destroy every building on the Dieppe esplanade. The congested conditions aboard TLC2 made it impossible to prepare ammunition or organize the mortars. The Black Watch soldiers were not impressed: it was cramped … [mortar rounds] still in the tin boxes, large quantities of demolition charges and other stores piled in the forward part … great lack of organization among the troops aboard … The numbers of the adjoining troops aboard who were there to assist the Engineers were in our way in an unorganized mass … I noticed also that the Engineers could not unpack the TNT until the tanks had left.138

Additional firepower was provided by a section of two heavy machine guns from the Toronto Scottish Regiment, jury-rigged on either side of the forward ramp. The ship had two pom-poms (twin-barrelled 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns) and very little armour, but as it turned out, an iron skipper. Once the armour had disembarked, the Black Watch could move out to establish their mortar position over a football field away beneath the fortified casements of the Hotel de l’ Europe. The four dets were to fire a mixture of high explosives and smoke at the AA and the searchlight batteries on the headland from 0520 until 0558 hrs, “unless advised by Doug [Lt Col Catto, CO 1RRC] to continue switch fire on [another] target.” Lance Sergeant Edward Wray later reported: Our task was to neutralize the area on the cliff at the left of Red Beach. Ammo was 100 rds Smoke and 60 rds HE per mortar. We had to cease fire at 0558 hrs, giving us 38 minutes to carry the Mortar (distance apx 150 yds), select a position and carry and prepare ammunition.139

James William Marsh, with two years’ experience as a mortar sergeant, critiqued: “We had to wait until the tanks had cleared before we were able to unload … it was impossible to manhandle four mortars and 640 rnds of ammo one hundred and fifty yards through wire to our [ordered] position.”140 MacLaurin recalled: “none of my men knew what we were to do except myself until we embarked.”141 They landed in the first “flight” of three TLCs, at approximately 0530 hrs, about fifteen minutes late. The Toronto Scottish machine-gunners opened fire as they passed the harbour mole. Our craft grounded on the beach, the steel doors were opened and the men on the winch began to let the ramp down. Letting the ramp down seemed to be a signal for all Hell to

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Enemy fire damaged every TLC in their flight and killed almost half the naval crews. The order of departure was: first, the tanks; second, the Royal Canadian Engineers (who were to destroy the obstacles at the street entrances into the city, allowing the tanks to enter and support the infantry); third, the FMR platoon; fourth, the Royal Navy beach party (to assist the tanks during re-embarkation); and finally, The Black Watch Mortar Platoon. Despite the debilitating fire, four of the flight’s TLCs, including the BW landing craft, disembarked all but one tank.143 However, the infantry found it was impossible to follow. Movement across Dieppe’s beaches on foot, track or tire was precarious. The entire beach was composed of chert, boulders and rubble. It was mainly chert – a compact rock consisting of microcrystalline quartz, which looked like large lozenge pebbles. It was infinitely more demanding for tracked vehicles to negotiate than shingle. The rocks gave way when stepped on which made walking doubly difficult for a soldier carrying heavy equipment like the 3” mortar and its ammunition: it was noted that it was like walking on ball bearings. Measured against the one-sided carnage at Blue Beach, the performance of The Black Watch’s Mortar Platoon constitutes the first bona fide battle for the Regiment in the Second World War. At Puys, C Company was at the mercy of a mostly unseen enemy and powerless to fight back. The Mortars fought the good fight; much of this is to the credit of their platoon leader. Thirty-five-year-old Captain Alexander Lumsden MacLaurin stood six-foot-one and, like many of his brother officers, seemed too good to be true. Iron jawed and resolute, he was a married executive from Montreal and committed to the Regiment. He was a graduate of Trinity College School, the University of Toronto and the Black Watch’s own finishing school, POTS. In this, his first battle, faced by an unwinnable situation, MacLaurin remained ice cool and directed his men with a gritty bravery that inspired confidence. He had been highly rated throughout his career and would certainly have been a candidate for CO. He recovered from his wounds and returned to the battalion. But July proved to be an unlucky month for MacLaurin as he was wounded again on 25 July 1944 in Normandy, two years after Dieppe.144 Disembarking was stymied by shelling and machine-gun bullets. The heavy Churchills stalled frequently on the way out. There was no radio contact with C Company, the RRC or Brigade. MacLaurin was on his own. Their ship received more than its share of attention. The assaulting battalions (The Essex Scottish, on their immediate right) had not secured the beach so there was no local protection. The

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 49 machine gunners from the Toronto Scottish, while firing bravely from the foredeck, were all wounded within minutes. The Black Watch mortar men took their place. Despite the heavy fire, there was a certain nonchalance aboard TLC2. Corporal Joseph McOuan recalled: “The boys in the tank turrets could see everything and were relating it to us.”145 The first tank to exit, Cougar, engaged the strongpoint fashioned from a captured French tank. It exploded. The German infantry, who had no anti-tank weapons, broke in panic: “Jerries immed[iately] ran from pill box and were mowed down by the Vickers … [Germans] got quite a scare when they seen the tanks coming at them.”146 There were other serious obstacles. Private John Malcolm Graham recalled: “the tanks passed over the barbed-wire [but] the wire assumed its original position … stopping the infantry following up.”147 Trapped Aboard LCT 127 Discipline and morale was of the highest, and I’ll never forget the joking and banter passed by the tank crews just before they closed their turrets, most of them for the last time … D81709 Lance Sergeant Norman William Mayo, Jubilee, August 1942 We had a very quiet trip back. Private Robert Sorel

The situation rapidly deteriorated as the last tank exited.148 A direct hit on the ship’s drawbridge severely damaged it. As a result, no one left the ship as the crossfire and direct fire was so intense; there were hits on the bridge, magazine and engine room. MacLaurin realized he must abandon his mission: “we could have never got beyond the enemy wire … we would have to cross the wire and 250 yds of open beach … ammo alone meant three trips for everyone into town … The rounds weighed 10 lbs each and one man would have been able to carry only two carriers or six rounds at one trip.”149 The LCT was being turned into Swiss cheese. Both heavy machine-guns and one pom-pom knocked out. A hit in the magazine (which mercifully did not explode); another hit in the engine room left one engine knocked out and a foot of water below decks. The bridge was being peppered by shrapnel and small-arms fire. Nevertheless, the skipper, Lieutenant BD McPherson, Royal Naval Reserve, would not give up and ordered a withdrawal to effect necessary repairs on the drawbridge, while MacLaurin’s soldiers manned the one serviceable pom-pom.150 “Our boat continued backing out slowly, being steadily hit and near misses sending up geysers of water, which sometimes obscured the view. We were counting on the smoke screen laid by RAF to hide our landing … but this had cleared.”151 McPherson withdrew into the thinning smoke; they circled until about 1430 hrs, being shelled and enduring constant

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air attack. Finally, he grudgingly admitted that little could be done. TLC2 chugged out into the channel to join the convoy and eventually docked at Newhaven at 2130 hrs “after limping home on one engine.”152 Most of the Watch aboard were wounded (seventeen out of twenty-two, including MacLaurin) but no one, miraculously, had died.153 However, they had not succeeded; the Dieppe operation was a calamitous failure. Sergeant George Reilly Hunter lamented: “We came back without having fired a [mortar] shot” but Private Tomas James Hunter remained buoyant: “The conduct of our officer and NCOs in charge of us under fire has won my admiration.”154 Captain John Alexander Kenny – MIA Lieutenant Jack Colson was long considered the only Black Watch officer killed in action at Dieppe. However, there was another, who, seconded to a different headquarters, slipped through the cracks of recorded history. Captain John Alexander Kenny was the second regimental officer lost that day. He was part of 6th Brigade Headquarters and landed with Brigadier William Southam near the casino on the main Dieppe beach.155 JA Kenny was a Bishop’s College School graduate, a major in the school cadet corps and cousin to the future Senator Colin Kenny. His file is a series of accolades: “an outstanding signals officer and appointed as adjutant of this battalion … qualities of leadership and initiative and his habits and conduct are beyond reproach.”156 Kenny was appointed “Staff Learner” to 5th Canadian Brigade 1 April 1942, along with another promising Black Watch officer, Captain “Torchy” Slater. He was quickly singled out as a talented signals officer and suddenly seconded (perhaps by request – he was an expert in radio communications) to 6 Brigade HQ. On White Beach, all was confusion: a chaotic situation for Kenny and his comrades not helped by their brigadier’s indecision.157 Some officers tried to escape by swimming out to the boats off shore. Kenny may have been one of them. Unlike Lieutenant Colson, who was put into a mass grave by the Germans, Kenny’s body was never recovered; both are commemorated at the Brookwood Memorial in England.158 Recognitions for Gallantry Allied propaganda tried to play Dieppe as a rehearsal from which critical lessons were learned, lessons that were applied on 6 June 1944. But in fact, the only lesson learned was Do Not Attack Fortified Ports Head-On. Dieppe was a national disaster. The Canadians owed the Germans a bit of pay-back. They got it on Juno Beach. American historian, Stephen Ambrose, D-Day

Officially, the raid seemed best forgotten. Cantlie recommended Captain MacLaurin for the Military Cross: “with great coolness under fire and conducted himself throughout

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 51 without regard to personal safety … an example to all and personally thanked by the naval officer in command of the ship for his efforts during the exceedingly strenuous operation.”159 Unfortunately, his conduct did not impress Major Burt Sucharov, who survived the raid, thanks in part to MacLaurin’s efforts. Sucharov returned to 2nd Division HQ where, as a staff officer, the recommendation for MC crossed his desk. His refusal to support stated, “Captain MacLaurin did not do any more than his normal duty. All ranks aboard displayed courage, calmness and disregard to personal safety. If the MC is to be awarded to officers for performing their normal duty under fire, it loses its value as a decoration.” 160 Sucharov may have been thinking of himself. MacLaurin was instead awarded an MID and shortly after, the Croix de Guerre by the French government. MacLaurin successfully wrote up Sergeant James Marsh for the MM: [His conduct] won him the admiration of all ranks … He showed complete disregard for his personal safety … exposed himself to intense fire, and at no time during the whole engagement did he spare himself in the slightest … [He was] an example which will be hard to equal.161

Private James Barclay and Corporal Murray Edward Morgan received MIDs. Barclay had evacuated wounded machine gunners under fire and cared for them by placing them on stretchers in the fire-swept bridge and lowering them to safety. Corporal ME Morgan was dynamic when enemy fire was at its height and the machine-gunners had been wounded. He moved forward to the bow of LCT 127: … in order to bring into cover a wounded member of the Toronto Scottish gun crew … went to the bridge which was still under fire along with men of his det and assisted in removing the seriously wounded members of the ship’s Pom-Pom crews … He spent some time in heavy fire to accomplish this … His leadership and courage will go down in the annals of this unit and an example to his men, of which he had complete control at all times … [it] will live in their minds for the rest of their careers in life. On the return journey, he manned the one Pom-Pom that was serviceable.162

Post-Dieppe Training for War 1942–1943 Isn’t it about time we cut the barrage balloons loose and let the damned place sink? Overheard in The Black Watch Officers’ Mess, 1 RHC War Diary

After Dieppe, training was more focussed but the weather was less hospitable. The War Diary grumbled: “Raining, don’t tell me that we are to have another month

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like the last. Today is the anniversary of our entry into this war, three years gone and a fourth starting without much apparent change and no indication of a finish in this year.” The battalion carried on. Mr Notman remained RSM. They spent a cold wet year end in East Wittering, Sussex, kept busy by the “Winter Educational Programme” – much like a community college. Officers and NCOs taught themselves and “tried to keep the lads out of trouble.”163 The battalion newspaper, The Watch Word edited by Lance Corporal Bruce Croll, was eagerly read throughout the brigade and included news, articles, gossip, columns and even comics. Talent was still rewarded: Major Charles Petch, who had been seconded to the 8th Reconnaissance Regiment (14th Canadian Hussars) as squadron commander, was promoted lieutenant colonel and given command of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. Now there were three active battalions commanded by Black Watch officers. Mess life was comfortable and Cantlie was a genial commander: “Today the CO speaking, as he thought, to John Rolland, said, ‘Have a drink John?’ – immediately there was a chorus of ‘yeses’ and the Johns all lined up: Rolland, Duchastel, Taylor, and Sharp.”164 The Corps’ massed bands played in Hyde Park, under the direction of Pipe-Sergeant Donald Sutherland, to rave reviews and a new motto for the pipe band: Nemo Pee Impune Cesspit (“everyman must hold his water”). The battalion continued to accumulate trophies – the hockey team played in the semi-finals for the Army championship. Stephen Cantlie seemed to have survived his brigadier. He ordered a St Andrew’s Ball in November, and it proved a great success with one hundred officers in attendance. Blackader, now a brigadier, was there as the senior Black Watch officer. The day began ominously, with a very thorough inspection by Brigadier Whitehead and his staff.165 When the regimental boxing team had reached the division finals in February, Whitehead suggested that Cantlie attend, instead of being present at brigade orders for the upcoming Exercise Elm. The colonel became suspicious and attended the O Group instead – only to find out there was nothing for him to do. On 26 February 1943, after the exercise, there was an extended conference about the brigade’s conduct “and the GOC, who presided, didn’t pull any punches.”166 Whitehead’s mind was made up. He summoned Cantlie and pushed across his evaluation: “lacks power of decision, tactical sense.”167 Whitehead recommended immediate removal from command. Cantlie was staggered. At the bottom of the report were the signatures of Generals Foulkes and McNaughton, sealing his fate. The senior selection committee’s confidential report on the regiment was also damning: “The Black Watch is [in a] far from satisfactory condition as regards training, administration and morale. It is felt this unit has suffered considerably during the

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 53 past twelve months and that the regression has been to a great extent due to a lack of ‘new blood’.”168 The committee agreed that 1 RHC would benefit considerably by the appointment of a strong commanding officer having no previous connection with the unit. Two officers were considered. The first was the 2IC of the Queen’s Own Rifles, Major JEC Pangman. The second was Stuart Cantlie, first cousin to Stephen Cantlie. In the end (perhaps due to Blackader’s influence), Stuart was selected: “Cantlie got the job, it was close.”169 Stephen Cantlie was in command for only sixteen months (20 January 1942 to April 1943). Blackader wrote at once to Hutchison in Canada: “I feel very sorry for Stephen Cantlie but the powers that be felt he was short of tactical knowledge and too slow about making decisions; on all other counts, I understand he was considered fit to command.” Blackader ended with an enthusiastic huzza for his old battalion: “… all they needed was a bit of pepping up, and they’re getting that now. No one need have any worries about them – they’re good!”170 In Montreal, Paul Hutchison was perplexed but busied himself preparing to welcome Stephen Cantlie home; to lessen the trauma he tried to secure for him a decent senior staff post, perhaps on the West Coast. Musical Chairs: Cantlie, Henderson and again Cantlie – 1 RHC April 1943 to January 1944 My first impression…was that you were stale…it was a sad affair of a unit living on its past glories. Lieutenant Colonel SST Cantlie, to the assembled battalion, 9 October 1943

Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Stephen Tuffnel Cantlie both surprised and delighted the battalion when he suddenly appeared. Directly he arrived, 1 RHC deployed on manoeuvres by participating in Exercise Spartan which was described by The London Times as “The greatest offensive exercise ever staged in the military history of these islands.”171 General Andrew McNaughton commanded an army of three corps, including three armoured divisions. The results were not favourable, and cost McNaughton his job. However, the Black Watch received no criticism; in fact, the brigade did well in general. Stuart Cantlie started off on the right foot. Coincidentally, the Regimental Padre, H/Captain Alan MacKay, left the same month as Stephen Cantlie, becoming senior padre for 2nd Division. He was replaced by Rev JF Goforth, armed with an MA from McGill and a working knowledge of French, German and Chinese, some of which would help in Europe. The War Diary noted the changeover and lamented: “We’ll miss the padre’s thunderings.”

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Cantlie was tough, but the battalion needed that. “SS as he was called, was respected because he was fair: ‘do your job and don’t bring any disgrace to the BW and you had nothing to fear’.”172 Luck was with him; it was announced HM Queen Elizabeth, would inspect the Regiment on 15 May. Parading before their Colonel-inChief was more than enough motivation. The parade was a grand production. Rated “most secret” and closely supervised, administered and guarded by Whitehall and 1 Canadian Corps, it was held at the Irish Guards parade ground near Wakehurst Place. The battalion rehearsed ad nauseum.173 It paid off. The inspection by their Colonel-in-Chief was a roaring success, winning accolades from the most guarded of observers. The Queen commented to Cantlie during a garden luncheon: “You must have very little to do with such a fit looking body of men.”174 Even old hands were impressed. In a long letter to Hutchison, Blackader gushed: It was one of the best parades I have ever seen … The appearance of all ranks was very good and the drill and movement were excellent, but it was their steadiness which was outstanding – it was unbeatable. Stuart Cantlie had every reason to be very proud – I know I was – and I have never had a bigger thrill than the final Advance in Review order and the last Royal Salute – I wish all of you could have seen it. Both the Army and Corps Comds expressed themselves as being very pleased.175

The War Diary, which had been an amusing and chatty read, abruptly became concise and straightforward, reflecting the attitude of the new boss. Cantlie kept them working and training. On 24 September, they were inspected by Field Marshal Lord Wavell, Viceroy of India and the senior Black Watch general in the Empire; this inspection drew favourable comment. Wavell told Cantlie he liked the look of the Regiment. Criticism: The Farewell Address There is a feeling of general tiredness in the unit. Farewell address, Lieutenant Colonel SST Cantlie

Doing a good job had its drawbacks: on 5 October 1943, Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie was abruptly told he was to give up the Regiment in order to be made a senior staff officer. To his surprise, he was transferred to Headquarters First Canadian Army, as GSO I (Liaison) at the Joint Planning School. The battalion was paraded into the Lido Theatre to hear Cantlie’s farewell address. It was as blunt and no-nonsense a speech as any Black Watch battalion had ever received. Cantlie pulled no punches. He was paternal (“This unit has always been my first love”) but critical. He detailed faults, from discipline to their soldierly deportment:

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 55 dirty hackles, wrongly placed hackles, some big some small, collars undone, battledress in poor condition … improve saluting to develop a better chain of command … very definite slump … dead feeling of frustration … lack of interest.176

It could be argued that much of this might be laid at other doors; however, Cantlie was too professional a soldier not to realize that the final responsibility rested with the officers, and specifically, himself. Having torn a strip off, he reviewed the successes of the past few months. The turning point, he felt, was the visit of HM the Queen, the Regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief. “I doubt if any man who was fortunate enough to be on that parade will ever forget it.”177 Then, Cantlie turned to recent manoeuvres and gave them another lashing: “You allowed the CO and the Adjutant to both be captured once and I got shot in the stomach as well – as the general said, ‘you must take better care of the CO even though you might not like him because he is the fellow who has to run the show’.” That less-than-successful exercise concluded with a thirtytwo mile road-march back to camp; harsh treatment, but Cantlie allowed they “were sufficiently Hackle Happy to carry on by yourselves this time.” Regardless, “that was a miserable exercise … [there is] a feeling of general tiredness in the unit … you forgot the lesson of aggressiveness.”178 These were blunt words for a unit that totally dominated its brigade in sports and, save for mortars, was at the top of all weapons competitions. 1 RHC pulled off two superb parades under the critical eyes of the entire corps. Cantlie noted the indication of a slump in discipline. It was clear to him that unless the battalion was mercilessly forged into a weapon, it would suffer against German veterans where battle-seasoned divisions were lying in wait behind fixed defences. Letting all this sink in, Cantlie switched tempo: “You are now as good as any other 2nd Div unit – this unit should be the best unit in the Second Div – it can be because you have the ability and should have the desire.”179 With that, Cantlie then introduced his successor, another Black Watch officer, Lieutenant Colonel GP Henderson. En passant: Lieutenant Colonel Henderson We learned that you and Stuart had changed over again. All here are, of course, very intrigued and wonder what is behind it all. Colonel PP Hutchison to Lieutenant Colonel GP Henderson, 7 February 1944

Gavin Patterson Henderson was born in Scotland and was educated in Edinburgh and Lausanne, Switzerland. At thirty-nine, he was old for an infantry colonel but well-connected, at least in the UK. He arrived in Canada in the 1930s eventually settling in Montreal where he worked as a salesman. He joined the Black Watch

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and was briefly posted to the 2nd Battalion RHC. Paul Hutchison sent Brigadier Beresford Topp a terse description: “When war broke out medical officers [initially] turned him down because he was missing a toe, resulting from exposure in the north country with Price Brothers … son of a British Consul in Italy, where he was partially educated, and speaks fluently English, French, and Italian.”180 At the Regiment, Henderson appeared needy and prone to complain; Hutchison had little time for him.181 This changed quickly when Henderson rose rapidly in England. Reassigned as a staff officer, Henderson easily fit in as the GSO 1 Liaison between British and Canadian Army headquarters. To the Regiment’s surprise, he was given command of the Algonquin Regiment,182 then the Black Watch, and finally, as a senior staff officer, promoted to brigadier. Colonel Hutchison was delighted. That fall and winter, Lieutenant General Guy Simonds inspected every unit and routinely fired COs. In January 1944, Major General Charles Foulkes took command of 2nd Division; by February 1944, all three brigade commanders were replaced: “The sweeping changes, designed to modernize the higher echelons, coupled with the effects of the large influx of new personnel during 1943, lowered morale in the division.”183 Lieutenant Colonel Henderson was spared. He enjoyed command: “[Cantlie] handed me a first class unit in apple-pie shape.”184 Henderson was adequate, but although he kept 1 RHC ticking over, little changed in the battalion. The same old training continued, the RSM stayed put, and the pipe band gave public concerts. In December, the Black Watch hockey team destroyed the composite 5th Brigade team 14-0. And that same month, the Queen sent a shipment of Christmas pudding to celebrate what would be their last real holiday before Normandy. Meanwhile, at army headquarters, Stuart Cantlie had been nominated for an Efficiency Decoration, but his heart was not in it. It became obvious to the generals that Cantlie was a field soldier more suited to command than staff work. Simultaneously, it became evident that Henderson was not the man to take the Black Watch into Normandy. At the end of January 1944, they were switched. Stuart Cantlie returned to command 1 RHC and Henderson went to Corps HQ, where he would prosper, eventually promoted to colonel, then brigadier, and given an OBE. Henderson was an efficient bureaucrat. As the war ended he had secured a job with British overseas government in Germany and was appointed as civic administrator of Kiel. He never returned to Montreal or the Black Watch.

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 57 A New RSM – Stuart Cantlie Prepares for Normandy An aggressive, dependable warrant officer. Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Cantlie, of WO1 Leitch, July 1944

Cantlie’s future would rest with combat. He had to get the Black Watch ready for war and there was still the question of the RSM. Cantlie began a tough regime of “hardening.” He selected Captain Campbell Stuart as his adjutant. Stuart was a young sophisticated officer. An Old Boy of Gordonstoun School and Bishop’s College School, he finished Oxford and interrupted his studies at McGill Law School to join the Black Watch. His enthusiasm and eye for detail made him a natural choice. He helped Cantlie streamline the battalion. Stuart’s first memo to the CO concerned WO1 Notman. He noted that Notman had been employed continuously as RSM of the unit since mobilization in 1939. The RSM was both the butt of jokes as well as a battalion legend by 1944. Cantlie was cautious. If anything, the Regiment had waited too long; when change came, it came rather late – in March 1944, four months before their deployment to Normandy. Cantlie explained to Paul Hutchison: “Notman was very loyal but I frankly believe that he was tired.”185 The time had come. Cantlie advised brigade headquarters.186 Notman nearly broke into tears when he was told he was going home, he had been held out of combat in the Great War because he was too young. He was every soldier’s idea of what an RSM should be. He was highly respected by everyone; even the bad apples liked him.187

Archie Leitch was the new regimental sergeant-major. The contrast between the two men was marked. Notman towered above the ranks. Leitch was 5 foot 5 1/4 inches, but as he liked to say: “That last quarter of an inch got me into the army.”188 RSM Archibald Frame Leitch was thirty-nine years old. Born in Glasgow, orphaned at seventeen, he grew up self-reliant and tough. He had immigrated to Canada and worked as a farm labourer before coming to Montreal, where he became a machinist. He joined the Regiment before the war and had risen to D Company sergeant-major when Cantlie asked him to become RSM. His effect was immediate. Leitch was an uncompromising disciplinarian but respected. He was a field soldier but paid close attention to all aspects of garrison life, from dress to drill. Given the quality of the material, it did not take long for Cantlie and Leitch to make the Black Watch ready for France. Cantlie was elated: “The new RSM, Mr Leitch, is working out very well. I am extremely pleased – he is a small man but gives one the impression of alertness and efficiency. The smartness of the unit has improved greatly, and I think a great deal of it is due to his influence.” 189

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| Chapter 2 “Worthy” – Black Watch in the Armoured Corps

The Regimental Sergeant-Major was not the only prominent Black Watch soldier to depart in the new year. Major General Frederick Franklin Worthington, MC and Bar, MM and Bar, one of the Regiment’s most decorated war heroes with a larger than life persona that transcended Hackles and corps, fell victim to General Simonds’s vision of young and completely compliant divisional commanders. The creator of the Canadian Armoured Corps and the commander of the armoured division designated to take on the elite German panzer formations ruffled the establishment. His devotion to mechanization and the creation of a Fuller-type armoured corps (to the point of doing away with regimental affiliations) generated criticism, but not from the Black Watch: “Worthy is being largely blamed for the breaking down of the regimental idea, but I know from you, Stuart Cantlie and others, that he makes a point of being one of us when the situation arises.”190 In an age of mechanized war and new doctrine, Worthington was the archetypal avant garde warrior. In the end, it was a combination of bravado and unorthodox style from an outspoken manoeuvrist that did him in. “Fighting Frank” was a McNaughton man, and openly disapproved when his mentor was relieved. Worthington’s roughrider, break-any-rule-to-win style was considered unsophisticated. “Worthy” made senior Canadian generals and certainly British generals, uneasy. Ironically, by the middle of the Normandy campaign, after a knot of defeated armoured brigadiers and GOCs passed through the 4th Canadian Armoured Division, it was lamented by an insightful few that Frank Worthington was just what the Canadian Armoured Corps desperately needed in the summer of 1944. Deplorably, instead of punching his way through Falaise and into Paris, the Regimental legend would be running a training camp in Borden, Ontario. July 1944 – Dress Rehearsals Done, War at last The Black Watch found the Second World War an uncomfortable experience. The army had changed. So too, had its perception of the Black Watch. High honours from the Great War were ignored and despite being Canada’s oldest Highland regiment and a proud dynasty from Canada’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, it was treated the same as rural formations or the regiments of other, lesser urban centres. In vain, Paul Hutchison remonstrated against the perceived unfairness and obstacles that seemed to dog the Regiment’s path. No matter what it accomplished – raising battalion after battalion – it was relegated to average status. The refusal to mobilize a

Regimental Commanders, 1939–1944: Dieppe, Italy and UK | 59 second battalion, the termination of its training initiatives and the callous scattering of its painstakingly acquired and trained recruits was frustrating. Was this the price to be paid (Hutchison frustratingly asked) for a Regiment’s immaculate pride? What really rankled was the Army’s ongoing harvesting of officers and NCOs carefully produced by the Black Watch. Its platoons were culled and sent off to strange battalions, forced to remove their Red Hackles and conform to traditions not their own. Within ten days of the Battalion’s arrival in England in September 1940, three officers and 59 other ranks were transferred to the 5th Recce Squadron and one officer and 24 other ranks to the 5th Anti-Tank Company. By 1944, the Regiment reinforced and officered a half-dozen battalions. Black Watch contingents resuscitated the Royal Rifles, the Victoria Rifles and the Prince of Wales’s Rifles; key personnel augmented the Cape Breton Highlanders while large cadres had been diverted to other formations and other theatres, as reserves.191 Larry Mather’s casual report of seeing a platoon of Black Watch, still wearing their Hackles in Italy, waiting to be marshalled into another battalion, cut into Hutchison’s heart.192 Although brigade, division and corps staffs were chockablock with regimental officers and senior NCOs, they were not advanced to senior posts. Of the “originals” that left Montreal for Great Britain in 1940, eleven would command battalions in France or Italy, but Blackader was the only officer to approach operational command status. Further, after nearly five years of war, the Regiment had yet to fight its first battle. The battalion continued hard training: ranges, tactics and seemingly endless route marches. After a final blur of activity, it was suddenly June and the Allies had secured a beach head in Normandy on D-Day. The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division (Major General Rod Keller) was ashore but now had to fight for every inch of ground, stubbornly defended by German infantry augmented by half a dozen SS panzer divisions and battalions of Tiger tanks. It took a month to carve out enough ground to deploy a full corps. The 2nd Canadian Infantry Division was ordered into France in late June. The Black Watch was, at last, going to war.

Chapter 3

Normandy – The Battles for Verrières Ridge: July–August 1944

Upholding Their Good Name Well may the wheat and sugar-beet grow green and lush upon its gentle slopes, for in that now half-forgotten summer the best blood of Canada was freely poured out upon them. CP Stacey, of Verrières Ridge 1944

The Regiment’s participation in the Second World War may be entitled “Normandy, and After” for this most tragic campaign was to have a telling effect on the Black Watch. It is a saga centred on an area just south of Caen called Verrières Ridge. The First Battalion was savaged no fewer than three times in bitter struggles that would have torn the heart out of any unit. One struggle totally shattered its force, scattering its officers and men across a fateful ridge until there were little more than scraps left of the magnificent battalion that left Montreal in 1939. The Regiment’s campaign in Normandy must be considered via three battles, all conducted before or astride Verrières Ridge. The first was Operation Atlantic (18–21 July) entailing the crossing of the Orne River and a splendid counter-attack. It saw the Watch at its best and despite heavy cost, witnessed a notable success. The second, Operation Spring, was a mass assault across Verrières Ridge on 25 July. It brought a dark repute which lasts to this day: “The most extreme case is that of the Canadian

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Black Watch, which suffered more heavily than any other unit.”193 It remains the most investigated action of the Second World War and, with Vimy Ridge, one of Canada’s most famous (though infamous might be the more appropriate word) battles. That battle determined The Black Watch’s future for the rest of war. Operation Spring would stimulate much post-war speculation, and prompt a bitter national debate.194The third action (5 August) was a too-quick probe ordered by a confused higher command. It was both an adjunct to Spring and a precursor to Operation Totalize. As bitter and as infuriating as the previous attack, the third Verrières, a reconnaissance in force, came to be regarded as the Black Watch’s last attempt to clutch the cursed ridge. It again shattered a proud unit that had been cobbled together just days before. By the middle of August, the battalion’s remaining officers and sergeants were left with the bloodied framework of a grand structure that needed reconstruction by hundreds of reinforcements and at least a month of work. Instead, over the next weeks, fresh men and officers with no battle experience, many virtually untrained, would fight for the Channel ports. The Norman summer would test the Regiment in a way that even the Great War failed to do. The Regiment’s fortunes and travails in this war must be understood by an appreciation of these three blows, dealt in rapid succession. After Normandy, the Watch crashed into Holland and Germany like a punch-drunk fighter, desperately needing time in its corner to recover focus and a sense of balance. It was denied pause and repeatedly thrown into the ring to be pounded and bludgeoned. Into Normandy The Black Watch landed in France on 6 July, crossing the English Channel, which was busier than Saint Catherine Street on a Saturday night. Major Eric Motzfeldt, OC Advance Party, was waiting to meet them. He led them to Ver-sur-Mer, their first regimental camp in France since 1919. Two days later they were inspected by their corps commander. The Adjutant recorded Lieutenant General Guy Simonds “had urged us to uphold our good name by our conduct and our fighting.”195 1 RHC was very different from its predecessors. The battalion now had the fire power of a First World War brigade. The unit was divided into echelons. “F (Fighting) Echelon” comprised the four rifle companies, support company and battalion headquarters. “A (Administrative) Echelon” held the stores, transport, records and immediate supplies. It operated about five miles to the rear and was under brigade control. In combat, the CO operated forward from a small tactical headquarters (TAC HQ), while the second-in-command was usually found in A Echelon at the “rear battalion HQ.”

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Each rifle company (about 125 all ranks) held three platoons, controlled by a company headquarters, commanded by a major, with a captain as second-in-command [See Appendix C, Organization 1 RHC, 1944]. The company sergeant-major handled discipline and administration. The authorized strength of a platoon was thirty-seven all ranks, led by a lieutenant and a sergeant. It fought with its three sections of ten men, each led by a corporal. Every section was armed with rifles (the .303 Enfield) and a light automatic weapon, the Bren Gun. It was half the weight of the Lewis gun it replaced, easier to load and far more accurate. This advantage was negated by the need to carry a dozen magazines to maintain a decent rate of fire. It also required a team of two soldiers. The infantry companies were supported by a compendium of weapons that gave the battalion the ability, in theory, to defeat armour, provide indirect support and even offer tracked cross-country transportation. The Support Company provided the “modern” clout. This included the Assault Pioneer Platoon (for immediate battlefield engineering such as laying or clearing mines or shoring up defences), the Mortar Platoon (6 x 3-inch mortar detachments, with tracked carriers), the Anti-Tank Platoon (6 x 6-pounder [57mm] anti-tank guns, pulled by tracked carriers) and the battalion Carrier Platoon (13 x tracked vehicles). The Universal Carrier (popularly known as “the Bren Gun Carrier”), designed to fit one Bren light machine-gun in the front left seat) was undeniably universal for it was used in dozens of tasks: as prime movers for anti-tank guns and mortars, ambulances, a taxi service for worn-out sections and even in the close assault, which was dangerous, for they offered virtually no protection. It carried six men; designated platoons or a rifle company would be allotted the Carrier Platoon or its sections for specific missions. The entire organization was run by battalion headquarters, which was itself a minor corporation of administrative sections. Under its umbrella were the medical section, signals, intelligence, the pipe band, regimental police (with attached sections from the Canadian Provost Corps) and the regimental padre whose services were much sought after by soldiers during battle. The Scout Platoon was directly under Bn HQ. It was comprised of specially selected marksmen (the battalion’s snipers), as well as scouts. The Scout Platoon considered itself elite. The men were trained to act in small teams or as individuals and the platoon never operated as a group. Rather, it was attached as single detachments or sections to the rifle companies for special missions and required a strong, capable leader. Although it received a selection of excellent officers, everyone knew that Sergeant Bernard (“Barney”) Benson ran the platoon. He was a twenty-five-year-old machinist from the Mile-End area of Montreal.196 Tough, determined and fearless, his

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presence settled down jittery patrols, and his opinion was well-respected by senior officers. The battalion began combat operations on 17 July 1944 with a strength of 838; within two weeks that number of trained Black Watch officers and other ranks was reduced to 493. The Tactical Situation Circa July 1944 The operational circumstances had changed since 1940. It was now the Allies who did the attacking. They were devastated to learn that both German main-battle tanks (the Tiger and the Panther) wore face-hardened armour that defeated any Allied tank weapon,197 including the Black Watch six-pounder anti-tank guns which were not popular with their crews: “The six-pounder wouldn’t put a dent on the side of a building, let alone a tank.”198 On the other hand, all German guns could kill both the principal Allied tanks at any range: the ubiquitous American M4 Sherman (used by Canadians, and everyone else), and the British Churchill. By late June, Canadian armour was reluctant to advance without infantry protection, for if the long-range tank fire didn’t kill them, a close-quarter attack by German infantry armed with the Panzerfaust would. This was a hand-held rocket launcher (the inspiration for the RPG of more recent times) and could easily be carried by one soldier. In fact, German troops often carried two or three, while Canadian infantry had nothing like it. The Black Watch rifle platoon relied on its single antitank weapon, the PIAT (Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank). It used a giant spring and was heavy, ungainly and awkward to load. In order to cock it, a soldier had to lie on his back (“like a whipped dog”) place the weapon on his chest and hold tight while using his legs to drive the spring back and make ready. The fired bomb, propelled by a small charge, then lobbed in a lazy arc toward the target. Surprisingly, it often did damage German tanks, sometimes killing them. However, it was considered inferior to the American Bazooka or the German Panzershreck, an even larger and deadlier rocket launcher.199 The infantry, “protected” only by helmets and woollen jackets, justifiably wondered why tanks surrounded by two inches of armour plate were not leading them into the attack. The tankers argued they required distance to protect them from hidden anti-tank guns, Panzerfausts and particularly the super 75s of the Pz IVs and Vs (Panthers). Those two inches of steel were nothing to an L70 Pak 75mm gun. The tactical impasse caused resentment before combat experience matured the 2nd Canadian Corps. The Allies did have two key advantages: air power (they held total air supremacy over France) and artillery. The best bit of artillery on the front was the British

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25-pounder (87.6mm). It was introduced into service just before the war as a dualpurpose gun/howitzer which combed high rates of fire with a lethal shell in a highly mobile carriage. Its rapid fire haunted German infantry and its efficiency gave it endurance – it was the British and Canadian Armies’ primary field piece well into the 1960s, with smaller numbers serving in training units until the 1970s. While it made the Wehrmacht’s life miserable, their gunners’ domination was not always apparent to front line Canadian soldiers who were constantly being shelled by the enemy. Any indirect fire was regularly reported as “an 88” – a triple-purpose gun that was employed in anti-tank, anti-aircraft and artillery roles. It achieved legendary status in North Africa when used by General Erwin Rommel’s army to knock out hundreds of British tanks. It did the same job in France. The 1944 version was mounted on a low, easyto-conceal carriage. Allied soldiers were tormented by the constant searching fire that originated from 88s, heavy artillery batteries, and rocket launchers. However, the main culprit was the German mortar. Together, mortars and artillery were the greatest killers in Northwest Europe. Over 65 percent of infantry casualties were attributed to indirect fire. Multiple rocket launchers (“Moaning Minnies”) added to the psychological torture. On the Normandy bridgehead, soldiers living in trenches pounded by shell fire were also subjected to unremitting nightly raids by the Luftwaffe. Finally, they were all too aware that any assault they were to make would be faced by a well-dug-in determined enemy. Advancing against veterans in prepared positions, the infantry was cut down by German machine-guns. The MG42, the standard German machine-gun, was distributed to platoons and sometimes sections. It boasted a firing rate of twelve hundred to fifteen hundred rounds per minute, which was easily double anything the Allies had.200 It dominated the battalion battle. What is not sufficiently appreciated is that in Europe circa 1943–1945, the Allied soldier fought at a distinct technological disadvantage against the enemy which was a situation completely foreign to veterans of the Great War. The Germans even had superior containers for water or gasoline, which were prized trophies immediately put to use when taken. They were sturdier than the leaky British tins, possessed secure stoppers and held considerably more gas or water. Their design was copied by the Allies after the war and by the end of the century all NATO armies used the modern version in hard plastic rather than metal. They are still called by their Second World War nickname, “Jerry Cans” – the soldier’s slang for Germans. By 1944, no one, save a Great War veteran or private school boy, called them Huns or Boche. To the Black Watch, the enemy were Krauts or simply, Jerry.

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| Chapter 3 Verrières Ridge: The First Battle 18–24 July – Operation Atlantic We chased you from the beaches We chased you through the grain You’ll soon wish you never heard Of the Normandy Campaign “Luger Luggin Ludwig – Lay that Luger Down” – Frontline song, 2nd Cdn Inf Div, July 1944

The battalion took its initial casualties on the eve of their first battle, Operation Atlantic. They were dug-in near Franqueville, just north of the Orne west of Caen. It was open rolling country and, to the south, was overlooked by Hill 112, which was controlled by the Germans. The soldiers were overwhelmed by the pervasive smell of death and decay and the surprise at seeing British soldiers brewing tea a few feet from German dead.201 On 17 July, an artillery strike killed four privates and wounded three more. “We had them wrapped in a blanket tied at each end – and had a little service.”202 As the padre, Captain RJ Berlis, was burying them beside the ancient l’Abbaye d’Ardenne, he too was wounded by mortar fire, becoming the first Black Watch officer casualty in the Normandy Campaign.203 Lieutenant Colonel SST Cantlie and His Battalion 1 RHC would go into battle as well led as any professional formation. Three of its most senior officers, including the CO, were Royal Military College graduates.204 Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Stephen Tuffnel Cantlie descended from Black Watch royalty. Lord Mount Stephen was his great uncle; Colonel George Stephen Cantlie was his uncle; and Stephen Cantlie was his first cousin. Brigadier Frank Meighen was also a cousin. His father, Lieutenant Colonel James Alexander Cantlie Jr, George Cantlie’s brother, was a noted Manitoba manufacturer and a passionate polo player. He had raised and was the first CO of the 179th (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) Battalion, CEF, of Winnipeg, the family’s adopted home town. The Cantlie cousins, born into affluence and influence, finished school and then became officer cadets at Kingston. Stuart Cantlie graduated first in his class at RMC in 1929, winning the coveted Sword of Honour, which signifies the best of the best. He was a good hockey player: “solid body checker, known for selecting, then laying flat victims.”205 Although the family was comfortable and Lord Mount Stephen had left him a small trust, he went into business and became a successful stockbroker. His heart, as he willingly admitted, belonged to the Watch. He joined the Regiment upon graduation and was appointed adjutant in 1934. Cantlie was at ease in any company. He had commanded

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the guard of honour for the King’s visit in 1939, dined with his Colonel-in-Chief, HM the Queen and later, as a thirty-six-year-old battalion commander, was her host in England. He was professional, debonair and tough. The battalion liked him. By the summer of 1944, it was clear to everyone that this was the man to lead the Black Watch into Normandy. The second-in-command, Major Francis Murray Mitchell, was another RMC graduate. He was a competent horseman and won his “Spur” in his graduating year. Active in sports, he excelled in tennis. Mitchell was appointed as the cadet officer in charge of the RMC Precision Squad for the Assault at Arms held in Montreal in 1930. This made him doubly proud, for Montreal was his city. He was a product of Westmount Academy. Stephen Cantlie rated him “an outstanding officer who, in my opinion, is capable of commanding a battalion.”206 He had just turned thirty-six when the Black Watch landed in France. His staff college evaluation considered him “pleasant in manner and personality dealing with other officers.”207 This quality, if true, would not be apparent when Mitchell had to deal with his brigadier later that summer. Cantlie’s officers represented Montreal’s elite who were mostly from private schools and McGill. Several were also graduates of Ivy League and Oxbridge universities. Many were prewar friends. Kemp, Bennett and Stuart played together on Bishop’s College School teams. The Adjutant was twenty-five-year-old Campbell Lewis Stuart, better educated than most in that position. A graduate of both Lower Canada College and Bishop’s College School, he attended Gordonstoun School in 1935 with his brother, Okill. Gordonstoun was rather a spartan place designed to make young men tough (Okill once described it as “a Scottish concentration camp”). Their classmate was Philip Mountbatten, the future Duke of Edinburgh. Okill and Prince Philip remained lifelong friends.208 Campbell went on to Oxford and then returned to Canada in 1939 to study law at McGill; his great uncle was chief justice of the Superior Court of Quebec. When war was declared, Campbell Stuart quit the law to join the Black Watch, well aware that he was the great-grandson of Colin Lewis MacIver of the Isle of Lewis, an officer of the original eighteenth-century Black Watch. Later, he briefly served as a staff officer at 2 Canadian Div HQ and was nominated to the Canadian Corps Junior Leaders School in April 1941, where he was rated “Above Average” and caught the notice of Guy Simonds: “The GOC wishes this officer to be commended.”209 Stuart’s staff experience was personally profitable. He married the daughter of a British colonel and organized a Highland wedding, with Black Watch pipers. Okill, a bombardier in an artillery regiment, was his best man: “It drew comment; I had

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just been promoted; Campbell was a captain. I had initially wanted to join the Watch, but our father said no: ‘You are too young and wild. One son in the Watch is enough; my friend Hamie Layne is raising an artillery battery; you can go and join that – I’ll take you down.’ I did. The 14th Field.”210 Both Stuarts went on to serve in Normandy at the same time; Okill declined to become an officer but made a point of visiting his brother at 1 RHC headquarters, once arriving during an O Group. Of course, half the officers were his chums. Black Watch sergeants raised curious eyebrows when a gunner bombardier was heartily welcomed, given tea and later brought into the Officers’ Mess for drinks. Okill also proved a generous best man: “I lent him five pounds for his honeymoon.”211 The Quartermaster Stores were under Captain Jean Lucien Duchastel de Montrouge. He was from Outremont, the elegant suburb on the north-east side of Mount Royal, rivalling the Anglo bastion of Westmount. He was a product of Académie Querbes and Université de Montréal, quietly efficient, and often served in the front trenches. His task was ensuring the battalion was fully equipped and he proved to be “the kind of QM you dream about but seldom see.”212 The battalion’s Support Company was supervised by Captain Valmore Eric Traversy. Having completed Lower Canada College, he became an advertising manager before the war. Stephen Cantlie considered him “an officer of more than usual ability.”213 He lived up to expectation, and though wounded early in the campaign, would return to command 1 RHC while still in his twenties. A (Able) Company was commanded by Major Frederick Philip Griffin – twentysix years old, fit and aggressive. His brother Shirley, well over six feet tall, was the battalion intelligence officer and called Phil (privately) “the little major.” Philip Griffin was five feet eight inches tall, but seemed to grow in stature when he led men into battle.214 The Griffin family was from Vancouver. His brother Bert, a lawyer and an artillery officer, was also serving in Normandy. His sister Eileen volunteered and worked in London in Canadian Army Headquarters. She was fond of Philip: “He wanted to be a scientist and cure mankind.”215 Griffin had served with the 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders and graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC). He joined the Black Watch in November 1939 while completing his post graduate degree in Agricultural Biochemistry at MacDonald College, McGill University, where he was both a research assistant and lecturer in physiological chemistry. Griffin quickly made a name for himself in the Regiment. Private James F Nugent, an American from Bowdoinham, Maine, remembered him clearly: We called him “The Grif.” He was very gung ho – not likeable to start with … Had us running up and down the road every morning. He was pretty well aloof. Some of these

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Canadian officers tried to out-British the British. He had a human side. At the Christmas concert, The Grif would get up and sing “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” And he would stick up for his men.216

Griffin’s evaluation from the Company Commanders Tactical Course (29 June 1943) was impressive: “Rated A+ – Of outstanding ability and knowledge … Suitable for appt as 2 i/c of a bn.” Stuart Cantlie liked his style but thought him impetuous: “an enthusiastic and keen young coy comd who is a good leader but is apt to let his ‘tactical’ enthusiasm influence his judgement.”217 This proved darkly prophetic. B (Bravo) Company was led by a Viking. Major Eric Motzfeldt was Danish. He was an insurance broker with a degree from the University of Copenhagen. He had immigrated to Canada in the 30s and joined the Watch when war was declared, immediately evoking the other Black Watch Dane, Tom Dinesen VC. They both originated in small towns off Jutland. Motzfeldt was equally imposing. A classic Nordic warrior, with piercing blue eyes and thick blond hair, at six-foot-two, he towered over the soldiers. Inevitably, he was referred to by his fellow officers as “the great Dane.” C (Charlie) Company was commanded by another RMC graduate, Major Alan Guy Stevenson, a pleasant and quiet officer, who was considered steady. He was married and a senior executive at Imperial Tobacco. Stevenson was quickly rated “an excellent officer” after being seconded for a brief time as an instructor at the division’s battle school. Their CO wrote back: “Thank you so much for sending Stevenson here.”218 Major George Climie Fraser (called “Pudge” by his best friends, Alan Stevenson and Ronnie Bennett) commanded D (Dog) Company. He had attended Lower Canada College and subsequently became a manager for Greenshields. Fraser was a bold, self-confident officer who motivated soldiers: “The men of his company considered him absolutely fearless and inspiring in battle.”219 The remaining regimental graduates from Royal Military College had been picked to command other Highland battalions or were appointed senior staff officers. Bill Ogilvie, Herb Doucet and Larry Mather were in Italy; Jake Jaquays had previously handed over 2 RHC; Bruce Ritchie was commanding the Algonquins, although he would find his way back to 1 RHC. By 1944, it was clear a pistol and swagger stick were not sufficient to see an officer through combat. Platoon and company commanders were given Sten guns, a cheaply made British submachine gun much inferior to the admired German Schmeiser with a limited range and poor stopping power. Experience made for careful veterans as officers blackened or removed pips and shaved off moustaches; most canny platoon

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leaders soon carried rifles that proved practical for two important reasons: Stens and pistols attracted snipers, and rifles were more accurate with a far longer range. The battalion was considered a snooty band of cocky officers from Westmount and men from the working classes of what seemed like every city in North America. It was partly true. Most of the soldiers were Montrealers (10 percent were French Canadian220) but the Watch also boasted Canadians from every province and even from the Yukon. The Maritimes were especially well represented. There were nearly one hundred Americans, as well as first nation peoples, Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Danes, Irish, English, and Scots – all wearing the kilt and Red Hackle. The battalion’s soldiers, holders of practically every sports championship available in the corps, were thoroughly indoctrinated with all the traditions and swagger of the Regiment. They were, as Cantlie noted nine months earlier, decidedly “Hackle Happy.” Possessed by an extraordinary esprit de corps, the Black Watch considered themselves the best of the Canadian infantry. Generations had marched through the Bleury Street Armoury, and all were inculcated with two simple maxims: the Regiment never retreated, and there was simply nothing the Watch could not do. While the Black Watch may have proven a challenge in garrison, it was a willing charger in battle. The soldiers did whatever was asked of them. This dogged determination to prevail over any opposition was to punish them severely before the month ended. Operations Atlantic and Goodwood, 18 July–21 July “The Best Tank Country West of Paris” Wheat, wheat, everywhere you look, wheat. Private Jack McSorley A Company, 1 RHC It should be noted that on 19 July both the brigade and divisional commander regarded the Black Watch as a well-trained, well-led unit that could be counted on in a vanguard role. Professor Terry Copp221

The mechanized war everyone expected bogged down. Successive Allied armoured assaults were defeated by long range tank fire. Still, General Montgomery was determined to break out of the Normandy bridgehead, preferably on the east which was the British-Canadian side. The area offered the best tank country west of Paris. He had tried before, but Operation Epsom was checked. Montgomery was tactical “Land Commander” and commanded the Commonwealth forces; his American equivalent was General Omar Nelson Bradley. The Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, had no

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battle experience. He was appointed to be the chairman of the board rather than dux bellorum. He deferred (perhaps too much) to Montgomery’s experience and appointed him the operational Mikado in Normandy responsible for Allied strategic gambits. After all, Monty had already defeated the opposing German Commander in North Africa. His opposite number was his old desert foe, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, now commander of the German armies in France. Normandy was their last confrontation. This drama in the wings was much to the annoyance of General Bradley, who had little time for Monty and his exaggerated desert rat style. Bradley’s new allAmerican command, the 12th Army Group, now comprised two robust field forces, including General George Patton’s tank-heavy 3rd Army. He would be ready to strike in late July. Aware that Bradley would likely break through and steal his thunder, Montgomery again practised the Operational Art. His stated goal was to “write down German armour” to the British side of the Allied European beachhead – but he had Paris on his mind. Montgomery ordered an attack to pre-empt Bradley’s offensive. He dubbed it Operation Goodwood. Goodwood was the first strategic offensive after D-Day. It incorporated all the heavy bombers in the RAF, to blast a hole through German defences. Supported by the artillery resources of Dempsey’s 2nd British Army, Montgomery would unleash three fresh British armoured divisions: The Guards Armoured, the 7th “Desert Rats” and the 11th. His goal was to reach the “green fields beyond” that led to Falaise and conceivably, Paris. Joining the attack would be the newly activated 2nd Canadian Corps commanded by Lieutenant General Guy Simonds, whose first action as the commander of the formation, fought in conjunction with Goodwood, would be known as Atlantic. Both the British and Canadians planned to capture the one natural obstacle that blocked the road to Falaise: Verrières Ridge. It is a kidney-shaped prominence that overlooks Caen and runs nearly six miles east-west. The top is a flat plateau, deceptive as it gently crests, then slopes down toward open “tank country.” Despite the term “ridge”, it is a matter of perspective; most approaches find a gentle incline which rises only thirty-seven metres over a distance of twelve hundred metres. Its (barely perceptible) highest point is eighty-eight metres. The ridge was covered with unharvested sections of sugar-beet and wheat. A line of trees marked its centre, and a narrow-gauge railroad crossed its western end. It was overlooked by the bluffs south of Caen and dominated by Hill 112 (west of St-André and across the Orne). It does not appear the least formidable until approached by foot when it suddenly becomes a sizable effort for any infantry. Canadian military history seems dominated by ridges – from Gravenstafel to Observatory Ridge, from Regina Trench to Vimy

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Ridge, and finally, Tilloy Hill. This particular feature would become the Golgotha of the Normandy campaign. Operation Atlantic ordered the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions, supported by the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, to push across the Orne and exploit south. Major General Charles Foulkes’s 2nd Canadian Division was tasked with seizing a crossing and clearing the Vaucelles suburbs. Of its three infantry brigades, 5th CIB was picked to lead the assault and establish a bridgehead. This key mission was assigned to the Black Watch, the first unit in the division to attack the enemy. 1 RHC was ordered to cross the Orne River using eighteen-man-assault boats and secure a foothold at Faubourg de Vaucelles. [See: Appendix D: 1st Battalion RHC 25 July 1944, Normandy for complete Order of Battle] Once B Company had established a bridgehead, C and D would follow and expand. A Company would mop up. Then the Royal Canadian Engineers would start the erection of two tankcarrying bridges. That the whole division was nervous was apparent. On 18 July, there were no less than four Orders Groups (executive conferences) between noon and 2030 hrs: “… the battalion being mortared during three of them.”222 They faced the 272nd Infantry Division, a Wehrmacht formation. It was not considered particularly dangerous by Canadian Intelligence, which proved a perilous generalization. The 272nd was well-trained and well-dug-in. Machine-gun fire from the enemy bank made early reconnaissance difficult. That afternoon, Lieutenant James “Jock” Neil, OC Mortars, armed only with a thick Aberdeen accent, was captured while on recce. His disappearance baffled Support Company. He was later found in a German hospital in Paris, by American troops. H-Hour was set for 2215 hrs, which meant there was still enough light for both the Black Watch and the enemy to see. The approach was over the flat turf of Le Hippodrome, Caen’s race track. The attack went in two companies up – A on the left with Kapok bridging,223 reinforced by thirty-six men from Support Company. B Company was on the right (“three platoons up”), lugging its assault boats across Le Hippodrome’s exposed terrain. D Company was to provide supporting fire from the cover of trees along the river bank, which in this area, was eighteen yards wide and straight as a ruler. A Company was successful. B was shot up: “There were significant casualties.” Major Alan Stevenson later recalled: We had to carry those bloody 18 man assault boats 700 yds across the open … Jerry waited until the lead boat was about 50 yds from the bank and let us have it with LMGs and Mortars … Did you ever see an antelope running wide open? Well, that was Je.224

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B Company quickly took thirty-six casualties, including Lieutenant RE Austin (“dashing, dazzling smile”) who left McGill to serve. He was wounded, continued on, then hit again and killed while enheartening his platoon: “complete disregard for personal safety refused to take cover … walking up and down the river bank … encouraging his men to launch their boats … hit in the stomach … although suffering great pain continued to direct operations from where he was lying … hit for a second time in both legs. He refused to be evacuated.”225 Major Stevenson took a tracer through his left arm and was evacuated. “The men kept on until the casualties made it impossible for those not hit to hold the boats up … One boat gallantly managed to cross the river, though Corporal Watson and his section were killed doing so.”226 Piper John Ross Keay was a talented musician and although not a large man, proved prodigious in combat. He had just been appointed acting Pipe-Major and was the medic attached to battalion tactical HQ. From the very first mortar explosion and machine-gun burst, Private Keay administered first aid, ignoring enemy bombardment and automatic fire until he himself was wounded. Lance Corporal Bruce Ducat, B Company, recalled the assault: There were three boats for the platoon. We got some help from 11 Platoon in the last boat. The officer gave the okay, time to go. We all jumped on our boats and all of a sudden – down come the mortars. And I’m yelling to the guys “Push! Push! Come on you bastards, Push!” I look and I haven’t got one man pushing. They’re all wounded or dead. So I went over to the second boat. Corporal Annett – leaning against a tree. I said “What happened?” He says “They’re all wounded or killed.” He says his boat is full of holes. I say I got the same problem. How about the third boat? “They made it across but it got an explosion. I haven’t seen them since” Well, every man got killed there. And on my boat, most of them got killed.227

Somehow, a few men reached the other side. A Company set up the kapok bridge. As darkness fell, the Black Watch scrambled across and began mopping up Vaucelles. They spent the night conducting fighting patrols and taking out snipers. Morning found them south of the Orne, dug in and now, very much in the war. Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie decided to press on, and, on the evening of 19 July, drove past the bluffs and boldly manoeuvred toward the village of Ifs, just south of Caen’s centre. Ifs overlooked Route Nationale 158 – which crossed Verrières Ridge and continued straight to Falaise, twenty-five miles away. Cantlie attacked by night, clearing out remnants of the 981st Grenadier Regiment. The 272nd Division immediately counterattacked but the Watch held firm. By morning, Ifs was secure.228 The 2nd Canadian Division moved up on the 20th and made ready to capture the Ridge.

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| Chapter 3 Counterattack vs. Counterattack: 21 July, 1 RHC, Operation Atlantic If I may be dramatic for a moment, I say that never have I felt the thrill of battle so deeply or been so proud and full of confidence as when I crossed the Start Line at the head of that happy clean-cut bunch of kids (average age twenty-one). Captain JPW Taylor, writing to his father, to Lieutenant Colonel DH Taylor229 They did it with a straight dollar shot. They just stormed up the bottom of the hill and got to the top and took it. Brigadier JW Megill, recalling the Black Watch attack at Operation Atlantic230

The next day, 21 July, began well. Major General Foulkes pushed two brigades onto Verrières Ridge and appeared to have captured most of it when it began to rain. With the storm came a tempest of mortar and tank fire. The enemy proved to be the 1st SS Panzer Division, simply the best formation in the German Army. The Leibstandarte attacked with its 2nd Pz Battalion (equipped with Pz Mk IV tanks, a fair match for the Sherman) and tore through the Canadian infantry battalions moving across the ridge.231 Two companies of Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, which had reached Verrières village in the centre of the ridge, were over-run. Next, the panzers blitzed the South Saskatchewan and Essex Scottish Battalions – some companies broke: “The enemy forced the South Sasks to withdraw … the Essex Scottish with accompanying tanks retreated through our positions … Our battalion remained firm and was placed under the command of the 6th Bde to counter attack.”232 The 2nd Canadian Infantry Division had its back to the river. The German assault now threatened Ifs, indeed, the entire bridgehead. Unchecked, it would drive the 2nd Canadian Division into the Orne – a disaster in the making. Five miles to the east, Operation Goodwood was completely broken. No breakthrough, no breakout. The smoke of hundreds of burning British tanks smudged the sky; and now it seemed to be the Canadians’ turn. General Simonds reacted immediately. He took over the battle, almost snubbing his divisional commanders. He leaned on Foulkes to restore the situation. The continuing counterattacks by the 272nd and 1st SS Kampfgruppen233 threatened to storm Hill 67 (held by the Calgary Highlanders), recapture Fleury-sur-Orne and cut-off the Camerons in St-André. The acting brigadier, Lieutenant Colonel FA Clift of the South Saskatchewans, had personally reorganized the brigade and ordered the broken units to fall back on 67. General Simonds was concerned about his collapsing right flank for he had lost confidence in the regiments which had retreated. He gave Clift a fifth battalion to place under his command – the Black Watch. They had watched the attack unfold, champing at the bit, but thus far were unused. Cantlie was encouraged by a late-

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night warning order: “We spent the whole morning ready.”234 Prompted by Simonds, Foulkes ordered Brigadier Clift to act. The battalion received “urgent orders for a counterattack – the CO called a hasty O Group.”235 1 RHC’s counterattack was given highest priority. Simonds allotted the medium guns from his AGRA (Army Group Royal Artillery) which were heavy pieces of warmaking not usually available to an infantry battalion. As well, the Black Watch was to be supported by a squadron of Sherman III tanks from a London, Ontario unit, the 6 Canadian Armoured Regiment (CAR), the 1st Hussars, who were part of the supporting 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, commanded by an unaggressive armoured officer, Brigadier RA “Bob” Wyman.236 As Cantlie held his Orders Group, he despatched his Adjutant to marshal the battalion on the Start Line. He arrived to find the companies in position with the RSM looking at his watch. Campbell Stuart then heard the thundering boom of the heavies rolling in from across the river. It was 1800 hrs: “As the company commanders had not arrived by H-Hour, I had the honour of leading the battalion in the attack.”237 They caught up at the dead run. Captain Ron Bennett recalled the Black Watch crossed the Start Line (Map Reference [MR] 0362) at 1805. The battalion advanced two companies up; D on the right, C on the left. The manoeuvre was described by the commander of 6th Brigade as a “classic text book attack”238 – it was. “As we went fwd we saw tremendous fire on the Fus MRs [Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal] with six to eight Panthers in their area.”239 Supported by a “formidable artillery programme [which laid down] a perfect barrage”, the Black Watch “leaned into it as if on manoeuvre”240; by 2000 hrs, they had advanced just over a mile, swept away enemy skirmishers, and shot up advancing SS sections, while the 1st Hussars chased away the panzers: The attack was a story book affair up the slope through grain fields … the only casualties being from one of our guns firing short, which appeared to take down two or three of our men with each salvo. Once on the objective, however, we were subjected to heavy [enemy] artillery fire and suffered a number of casualties.241

The situation was restored in under an hour. The Black Watch dug in on the objective. The Leibstandarte recorded: “Under heavy fire from artillery and tanks [the 1st SS] finally pulled back to their own positions. [Canadian] forces attacked and succeeded in penetrating the area held by 272.”242 Cantlie received kudos from command headquarters. The BW counterattack had re-established a collapsing line; the division averted a panicked retreat, and the corps front was made whole.

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| Chapter 3 The Purgatory of Verrières Ridge 21–24 July 1944 He strolled among the slit trenches with his balmoral and its Red Hackle on his head. Private William Tripp Booth (D-83056), of Major Eric Motzfeldt at Verrières Ridge

The battalion now defended what Black Watch veterans would forever recall as “Hill 67”, the northern glacis of Verrières, confused to this day with another Hill 67 due north of St-André, which regrettably attracts the bulk of modern war studies staff rides. 243 The 1 RHC final position was beside the east-west road/rail junction that connects Tilly-la-Campagne to St-André, and Caen to Fontenay-le-Marmion [see Map] centred about six hundred yards west of Beauvoir Farm (MR 035614). The Black Watch was the only allied battalion on the ridge. Cantlie had simply been ordered to dig in where he had stopped, which proved to be a poor decision by Foulkes: “the enemy enjoyed the almost unique advantage of overlooking the area … both from the front and rear.”244 1 RHC deployed in a square: two companies on the forward slope of the ridge and two behind. “The orders were to hold it at all costs … we found the Essex Scottish, about 83 of them, dead on the hill.”245There were nearly two miles of good tank country between the Watch and the Camerons in St-André, far to their right; the Montrealers were quite alone. The brigade’s 17-pounder anti-tank guns had not gone forward, and Wyman’s tank squadrons hung back. The rest of the 2nd Division, north, on higher ground, were about to experience a ringside view as the Camerons and the Black Watch received the full attention of General Sepp Dietrich’s 1st SS Panzer Korps for the next four days. Cantlie’s front companies laid out hasty mine fields and deepened their trenches. Lieutenant Eric Buch blew out a grotto in the slope for Cantlie to use as a tactical command post. The battalion spent the rest of the week ducking mortar and sniper fire. The sun burned down, and conditions became intolerable: We are disturbed more frequently by the mosquitos in our slit trenches than by the sound of the guns around our position … dominated by the enemy on the higher ground to the south with hull-down tanks. The battalion consolidated with two companies on the forward slope of the rise and two on the reverse slope. The men in the forward companies were under direct observation and had to keep their heads down in their slit trenches.246

The area was overlooked from the west by Hill 112 (2.5 miles away) which was held by the 10th SS Panzer Division and reinforced with Tigers and JagdPanthers.247 The Black Watch trenches were at the extreme range for accurate sniping shots.

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Nevertheless, Bn HQ was soon swamped with reports from soldiers convinced they had been personally singled out every time they lifted their heads: German mortar fire was spasmodic but virtually continuous. When the mortars were not firing as a battery, they were firing searchingly over the orchards and nearby area … If a man’s pack showed for an instant above the grain in the wheat fields, he was at once under MG and mortar fire. The 88mms were used even for sniping at individual men.248

The position was hammered by mortars, artillery and Nebelwerfers (Moaning Minnies); their fire was corrected by German forward observation officers. The Nebelwerfers, like the Soviet Katusha, were the first effective multiple rocket launchers used in the war. They were fired in salvos from mobile launchers, which meant they could be quickly relocated before Canadian or British counter-battery regiments could react. Moaning Minnies varied in size from 150-300 mm. They had a moaning, unnerving signature that reached an ear-splitting crescendo as they approached, thus rattling all soldiers. The four days spent dug-in on the lip of Verrières Ridge (21-24 July) proved to be the deadliest period of shelling the Watch was to endure in Normandy, if not the entire war. Veterans later insisted that as far as The Black Watch was concerned, Operation Atlantic did not end until they abandoned their trenches on Hill 67 at midnight, 24 July. While they held their position, there was no respite. Though most had lost their initial jitters, everyone was feeling the pressure of battle fatigue: You sleep in these trenches; you eat in them – unheated campo rations, tins of sardines or cold stew out of a can, which is thrown to you in a chain-like delivery system from the trench just in back. And the ever-present hardtack and an English chocolate bar that is pretty tasteless. All the time you can’t even think of taking off your boots or washing.249

They were regularly harassed by tanks and artillery during the day and fighting patrols at night. Three separate Kampfgruppen attacks from 9th SS and 2nd Panzer Divisions skirmished around St-Martin-de-Fontenay and St-André-sur-Orne (22–23 July), constantly threatening their flank.250 Once, a large fighting patrol stumbled into their battalion position in the darkness: “Forty jerries had come, some within 10 feet of our slit trenches.”251 A short sharp fight ensued lasting fifteen minutes. 1 RHC casualties were one killed and one wounded, “Fritz lost seventeen killed, four wounded, while twenty–two prisoners were taken.”252 B Company’s Great Dane, Major Motzfeldt, did much to boost the morale of those around the company command post: “He strolled among the slit trenches with his

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balmoral and its Red Hackle on his head.”253 The Adjutant also tried to raise spirits. On the 23rd, he asked Brigadier HA Young to approve a rum ration. Young decided to play hardnosed and tersely pointed out that the weather was fine (although it had rained that morning), and the shelling had been relatively light (ignoring that the battalion was getting clocked by continuous, accurate fire). Captain Stuart took it back anyway, mindful of the 13th CEF’s maxim from the Great War: forgiveness is easier to obtain than permission. But Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie, who would never flout orders, made him return it. Stuart never forgot Young’s decision; it infuriated him even fifty-six years later: “Many of the men never tasted rum again and for most others it would be long delayed.” Stuart recalled that the same afternoon: A man brought up as reinforcement had been posted to a company on the forward slope. He shared a slit trench with a man who was killed soon after but couldn’t be moved out until after dark. He himself was wounded shortly thereafter. He knew the name of the sergeant in charge of his draft, and he recognized me as the officer who had taken him up to the ridge in a carrier. Other than that he knew no-one’s name, nor to what company platoon or section he had been posted. He received no rum.254

The soldiers were tormented by the heat and the smells of decaying cows that seemed everywhere, lying in grotesque positions, legs frozen, stomachs bloated and burst. The scorching sun, persistent flies, limited water supply, compounded by continuous sniping and incessant artillery fire tore at men’s bodies and minds – pushing some to the breaking point. Private Bill Booth, from Miami Beach, never forgot the mix of sound heralding death: “Particularly terrifying were the shells from the 88mm gun with its high muzzle velocity and the flat trajectory of its shells, which came in on us with a shriek and near simultaneous explosion. Mortar bombs by contrast gave some advance notice of their approach.” Booth recalled humming “You are My Sunshine” repeatedly, trying to keep sane under enemy fire. He, survived, and went on to be a professor of English Literature at McGill University. On 21 July, Major George Fraser, OC D Company, was killed by shrapnel as he dug his trench. Sergeant William Markland Molson collapsed from shell shock on 22 July.255 He was evacuated but doggedly returned in August, only to be wounded again in action on 9 September. Molson was a graduate of Bishop’s College School, McGill and POTS. Like his cousins, he joined the Black Watch as an officer. Unlike his kin, Molson resigned his commission and requested service in the ranks as a private.256 It could not have been easy for a former officer in the ranks of the Black Watch, particularly with a last name like his. To his credit, Molson persevered and was promoted to sergeant of a rifle platoon in late 1943. Sergeant Molson’s father, Lieutenant Colonel

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John Henry Molson MBE, had served with the 13th Battalion CEF and was captured for a brief time during The Hundred Days; his uncle Stuart fought at Ypres; his cousins Herbert and Percival Molson fought at Mount Sorrel. Another cousin, Walter Molson, lost an arm at the Canal du Nord.257 Two Molsons saw action during the Second World War in Europe: Hartland flew Hurricanes with the RCAF in the Battle of Britain and two years later, Markland continued a family tradition that had begun at Ypres in 1915.258 Lieutenant Magill and Captain Traversy were wounded when the headquarters of Support Company was wiped out by a direct hit. With Fraser dead and Stevenson and Traversy injured, only two of the five company commanders were left. Captain John Taylor took over C Company. Besides Alex MacLaurin, Taylor was the only Black Watch officer who had previously experienced combat. Taylor was considered “a great guy – you could talk to him down to earth.”259 He had been seconded to the British as a CanLoan officer and served in North Africa with The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in March 1943, surviving “extremely arduous conditions.”260 The six days of Operation Atlantic cost The Black Watch nearly two hundred casualties, thirty-seven of them fatal.261 Verrières Ridge: The Second Battle 25-26 July – Operation Spring Major Griffin came to the conclusion that the honour of the regiment was at stake and ordered the attack to go forward. Captain Campbell Stuart262

Verrières Ridge remained the eastern anchor of the German defence. Save for the Black Watch, the Canadians and the British (who called it by its western spur, Bourguébus Ridge) had been rudely thrown off at the end of the Atlantic/Goodwood offensive. Montgomery was plainly irritated. He had two rivals. The first was German, the second American. On D-Day General (later Field Marshal) Sir Bernard Montgomery commanded the 21st Army Group which meant control of all ground forces in Normandy, including the American First Army and the British Second Army. But by July, US General Omar Bradley also commanded two complete American armies and had transferred over the headquarters of the 12th Army Group. Bradley identified it as “the largest and most powerful United States Army formation ever to take to the field.”263 He, and particularly his impetuous war horse, General George S Patton, were lobbying to take a crack at breaking-out by themselves. Pressed by demands and given Goodwood’s failure, Montgomery, as operational czar, approved a second

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strategic offensive in late July. He would later explain his operational art had always intended to draw the Germans to “his” front. In the new offensive, the emphasis would be placed on the Americans. Bradley carefully planned a colossal assault near the Saint-Lô area (Operation Cobra) at the western end of the bridgehead. Meanwhile, at Caen, Montgomery ordered the 2nd Canadian Corps to strike south in concert with the Americans on the same day, 25 July. The First Canadian Army headquarters become operational 23 July 1944, up to then II Canadian Corps was still a formation within 2nd British Army, under General Miles Dempsey.264 General HDG “Harry” Crerar now commanded the First Canadian Army. His own operation art was essentially to let Simonds do it (though he privately detested him). That was fine with Montgomery, for he in turn privately (at times openly) detested Crerar. But he quite liked the British-Canadian gunner.265 On 7 July, II Canadian Corps had become fully operational and Lieutenant General Guy Simonds was keen to launch his first battle. Montgomery gave him his chance which was to be a memorable one. The Canadians would attack directly into the defence laid out by the Desert Fox himself. This sounds more dramatic than it actually was. Rommel, left with little infantry, was forced to use both panzer and infantry divisions along his front. His tactics were unoriginal – the standard German defence solution of three lines. Furthermore, he was forced to sandwich panzer and infantry into the first belt of defence and then deploy what few reserves he had left. In the Caen sector, this amounted to (initially) two weakened panzer divisions and three independent battalions of Tigers – the only Tigers on the entire western front! The schwerPanzerAbteilungen (heavy tank battalions- schPzAbt) were used like fire-brigades to put out blazes and plug holes as required. However, Rommel was wounded on 17 July when his staff car was strafed by an Allied fighter and he was not in command on 25 July. Field Marshal v. Kluge replaced Rommel the day before Spring was launched.266 Germans Facing Simonds The fields south of Caen were still littered with blackened tank hulls left by General Montgomery’s failed breakout. “Monty” succeeded in one aspect – he attracted the bulk of German armour to the Canadian-British front and away from General Bradley’s sector. By 25 July, the Caen battleground paraded the greatest concentration of SS panzer divisions seen on either front in the war: 1st Leibstandarte, 9th SS Hohenstaufen, 10th SS Frundsberg, 12th SS Hitler Jugend and the two independent SS heavy tank battalions (101st SS and, 102nd SS schPzAbt) armed with the PzKpfw VI Tiger tank, buttressed by a third Wehrmacht heavy tank battalion, the 503rd schPzAbt. This

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was seconded to the 272nd Infantry Division. Its complement included the Tiger II or “King Tiger.”267 In addition, there was a brace of Wehrmacht tank formations: the crack 2nd Panzer Division, plus the weaker 21st Panzer Division which was a rebuilt shadow of the legendary outfit from the old Afrika Korps. As well, Rommel had six infantry divisions of varying quality. Most of this armoured host faced the Canadian Corps. They were supported by a heavy concentration of mortars, Nebelwerfers and all the artillery that Rommel dared spare. Eisenhower was assured “Monty had fattened up the attack.”268 Simonds was allotted two British armoured divisions (Guards Armoured and the 7th Armoured). He intended to use everything he had: the Second and Third Canadian Infantry Divisions, the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and all the artillery resources (British and Canadian) in the Caen sector. Operation Spring was the first all-Canadian offensive of the war and held good prospects [see Map, Operation Spring]. Should Simonds break through, there was nothing between him and Falaise. If his Corps reached Falaise, there was an open road to the Seine. This had the prospect of another Vimy: the conquest of a major ridge that frustrated previous attacks, an eager Corps, and a chance for immortality. In fairness, Simonds argued later he understood his assignment to be “a holding action.”269 Regrettably, the consummate gunner-engineer (all RMC graduates had a certificate in engineering) felt obliged to tinker with the system. Given mere days to create a corps-level attack, Simonds’s virtuosity was not to be buttressed by the formula of preparation that had made Vimy such an acknowledged Canadian success in 1917; i.e. repeated rehearsals, detailed briefings, a series of raids to confirm enemy locations and strongpoints. Further, shocked by the slaughter of armour that highlighted Goodwood, Simonds vowed: “When my turn comes, we will do it at night.”270 This made an already challenging attack unduly complex. The Canadian Corps would storm the ridge on a four-mile-front, each division supported by a paltry portion of tanks. 2nd Canadian Infantry Division (Major General Charles Foulkes) was to secure the Start Line on Verrières prior to H-Hour. For 5th Brigade, the first phase (which had to be accomplished before dawn) was to clear St-André and St-Martin.271 The second phase required the brigade to capture the western crest of Verrières Ridge: May-sur-Orne. On phase three the corps would conquer the entire ridge itself. The main focus was very much on Major General Foulkes who was required to attain complete control of the reverse slope of the ridge, a line that included the villages of Fontenay and Rocquancourt. With success here, Simonds might release his mass of armour (“the 7th [British] Armoured Division would thrust through the centre

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to seize the Cramesnil spur”272). Spring’s exploitation phase would offer what success at Vimy Ridge could not: an armoured blitzkrieg across splendid “tank country” and, with luck and bravado, a dash to Falaise and beyond. Operation Spring was a rushed soupçon of the Operational Art that was planned within three days of Goodwood-Atlantic and designed to be launched in darkness: “H Hr two hours before tank light” (the time when there is sufficient daylight to use a tank’s optical equipment). Based on the massive fire support and innovative tactics, the GOC expected outstanding results. Simonds held no corps orders during Spring.273 Foulkes gave his orders at 1120 hrs on 23 July. The brigadiers’ “conferences” were on 24 July. This gave absolutely no time for detailed reconnaissance, liaison, or serious planning by the battalion commanders who were to do the fighting.274 Planning 5th Brigade’s Portion of Spring We were told it would be a piece of cake. Private Patrick Joseph Sharo, Section Leader, D Company, 1 RHC 25 July 1944275

Spring was a series of frontal attacks conducted by individual battalions. It would be misleading to suggest there were division or brigade variations. The operation was created by Guy Simonds. Brigadier Megill was quick to explain: “You have to remember the real planning was done at corps.”276 The 5th Brigade had been rearranged after Atlantic. Le Régiment de Maisonneuve was temporarily attached to the 6th Brigade while Megill, in addition to the Calgary Highlanders and the Black Watch, inherited The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada from Winnipeg. Interestingly, it was Stuart Cantlie’s father who raised that battalion during the Great War. Thus, the 5th became a bona fide Highland Brigade. Megill was driven by an inflexible time-anchored scheme with little to add to his portion of what Montgomery liked to describe as “the Break-in” battle: The Op to take place in two phases: Ph I: in artificial moonlight – CALG HIGHRS to capture MAY-SUR-ORNE. Completed by first light. Ph II: daylight attack with tanks – RHC to capture FONTENAY LE MARMION277

The plan of attack was straightforward enough. The Start Line would be secured by the Camerons, who were already in St-André, a tiny village beside the Orne, about five hundred metres north-west of St-Martin. Once these villages were made safe, the

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Calgary Highlanders would push through and take May-sur-Orne [See Map]. This would, de facto, secure the second phase Start Line: a dirt road running off the east end of May. To the south, on the reverse slope of the ridge, lay the village of Fontenayle-Marmion, which was the Black Watch objective. Midnight found 1 RHC still entrenched beside the narrow-gauge railroad that connected Ifs to the mine-head at Fontenay-le-Marmion. Had they simply advanced due south, they would have arrived at their objective. However, the corps plan required them to march five hundred yards to the west and then south to St-Martin to await the Calgary Highlanders, who were clearing May-sur-Orne. It was a difference of about one thousand yards – an added burden for infantry carrying battle-order. It is debatable as to which approach was better. The initial phases were conducted at night, and Fontenay was not to be captured until just after dawn.278 Again, it must be noted that while elements of two Canadian infantry divisions were tasked to capture Verrières Ridge in its entirety, in every successive phase across the entire front, the attacks were conducted by battalions who were out of sight of each other and with no mutual support. This would have prompted raised eyebrows in General Currie’s Canadian Corps but in Normandy, it was accepted without comment. No one dared question General Simonds. If there were creative tactics, they were to be conducted at the company or platoon level. The greater aim was to support the strategic requirement: Operation Cobra, the US offensive at Saint-Lô. The plan gambled on tight timings and quick initial success in darkness. Black Watch Planning for Spring On success of Calg Highrs., 1 RHC to take Fontenay-le-Marmion, by-passing May on East. Brigade Orders to 1 RHC, Operation Spring

Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie returned from the 5th Brigade conference, where he briefly met with Major WE Harris, who commanded B Squadron, 6th CAR (1st Hussars), and Captain Gordon Powis, 5th Field Regiment RCA, his senior FOO (forward observation officer), whom he knew well. He immediately called an O Group for the afternoon of 24 July at the battalion’s main HQ in Ifs, approximately two and a half miles north of the BW defensive position. Cantlie issued orders in accordance with the brigade plan: “On success of Calg Highrs, 1 RHC to take Fontenay-le-Marmion; by-passing May on East.” Cantlie conformed to the already established artillery fire plan (“a complicated and extensive fire plan composed of numerous concentrations”279) which included a rolling barrage to lead 1 RHC to its Start Line on Verrières. There was no moon on

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25 July, save for a sliver of waxing crescent. Spring’s H-Hour was 0330. The code name for the initial Start Line was ominous for any Highlander: “Macduff” – with its portentous interplay with woods and hills. Did anyone recall that night Macbeth’s final words?: “Lay on, Macduff, And damn’d be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!” The Black Watch H-Hour for their particular phase was 0530. Although there was a Canadian armoured brigade and two complete British armoured divisions available to Simonds, the armour portioned out to the assaulting battalions of 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions was frugal. This was curious, given that, after three days of hard fighting in the St-André area, the presence of two crack panzer divisions, in addition to the 1st SS LAH, was confirmed. The Black Watch RHC (indeed, the entire 5th Brigade) would make do with the parsimonious allocation of a one tank squadron. The presumption was that the infantry would not manoeuvre until it had reached the reverse slope, in breaking dawn, just after “first tank light.” Artillery support, “based on a timed programme fixed up to including H-Hr but thereafter provisional on success of Phase 2,”280 included a smoke programme to be laid along the western flank to obstruct observation from Hill 112. At the same time, there were impediments. “Start Lines”, like “Form Up Places” (FUP) should be made secure – clear of the enemy, indeed, not under any direct fire. The Calgary Highlanders’ Start Line (St-André, including St-Martin) was to be cleared by the Cameron Highlanders; however, by 23 July, they had been thrown out of St-Martin and were engaged in an arduous struggle to control St-André. They were not winning. The Enemy: The 272nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division A thinner and more gentle version of Erich von Stroheim type of Prussian general, Schack’s irremovable monocle and shaven head portrayed the ruthless, efficient German officer so loved by Hollywood. Cdn Intelligence Officer’s Report on Lieutenant General FA Schack, 2 August 1945281

The German formation that was to inflict the greatest casualties on the brigade, specifically, the Black Watch, was the 272nd Infantry Division. Its commander, Lieutenant General Friedrich-August Schack, was an interesting figure with a degree in theology from Breslau. He joined the cavalry, fought in the Great War, and later became a professional soldier. After Normandy, he would command the German Staff College in Potsdam and serve as GOC of three different corps on the Russian front.282 The final version was monocled, slightly arrogant and almost theatrically Prussian; however, he proved to be competent in tactics and obstinate in defence.283 In a series of battles against the 272nd Division (Ops Atlantic and Spring), the Black Watch lost

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two commanding officers, every company commander, and the vast majority of platoon leaders and sergeants, who had landed in France just seventeen days before.284 The 272nd was one of the three “270” series of infantry divisions raised in late 1943 and sent to France for training. Besides veterans, it was composed of second line replacements and drafts of Osten Truppen -”volunteers” from Eastern Europe and beyond. Canadian interrogation officers did not know what to make of them: “Looks Jap, probably Lapland or Mongol. This div contains a large number of Russians and Poles – none of whom are very happy about being drafted into the German army.”285 The division had spent six months in the Perpignan area near the Spanish Riviera and then entrained for Normandy directly the invasion was reported but finished the journey via a lengthy road-march. The 272nd comprised two infantry regiments, each of three battalions; its artillery and support echelon were horse-drawn.286 Indeed, the bulk of its transport was supplied by its 4,302 horses.287 Canadian troops recorded surprise in July, when they captured a gunner sergeant wearing riding breeches and spurs. Save for getting their hair mussed on the march to Normandy by Allied airstrikes and a bloody nose in Atlantic, the 272nd was quite capable of a stiff defence. During the afternoon/evening of 21 July, Lieutenant General Schack abandoned most of his Orne defences and took over the position heretofore held by Lieutenant General Freiherr von Lütwittz’s 2nd (Vienna) Panzer Division, which had been deployed as reserve behind 272nd, securing St-André, St-Martin and May. Lütwittz handed over his sector and redeployed on the south-east side of Verrières Ridge. Shack, barely catching breath after the Atlantic battles, reorganized his depleted regiments and began to feverishly dig in, preparing for the coming assault. For four days, the 272nd’s regiments were hard at it, creating formidable strongpoints, machine-gun nests, and anti-tank positions, all interconnected by low wire, minefields or both. Gaps were covered by MG42s and in some places, avenues had been cut through the wheat (now almost waist high) to offer better fields of fire. German doctrine permitted mortars to be placed well forward, and pits were positioned to overlook key approaches. Canadian Intelligence identified twenty-five mortar positions along the crest alone. Artillery observers had registered the area, and every machine-gun and anti-tank gun possessed carefully prepared range cards that detailed exact distances to every junction, track, or path. As Campbell Stuart noted later, “the place was taped.”288 The east half of the ridge was the domain of 1st SS Panzer Division. The Leibstandarte would spend Operation Spring fighting 4th Canadian Brigade, specifically The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, at Verrières village, and the North Nova Scotia Highlanders (commanded by a Black Watch officer, Lieutenant Colonel

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Charles Petch) at Tilly-la-Campagne.289 Schack, in deference to his weak state, had been given access to panzer reserves, the most impressive being the 503rd schPzAbt, the only unit in western Europe to be equipped with the virtually impregnable King Tiger – a seventy-ton behemoth protected by 180mm (7.1 inches) of Krupp steel; mounting the long barreled 88mm Kampfwagenkanone 43 L/71 gun that killed any armour at any range at a muzzle velocity of eleven hundred metres per second – the deadliest tank in the world. The 5th Brigade front line faced the seam of the GR 982 and GR 981 (GR: Grenadier Regiments – each comprised of two reduced battalions) one on either side of the main north-south road (D562) leading to May-sur-Orne. These blocked the proposed approach march of both the Calgary Highlanders and the Black Watch. Behind these units, along the crest and reverse slope, holding May and Fontenay, was Schack’s third regiment, GR 980, the equivalent of three weak companies; to its right, was the 272nd’s Fusilier Regiment. They were deployed in platoon-sized strongpoints, supported by anti-tank guns and MG42s. Canadian Intelligence reports, published days before Spring, accurately outlined 272nd dispositions as well as the panzer formations in the area.290 In the rush, these detailed reports may not have filtered down to the brigades in time. On the other hand, if they were received by the RHC Intelligence Officer and passed on to the CO, there was little he could do. Lying in Wait: 9th SS Pz and 2nd Pz Kampfgruppen, Plus the 10th SS Aufklärung Abteilung Formations and sub-units were being constantly moved, and it was difficult to establish an order of battle with any certainty. Captain Shirley Griffin, Black Watch Intelligence Officer291

Even more critical was the information that two German panzer divisions had been positioned in the thick woods to the south of May-sur-Orne. One, the elite 2nd Panzer “Vienna” Division, was well equipped with tank combinations seldom seen in Normandy by late July: Pz IVs, Panthers and the superb Mk IV L/70 Jagdpanzer (low silhouette, turret-less tank destroyer). Though a Wehrmacht formation, the 2nd Panzer was favoured because it was good. The 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen, recently arrived from the Russian Front, was also identified during 22–24 July skirmishes. It included many battle-hardened veterans and was as well-equipped as 2nd Pz Div. These formations fashioned three separate Kampfgruppen (armoured battle groups – a mix of tanks, panzer grenadiers and attached arms) which varied in size from company to regimental strength. After a week of skirmishing against the

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Camerons and the 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment at St-André and St-Martin, they were familiar with the local terrain. The presence of tank-heavy battle groups within a short driving distance of May-sur-Orne was noted by corps headquarters, but not emphasized to the attacking infantry. What Canadian Intelligence did not know was that two days before Spring was launched, General Schack, nervous about the pressure exerted on his front, had requested (and was granted) additional reinforcements: the Aufklärung [Reconnaissance] battalion of the 10th SS Pz Div. The group, now about the strength of three reduced platoons, had moved into the 272nd forward sector and was deployed in the southern outskirts of St-Martin, centred on an industrial area soon to be called “the Factory.”292 This mine-head was easily recognizable by a wrought-iron tower six stories high, which included an elevator. It comprised six large buildings made of corrugated iron, partly damaged by artillery. The elevator connected to a long tunnel that gave access to the iron digs below.293 The Factory was to figure in post-war Black Watch accounts of this battle (“returned personnel believe Germans were hiding in an abandoned mine”294). Although the Factory did not play a major tactical role in the fighting for St-Martin or May, it had a considerable psychological impact. After the campaign, stories began to circulate that Germans had used the tunnels to reinforce strongpoints or to pop up behind Canadian defenders. The complex was decidedly a nuisance but hardly a surprise. It was widely believed the tower had served as a German OP (Observation Post) during their Verrières purgatory circa 21–24 July. A/Captain ES Duffield confirmed that an attempt to knock down the tower by The Black Watch Scout Platoon proved unsuccessful.295 The intended approach to their Start Line was to take the Black Watch directly past the Factory. Its subsequent irritating defence and the cunning reappearance of snipers and machine-gunners (who calmly allowed themselves to be bypassed, then opened fire from rear and flank) may well be attributed to the presence of better-than-average combat veterans from the 10th SS Aufklärung Abteilung. Unfortunately, Canadian Intelligence, despite their most professional gathering of data and thorough identification of enemy units, failed to note the reinforcement of St-Martin. Brigadier Megill was to launch two battalions, one at a time, against a prepared defensive position held by the elements of an infantry division augmented by five panzer and panzer grenadier battalions.296 The Black Watch alone would face, in succession, elements of two battalions in St-André/St-Martin, a second battalion in May and another battalion at the crest, augmented with a troop of annihilating King Tigers. It then would endure consecutive counterattacks by three armoured battle groups.297

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| Chapter 3 Securing the Start Line: Operation Spring, 25 July 1944 – The Calgary Highlanders The night was very dark and full of eerie sounds … [then] artificial movement lights produced by specially placed searchlights in our rear. At present, there is a question as to whether the lights were an advantage or disadvantage. War Diary, Calgary Highlanders, 25 July 1944

Operation Spring began ominously. Brigadier Megill tried to coordinate the first phase with the Camerons but was informed that they had yet to secure the Start Line. They were now commanded by a major. Dismayed, Megill visited them in St-André and discovered they were embroiled in house-to-house fighting. “I sent my G3 and a staff engineer to find me a spot [for brigade tactical HQ] … They saw what they thought would be a good house. Went in and heard German being spoken downstairs.”298 With the Camerons decisively committed, Megill was reduced to two manoeuvre battalions (Calgary Highlanders and Black Watch) and no reserve. He desperately needed Le Régiment de Maisonneuve back. Megill went to see Major General Foulkes. He tried to explain the Camerons were in no condition to take St-André, let alone make safe the Start Line and requested Le Régiment de Maisonneuve be returned to his control: “I’ll put the Maisonneuves in beforehand as a preliminary operation to capture the Start Line.” Foulkes was not convinced: “Oh no, don’t do that; 6th Brigade told me they owned that and they can get it all right.” Megill shot back: “But they don’t. I’ve been there. I’ve talked to them.” Foulkes was adamant: “Well, [Brigadier HA Young, GOC 6th CIB] says they can do it.” 299 The operation was ordered to continue as planned. At H-Hour, Lieutenant Colonel Donald G MacLaughlan, CO Calgary Highlanders, launched his companies into the night. He, however, remained in his Tac HQ, located in an orchard five hundred yards north of the St-André crossroads. He stayed there throughout the operation, listening to his radio and ducking random mortar fire. MacLaughlan was old for an Infantry CO and by late July, tired.300 The Calgary Highlander attack was handled by company commanders (often, lieutenants). In the darkness, their rifle companies soon became lost. Indeed, days after the battle MacLaughlan admitted that the actions of his companies were “still not clear.”301 “Monty’s Moonlight” – Leichenlicht Despite great hopes for the artificial moonlight (or Monty’s Moonlight), created by reflecting low angled searchlights off clouds, results varied: “there was not a lot of light, [but] it was never dark enough so you could not see.”302 The Germans called it

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Leichenlicht (dead man’s light). It was a two-edged sword unless well-rehearsed. It gave the enemy more light with which to shoot and not enough to give the attacker any advantage. Some soldiers thought the effect silhouetted soldiers,303 but most agreed it was somewhat useful: “The moonlight seemed to help us only in keeping direction.”304 Furthermore, the smoke barrage, fired by corps before Phase 2, prevented accurate observation. It was a confusing night, with curious incidents. At one point Palfenier, the Calgary Highlanders’ signals sergeant, assuming it had been cleared, nonchalantly drove to the centre of May to lay telephone cable. He dismounted and walked around the intersection near the church. Sergeant Palfenier had a brief firefight with a couple of Germans (who fled) then casually drove back to MacLaughlan. He reported (much as Captain Duffield would do later) that “May-sur-Orne was absolutely devoid of troops.”305 At 0615, the 5th Brigade HQ received “Gobbo Able” from the Calgary Highlanders. “Gobbo” was the code word for May-sur-Orne. Operation Spring, which was to unfold very much like a Shakespearean tragedy, was staffed at corps headquarters by officers evidently inspired by the Bard.306 Brigadier Megill, and soon the rest of the 2nd Canadian Corps, believed May was in Canadian hands. This impression changed. Megill subsequently admitted: There is no evidence to show they [Calgary H] actually reached the line except the fact that they stated definitely that they were up with the standing barrage and moved back to 026604 [area St-Martin church] where they dug in. The reason for the very long move back is not known, the Company Comd being a casualty.307

Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie, 0500 hrs 25 July On many occasions, Megill expressed to Motzfeldt great admiration for Cantlie as a soldier. Colonel Paul Hutchison308

Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie marched into Operation Spring with nearly four hundred all ranks.309 It was not the battalion that started Operation Atlantic eight days ago. Two of Cantlie’s four rifle companies were led by captains (JPW Taylor, C Company and JPG Kemp, D Company). Captain ER Bennett commanded Support Company in place of Traversy and Lieutenant EJ Neill took over Carrier Platoon. Sergeant GR Hunter led Mortar Platoon, which was deployed in a field north of St-André and Sergeant Barney Benson took over Scout Platoon when A/Captain Stan Duffield was made intelligence officer. This post had been vacated by Phil Griffin’s brother, Captain Shirley Griffin, who was appointed intelligence officer at 5th Brigade headquarters.

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Cantlie’s own headquarters, together with Rear Echelon and Support Company (Mortars, Anti-Tank and Pioneers), did not advance with the rifle companies. They deployed north of St-Martin, with battalion HQ and Echelon in Ifs. The seconded heavy machine-gun section from C Company Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG) and the troop of 17-pdr anti-tank guns (2nd Anti-Tank Regiment) were likely deployed in depth, protecting the mortars that were well behind the St-André crossroads. The Carrier and Pioneer Platoons would figure in the battle at a later stage. A total of two hundred other ranks were designated as Left Out of Battle (LOB).310 RHC received a steady stream of replacements within the last four days. In fact, two new officers and a platoon’s worth of privates arrived the previous night. Cantlie selected four officers LOB: Major TD Anyon, Captain D Cowans, Captain EV Pinkham and Lieutenant DA Law, but decided he needed Duffield and brought him along. The battalion was tired but in good spirits. The Black Watch abandoned its trenches at 0330 hrs and followed the western road to a track near a hedge-line, and turned south: Movement along the road and hedges to the forward assembly area was done in the old snake formation, with D Company as the advance guard … Sporadic mortar fire followed us en route … As we turned off the road onto the track leading south, we began to hit trouble. This was between 0330 and 0400 hrs … east edges of town were high walls and hedges surrounding orchards. Next to these were three or four knocked-out Panther tanks.311

Their vanguard included The Black Watch Intelligence Section: “Three of us from the I Section (Sergeant Fred Janes, Adelaire ‘Dolly’ Lessard, and I [Private Bill Booth]) were to precede the rifle companies to St-André and then, according to our orders, into St-Martin-de-Fontenay to lay white tape marking the forward edge of the forming-up point. The tape was wound on a signals reel.”312 They had expected their assembly area (a safe place to deploy into attack formation) to be secured, if not by the Camerons, then by the Calgary Highlanders, who had preceded them and should now be confirming the BW Start Line. However, St-Martin was not cleared. It was left alone by the Camerons and simply bypassed by the Calgary Highlanders. Moving independently, by companies, the westerners lost their way and were soon involved in nasty firefights, which resulted in the loss of two Calgary Company commanders, from A and B Companies. RHC reached the outskirts of St-Martin at approximately 0400 hrs. The sky was accented by an eerie luminance. Intermittent mortars proved distracting but accurate fire by three machine-guns (hidden in knocked-out Panther hulks) caused casualties and imposed an unfortunate delay. Captain Ron Bennett explained:

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We were fighting in the shadows against a good many Huns – probably about a company in strength … The Huns had weapon slits outside the walls, hedges and dug-outs and scurryholes inside … The posts were almost all MG posts and had to be taken out one at a time.313

They lost a full hour. This was critical vis-à-vis their supporting fire: “the arty programme, which was very heavy and carefully planned, depended on fixed times and would be useless, unless we passed our SL [Start Line] at H plus 120.”314 This appears to have caused Cantlie to reconsider his approach. Brigadier Megill recorded: “Lieutenant Colonel changed the plan for the forming up [place] and decided to move the battalion straight through the main north/south road St-André-sur-Orne and move from there using the check-line at May-sur-Orne as a battalion timing line.”315 St-Martin village proved to be crowded with feisty Germans and befuddled Canadians. Major Eric Motzfeldt, Cantlie’s best company commander, realized the Black Watch had run into the rear of the Calgaries. In actual fact, they bumped into two Calgary Highlander companies that had meandered back in the darkness, one mistaking the St-Martin church steeple for May-sur-Orne.316 The battalion was stretched out along the track between the road and church (MR 026613 to 026607). While waiting for Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie to come up, Motzfeldt ordered his company to dig in and arranged with the other company to do the same. When Cantlie reached the head of the column, his attention was immediately drawn to the area approximately three hundred yards to his front, soon infamous as “the Factory.” They were joined by Captain John Kemp (OC D Company). It was 0530 hrs and still difficult to make out details. Motzfeldt led them to a small dirt mound; as they peered through a break in the hedge, a machine-gun opened up. Most probably it was German, although there were several “friendly fire” incidents between the Calgaries and Black Watch soldiers. Lieutenant Morgandeen, a platoon leader in A Company Calgary Highlanders later reported: “Some of the RHC got shot up by ourselves … we mistook the party for the enemy completely and shot them up.”317 Lieutenant Colonel Cantlie Killed: 0530 hrs 25 July Disaster struck. Cantlie and Motzfeldt were cut down by a hail of bullets. The colonel was coughing blood. He was dying. Motzfeldt had been hit twice in the bladder and lost part of a finger. He leaned over Stuart Cantlie, who whispered his final words: “Carry on Eric.”318 The Regiment had now lost three of its original company leaders and their CO. The next senior officer was Major Phil Griffin, A Company, the last remaining bona fide company commander. The Scout Platoon sergeant recalled that there was “some confusion after the death of the CO, orders and counter-orders were

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given.”319 Brigadier Megill noted: “Command of the battalion devolved initially to the nearest Company Comd, Captain Taylor, and then on the next senior officer of the battalion.”320 Taylor despatched a platoon to deal with the fatal machine-gun. Shortly afterwards, at approximately 0600 hours, Major Frederick Philip Griffin, twenty-six years old, took over the Black Watch. Sergeant Benson noted: “He wanted a confirming recce of May-sur-Orne.”321 Captain ER Bennett summarized the predicament: “Major Griffin’s problem was that the battalion was rather extended. The Coys were still intact and under good control but the threat of dispersion and of possible confusion was near. Light was breaking, and we were under fire from the ridge.”322 Griffin’s first tactical act was to establish a firm base. He directed the battalion to occupy the crossroads between St-André and St-Martin (the initial Start Line) and ordered two rifle companies to clear the town of the enemy. Fire erupted up the street. Shouts. Sten guns. The sound of boots kicking in doors. A growing staccato of fire and the odd grenade. Private Charles Grimwood was bitter at the unexpected task: “We had to fight for this town and lost half the fighting strength of the Company.”323 Subsequently, “a considerable number of prisoners were taken and a number of Germans killed … 1 RHC cleared the houses on both sides of the street and consolidated in the area of the main X rds.”324 However, the area was never completely cleared. Griffin concurrently despatched an officers’ patrol under Acting-Captain ES Duffield to find the remaining Calgary companies and confirm that the BW Start Line was secure. He next sent Captain John Kemp on another patrol to make contact with the Cameron Highlanders, behind him in St-André. Kemp was to ask them to help clear St-Martin. It was late. The BW had missed its H-Hour, and the artillery fire plan had been completed. Griffin was informed they had just made contact with the tank squadron which arrived late and established a quick laager in an orchard north of St-Martin. The Carrier Platoon was detailed to dig-in around the orchard and to protect the tanks from tank-killing patrols that were prowling in the dark.325 Griffin made a quick recce of the St-Martin house-clearing operation. There was shooting all around. He came across Private Jim Nugent, in a ditch with his Bren Gun, holding prisoners. Nugent had heard his company OC had taken command of the battalion: The Grif came up. I said: “Good morning sir. Great morning for a walk, isn’t it?” He chuckled and said, “Yes. Excellent.” His mouth was like a trap. He snapped his words off.326

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Inspecting his perimeter, Major Griffin discovered Lieutenant EA Michon, who commanded the remnants of D Company Calgary Highlanders, dug-in around the church in St-Martin. Michon later admitted they thought they were in May-sur-Orne: “It was not until the whole bn of the RHC showed up there and began to dig in that I realized from talking with them where I was. Major Griffin wanted me to go out and clear the factory area.”327 Michon declined, as they were under intermittent machinegun fire from the area north east of St-Martin church, as well as the Factory: “I told Major Griffin that this was too strong opposition for one coy to clear without arty support or smoke.”328 The Duffield Patrol The Germans did not fire on patrols. Colonel CP Stacey 329 His fire control, even with foreign-born troops must be extraordinarily good. He permitted us to walk all the way through May-sur-Orne where he must have had at least two coys hidden, and held the fire of all these men while we marched through, seeing only one Jerry and one MG42. Sergeant B Benson, Black Watch Scout Platoon

Lieutenant (A/Captain) Ernest Stanley Duffield was a tall, charming officer, bearing a striking resemblance to the future Hollywood actor, Tab Hunter. He was born and educated in England and still retained his accent. He had been an officer in the Victoria Rifles and was part of a contingent sent to 1 RHC in late 1942.330 Duffield was polished, professional and quickly promoted: “An excellent leader who inspires confidence and enthusiasm.”331 Just before Normandy, he was given the prestigious Scout Platoon – specialists who served only the CO. The group included specially selected snipers who were a breed apart. The platoon was reserved for special missions either as recce patrols or attached to designated sub-units as snipers. Duffield’s patrol included Sergeant Barney Benson, the Scout Platoon OC, and one scout. They moved briskly, reaching the crossroads of May within minutes: “Without using the ditches we moved straight down the road walking in the centre as far as the church.”332 As the patrol passed through May’s intersection, they met one German on the road who finally recognized them as the enemy and tried to get away. Sergeant Benson later recalled that: “Although [the enemy] did not fire, Maysur-Orne was completely prepared. The buildings were all carefully sealed up so the doors could not be opened.”333 Duffield’s patrol did not encounter a single Calgary Highlander. He assumed the companies were further south beyond the town. Duffield

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turned left at the main crossroads and approached the fork in the road that marked the BW Start Line: When we were within 50 yds an MG42 opened on us from the corner house. Lieutenant Duffield felt obliged to return at once with this information, so we did not investigate further … Again we walked down the centre of the rd straight back to St-Martin-deFontenay [emphasis added] and reported that the MG42 would be able to fire on the flanks of the battalion as it advanced EAST on its way to Fontenay.334

Duffield decided that the German machine-gun could be taken out by the Scout Platoon. He reported no contact with the Calgaries. However, the presence of a company of Calgary Highlanders is a matter of historical record. They were crouched in the ditches along the main road just short of May’s church at the same time Duffield’s patrol marched boldly up the same highway. How they missed each other is a mystery. Darkness may have had something to do with it, but Duffield walked back along the same route well after 0700 hrs in daylight. Duffield reported that, except for a lone German and the MG42, May-sur-Orne appeared to be empty of Germans.335 How wrong he was. Radio Orders from Above Do you know where the Black Watch Headquarters is? 336

The Black Watch Headquarters, consisting of a couple of tracked carriers crammed with #38 and #18 radio sets, was located near the central St-André/St-Martin crossroads. It was controlled by the adjutant and functioned as a rear link, connecting brigade HQ and Griffin’s Tactical Headquarters, which was in St-Martin and consisted of one light vehicle and signallers. The RHC Rear Echelon was in Ifs, and the remainder of Support Company was above St-André east of the road connecting May to Fleury (Route D562) in hides or deployed in defence. The Mortar Platoon’s baseplates were set up at MR 022614 across from the very orchards which contained Lieutenant Colonel MacLaughlan’s Tac HQ. Brigadier Megill’s own HQ was behind Hill 67 close to Etavaux; he did not establish a forward Tac HQ during Spring. He used his Dingo scout car (a little armoured box) to visit forward battalions. On brigade business, he travelled sometimes with his gunner, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Nighswander, CO 5th Field Regiment: “The gunner’s net was working; mine wasn’t. Half the time the radio wasn’t working.”337 Griffin had contacted brigade HQ and tried to explain the situation facing 1 RHC but received orders “to push on”. The HQ radio chatter became incessant. Throughout

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the morning, Captain Stuart recorded message after message, a gathering storm of demands to press on (“Fetch Sunray – I must see Sunray at once … It is essential you get on immediately”338). Both 2nd Division and 5th Brigade headquarters believed the Calgary Highlanders had at least one company in May.339 To the east, just beyond the centre of the ridge, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry triumphantly reported the capture of Verrières village. In an operation envisaged and driven by the corps commander, the Black Watch was not only very late but under critical examination. “During this period there were two visits from brigade liaison officers [who] did not have a clear understanding of what was going on – or perhaps their visits were merely intended to increase the pressure.”340 Corps kept nudging Foulkes, who harried Megill, who in turn pressed his battalions. “He may have been misled by an erroneous report of Calgary success, but persisted in his position even after the report had been discredited.”341 Exasperating messages, half of them sent ironically by his own brother Shirley, were still being passed on to Griffin, distracting him. Finally, he simply ignored the radio and had Campbell Stuart handle all communications. Clearing St-Martin took longer than anticipated; there were attendant “friendlyfire” incidents with the Calgary Highlanders who were rather jumpy. More insistent brigade directives arrived. At 0647 hrs: “Push on now, speed essential”; finally, at 0715 hrs, and impossible to ignore: “Brig ordered RHC to go ahead.”342 The Black Watch regimental report, written in Montreal after the war, was coldly succinct and postulated an imposed Machiavellian contract: “At this time Major Griffin repeatedly received orders by wireless from Bde that in spite of the SL NOT being secure, 1 RHC MUST proceed with Phase II.”343 Thereupon, Major Griffin called an O Gp and issued orders to proceed with the attack. Major Griffin’s Attack Plan Major Griffin is a brilliant offr of absolutely outstanding courage and ability. His take-over in this strained and ticklish situation was superb. There was no uncertainty in his actions. Major ER Bennett, OC Support Company

According to Bennett, Griffin gave his battle group orders in a sunken corner of the orchard near the St-Martin Church, at about 0745 hrs.344 The battalion’s command structure had changed dramatically. All four of the companies were now led by captains.345 Griffin’s orders were attended by the company commanders designate, and their sergeants-major. Also present were Major Walter Harris MP (B Sqn, 1st Hussars), Captain Gordon Powis (the senior forward observation officer) with his two supporting FOOs, and a sapper corporal from 1 Platoon, 11 Canadian Field Company,

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Royal Canadian Engineers. The engineers were armed with pole charges to blow up enemy strongpoints. Surviving BW senior officers recorded: “The orders were given in great haste.”346 Griffin was compelled to rework Cantlie’s attack. The original scheme took advantage of the mine’s buildings to screen an initial approach and then marched to the Start Line atop Verrières along two bearings: (1) south, and then (2) southeast to Fontenay (see Reference Map). Griffin’s plan, as described in Report 150 (also referred to as “The Hunter Report”), had the battalion form-up well beyond StMartin in a more open area in full view of the ridge. 1 RHC would launch its attack from a field south of the Factory, not the designated Start Line which now became “the brigade Check-Line.” Seemingly, Major Griffin intended to “move directly to the objective on one compass bearing (apx 148o).”347 The battalion would sweep up the ridge following its rolling barrage until it reached the crest; the artillery would lift to pound additional DFs (attack fire plan defensive fire targets348) on both flanks and Fontenay. Then, after a brief pause to shake out while its attending armour formed a fire base on the crest, the battalion would attack into Fontenay-la-Marmion. CSM Charles Bolton (C Company) was present: “The company sergeants-major left directly they understood the attack scheme to prepare their companies; advise platoon sergeants to get ready for move to Start Line. The order of march [was] to come after O Group.”349 Captain Bennett thought it went rather well: “So complete was his [Major Griffin’s] control and so well trained the battalion, that this was done at once and in incredibly good order. All coys in new posns in 20 mins after O Gp.”350 Why Griffin decided to march directly on one compass bearing instead of using May-sur-Orne for cover (which had been part of Cantlie’s plan) prompts debate to this day. Two factors influenced Major Griffin’s final plan. The first was the constant pressure from higher headquarters to hurry. The second was Duffield’s report. It is likely Griffin appreciated that there might be Germans in May but reasoned that they were few in number. Griffin concluded the prudent approach was simply to avoid the town while the best course of action was a rapid advance instead of judicious tactical movement. It was the decision to move directly, instead of opting to manoeuvre, that was the Watch’s undoing.351 The Hunter Report was written post factum under a certain pressure of its own and invites speculation. It describes an imprudent plan that flaunts tactical common sense and is the opposite expected from an officer who repeatedly was commended on advanced courses for his tactical savvy. There remains the possibility that there was a second hasty conference that redirected the battalion’s approach. However, there appears to have been only one formal Battle Group Orders Group.352

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B Squadron, 1st Hussars Infantry and tank co-operation was practically nil during the operation … Captain TE Williamson, B Sqn 6th Armd Regt (1H), KO’d by Panther in May-sur-Orne, 25 July 1944353

The tank squadron supporting the Black Watch was commanded by Major Walter Edward Harris, MP. Harris was a Hussar for less than four weeks. He joined to get war experience. It was certainly unusual to find a sitting Member of Parliament in the front lines and Harris endured the typical drawbacks facing officers who arrived late and tried to meld into a veteran “band of brothers.” His battle captain, JW “Jake” Powell recalled, “He was not an easy person to get to know.”354 Harris, a Liberal, was destined to be Minister of Finance and Prime Minister Louis St Laurent’s heir presumptive. Earlier that morning, just after B Squadron had laagered in an orchard north of St-Martin church (MR 025608), Harris was ordered by Brigadier Megill to go forward into May-sur-Orne to assist the Calgary Highlanders, not the Watch: “it was essential that May should be taken before [emphasis added] the attack on Fontenay was carried out.”355 Harris despatched one troop, which soon reported finding elements of the Calgary Highlanders “in a hollow north of May”356 – something both Duffield and Benson had missed. The troop winkled forward but immediately lost a tank at the crossroads, reportedly to a Panther. This action occurred before Harris attended Griffin’s O Gp. At that Orders Group, Harris confirmed to Griffin (according to his later report to CMHQ historian, Colonel GFC Stanley) that two tank troops would attend the Black Watch in their approach-march by manoeuvring ahead to the May-sur-Orne area “whence they would support the infantry attack by fire from the flank.”357 The tank plan for this attack was the same as intended for the original 0530 hrs attack which had not been delivered. The Hussars intended to manoeuvre to May and pause astride the Black Watch Start Line in broad daylight, establish a fire base, and shoot them into Fontenay-le-Marmion, which could not be seen from this area; but, the tanks likely intended to leap-frog forward with the advancing RHC companies. This was a curious tactical solution as it was clear (certainly to Harris, at least) that May was in German, not Calgary Highlander, hands. Furthermore, the squadron had already lost part of a troop there, bashed up by German tank fire. After the meeting, Harris radioed number 2 and 3 Troops to be prepared to advance toward the ridge at H-Hour (0930). Meantime, he decided to move his squadron headquarters (three Sherman tanks) to the Factory area.

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| Chapter 3 Captain Gordon Powis, The Senior Forward Observation Officer It was decided to refire original fire plan less targets on or behind May-sur-Orne. Captain Gordon Powis, 5th Field Regiment RCA358

There was much discussion in regard to Operation Spring’s artillery support after the war. It should be kept in mind that the Fire Plan for Phase 2 was scheduled to begin at H+ 120 (0530 hrs). The objective, Fontenay-le-Marmion, was in dead ground (unobserved) and was what Gunners called a “predicted shoot.” The Black Watch had reasonable immediate support: 112 guns, ranging from 25-pounders to 5.5-inch mediums. In addition, via Powis along the artillery radio net, and with the authority of the CRA of the Canadian Corps, the Watch had access to 3rd Canadian Division’s artillery, as well as three AGRAs (Army Group Royal Artillery), which were mainly composed of medium and heavy artillery regiments.359 The artillery fire would be coordinated via attached FOO parties. The Black Watch was allotted no less than three. A bright spot in the operation was the senior forward observation officer, Captain Gordon Powis. The markedly handsome officer (“devastating, a real lady killer”360) was yet another graduate of Bishop’s College School. He was on the football team with John Kemp. While studying Commerce at McGill, Powis was a regular visitor to the Bleury Street mess where the junior officers were all mates and played hockey together. The three attending FOO parties included two from his own regiment (5th Field Regiment) while the third was British, from 25th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.361 Their antenna’d tracked vehicles attracted attention. Within twenty minutes most of the Universals (and radios, their raison d’être) were knocked out. The British FOO suffered shell-shock when his carrier was demolished by a direct hit and was given permission to retire. Powis met with Griffin and discussed the artillery fire plan. Although he did not have to remind the Black Watch CO, Powis pointed out that the supporting fire plan was due to be fired. The barrage would begin well before 1 RHC reached their Start Line on top of the ridge, twelve hundred yards away, looming like a menacing grey whale in the breaking light of day. The barrage was intended to advance at a rate of one hundred yards every four minutes. Griffin was nowhere near to starting his attack and ordered Powis to delay or to crank up a new fire plan. Powis did not argue. He had a relaxed confident air that encouraged his bombardiers. Infantry commanders found him easy to work with. For a second time, he reconstituted the original fire support plan, i.e. the old plan with an updated

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schedule.362 Lieutenant Colonel E Nighswander, CO 5th Field Regiment explained: “There was no time to put together a new plan – it’s all quite complex – it was easier to repeat the original one – just change the timings.”363 Since they were made to understand that the Calgaries might be in or near May, artillery fire would drop on the reverse slope and not May itself. The reverse slope of Verrières Ridge was indeed strongly occupied by German defenders but so was May. Major Griffin weighed Duffield’s report.364 He would skirt May, but to be safe he ordered Sergeant Benson to take six scouts to knock out the MG42 near the checkline on the ridge.365 The axis of advance lay open – a panorama of golden wheat. The Factory was now easy to spot: “buildings of corrugated-iron with trolleys suspended from the roof and when the 88mm whizzes thru these roofs and hits the trolleys, there is a tremendous clatter.”366 It was a thorn in the side for the Black Watch, dominating both the designated Assembly Area as well as the intended route to the Start line. Its persistent resistance was not typical of Schack’s 272 Division troops who usually surrendered if outflanked or surrounded; but, Griffin had no way of knowing these were veteran Waffen SS panzer-grenadiers from the Eastern Front. He finally sent off a large platoon to clear the area. They were led by WO2 CW Bolton, who destroyed the elevator “with two sticky bombs – the hoist went down, and twenty-two prisoners were sent to the rear with a sergeant of the Provost Section.”367 Griffin’s Meeting with Brigadier Megill In the circumstances, Major Griffin was of the view that he should not proceed with the assault. Captain Campbell Stuart, adjutant 1 RHC, 25 July 1944

At about 0845 hrs (very late for Spring’s directed schedule, but within the RHC new timings), the battalion began to move south from the general area of the crossroads and St-Martin itself. Suddenly, as the forward companies were already advancing (according to Captain Duffield), Major Griffin was called back to meet his brigadier.368 Megill drove up to confront the Black Watch Officer Commanding. Captain Stuart recalled Griffin was somewhat relieved to be able to report that he had already issued orders but nevertheless, expected a rough ride for being late. Megill later explained he had driven up because he was confused by the radio traffic: The gunner net called for a [new] fire plan to be laid on at 0930 for the Black Watch. I had been [previously] reluctant to go forward … However, this time I decided I must go see the Black Watch … I found Griffin. He was at the front of St-André right opposite May-

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sur-Orne [actually, in the centre of St-Martin]…My recollection is that we were standing under the verandah of a building…It was nice and quiet.”369

Megill recalled being surprised that Griffin had opted to march directly from St-Martin to Fontenay itself: “it seemed a dicey proposition … I said to him that I thought the best idea would be to cancel his attack and instead direct the battalion on May-surOrne.”370 Megill then described trying to talk Griffin out of his plan: And I said: well, who owns May-sur-Orne? Are we in May-sur-Orne? He said: there’s nobody actually holding it. So I said: wouldn’t it be better if we put you into May-sur-Orne? Attack May-sur-Orne and you take over and consolidate in there. And [Major Griffin] said: well, I don’t want to do this, frankly. We got this laid on and we’re all geared up for it and we think we can do it … Well I wasn’t too convinced, but I couldn’t think of anything better.371

This meeting is considered the key to understanding the Regiment’s conduct in this battle. The Adjutant and FOO were not present; however, Brigadier Megill submitted detailed after-action reports and agreed to interviews.372 There are supplementary accounts (most of them surmised). The question centres on Griffin’s intent. The only clue other than Brigadier Megill’s report is a statement made by Griffin’s radioman, Private Gabriel Baynham, who recalled hearing parts of an animated discussion between Griffin and Megill immediately before the attack was launched: “Major Griffin told Brigadier McGill [sic] that he could not take the men through there because he had no support, but the answer was: ‘I’m giving the orders here!’”373

Chapter 4

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944

The Attack After moving down the road leading to the ridge the Black Watch disappeared. It is not clear whether they crossed the ridge or had gone to ground in the wheat fields which covered the area. Lieutenant Colonel JW Powell DSO MC, to Colonel CP Stacey374 But Griffin, brave as a lion, instead ordered them to push on. Brigadier JW Megill375

Considerable time was lost in clearing St-Martin, as well as disappointing liaison with the Calgary and Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders.376 Two of the Watch companies had dispersed and were now in the process of reforming. An experienced sergeantmajor critiqued: “The companies that cleared out the buildings and orchards should have been regrouped before moving to the start line. They had taken many prisoners, and the cleaning out of enemy positions held them up.”377 Captain Ron Bennett, in the only extensive and complete report written immediately after this battle, believed the young major had handled it all with aplomb: “Major Griffin is a brilliant officer of absolutely outstanding courage and ability. His take-over in this strained and ticklish situation was superb. There was no uncertainty in his actions.”378 On the other hand, Bennett was not forward at 0900 hrs; he was in the orchards north of St-Martin with 101

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the Carrier Platoon protecting the tanks. The last time he saw Griffin was during the initial O Group in the orchard. At 0900 hrs Captain RM Leatham, Adjutant of 5 Field Regiment, informed Powis that the fire plan was in progress and that designated supporting shoots for 1 RHC would fall along the battalion’s approach axis as per the pre-planned fire plan serials.379 However, delayed once again, the Black Watch would miss the supporting artillery. Despite the pressure and confusion around him, Griffin made ready to start the attack. Already bedeviled by fleeting time and slow-gathering troops, Griffin was further vexed by the non-appearance of his tank support. Initially, Major Harris had ordered two troops to “proceed in a south-easterly direction under the ridge towards the gap between May-sur-Orne and the high ground to the right of May (i.e. the ridge).” 380 However, as H-Hour approached, Harris’s tanks had difficulty leaving the orchard and getting through St-Martin “owing to narrow and sunken roads.”381 He led his squadron headquarters (SHQ) toward the Factory when it all began to go wrong. His antenna was blown off by a mortar stonk; he was out of communications, and his tanks were nowhere to be seen. Troop Leader Ted Williamson explained: “Lieutenant Kavanagh hit a mine on the main street and we had to find another way around … We lost time pushing our way through brick walls and backyards.”382 Forward, Without Tanks – H Hr 0930 When his tank support failed to arrive at H-Hour, Griffin decided he would not wait. Brave, but impetuous, Griffin opted to go in alone. Lieutenant General Simonds would later consider this tactically reckless.383 The considered opinion by experienced senior officers at the 2nd Canadian Corps was that Griffin’s final scheme of attack was the direct opposite of a coherent doctrinal plan he had over three hours to develop. In fairness to Major Griffin, it should be appreciated that his plan was equivalent to the brigade plan ordered on 23 July and presented by Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Cantlie in his O Group on 24 July. 1st Battalion RHC, Verrières Ridge – Reorganized, 25 July 1944384 The battalion attack was conducted by the four rifle companies, and numbered about 385 Highlanders; despite the final reorganization (circa 0700-0800 25 July), it was still a robust battalion of infantry. The chart below shows the final command state of 1 RHC immediately before crossing the Start Line. The asterisks denote battle casualties 25 July 0300 to midnight.

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 103 Regimental HQ385 A/CO: Major FP Griffin** 2IC: Major FM Mitchell (LOB, Rear HQ) Adj: Captain CL Stuart* RSM: WOI AF Leitch

HQ Company A/Major AL MacLaurin*

Scout and Sniper Platoon Sgt B Benson (with IO, A/Captain ES Duffield* during initial phase of Spring)

Support Company Captain R Bennett; CSM JP Young #3 (Mortar) Pl

#4 (Carrier) Pl

#5 (Anti-Tank) Pl

#6 (Assault Pioneer) Pl

Sgt GR Hunter

Lt EJ Neill**

(A/Capt WA Magill*)386

Lt NEGH Buch*

A Company

B Company

C Company

D Company

OC: Capt IH Louson*

OC: Sgt V Foam**

2IC Unknown*

2IC Unknown*

2IC A/Capt RA McNab*

2IC Lt GS McInnes

CSM Unknown*

CSM CW Bolton*

CSM JE MacDougall

Rifle Platoons

Rifle Platoons

Rifle Platoons

7 PL Lt GS Robinson**

10 Pl Lt AHM Carmichael*

13 Pl Lt JE Martin*

16 Pl Lt WA Magill

8 Pl Lt ARW Cooke**

11 Pl Lt JL McLennan*389

14 Pl Lt WM Wood*

17 Pl Lt EG Notebaert**

9 Pl Lt TK Dorrance**

12 Pl Lt CW McCaw*

15 Pl Lt RA Horwood*

18 Pl Lt RE Tessier**

CSM AF Turnbull

Rifle Platoons

388

OC: Capt JPW Taylor*

387

OC: Capt JPG Kemp*

[*: WIA **: KIA]

The battalion first marched south astride the main macadam (Route D562) then, after passing the Factory, entered a large cabbage field selected as its FUP and Start Line [see Map, MR 024601]. The attack formation was A Company left forward, C Company right, B Company behind A, and D Company behind C.390 Each Company had an attached sniper from the Scout Platoon to engage German snipers; they deployed at the rear of the company and moved from bound to bound, searching for enemy sharpshooters. Vigilance was imperative: “Their snipers were issued with smokeless ammo, hard to locate them.”391 Griffin directed A Company to send a platoon ahead to piquet their check-line at the top of the ridge. Battalion HQ (Griffin, Powis, Duffield and accompanying radio ops and runners), took up a position in depth between, and slightly to the rear of, B and D Companies.

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The tanks arrived just after the Black Watch had marched off. Jake Powell stressed the troops were “a little late reaching the Factory, but this lateness was at most only a matter of minutes.”392 The lead troop commander recounted: “when we arrived at the factory many of the Black Watch wounded were crawling back.”393 The battalion was then about 250 yards south-east and approaching the ridge butte; it was moving astride a curving road which appears on the map east of the factory (MR 026600 to 028593), “suffering very heavily from intense and accurate mortar fire.”394 The companies deployed in ack-ack formation, line ahead: platoon left, platoon right. Corporal James (Jim) Wilkinson, a nineteen-year-old scout attached to Major Kemp’s company, recalled the tactical manoeuvre: “The standard tactic was to leapfrog by sections within the platoon.”395 It had been planned that Gordon Powis was to move with the left forward company; the second forward observation officer from 5th Field Regiment, Lieutenant GA Van Vliet, was to be with one of the companies that followed. The third FOO, the British captain from 25th Field Regiment, RA, was to move with battalion HQ. However, by 0930 hrs, only Powis remained. The remaining FOO carrier would follow up under cover and keep in radio transmitter (R/T) range to ensure a “rear link” to the Guns. Powis refused to use the carrier himself. He dryly noted: It would attract enemy fire against the BW infantry [and] experience showed they were quickly knocked out…Too dangerous, [after] the first two carriers were knocked out by 88s, I told the bombardiers to stay put in cover by the houses.396

Powis advanced on foot accompanied by Gunner GD Elder. He strapped on a No 38 Mk II portable wireless (“man-pack”) radio transceiver; it was now the only connection with his regiment. Major Griffin’s communication was a #18 set, and battalion runners. The unreliability of both radios was legendary. Griffin’s wireless was fixed to his tactical HQ, a jeep. This vehicle was later discovered knocked out about one hundred yards south of the FUP.397 The Hell of Verrières Ridge My war was ten men wide. Corporal, North Nova Scotia Highlanders, recalling combat in Normandy398

On the right, just as they approached the east end of May, C Company’s commander, Captain John Taylor, was wounded. The company was on a “platoon frontage, in open formation, five yards between members, Company HQ behind lead platoon, a platoon

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 105 in reserve.”399 Taylor despatched a platoon to clear out the apple orchards next to the battalion check-line. The Watch took ground in the orthodox style; the company conducted a series of quick attacks from the line of march to take out enemy positions hidden in the copse: “We over-ran two strongpoints.”400 CSM Charles Wilfred Bolton, wounded three times in the European campaigns, including Verrières Ridge, recalled seeing Shermans in action while C Company was fighting through the apple trees: “Two SP 88s were put out of action near a Canadian tank on fire.”401 Bolton had been a mechanic before joining the Watch. He was capable and quickly rose to sergeant and then company sergeant-major (CSM). He was liked by the soldiers, exerting an intelligent mix of discipline and care. Back on Hill 67, where they never did get the Adjutant’s rum, the CSM looked after his boys: “After dark we were relieved to see CSM Bolton arrive in a jeep and accepted a shot of scotch from him.”402 The supporting fire plan had been completed when the Watch was a mile from their check-line. Although the battalion was subjected to medium harassing fire from MGs and mortars, Captain Powis recalled “the advance went well until the whole battalion was about 150 yards from the ridge – when the Germans opened up with everything they had.”403 Sergeant Benson observed the eruption: “German mortars came down on them – they were under heavy fire.”404 Most platoon leaders were cut down in less than twenty minutes. The OC of 14 Platoon, twenty-two-year-old Lieutenant William McKenzie Wood, joined the battalion just forty-eight hours earlier, finding his platoon in the trenches of Hill 67. He was a product of Upper Canada College with a BA in Economics from McGill. He arrived at night: “I never got a chance to know my men.”405 He was hit by machine-gun fire as they approached May and fell into the wheat. The last standing C Company officer, Lieutenant John Edward Martin, was cleaved by shrapnel, losing his leg and most of one hand. Martin was an arresting individual, Lower Canada College and Bishop’s College School graduate, in his final year at McGill Law School, the grandson of Chief Justice John E Martin. He was a star at Bishop’s College, dominating football, track and hockey. When he fell, CSM Bolton took over and organized a series of platoon-sized assaults: “One 88 was destroyed with a 36 grenade and some of the crew were killed and the rest ran out of the oat field [back] toward the crest where the Jerries came from … The duration of C Company’s attack was approximately 20-25 minutes … by 1115 our attack was over.”406 Bolton added: “Those that were left of C Company were captured or managed to crawl back along the slope in the oat field.”407 On the left, B Company was now led by Sergeant Victor Foam who took command directly the two remaining officers were hit, just beyond the Factory. Lieutenant

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Charles Wilkie McCaw was quiet and shy and came from Bedford in the Eastern Townships. A former teacher, he became an investment broker before joining the Watch. He fell almost at the same time as Lieutenant John McLennan and a group of soldiers were shredded by a burst of mortar fire. McLennan was from Vernon BC, moving to Montreal and enlisting in September 1939. His popularity with the men dated from the day of a debilitating forced march when: “he showed great determination, good example on return march when his feet were badly blistered.”408 Sergeant Foam, now the acting company commander, was from the Montreal suburb of Rosemount. He was a crack shot, a champion marksman, but there seemed little to shoot at. Enemy camouflage was superb. “The Germans tended to site MG 42 in corners where hedgerows meet a track or wall [there was] almost certainly an additional MG further down a flank to cover the main one … extraordinarily well-sited for cross-fire … the second MG maintained absolute silence until we put in a serious attempt to take out the MG which is firing.”409 All Foam could do was encourage his dwindling company forward, making tactical rushes through the wheat, trying to keep up with Griffin. He was killed at the top of the ridge. In A Company, Lieutenant Alan Reginald Wynne Robinson, a Selwyn and Bishop’s College School graduate, as well as a family friend of Colonel Blackader, was manoeuvring No. 7 Platoon when he was mowed down by mortar and machinegun fire. He was the tallest man in A Company and always easy to spot. From a Black Watch family, Robinson’s uncle was an officer in the 73rd Battalion CEF and killed near Ypres in 1916. Griffin thought him “a very valuable platoon commander.”410 When Robinson fell, Sergeant Jack Anderson took over. He tried to move his sections by tactical intervals. A Company soldiers recalled: “Our axis of advance was up a hill, bearing to the left all the time.”411 It was now all about training: “You just kneeled down and waited and somebody would get the signal forward and you would get up and go a little bit more.”412 Privates Michael McGarr and Thomas William Maskell described: “Leap-frogging all the time … by bounds of about 15 yards at a time.” The Black Watch attack is often portrayed as a pathetic rush simply to reach the top of the ridge. This is incorrect. Where the companies could fight, they did. They engaged strongpoints and machine-gun nests. It must also be appreciated that as the attack got going, six hundred yards beyond the SL the battalion ran into a counterattack by Battle Group Sterz. The initial phase quickly developed into a running tactical brawl, being battles by companies or individual platoons, sections, even Bren Gun teams, despatched to silence MGs, mortars or single snipers. Private Arthur Williams clearly recalled supporting artillery on the right flank, firing smoke to obstruct observation from Hill 112 and May-sur-Orne, directed by Canadian FOOS

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 107 dug-in back on Hill 67 straddling the D562: “Our own artillery opened heavy fire on the area; this drove the Germans off – no arty support during actual attack; fire came later … the battalion was under good control at the time the attack went in.”413 Private Jack Albert McSorley was dodging through the grain when he was knocked over by a close mortar blast. He had been a silversmith at Birks before he joined. He started up, dazed and tried to run; he noticed Corporal Walter Blount hollering at him and realized he could hear nothing. McSorley yelled back: “I’m deaf!” Blount pulled him to the ground and shouted into his ear: “You’re bleeding!” and put his hand over the wound. “The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital.”414 Blount continued forward, and was captured. The Bren Gun teams fired on the move; the Bren fixed to the shoulder by a sling so the gunner could swing left or right and fire from the hip as he advanced because if one knelt, the grain hid everything. The wheat was waist high, and you’d come to like an intersection of two cleared lanes and there would be MG fire coming in at about knee high. I don’t think they aimed at all. I think they just set up their machine-guns and fired them while they hid in their trenches.415

The companies finally reached the ridge capital. It was a plateau, nine hundred yards across, extending eight hundred yards to a slight crest, then gently dropping away to the west and south onto Fontenay. Private Joseph Deodati thought “The area was similar to a bowl … It was all open ground except that the fields were covered with wheat, two feet high.” L/Corporal Bruce Ducat could not forget the smell of cordite “everywhere – it just stank”; and the constant fear of snipers: “You don’t want to turn your head and talk – snipers [were] looking for anybody that’s giving commands; they looked for the signallers too, carrying radios – anyone showing authority and they’ll pick them off right away.”416 During the first bounds, the companies were in radio contact with Major Griffin until they reached the plateau.417 Private Thomas Maskell was not sure what to do next: “most of our formation was disorganized … many NCOs had been killed and no officers could be seen.”418 The tactical formations were made ragged by mortar fire and machine-gun bursts cutting down great swaths of soldiers: “spread out in battle formation … [but it became] difficult to maintain direction on account of the heavy fire which made the men tend to dodge and therefore change direction from time to time … battalion became considerably dispersed.”419Manoeuvre was limited to short rushes, pausing to catch breath or return fire. The Germans seldom appeared except at very close quarters. Where there was no enemy position to assault, the companies tried to move out of beaten-zones. It was of little use. The entire ridge was one large killing-zone –

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its crown became a Black Watch charnel house. The vast majority of the soldiers fell here. By 1030 hrs, the weather had changed. 25 July was dull, cloudy, with occasional slight thunderstorms and in the afternoon, intermittent rain.420 The battalion, properly deployed, covered an area larger than six football fields in a rectangle. In the centre of the battalion, Captain Stanley Duffield followed Griffin as the enemy fire cut into the Watch, and the latter began to jog to the head of the regiment. Duffield was suddenly staggered by a shell burst and wounded in the hand and wrist. “I was able to crawl back to the start line, getting hit twice more on the way. That wound saved me from being killed with the rest, and it was also lucky I could get back myself or I would still be lying there.”421 Griffin’s radio man was cut down. Gordon Powis kept up, trying to make contact with the guns. When enemy fire began to punish the forward platoons, Griffin rapidly moved through the battalion to its front. John Kemp, who was close by Griffin during this last phase, wrote later: “realizing what the battalion was going to have to get through, he went forward to get to the head of the leading Coys where he became an inspiration to all ranks.”422 When Major Griffin assumed a position at the head of his command, it was decidedly out of place with the advised doctrine. Battalion commanders were expected to scan maps, direct fire and control manoeuvres via radios from their command post; when advancing, they were expected to do so prudently, a tactical bound behind their last company. Indeed, there was no precedent for Griffin’s action even in the Black Watch battles of the Great War. The closest example was Stanley Norsworthy at Regina Trench, or Royal Ewing at Cambrai, each crawling forward to organize shattered companies. This was the first and only occasion in Black Watch history that a commanding officer led the attack from the van and fell at the head of the battalion. It was bravura, Napoleonic stuff, but necessary. Griffin could see no other way to get the BW across the ridge than by personal example, leading from the front. The Supporting Armour The Jerries were bringing terrific small-arms fire to bear on them from high ground on their right flank. Our boys had very little cover and they were taking a terrific beating … We were instantly engaged by enemy fire and our tank went up in flames. Lieutenant William Rawson, Troop Leader, No 3 Troop, B Sqn, 6 Canadian Armd Regt (1H)

The 1st Hussars have been criticised by Black Watch veterans for not supporting the attack. Although few recalled seeing tanks in this battle, B Squadron did conduct a

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 109 series of brief but unsuccessful actions. All of them ended with burning tanks and lost crews. After the war, Major Harris acknowledged the squadron arrived after H-Hour, but emphasized that: “these troops were not more than five minutes late at the most.”423 It was not his lucky day. As he dismounted to liaise with Campbell Stuart, he was shot in the foot by a sniper. “One of the greatest difficulties was lack of communications with the infantry in operations. It inevitably meant jumping out of one’s tank or the infantry climbing up to the turret.”424 The Squadron 2IC, Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) John W “Jake” Powell DSO MC, took over. He was an experienced armoured officer, in action since D-Day, veteran of several skirmishes and survivor of the grand armoured/infantry battle fought by 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade at Le MesnilPatry on 11 June. He had fought the Wehrmacht as well as the 12 SS Hitler Jugend. Powell already wore an MC as he considered his next order. While he did so, the two tank troops rushing to support the Watch, (led by Lieutenants TE Williamson and W Rawson) rattled past the Factory. Williamson later wrote: Captain Jake Powell ordered Lieutenant Bill Rawson and myself to take up fire position south of May in an attempt to help the infantry. Rawson’s troop was wiped out on the left … My troop went through the main street of May drawing some fire from upstairs windows. As my tank passed the last house, it was hit by a Panther twice from 50 yards killing my co-driver and fatally wounding my loading operator … This was my first battle.425

Private Allan D Robson, a piper attached to B Company as a stretcher bearer, had a clear view: I was in the rear of the battalion, taking care of the wounded … We got to a position between St-Martin and May, in a house off the road where a platoon of Calgary was dug in, with two other SB [Stretcher Bearers] from the Calgary, we attended about 40 wounded. The Canadian tanks were beyond the house; the Calgary platoon received orders to retire to the green line at the same time we saw one or two groups the size of a section coming back from the ridge. We sent 50 walking wounded back.426

On the ridge, Lieutenant William Rawson’s four Shermans tore after the BW, machine-gunning the enemy; however, the well-camouflaged positions were almost impossible to identify. As he approached the intended check-line near the crest, he was hit by tank fire from his right. My troop was belting away with machine-guns at anything that looked like a Gerry position … I was lead tank … we were instantly engaged by enemy fire and our tank went

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up in flames (this was about 10:30 am). The remainder of the troop headed for cover on the left flank and I was immediately taken prisoner by a Gerry section that had been concealed under our very noses.427

The Canadian tanks were promptly knocked out as they tried to assume hull-down positions. Throughout the battle, they had no radio contact with the Watch, although there were dozens of soldiers lying wounded beside them or advancing well to their front. Powell sent a third tank troop, his last, into May. It too was shot up. By 1200 hrs, another six tanks were lost. Afterwards, the remaining Hussar tanks withdrew behind the Factory. There were five tanks left; the three troop leader’s tanks were all hit by anti-tank guns or by tanks428, which were in or south of May. To add insult to injury, B Squadron then lost two tanks to friendly airstrikes – rocket attacks by British Typhoons.429 By 1300 hrs, Jake Powell was the only officer left in action. The Black Watch had long since sunk into the bloodied wheat. The actions of B Squadron, though brave, were uncoordinated and late. The frontal attacks up the narrow streets in May were particularly unproductive. When the Watch grumbled after the battle that there was no tank support, they were quite right.430 The armour was sent off in penny-packets to fight brief unsupported engagements, which did nothing for themselves as a squadron, or for the BW attack. This was less the Hussars’ fault than the reticence of Brigadier RA “Bob” Wyman (2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade) or Guy Simonds to use armour in mass. In addition, the Hussars, with Griffin’s command, then ran into a panzer Kampfgruppe in the counterattack. The Whirlwind of Fire: Panzer Counterattack Despite strong fire, scarcely anyone looked for cover. Waves of men rolled steadily forward, even with their visible losses. Lieutenant Peter Prein, HQ Troop, 2nd Panzer Division431 “Stadler, the Tommies have taken Verrières!” General JS Dietrich, 1st SS Pz Korps, telephone to SS Oberführer S Stadler, 9th SS Pz Div, 0930, 25 July 1944432

One of the great misfortunes of Operation Spring is that it overshadows its only tactical success. The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, under Lieutenant Colonel (later Major General) John Rockingham, in a bold night attack threw the 1st SS out of Verrières village (MR 052602). They now held a key position in the middle of the ridge. This daring penetration attracted German attention throughout the day. It

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 111 also excited Canadian Corps Headquarters, which was further buoyed by incorrect reports that May had fallen. This resulted in an almost frenzied insistence that the BW attack immediately because the corps seemed on the brink of the muchanticipated breakthrough. On the other side of the ridge, General August Schack was apprehensive. He lost Etavaux, part of St-André and most of St-Martin. To his immediate front, Maysur-Orne had been attacked by the Calgary Highlanders and there were parts of at least one company in the ditches on its outskirts. Another company was fighting to seize the medieval Chateau near the Orne which would then cut off his left forward regiment in St-André. Now there was a battalion of infantry approaching May. He appealed to the commander of 1st SS Panzer Korps who shared his concern. General Josef “Sepp” Dietrich was Guy Simonds’s opposite number. He found the situation sobering. The 7th Armoured Division, lying in dead ground near Ifs, was identified and clearly preparing to get involved. The newly appointed replacement to Rommel, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, arrived to meet with Dietrich and Schack about the time Griffin was called to converse with Brigadier Megill. Von Kluge (called “der Kluge Hans “ by the General Staff: the clever Hans – a pun), more worried about the Americans at Saint-Lô, left Dietrich to settle his sector and went to check on the progress of US General Omar Bradley whose colossal offensive had created a rupture in the front.433 Dietrich immediately released the 2nd Panzer Division to Schack.434 The warning order already was issued to the dedicated panzer reserve, Kampfgruppe Sterz (3rd Panzer Regiment), lying in the woods south of May, a fifteen minute drive away. Major Sterz’s mission was to counterattack within 272nd divisional boundaries, specifically to correct any situation that threatened control of May-sur-Orne or Verrières Ridge.435 For good measure, General Dietrich instructed his chief of staff, Oberführer Kramer, to have 9th SS Panzer Division counterattack Verrières Ridge as well.436 These orders were issued as the Black Watch had left their Start Line near the Factory. The German armoured juggernaut would, as luck would have it, be launched about the same time that the BW reached the crest of Verrières Ridge. 1 RHC’s approach was detected at once and closely monitored from May-surOrne: We noticed that from St-Martin area a body of infantry of considerable strength – I assume about 300-400 advanced south. This was most impressing and perplexing; the soldiers were marching holding their rifles across their breasts in readiness as if on a drill square.437

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Captain Peter Prein, a signals officer, commanded the vanguard for 2nd Panzer Division of four Pz Mk IVs. It was likely his tanks, not Panthers that knocked out Harris’s first armoured probe into May. The Black Watch advance prompted deadly German reaction; a half-dozen German FOOs were quietly sending fire orders to mortars and gun batteries to release a devastating fire storm. Prein’s confirmation that there were tanks supporting the BW gave the spur to Schack’s counterattack force.438 When 1 RHC reached the plateau area, about eight hundred yards beyond the Factory, as Powis so succinctly put it, “All hell broke loose.” The first German counterattack took place between 1200–1400 hours. KG Sterz was comprised of a half-dozen Jagdpanzer IVs, twelve to fourteen Panthers, and panzer-grenadiers in armoured halftracks.439 The tanks popped the crest and then conducted what soon became a counterattack by fire. Sterz ordered his Panthers into a left hook, while the panzer-grenadiers and JPz IVs lumbered across the ridge from the south-west tearing into the Watch with cannon and machine-guns: “Der Angriff gewann zunächst zügig an Boden, steiß in ein angreifendes kanadisches battalion hinen, das zersprengt würde” [Initially the attack gained ground quickly and struck an attacking Canadian battalion, dispersing it].440 The hammer-and-anvil assault would effectively cut off the battalion, trapping them on the plateau. Piper Robson recalled: “About 2 o’clock Jerry tanks came up from the ridge and fired at the Canadian tanks. They set one on fire and the Canadian tanks retired later – there were many casualties and I started attending to them.441 Most platoons simply went to ground. Private Henry Ewing explained: “We were surrounded and under constant enemy fire – withdrawal was an impossibility … we couldn’t see our targets. We were really pinned down.”442 Lieutenant Geoffrey Summerset Cooke, A Company, who had been educated at Chalmford Hall and Oundle School, and then McGill, and had impressed General Montgomery as an outstanding young officer, crumpled in a blast of tank fire. He was helped back by injured soldiers, only to die of his wounds five days later. Lieutenant Thomas Kelly Dorrance fell soon after Cooke. He was twenty-three, educated at Glebe, then Ottawa and McGill Universities. He transferred from the Stormont Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders to be with the Black Watch. When he was cut down, the platoon sergeant took over, but he too was machine-gunned. A corporal tried to get the platoon forward. They now began to move as separate clusters, still determined to reach Fontenay. The German counterattack moved methodically hammering any knot of riflemen or Bren Gun group that dared return fire.

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 113 As we reached the crest of the hill we got pinned down and the men were very tired; we had been doubling most of the way … With us were two officers, the FOO and a new one who came in the day before [Lt Notebaert]. We had still a lot of ammunition … we could not locate the enemy except tank turrets … The men’s morale was good at the start, but it lowered quite a lot when they realized they had no support from tanks or artillery. None of them backed out though … 443

Lieutenant Edmond Carlier Notebaert, a platoon leader in D Company, was an American from Nashville, Tennessee and educated at St Edmund’s College, Hertfordshire; he also held a degree from Columbia University. He recalled flashes of the battle: “the enemy put in a counterattack from the sides and captured the remainder in the field.”444 Notebaert joined the Black Watch in January 1944. He arrived at 1 RHC on the morning of 24 July and was sent to Kemp’s Company. The next day, he was a prisoner of war. Remarkably, the majority of the battalion was unwavering and tried to follow Griffin, who always remained visible, seemingly invincible, and, despite the madness and slaughter around him, exhilarating. This was watched, with growing wonder, by the enemy. Lieutenant Prein remembered: “It looked like waves of men rolling steadily forward with no signs of panic despite visible losses.”445 Major Phil Griffin and the Black Watch – Into the Bloodied Wheat I only saw Major Griffin in the attack. He was in my light pointing straight ahead all the time. D81804 Private William Proudfoot

Griffin tried to will his men across the ridge. Confronted with a cataclysmal situation, he became larger than life. John Kemp could barely find the words to describe the surreal act: Utterly regardless of his own safety [Griffin] waved and cheered the men on and he himself became the target of many enemy MGs which he ignored. Under the spell of his inspiration the men refused to be stopped and [the] wounded kept going forward to be hit a second and sometimes a third time before going down.446

Captain John Kemp was a twenty-five-year-old Westmounter whose background was Selwyn House and Bishop’s College School. Before joining the Regiment, he had completed third-year engineering at McGill. He still carried the First World War pistol his father (an MC and DSO winner in the Great War447) gave him as he left for

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Europe. Kemp was considered a better than average officer; George Fraser rated him “Outstanding … an example to the men. He has a will of his own and quite a temper but is always very cooperative.” Kemp was aggressive. He had been teammates with Gordon Powis on the Bishop’s College School football team and coached the Black Watch track team – winning the 2nd Canadian Corps Championship! He had a short fuse and suffered no fool gladly. But even he knew they were beaten. Kemp yelled to Griffin “It’s murderous to continue this attack!” Griffin shouted back: “Orders are to attack; the battalion [will] carry on!”448 At this time, Major Griffin was hit and wounded in the arm by artillery splinters – but he shrugged it off. Kemp’s own company was in tatters. Lieutenant Dorrance’s platoon, now led by Sergeant McCallum, struggled to advance through increasingly heavy fire. McCallum was killed and Private Jerome Kelly, from Montpelier, Vermont, tried to rally the group. He fell wounded with yet another half-dozen Highlanders. The remnants of the platoons were now simply dodging from bound to bound. In its final stage, the attack devolved into a determined, desperate charge to reach Fontenayle-Marmion. Captain Powis was unable to make contact with the guns. His radio went dead and there were no working sets within reach. Save for a suicidal dash by battalion runners back to battalion HQ in St-Martin, the BW was cut off. Kemp charged ahead until finally, a tank shell literally cut his legs out from under him. The last thing he heard Major Griffin call as he was knocked out of action was: “Keep going forward men, we can get to the objective!” Private Edgar Clark who was nearby thought he heard Major Griffin shouting “‘Come on fellows! We got them on the run!!’ … My God, he was brave in the attack.” Clark and Kemp crawled to some cover; later that afternoon they were taken prisoner by the Hohenstaufen: “They were the first SS troops I had ever seen.”449 The battalion never broke. There always remained some leadership within platoons (whether by lieutenant or corporal), “but subsequently so many officers and NCOs were killed that there was comparatively little control.”450 The German fire slackened. Lieutenant Prein conceded: The attack faded out there was no one left … it had been sheer butchery … a few Canadian soldiers, mostly wounded, trying to get north … we did not fire on retreating men – we had been too deeply impressed and embarrassed by this sacrifice, gallantry of a battalion … The dominating feeling was let these poor chaps get home.451

On the other side, in front, exhorting the battalion and still holding his rifle, was Philip Griffin. With extraordinary courage, he led sixty men (what was left of the battalion) down the last bound to the objective, Fontenay-le-Marmion. It was completely futile.

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 115 They now faced the most lethal part of Schack’s defence – more machine-gun nests, anti-tank guns, mortars, and even, King Tigers, dug into positions on the reverse slope. Private John Jack, a sniper from Scout Platoon, still on his feet, was whelmed: “[We saw] side view of enemy 88mm guns in position … we saw blockhouses … there were enemy positions camouflaged as haystacks”; and again, “there were Panthers, Tigers and self-propelled guns concealed in hay stacks and opened fire at close range.”452 It was here that they were finally stopped, pinned, and later overrun by the second armoured counterattack, launched by the 9th SS Pz Division.453 Major Griffin Killed: 9th SS Overruns the last of the Black Watch Hierbei hatte der Feind hohe blutige Verluste [The enemy took high bloody casualties] Morgenmeldung, 26.7, PanzerGruppe West454

Inundated by a Niagara of fire, the battalion now lost Griffin. Already wounded in the arm by mortars, he was killed by stepping on a mine.455 One account stated that Griffin, checked with overwhelming fire, ordered a withdrawal: “The last report to come from the battalion was brought back by a Scout at approx 1400 hrs. He stated that Major Griffin had decided it would be necessary to withdraw the battalion and had organized a covering party to do so.”456 Private John MacAulay served as a runner for Major Griffin throughout the attack: “The whole field was under cross-fire from the right and left … coys became disorganized, i.e. small groups going on by themselves … 15 men and Griffin crossed [the crest], remainder had gone to ground or else had become casualties … about one hundred men were taken prisoner.”457 Lance Corporal Ducat: I got completely blown up in the air; my face was blown open. I could feel this arm here, the blood squirting out. And the only thing I could think of was the Lord’s Prayer. I did say it and the bleeding stopped. The next thing I know a German officer came out of the trenches and gave me a swift boot in the ass. He yelled at me and motioned to go; I didn’t move fast enough so I got another swift kick in the ass.458

Clearly, the end had come. Private AL Nadler, a Bren Gunner, was despatched to silence a self-propelled gun, but ran into SS troops: “Jerries merely infiltrated into the various positions and ordered the groups to surrender.” He was cut off: “I could not get back and was soon taken prisoner.”459 Private Bill Proudfoot remembered: “A Jerry officer stood on top of his tank shouting: ‘Come on, all of you, the war is over for you!’”460 Private Alexander Knupp was hit and lay in the wheat near two brothers, the

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Privates Bernard and John McAran: “One of them was wounded and the other stayed behind to help him. We were captured … picked up by SS troops.”461 Wer die Höhe überschreitet ist ein toter Mann The final German counterattack was an amalgamation of Kampfgruppe Meyer and KG Zollhoffer. They launched their assault just before 1700 hrs “with the object of capturing the HKL.”462 Their mission was less the Black Watch than the destruction of 5th Brigade and specifically, the restoration of Spring’s original Start Line (Macduff). The general objective for this battle group assault (Dietrich’s corps level counterstroke) was Beauvoir Farm. As the panzer-heavy KG popped the crest between May and Verrières Village, SS Oberstrumbannführer Otto Meyer (no relation to Kurt Meyer of the 12th SS HitlerJugend) reported he had run into “ein Pakfront” (antitank gun line). It included Canadian tank squadrons from 2 CAB, 17-pdr anti-tank guns, and the British 22nd Armoured Brigade: at least six battalions of Shermans. They knocked 9th SS back on their heels. Meyer, a Ritterkreuz dangling from his neck, was an experienced soldier; his regiment had already destroyed over three hundred Allied tanks. But this day he radioed: “Wer die Höhe überschreitet ist ein toter Mann” [Whoever crosses this ridge is a dead man].463 Sadly, this might serve as an epitaph for the Black Watch that day. Exercising auftragstaktik doctrine, Meyer simply side-slipped west and joined the other 9th SS battle group, KG Zollhoffer. This was the force that blitzed Black Watch survivors still fighting in isolated sectionsized pockets near the poplars, captured Captain John Kemp, and then went on to recapture St-Martin. Captain Gordon Powis – Officer Commanding 1 RHC Major Griffin had been the last Black Watch officer left standing – but not the last officer. Captain Gordon Powis assumed command: “in lieu of Infantry officers, FOO took charge, and advanced up to about thirty-five yards of the enemy positions, but enemy fire became so intense that further advance became impossible.”464 That Gordon Powis took over the Black Watch after Griffin fell was known to only a few surviving soldiers. He made nothing of it after the war. His act would have been regarded as quite natural by most of the Black Watch originals; after all, Powis was a Bishop’s College School Old Boy – practically Black Watch. Verrières Ridge in many ways was a Bishop’s College School battle – from infantry to artillery officers, and even above, in the sky.465 Flying close-support to the battalion was Squadron Leader Hugh Norsworthy DFC, first cousin to the Black

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 117 Watch Norsworthys of Great War fame. Finishing Bishop’s College School, like Hartland Molson, Hugh Norsworthy also joined the RCAF. He flew Hurricanes, then Typhoons, which were ground-attack aircraft armed with tank-busting rockets and much feared by German armour. Canadian squadrons were dubbed “Bombphoons” because they dived on their targets to drop bombs, not rockets. Norsworthy commanded 439 Squadron in Normandy. He may not have been able to discern which group was Black Watch, but nonetheless, it remains a remarkable regimental/Old Boy/Montreal connection.466 He was quarterback and captain of the Bishop’s College School football team. His best friend, before and after the war, was Gordon Powis, and he would name his first son after him. Pinned below the ridge, Powis ordered the men to withdraw to a position protected by a small rise. They were soon surrounded but continued to return fire. Then ORs began reporting ammunition expended. In due course, tanks, followed by infantry, rolled over them and took them prisoner.467 On the ridge plateau, Kemp reported: “20 RHC personnel came back into my view surrounded by Germans and with their hands up, Major Griffin was not amongst them.”468 The saga of the Black Watch assault on Verrières Ridge was over. As far as brigade and division were concerned, the battalion had vanished and, simply disappeared into a maelstrom of fire. The Radio Message Logs dispassionately recorded: “RHC whereabouts unknown.” The conduct of Major Philip Griffin and Captain Gordon Powis was the stuff of DSOs. But Griffin was killed and Powis taken prisoner. His story was unknown until well after the war. The battle, however, was far from over. Holding the Line: Captain Ron Bennett’s Rearguard The battalion had disappeared! This was perhaps the worst moment of my life. Captain Campbell Stuart, adjutant, 1 RHC469

On the west flank, near the outskirts of May, KG Sterz’s attack devolved into a mopping-up operation. The enemy was content to wear down the remains of the battalion and moved in deliberately but gradually to clear the ridge and capture those men who were still alive. As Black Watch soldiers were being rounded up, Sterz pushed cautiously toward the Factory: “About 1500m south of St-Martin the panzergrenadiers dismounted and advanced on foot, supported by some of the Jagdpanzers, which were duelling with some enemy tanks [B Sqn] in St-Martin.”470 In St-Martin, now a hospice for the growing mass of wounded Black Watch, the officer commanding Support Company discovered overflowing first aid posts: suffering soldiers lying on stretchers, in hallways and beside garden walls. They could crawl no further.

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Major Edwin Ronald Bennett was another Bishop’s College School Old Boy. All three Bennetts attended the school. He was twenty-seven years old and over six feet tall. A proficient and dangerous athlete, he liked to punish opponents in football and rugby. Bennett was the nephew of Richard Bedford Bennett, 1st Viscount Bennett, who was the eleventh prime minister of Canada. They were a Maritime family, and Ron would say he was from “Bagtown” (Sackville, NB). He was an accomplished student: McGill Honours BA in Economics and Political Science, in addition to two years at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. His younger brother, Henry Harrison Bennett, joined the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. The Black Watch considered him special: “a well-trained carrier officer and should go far above average … sound judgement and a very pleasant personality.”471 At H-Hour, Bennett was with Ted Neill’s platoon, guarding the tank laager north of St-Martin. He was alarmed when the last troop was called forward. The troop leader knew nothing about the state of the battalion. Bennett decided to go forward himself. Bennett had arrived at the Factory approx 1130 hrs, concerned that there were still some tanks nearby, unaware that Rawson’s and Williamson’s troops had gone forward.472 Dozens of Black Watch wounded were returning through the wheat. He met Sergeant Benson, back from his failed effort to take out the MG42. Bennett was surprised to learn that the battalion “had gone straight from St-Martin to their objective and had bypassed May-sur-Orne.”473 He called up the rest of Support Company: his own headquarters, the Carrier, and the Assault Pioneer Platoons, and organized a defence. Bennett then saw John Taylor being brought in. He was still conscious. When Bennett said he would take the Carrier Platoon forward to help Griffin, Taylor grabbed his arm: Don’t take men up there! The battalion is absolutely pinned down. As soon as they pushed over the crest they were pinned down by MG fire and 88mm. They cannot move and there are too many men there now trying to dig in.474

Taylor’s words were recounted up the line and soon entered Black Watch mythology, but were attributed to Philip Griffin himself. Within weeks, thanks to the Globe & Mail and then Time magazine, they morphed into the immortal command: Send no more reinforcements!475 Captain Bennett took on the task of holding the south-eastern corner of StMartin. He had about thirty men, including quartermaster sergeants as well as cooks and signalmen. Anyone who could carry a rifle came up, including Corporal “Hard Rock” Little, the HQ company clerk. As the day wore on, Bennett was able to

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 119 increase his force to nearly fifty. He had no wireless or phone line. As it turned out, a Black Watch rearguard appeared in two places. The main 5th Brigade rearguard was ordered to defend the crossroads of St-André. It was, for a time, organized by Campbell Stuart standing near St-André with his burning carrier beside him. The forward position was established by Bennett near St-Martin church. It took the brunt of enemy direct fire and defeated a greater number of Germans. The Black Watch rearguard in St-Martin initially comprised four officers: the wounded adjutant, Captain Campbell Stuart; the OC of Support Company, Captain Ron Bennett; the Carrier Platoon OC, Lieutenant Ted Neill; the Pioneer Platoon commander, Lieutenant George Eric Buch. George was yet another Bishop’s College School graduate and a McGill COTC product. He had been an insurance underwriter, and then decided to join the Watch in 1942. Three of them were to be hit by enemy fire before the day was out. Buch was struck by mortar shrapnel. Stuart was hit by artillery yet again. Edward “Ted” John Neill was a delightfully kind, unpretentious officer. He was another strikingly handsome officer with movie star looks. Neill was from Westmount Academy, and acquired his nickname because he had been a Scout and later the Scoutmaster of 2nd Westmount troop. He was a clerk in Imperial Life Insurance when he joined. Ted was almost corny in his attention to duty and detail. “Still inclined to be a Boy Scout – [but] a natural leader.”476 Lieutenant Neill was hit three times, finally cut down by a mortar round. He struggled for three days before dying. Lieutenant Hugh Frederick Pedlar was the BW Signals Officer; his job was to work the radios at the main headquarters which was well to the rear. He should never have been forward of Ifs, let alone St-André. When Pedlar heard there was a rearguard being formed, he came up to help. Pedlar was an efficient, reliable chap from the University of Toronto, who did magnificent work in the maintenance of communications. He originated at the Vimy School of Signals in Kingston and was a “Jimmy” (sigs officer) – not trained as an infantry officer. As the rearguard battle began, he suddenly, and enthusiastically, became a Royal Highlander, and, at StMartin, died a Black Watch officer. Bennett recalled his cobbled-together-force included “only fifteen riflemen, presumably stragglers from the early stages of the attack.” In the end, this eclectic group comprised: “the Carrier Platoon, drivers, cooks, three CSMs, and four CQMSs – about fifty men. Many automatic weapons, especially Brens, including three MG 42s.”477 The bitter fighting was often at close quarters and generally unsupported. The 2nd Pz Div’s attack lost steam around the Factory. Nevertheless, there was no respite. Bennett’s rearguard was next tested by the 9th SS counterattack. Their

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Kampfgruppe picked its way toward the original start line at St-André. Jake Powell’s Shermans outgunned by the well-armoured Jagdpanzers,478 now faced Panthers. They withdrew to the orchards north of the original Start Line, leaving St-Martin to the remnants of the BW. Ron Bennett could not help feeling as if he was the last obstacle between the Germans and Caen.479 At the crossroads, Campbell Stuart wasn’t sure what to do. He decided to drive over to visit the British armour. Stuart intended to convince the commander of the closest unit, the 4th County of London Yeomanry, to go forward and rescue the battalion. He found them near the Watch’s old position, hull-down around Beauvoir Farm. “I climbed on the tracks of a well-positioned tank and banged on the hatch. A head eventually appeared and told me to get the carrier out of there as I would draw fire!” Stuart asked about 1 RHC; the officer “disclaimed any knowledge and promptly closed the hatch.”480 At that point, an 88 opened up and fired two quick rounds; Stuart ran for his carrier. The third one nailed it. The command carrier burst into flames, sending oily plumes of smoke into the sky. He walked back to the crossroads. Since there was no contact with the battalion, Stuart concluded he was the senior BW officer present and would “organize a defensive perimeter with the Calgary Highlanders.”481 He later pointed out: “Command of the Calgary Highlanders had also devolved on their adjutant, Captain (later Lieutenant Colonel) RL Ellis, although he still had about one hundred riflemen. Together we formed a perimeter defence. Smoke was arranged to provide cover for survivors.” Stuart then tried to make contact with Ron Bennett. He was shot at by a sniper. As he tried to dodge this fire, he was hammered by a shell that shattered both legs and his left arm. “By the grace of God, sometime later, two despatch riders came on me.”482 He was taken to the field dressing station in the caves above the Orne. Three days later, he was evacuated to England where his right leg was amputated. Stuart was Mentioned in Despatches, and France decorated him with the Croix de Guerre. After the war, he served in the civil service, retiring as director general, Special Trade Relations in the Department of External Affairs. Shell Alley The Calgaries fell back on the crossroads at St-André. Their CO was a wreck and did not leave his HQ in the orchard. Private Bill Booth recalled finding him in a slit trench: “a very nervous CO of a regiment.” When the Black Watch intelligence section sought direction, he simply replied: “I don’t know what you are to do – do what you want.”483

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 121 Bennett was now alone. Since Bren carriers attracted instant 88 fire, he used a motorcycle to move between St-André and St-Martin, dubbing the road “Shell Alley.” He then liaised with the Calgaries’ acting OC, Major J Muncie; Muncie agreed they would try to hold their parts of St-André and St-Martin while the Camerons tried to wedge in from the North. Bennett returned to find a German counterattack advancing on his position. The Black Watch strongpoint was based on two fortified houses across from StMartin church. Bennett committed himself to hold until the battalion, in one form or another, returned.484 Wounded men continued to crawl out of the wheat, and medics risked enemy fire to help them. The stretcher-bearers returned repeatedly, rescuing men too badly hurt to move any further. The Germans allowed them to recover the wounded: “Jerry may have not been looking but in any case, he did not shoot.”485 Sergeant Robert Duplessis, C Company, lost most of his hand. Eventually, he reached St-Martin. He was bandaged up and sent back on his own. Duplessis recovered and later became a top pistol shot. Sergeant Vernon Blake MM Sergeant Vernon Blake, second-in-command of Carrier Platoon, repeatedly braved mortars and snipers to rescue soldiers. A champion wrestler, he had represented Canada at the 1938 Commonwealth Games and won a silver medal in the Bantam Weight division. His strength and perseverance saved many. Blake was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. In particular, Lieutenant John Martin was fortunate. Blake had the courage to go forward continually. Shocked and left for dead, Martin regained consciousness and, despite a smashed leg and shattered hand, crawled back; Blake found him. He lost his leg but survived, returning to Montreal to his wife and baby. He considered himself one of the lucky few. Many Black Watch casualties were also rescued by an ambulance bearer section from Le Régiment de Maisonneuve. It was commanded by Lieutenant Leo Dallain (RCAMC) who, when he understood a large number of wounded men lay on the battlefield outside his sector south and east of St-André, did not hesitate to go forward even when warned that his chances were slight. His magnificent unconcern for his personal safety and devotion to duty were duly recognized. Lieutenant Dallain was awarded the Military Cross.

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The Last Effort to Reach Griffin: R de Mais Attacks, Evening 25 July Megill tried to fight a brigade battle. Le Régiment de Maisonneuve, taken away during Operation Atlantic, suddenly returned and was ordered to counterattack towards May. A new corps plan was issued at 1730 hrs. It called for assaults on Rocquancourt and May to be made at 1830 and 2100. It was to be supported by the whole of corps artillery to be completed within two hours. Simonds would not give up on Operation Spring. Megill adjusted the attack plan, being the only formation commander to have gone forward to see the terrain. He was taken aback when Major General Foulkes suddenly appeared together with the commander of 6th Brigade. He said the corps commander was furious at the failure. Foulkes was not pleased to discover Megill had changed the R de Mais attack plan. There was a row, and Megill was almost fired. Foulkes took him into an adjoining room: “Are you disobeying my orders?” Megill explained he was better able to choose the line of advance than anyone else. Foulkes had no come-back: “rather hostilely [sic], he agreed.”486 However, the R de Mais assault was a confused effort which, tragically, would be repeated within twelve days by the Watch. At 1900 hrs, 25 July, the Montreal regiment moved up the main road toward May without reconnaissance and seemingly without tactical thought or clear purpose. The 9th SS let them through then opened up, from flanks and rear, while sending two Panthers up the middle. Rather than rescue the Watch, the Montreal regiment was sent reeling; its forward companies were shattered.487 The attack was broken by 2045 hrs. Bennett, once again alone, watched as his front tottered. He sent the redoubtable Sergeant Benson on several missions to make contact with rear headquarters and advise them of his group’s plight. Benson dodged snipers and mortars and somehow made it into St-André. He met with senior officers then grabbed a quick hour of sleep in a handy ditch before returning. The Germans had flanked St-Martin trying to capture Hill 67 hoping to blitz into Fleury-sur-Orne, but had been stopped by Canadian and British anti-tank fire and artillery. The exhausted rearguard spent a rough night taking care of the injured and fighting off enemy probes. They had received over 120 Black Watch wounded through their position; these were men who would either have been left to die or be overrun by attacking Germans. And it still wasn’t over. Private Donald DuPont recalled: “I crawled to the nearest first-aid post … they put me in a cellar; the wounded kept

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 123 coming in all the time … sometime in the afternoon the Germans occupied the town, and I was captured.”488 Command Shake-Up and Finale That evening, Megill ordered MacLaughlan to hand over to his 2IC, Major Vern Stott, and go to the rear for a rest. He was totally out of his depth and physically as well as psychologically spent. Stott was told to organize a defence; however, within hours, both he and another replacement, Major John Campbell, were wounded by shell fire. Command of the Calgaries passed to Captain Ross Ellis.489 In St-Martin, the situation was bleak. Robson described their isolation: We saw Jerries coming up the road – nothing opposing them … We waited all night and took care of the wounded until 2200 hours. We stayed in that place until 1600 hours on the 26th. During the day, Jerry sent troops up to occupy positions that were taken by us the previous day.490

On the morning of 26 July, Megill tried again, ordering the Maisonneuves to relieve Bennett’s rearguard.491 The French Canadian battalion scraped together a weak company and, supported by considerable artillery and air strikes, doggedly moved forward until they found the BW still near the church courtyard that afternoon. Bennett’s men were much relieved. The tattered remnants of 1 RHC then moved north behind Hill 67 for once, out of direct enemy fire. The Calgaries and Camerons also withdrew to Fleury, leaving only Le Régiment de Maisonneuve clinging to StAndré, which they never quite controlled.492 Actually, as far as Lieutenant General Simonds was concerned, Spring was over on the evening of 25 July: “He went to see Army Commander [General Sir Miles Dempsey, GOC 2nd British Army] that evening and told him it was no use to press the attack further.”493 The German counterattack was called off that afternoon. The 5th Pz Armee Kriegstagebuch reported that the old line of resistance was recaptured in an attack by the 9 SS Pz Div which had been joined by weak remnants of the 272 Inf Div. Schack’s own division was a wreck and soon had to be pulled out.494 Although the Germans were critical of Allied attacking technique and their general style, General Schack seems to have been impressed with the stubborn battles for St-André and StMartin. Perhaps he was thinking of Bennett’s rearguard when he wrote: “In defence, he held the captured ground bravely and tenaciously.”495

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As a “killing ground”, the area could have scarcely been better chosen. Assessment of Verrières Ridge, CMHQ, report on Black Watch, 25 July 1944496

The battle lasted almost two days. It was a tragedy in four acts: the bungled start line and the costly clearing of St-Martin; the catastrophic assault resulting in a steady decimation on the Verrières Ridge plateau; Griffin’s dash across the crest; and the last act, Bennett’s rearguard in St-Martin. The first phase lasted from 0330 to 0930 hrs. The assault phase, which began at H-Hour (0930) was defeated by noon; the battalion was savaged as it was pinned to the ridge. The third stage (1200–1300 hrs) was when Griffin led the remnants of the battalion across the crest; the attack was completely over by approx 1600 hrs when the last survivors were rounded up by the Germans. The defence of St-Martin by Bennett’s rearguard began after 1300 on 25 July and continued until the afternoon of 26 July. The tragic result of the entire action was, as Colonel Paul Hutchison bitterly noted in his journal: “In effect, 1 RHC had ceased to exist as a battalion.”497 Perhaps the best critique of the action was given by Brigadier Megill himself: The May-sur-Orne business meant that we finish the day without having gone for the original objective at all … we [should have] settled for May-sur-Orne, which was supposed to be the Calgary Highlanders’ original objective. Now perhaps I should have ordered that right then.498

Conversely, he could have simply ordered the Watch to stand down rather than advance across open country in clear daylight under observation from three sides. However, by doing this, he would have risked the ire of his boss, General Foulkes. That same day, on the other side of Verrières Ridge, Brigadier Ben Cunningham refused to order his brigade to once again attack Tilly, which was defended by the 1st SS LAH. He confronted Major General Rod Keller, GOC 3rd Canadian Division, and was fired, thus ending his career. What the historical right thing is leads to endless philosophical debate and conjecture.499 In a post-war interview, Brigadier Megill stated candidly and critically: It was perfectly clear that the attack should have been called off at a very early stage in the morning – I suggest not later than perhaps 0800 or 0900 hrs. Instead of that, Corps Commander (Simonds) was pressing the Divisional Commander (Foulkes), and he was pressing us to get on with an attack which we knew was almost hopeless. I would like to make it clear that under these circumstances, one does not quit.500

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 125 It is baffling when you consider that the St-André/St-Martin area (not counting the Camerons’ rifle companies in and near St-André) was somehow, at one point, crammed with the equivalent of twelve infantry companies (six German and six Canadian).501 Even if the German troops had been at skeleton strength, it is difficult to imagine that Major Griffin could have managed to secure St-Martin by 0830 hrs. The Camerons, a quarter of a mile away, had not been able to lock up St-André after a four-day slog. The constant enemy fire was accredited to snipers. But it is more likely fire came from hidden machine-gun positions or fortified buildings not clearly identified or further away – specifically across the road west of St-Martin. The cellars of the town, the Factory area, and the area on the north side of May were not completely cleared. Finally, the presence of the 10th SS Recce Battalion around the Factory area and on both sides of the road stretching back to the outskirts of May added considerably to Griffin’s difficulties. As noted, Simonds’s corps was backed up by the 2nd British Army.502 Regarding air support, while visibility was not always good (“On 25 July the sky was overcast and kept the fighter-bombers off”503) suddenly and unpredictably, the air above Verrières would be full of Typhoons, medium bombers and strafing fighters, which would attack then fade away as overcast and low clouds returned. The Norman skies are ever changing.504 When it was possible to fly close-support, there were plenty of air-strikes. The RAF recorded: “1,700 sorties in order to support the attack and to limit the power of the enemy’s counterattacks. Rocket firing Typhoons alone flew over fifty missions in response to the Army’s calls.”505 On 26 July, in clear skies, Squadron Leader Hugh Norsworthy DFC returned to help his school chums, not aware that John Kemp and Gordon Powis were prisoners or that another Bishop’s College School teammate still held out in St-Martin. Bennett, without realizing it was Norsworthy, was delighted as Canadian Typhoons dove in to drive off the Germans.506 Even deadlier was the artillery. The Canadian guns never stopped. Battery after battery rained savage fire onto any reported German position. Major Sterz wrote: “low-flying enemy aircraft rushed down with rockets and guns towards our tanks … the whole terrain was so obscured by thick smoke and fume that orienting became difficult … our own artillery support was by no means noteworthy, contrary to that of the enemy which fired by all tubes.”507 Meantime, squadrons of British and Canadian tanks were jockeying into hulldown positions and engaging the Germans with long-range fire. Although a couple of 9th SS Panthers actually reached Hill 67 (before they were knocked out), the attack degenerated into a series of isolated probes, ending with a less-than-enthusiastic effort on the afternoon of the 26th, which recaptured St-Martin church and restored die Hauptkampflinie – this only after Bennett had withdrawn.

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Nonetheless, the Germans were satisfied with the eastern sector of their front. General Paul Hausser noted that 1SS Pz Korps had “gained a complete defensive victory.”508 Schack was chuffed: “The 272nd Infantry Division … forced to rely alone on the tough resistance of its brave Grenadiers … the enemy breakthrough attempt south of Caen was prevented by timely counterattack by its assembled forces.”509 The Shock of the Lost Battalion: Censorship and The Simonds Critique The action of the Black Watch was most gallant but was tactically unsound in its detailed execution. Lieutenant General GG Simonds All the copies were destroyed, except, by some strange mischance, one. It may still be somewhere in your office. CP Stacey to Sydney Wise, 9 February 1972510

When the news reached Canada, it rocked Montreal, although it took some time for the official statement to reach the city. The unofficial word consisted of disturbing rumours from unknown sources. Ottawa’s reaction to initial press reports that the four rifle companies in the Black Watch had been largely wiped out was to impose strict censorship. Correspondents’ stories, specifically Ralph Allen and Gerald Clark, and Black Watch casualty reports were placed on “the Secret List.” Field censors forwarded all reports and articles to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). The chief censor did not lift the ban until confirmation was received that the next-of-kin had been notified. By this time, public interest shifted to the breakout battles near Falaise in mid-August. Even then, the chief censor had to be assured that headquarters, in creating casualty lists and news stories, would not undertake to release the copy in England at all, but forwarded both stories direct to NDHQ for their release. The Army itself questioned the imposition of such extensive security: “It has rarely proven of advantage in the long run to impose policy censorship … as the situation covered was widely known by the majority of Canadian Forces in France … Why did we try and hide it?”511 The final details created a storm of inquiry. The decimation of the Black Watch, jewel of Canada’s most important city, attracted immediate attention coast-to-coast. For a nation brought up on Currie and Vimy Ridge, this was an intolerable result. It prompted the most exhaustive investigation of any Canadian battle fought, including those of the Great War. The incident stirred the House of Commons, for one of its own members (Major WE Harris MP, of the 1st Hussars) had been wounded.

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 127 Defence Minister JL Ralston felt compelled to stand in Parliament and promise a full enquiry, to be followed by a detailed report. He ordered Lieutenant General JC Murchie, Chief of Staff at CMH [Canadian Military Headquarters] “to prepare a statement to be issued by the minister in connection with the attack of RHC on Fontenay-le-Marmion on 25 July.”512 Rigorous efforts were made to interview survivors; the investigation was to be conducted by CMHQ’s best historians, Colonels CP Stacey and GFC Stanley.513 Canadian Army Headquarters prepared a full report which incorporated an analysis of the Verrières action by Simonds himself. The Army was well aware of the extent of the disaster as it was to the corps commander, even as it unfolded: General Simonds joined General Foulkes in the early morning of 25 July shortly before the Black Watch attack was to start. …we were very close to the Black Watch when they received their worst dose of enemy fire. It was obviously overwhelming. We knew something dreadful had taken place.514

“Report No. 150” was written by Captain Murray Hunter RCA and was an ambitious tactical account. It was, of course, rushed and is missing the evidence of key Canadian officers returning from German PW camps as well as Black Watch survivors in Canadian hospitals.515 However, Stacey (and Simonds) did have access to an official report written by Spring’s survivors. The Motzfeldt Report Report on Battle of St-André and May-sur-Orne 25 July 1944 Despite heated debate, the Regiment made no official statement, except a formal statement created for Colonel CP Stacey by Lieutenant Colonel Eric Motzfeldt with four Black Watch officers, all of whom were present at the battle: Major JPW Taylor, Major JPG Kemp, Captain Campbell Stuart and Major ES Duffield MC. It was written in caucus at the Queen Mary Veterans’ Hospital, Montreal, in December 1945.516 Before release, it was vetted by Brigadier Kenneth Blackader.517 [See Appendix G, Motzfeldt Report, Dec 45] Motzfeldt’s introduction explained the statement “was promised by me to Colonel Stacey … [and included] the brigade Commander’s report and map of the area.”518 The Narrative was careful to point out key points: “Maj Griffin, appreciating that the SL was not clear and that St-Martin was still strongly held by the enemy, decided to clear St-Martin and consolidate in that town temporarily”(para 4); “… Maj Griffin repeatedly received orders by wireless from Bde that in spite of the SL NOT being secure, 1 RHC MUST proceed with Phase III” [emphasis in original] (8); “Arty sp consisting of a series of concs was arranged” (9); 0910 hrs battalion

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moved off and reached SL at 0925 to find Arty sp had NOT materialized and tks had NOT arrived” [emphasis in original] (11). Major JPG Kemp was requested to send his comments directly to Colonel Stacey but delayed and instead contributed to The Motzfeldt Report.519 Interestingly, Kemp submitted a subsequent personal report, written two months after the Motzfeldt Report was submitted (which he signed). In it, Kemp described a 0900 hrs Orders Group at which Griffin reviewed most-recent developments: [Griffin] explained the great difficulties of this attack as May-sur-Orne had to be bypassed, which forced the battalion to move up a draw, both sides and the upper end of which were held by Germans, and also as the Armoured Support had been unable to get through. However, Artillery support was laid on … 520

Kemp made a point of adding: “Major Griffin ordered that the battalion would push through at all costs.”521 Given the nature of the attack, it was an unconventional command. Subsequently, both Stuart and Kemp offered additional comment that differed from the CMHQ version of the battle. Campbell Stuart later argued that, by 0900 hrs 25 July, Major Griffin did not want the attack to proceed. Major John Kemp now believed Griffin indeed had wanted to attack but to advance along the highway into May in order to use the village as cover. The attestations were not volunteered until fifty years after the battle.522 Captain Campbell Stuart, who, as adjutant, monitored the wireless traffic between battalion HQ and brigade, offered a reasoned analysis: The inherent flaw in the brigade orders was immediately apparent. On one hand, the battalion was to attack on success of the Calgary Highlanders. They had not been successful. Indeed, not only was May still in enemy hands but subjecting the Start Line to enfilade machine-gun fire, [and] the Forming-Up area in St-Martin was not secure with the troops coming under sniper fire (or course artillery fire, including 88s and mortars, was constant). In the circumstances, Major Griffin was of the view that he should not proceed with the assault. The Brigadier (Megill) on the other hand, regarded the estimated time of Calgary success as being the time at which the battalion should attack, regardless. (He may have been misled by an erroneous report of Calgary success, but persisted in his position even after the report had been discredited).523

One might be tempted to present this as a Black Watch Balaclava,524 but Griffin’s final decision appears to be his own, made after consulting with his senior FOO, Gordon Powis. Griffin’s plan for attacking Fontenay was straightforward, and delivered at the 0730 Orders Group. Whether he felt the same way at 0900 hrs in daylight, after

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 129 the 1st Hussars had confirmed the Calgary Highlanders had not taken May and with the clear understanding that there were enemy tanks within the town, presents an altogether different prospect. There was a general post-war conviction within the Regiment that Griffin’s decision to march directly to Fontenay was forced upon him. The Black Watch saw the brigade commander as the culprit. The Canadian Army (specifically, Lieutenant General GG Simonds) reached an entirely different conclusion. Operation Spring became the most investigated battle of the war – personally ordered by the Minister of Defence. The inquiry, led by Colonel Stacey, included riveting statements from dozens of Black Watch interviews. The draft was read by Lieutenant General Guy Simonds “who thought it desirable to put on record for historical purposes certain additional points concerning this operation.”525 The report, therefore, included an apologia pro vita sua by the corps commander. When we consider that Guy Simonds’s Memo (“Attack by RHC Operation Spring”, January 1946) was written in the euphoria of an Allied victory, a full year and a half after the Verrières battle, the tone and the conclusion is surprising. It is brusque and accusatory. Where some sort of culpability or even atonement was anticipated, the opposite occurred: Simonds blamed the Black Watch for its own destruction. The report listed seven causes for the attack’s failure: experience, enemy strength, tempo, failure to secure Start Line, ground, lack of armour support and failure of communications. It notes, with almost papal authority: “No amount of training can compensate for actual battle experience.”526 Simonds then added other cardinal sins: lack of following support fire, patrols, and mopping up. This ignores orders instigated by Corps HQ which did not allow Major Griffin time to secure St-Martin properly, although not his assigned task but critical to the operation. These aspects of the battle, as well as the analytic report, created bitterness at Army Headquarters and led to the order that parts of Report 150 be excised. Simonds’s thesis was that Spring’s debacle and catastrophic losses were “due to a series of mistakes and errors of judgment in minor tactics.”527 His points (“Non observance of some or all the above tactical measures”) were self-evident. However, some of his conclusions begged retort. These included: “failure to secure Start Line; closely follow arty supporting fire; mopping up; detailed search of ground [and] quick estb of a firm base to meet the inevitable c/atk.”528 He concluded with a eulogy that was both hollow and a slap-in-the-face to the Regiment, specifically Major Griffin: It has been a source of deep regret to me that a fine battalion like the Black Watch suffered so heavily in this attack … I consider that the losses were unnecessarily heavy and the results achieved disappointing. Such heavy losses were not inherent in the plan nor in its

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intended execution. The action of the Black Watch was most gallant but was tactically unsound in its detailed execution.529

The Simonds memo might have prompted vitriolic and certainly passionate rebuttal from key Black Watch officers, several of whom were capable of presenting counter arguments. However, the memo was never seen. It was ordered “extracted and destroyed” after it “led to bitterness between Generals Foulkes and Simonds … and they agreed between them that the draft report should be destroyed.”530 Its miraculous survival was due in large part to the obligation to historical truth by Colonel Charles P Stacey, arguably, Canada’s foremost military historian: “He kept records as sacred to his profession and art … Stacey was not hired as a press agent for anyone.”531 During this time Stacey was Director of the Historical Section of the General Staff in NDHQ. The Simonds memo was filed in his papers, then later placed in LAC archives available to those interested, but of course virtually unknown. It was discussed publicly for the first time in Globe & Mail editorials following a 1992 Senate inquiry into a CBC and National Film Board documentary.532 If, as Simonds maintained, Griffin was responsible for his assault from the outset, it was indeed a reckless example of battalion tactics. However, if the cause for this rushed and unsupported daylight advance can be traced back to brigade (Private Baynham re Megill vs. Griffin: “I’m giving the orders here!’“533), and properly, Corps HQ, the General’s harsh judgement may well have to be reconsidered. General Montgomery put the blame for the failure of Spring squarely on the shoulders of the inexperienced Charles Foulkes’ 2nd Cdn Div.534 The Question of Griffin’s Victoria Cross “And all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.” John Bunyan. Inscribed on Major Philip Griffin’s tombstone, as directed by his family. Here dead we lie Because we did not choose To live and shame the land From which we sprung. Life, to be sure, Is nothing much to lose, But young men think it is, And we were young. AE Houseman

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy.” At first, the Regiment hoped that like Powis, Notebaert, Kemp,

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 131 and Philip Griffin would turn up in a German field hospital or PW camp.535 This was shattered when the Canadian Corps finally captured Verrières Ridge and the ground was examined on 10 August. Major Griffin’s body was found lying amongst his men, all still unburied in the depredation of war. The Black Watch insisted Griffin be considered for an immediate Victoria Cross. His brigadier deliberated over the recommendation. In subsequent correspondence, Brigadier Megill wrote: From the information available both then and since I was and am convinced that Major Griffin’s actions were of the highest traditions of the Service. Had he lived he would undoubtedly have been recommended for the Distinguished Service Order. As this award may not be granted posthumously he was recommended by me to be Mentioned in Despatches, which was the only possible alternative.536

Major General Charles Foulkes concurred with Megill’s remarks. The question of Major Griffin’s VC eventually reached the desk of General Harry Crerar, GOC First Canadian Army, where all such matters stopped: “The Army Comd states he agrees with the remarks and findings of the various comds concerned.”537 Megill was correct, if somewhat mean-spirited. By 1944, the rules for awarding the DSO were seen as general guidelines, rather than exacting limitations. By rejecting the VC as an option for Major Griffin (this was a failed attack, the battle a disaster), and then, applying the strictest interpretation to DSO qualifications, he was relegating Philip Griffin to the lowest military award. The Military Cross, the only other alternative (granted in recognition of “an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy”), also carried the clause “not to be awarded posthumously.” All of this seemed somewhat contrived to Griffin’s supporters.538 Major Griffin would only be nominated for a Mentioned in Despatches, which he subsequently was awarded.539 Captains Gordon Powis and Ron Bennett were not recommended for gallantry awards. The more likely reason is that anyone in a position to report on their actions was either dead or German.540 The Apotheosis of the Regiment I still have nightmares of that horrible and disastrous day. I still remember my friend’s faces today, who were killed that day. D81792 Private John Jack, Sniper, attached to D Company541

The Black Watch casualties on Verrières were the heaviest suffered by a Canadian battalion since the Royal Newfoundland Regiment attacked Beaumont-Hamel on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. From Operation Atlantic to the end

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of the Normandy Campaign, the Black Watch took 48 percent of the 5th Brigade’s total fatalities; the Calgary Highlanders absorbed 33 percent; and Le Régiment de Maisonneuve took the rest (19 percent). The Regiment never quite recovered from the debacle which occurred on 25 July. When Canadian troops finally captured Verrières Ridge on 8–9 August, they were confronted by a macabre sight; ninety-five bodies of the Black Watch were found, scattered along the axis of advance in a manner that testified to the resolution with which the attack had been pressed. An analysis of BW fatalities during the assault confirmed three distinct battle areas. The initial approach march (from Factory to plateau) accounted for 25 percent of RHC casualties. The “plateau to crest” section, where the mass of the battalion was pinned down, then counterattacked, bore the greatest number of fatalities: 61 percent. The reverse slope, where Major Griffin and Captain Powis led about sixty all ranks toward Fontenay, yielded fifteen bodies, including Major Griffin.542 A study of NDHQ records and Black Watch Part II Orders confirms 329 all ranks were lost during Operation Spring (killed, wounded, and missing). Of the eighty-five prisoners of war, a dozen escaped internment in PW camps in Germany while being treated in hospital. Many Black Watch prisoners (Captain John Kemp, for example) were liberated within a month. The armoured divisions of General Patton’s fastmoving 3rd Army quickly overran German rear areas and field hospitals, capturing Rennes, LeMans and Alençon in rapid succession. Paris was liberated on 19 August, freeing more German hospitals and prisons about the time 2nd Canadian Corps was clearing the Falaise Gap.543 The Black Watch’s report on Operation Spring stated that while better than three hundred officers and men committed to the attack not more than fifteen succeeded in returning to the lines. The battle virtually destroyed 1 RHC command structure: eighteen warrant officers and sergeants were lost (eleven killed; seven wounded). This meant almost 100 percent of the senior NCOs in the rifle companies, the fighting edge of the battalion, were gone. Of the twenty-seven officers who crossed the Start Line or fought with the rearguard, twenty-five were killed or wounded (92 percent). Only Captain Bennett and Lieutenant GS McInnes escaped without serious injury. Over 88 percent of the Rifle Companies’ soldiers were killed, or wounded or taken prisoner.544 The official Canadian history noted, “Except for the Dieppe operation, there is no other instance in the Second World War where a Canadian battalion had so many casualties in a single day.”545 It was a confused battle. In the Bretteville cemetery, for instance, there are a number of soldiers who arrived as replacements to the Black Watch just prior to 25

Normandy – The Black Watch Assaults Verrières Ridge, 25 July 1944 | 133 July and who mistakenly lie under headstones to their previous units.546 Such is the chaos of war. Nothing less than the heart of the battalion had been torn out. And yet, its spirit lived on. To rebuild 1 RHC would require a Herculean effort and time. It was suggested that the heavy casualties were caused by the Regiment’s insistence on sheer bravery and regimental pride. Minister of Defence Douglas Charles Abbott stated: “In the face of this extraordinarily destructive fire, which might well have daunted much more experienced troops, the Black Watch advanced with unwavering determination.”547 But in fact, that was what the Regiment did. At Fabeck Graben, the Regina Trench, The Hundred Days, and at Tilloy Hill – Verrières Ridge was yet another time when the Black Watch, seemingly destroyed, refused to die or abandon its brothers. They simply would not run! It was in their blood since Ypres. The battle was not regarded as a disaster, but as a triumphant display of Highland gallantry. Though it achieved nothing, it showed a heroic temper, and without a heroic temper, an army is worth very little.548

Chapter 5

France, Holland and the Scheldt August to December 1944

Rebuilding the Battalion – August 1944: Once More into the Breach … If you wanted to survive, you made friends quick. Private (later Major) Stanley Matulis

Colonel Paul Hutchison’s worst fears were realized. Despite his best efforts, the neatly packaged red hackled platoons that left Montreal were thrown into a large replacement pool, to be siphoned off as CMHQ saw fit. The Regiment, having recruited and trained hundreds of Highlanders for its own active battalions, now saw them scattered throughout different units of the army. Worse still, its one remaining field battalion, slashed to the bone by battle, was being filled by troops newly landed on the beaches of Normandy. This was a regimental concern since the Great War. Its unique character and traditions were now at the mercy of outsiders. As Stanley Duffield wrote to Hutchison from the hospital on 30 August 1944, “Colonel Frank Mitchell has the battalion and the majority of his officers are strangers.” And yet, the solution lay within the BW mystique itself with its uncanny ability to convert, inspire and remould anyone that entered its fold. Duffield himself had been a “stranger.” Seconded from the Victoria Rifles a year earlier, he was now a fierce defender of regimental distinctions, which was not lost on Colonel Hutchison. Still, he fretted over what his beloved regiment would become with a flood of replacements who had never heard 135

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of a Red Hackle or experienced the discipline of the Bleury Street armoury. He was briefly encouraged by a letter from Stuart Cantlie received just after D-Day, which stated: You will be interested to hear that yesterday we received a letter which stated that the Army Commander’s policy as regards reinforcements is to reinstate the system of sending them forward to units of their territorial origin … once a man or an officer has served in a unit, he will then be earmarked for that unit.549

However, the policy did not change. Replacements were treated in the same practical impersonal manner throughout the war. As Colonel Jim Weir (appointed acting brigadier of 8 CITR, a reinforcement unit) explained: “They are broken up on arrival and then go forward as ‘general reinforcement, Canadian Infantry Corps’. There would, therefore, be no possibility of reinforcements for the Black Watch having a battalion of their own to pass through in this country.”550 However, it went beyond that. The Black Watch was identified in the 2nd Canadian Corps listings as “Quebec Regiment” and accordingly, received Quebecers, without any vetting as to language or culture. The arrival of one hundred French-speaking soldiers and officers proved awkward, especially since it was known that the three French Canadian battalions in 2nd Canadian Corps were desperately short of soldiers. This astounded not only Hutchison but General ELM Burns who, after the war, criticized the Canadian Army for its bureaucratic system.551 A more serious problem had yet to arise, i.e., a general shortage of manpower. The July replacements arriving in 5th Brigade were at least trained. This would not be the situation in the next few months. Meantime, groups of trained Black Watch reinforcements marked time in Italy or England. All this changed after 25 July when battalions had to be quickly filled and Operation Spring forgotten. By the beginning of August, 1 RHC was hastily augmented. Hundreds of soldiers suddenly appeared. Stanley Matulis was typical. Recruited from Verdun, he hoped to join the Black Watch but, after basic training, was consigned to the Lincoln and Welland Regiment (from St Catharines, Ontario, and part of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division). Private (later Major) Matulis arrived in Normandy on 26 July; he was marched off the beaches and marshalled with hundreds of other young soldiers on a hillside where they could see a long convoy of trucks drawn up. They were told of a hard battle with heavy losses recently fought and how reinforcements were required immediately for many infantry battalions. They were to forget about their assigned unit as they were now going to be sent to different regiments.

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 137 Matulis approached the Bedfords and asked the first driver he saw where he was destined: “Well, if you get in here, you’re going to the Black Watch” Matulis shrugged: “I thought, what the hell – and that afternoon, I was part of the Black Watch.”552 His first battle occurred ten days later. He was wounded near St-André and ended up in hospital. It would be another seven months until he returned to 1 RHC only to be sent straight into the Hochwald Forest. Matulis recalled: “We didn’t know what was going on. We didn’t know the officers or sergeants. If you wanted to survive, you made friends quick.”553 The New CO – Lieutenant Colonel FM Mitchell Frank [Mitchell] has done a magnificent job under the most trying conditions imaginable. He had to and did reorganize the battalion in less than four days … He had poor old Ronnie, Fox, Pinkham, Buch and John Duchastel to build on, and then went right into heavy fighting again with very untried troops. Major Alan Stevenson, Second-in-Command 1 RHC, August 1944

Frank Mitchell was appointed CO: “I was given the task of reorganizing and refitting on the 26th. I asked for and got Bruce Ritchie.”554 The arrangement made sense. Both were RMC graduates and had worked together before Normandy. They were thoroughly Black Watch. However, Ritchie presented an administrative problem. He had just commanded two battalions: the RHLI for less than a week, and was currently CO of the Algonquin Regiment. Perhaps, the corps felt guilty. It concurred. Ritchie arrived at 1 RHC on 30 July. Desperately seeking Black Watch officers in brigade and Divisional Staffs, Mitchell reorganized the battalion, hoping they would be allowed to return. His battalion was reduced to 276 all ranks; his senior NCOs and officers were dead or wounded.555 He began by promoting Ron Bennett to major and giving him B Company. Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell required about five hundred all ranks to fill the lost positions. The battalion began to receive new soldiers throughout July. By the end of Operation Atlantic, each company had a “temp platoon” but the situation was almost beyond their control. Luckily, a small base of warrant officers, sergeants and corporals remained after Operation Spring (mostly LOB cadres) and the battalion began to take shape. Slowly, officers, who were seconded to staff work or other battalions, reappeared. Major Thomas Doherty Anyon, just back from a company commander’s course as luck would have it, was given A Company. He was from Lachine but grew up on the South Shore. He studied at Royal George School (Greenfield Park), St Lambert High

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School and was one of the first to take evening classes at Sir George Williams College. He received a degree in Commerce from McGill. He was tall, fit and considered by his college principal “a very superior type.”556 SD Cantlie nominated him as an instructor for the Canadian Battle School in January 1943. The CO wrote back: “[Anyon] is a credit to your regiment. We are sorry to lose him.” He was painfully aware of the honour in being given command of Philip Griffin’s old company. Esmond Vernon Pinkham was also promoted and given C Company. Born in London, he grew up in Montreal. He was an Upper Canada College and Merchant Taylors’ School Old Boy and a McGill graduate. His wife was the granddaughter of former Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Thompson. Despite being forty years old, Pinkham was an effective infantry company commander – but different. Coming from a wealthy family and being a manager for one of the Commonwealth’s largest paper and printing companies, he was easy-going and debonair with a distinct and nonchalant style. In 1942, Pinkham was selected to be the adjutant of 2 RHC, then from March to August 1943, commanded D Company. In the mess, after a dram or two of Highland wine, his fellow officers sometimes kidded him, trying to link his name with the well-known Lydia Pinkham Herbal Tablets (“for fertility and pregnancy”). This banter eventually appeared in operations as a useful code for Pinkham or his rifle company and was effectively used in Holland.557 Douglas Cowans was made major and given D Company. He was well travelled. He was Ritchie’s 2IC in C Company in 1942 and sent back to Canada to help Lieutenant Colonel Jaquays form 2 RHC. He was a Bishop’s College School and Ashbury graduate, from an established Black Watch Montreal family. He had been a successful insurance broker when he joined and quickly proved to be a competent platoon commander and company 2IC. Another difficult-to-replace RHQ officer was the Dieppe veteran, Major Alex MacLaurin, who had been wounded on 25 July, two years, almost to the month, after his last fateful battle in France. Captain David Law was made adjutant since the rest of the subalterns seemed too young and too unfamiliar – at least for the next ten days when the Watch was again called into battle. The battalion was in Fleury, behind the bluffs, where it sorted itself out. Therefore, it was not harassed by direct fire; although being near the Orne, they still ducked when mortars or artillery roared in from Hill 112. To new soldiers, this was very much the front line: They ate campo rations – spam for breakfast, steak and kidney stew for lunch, soup and bread and jam for supper … they washed their socks in ever useful biscuit tins … the few officers who remained, haggard and sad-eyed, looked their roll lists over to see who were

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 139 left and marked some for promotion to fill the gaps. And the men who the day before were privates and who now were sergeants were not happy over promotion because it meant that someone else was dead or prisoner.558

Despite the war around them, daily routine proved monotonous and the diet tedious. “Corporal Tommy Graham dipped his balmoral and Red Hackle into his broth and said it was tomato soup … the boys had a laugh.”559 On 3 August, a bath parade was finally held much to the delight of all ranks. A strange paradox of war was to see some soldiers paddling canoes in the river. By 4 August, the brigade thought that the Black Watch was ready to ease back into the front line. They left Fleury and moved up, taking over the positions of the Fusiliers de Mont Royal in St-André. Mitchell set up BHQ in a strongly reinforced cellar. Two companies of Le Régiment de Maisonneuve (B and D) were attached to 1 RHC. The battalion was welcomed back by the Germans: The Hun sent over some 88mm and some mortar, which hit very close to BHQ … Around 2345 hrs he repeated the performance. [The change-over was completed] to the accompaniment of spasmodic shelling and mortaring by the enemy … It would appear that there are a few enemy snipers scattered throughout the forward part of the town [the St-Martin area] … it is rather disconcerting to have his bullets whistle around one’s ears in the odd moments when we are not “biting the dust.”560

Delicate Diplomacy and Martial Ill-Boding: Mitchell vs. Megill Unlike Cantlie, Mitchell did not hit it off with his brigadier; there was simply no chemistry between them and there were bitter feelings from Operation Spring. A perceptible coolness developed. As early as 2 August, Mitchell wrote to Hutchison: “Security holds my tongue … One day, with yourself and a little highland wine – I will give you my present picture – in the not too distant future.”561 Mitchell presented what he considered reasonable requests. He must have time to prepare his battalion for war, and if not that, then at least a period to allow new officers and sergeants to get to know the men. He was initially promised the time. However, the situation changed. General Bradley’s breakthrough (Operation Cobra) successfully fractured the western Normandy front. German tank divisions facing Simonds were hastily redirected toward the American sector where, on 31 July, General George Patton’s 3rd Army suddenly emerged from Avranches and threatened to envelop both German field armies. Strategically, the Western Front, to quote General von Kluge, “had burst.”562

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Concurrently, around Verrières, there was growing battlefield-intelligence to indicate that the 272nd Division had withdrawn. Schack’s formation had been badly torn up by the end of Spring and had indeed been resettled in a less deadly sector to the east of Caen. SHAEF Intelligence, having deciphered (by means of ULTRA563 deductions) that the 272nd had left May-sur-Orne, wondered if the Germans had abandoned Verrières Ridge altogether. Certainly, Montgomery was curious. The Chief of Staff, 2nd Canadian Corps, Brigadier Elliot Rodger, recorded that Crerar’s Chief of Staff, Brigadier C Churchill Mann, phoned him to say: “1st SS Div seemed to be pulling away.” The instructions to Simonds were clear: “Both our divisions were ordered to push their necks out.”564 If indeed 1st SS LAH had gone west, then the Ridge was theirs for the taking. Operation Totalize might become as historic a victory as that which launched The Hundred Days on 8 August 1918. Alas, the intelligence interpretations proved to be erroneous and in the case of the BW, most deadly. What was not appreciated was that the Leibstandarte was very much in town. Instead of withdrawing with the 272nd, it simply stretched out and took over General Schack’s defences around May-sur-Orne. The LAH’s 2nd Panzer Grenadier Regiment (SS Oberst Sandig) filled 272nd positions on the western sector of Verrières. The next corps offensive (Operation Totalize, scheduled for 8 August) did not include the Watch in the initial assault. That seemed to offer another week for training. It was, therefore, a surprise to Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell when on 5 August, the battalion was visited twice by senior officers, first by Brigadier Megill, followed shortly after by the GOC Second Division, Major General Charles Foulkes. Their conference with Mitchell ended with the order that the Black Watch attack Verrières Ridge, again, but in moderation with little more than a large battalion patrol, a probe, to see what was happening on the other side: “apparently the enemy is withdrawing and we must keep in contact with him.”565 Verrières Ridge. The Third Battle, 5 August: Attacking May-sur-Orne Then we snapped the trap shut [schnappte die Falle zu]. Kompanieführer Wilhelm Preuß, 10th Company, 1 SS Pz Div566 No Sir it was not a trap – but bloody good tactics! Lieutenant Colonel FM Mitchell, of the 5 Aug 1944 battle at May-sur-Orne

That same afternoon, 5 August, a Saturday, at 1620 hrs, the BW again crossed the same Start Line. They moved astride the same road, advancing up the same bloody ridge they had assaulted eleven days ago. Inexplicably, it was another disaster.

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 141 The battalion advanced in diamond formation – A Company leading, with B and C Companies on the left and right flanks. D Company was in depth. Anyon had left almost half his company as LOB, and moved forward with about fifty men, in three weak platoons. They moved, inexplicably, in ack-ack formation, as if in an administrative road-march. There was no rolling barrage, no stonk of 25-pounders on May, and no armour support – not a single tank.567 Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell walked beside his Tac HQ rover, following Douglas Cowan’s D Company headquarters group. With him was his new intelligence officer, twenty-four-year-old Lieutenant Philip MacKenzie. He was a Bishop’s College School Old Boy, whose father had won an MC with the PPCLI in the Great War. Philip was considered quiet but determined. He possessed one of those cherubic faces that suggested he was still in high school. They moved through StMartin and then past the Factory and church. This must have brought back memories to Ron Bennett, who had defended the place only ten days ago. It was a calm, quiet day; old hands soon became uneasy: “Not a mortar or 88 had landed within miles of us all afternoon.” But as lead companies reached the outskirts of May, again, all hell broke loose: “Jerry started plastering them with both, as fast as he could load.”568 SS Lieutenant Wilhelm Preuß commanded 10th PzGren Company, which had occupied the trenches and strongpoints around May-sur-Orne. He recalled the BW attack vividly: We could scarcely believe our eyes. The Canadians attacked in the middle of the day. They were marching along the main road, easily visible from our positions. One company marched in two rows in close formation on the left and right of the road. The company commander was in front, right in the middle of the road … It was simply incredible! [Einfach unglaublich!] We waited, intently watching to see how things would develop. The Canadians marched on, seemingly unconcerned. There was remarkable discipline on our side. Not a shot was fired. We waited for the last Canadian to pass our line of defence, then we snapped the trap shut [schnappte die Falle zu].569

Mortars and artillery slammed onto the battalion, far too close together to avoid casualties. Machine-guns opened up from May and their right flank. Everyone went to ground. Then the unmistakable sound of tank tracks on pavement. A Panther turned the corner near May’s church and lumbered down route nationale D562, carefully, almost casually, machine-gunning the ditches, its main gun blasting any knot of Black Watch soldiers huddled together. A and D Companies, on the right side of the road, crowded into any available cover, but they were pinned down in the ditch, and this tank caused havoc among their numbers.

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A Company was quickly over-run. Major Anyon was killed; most of his men were casualties or taken prisoner. D Company withdrew under heavy fire. The battalion fell back. Ron Bennett tried to control his own company in an orderly withdrawal. Ironically, as they fell back past the St-Martin church, he disappeared in a stonk of mortar explosions. Bennett was killed outright. Frank Mitchell, in the thick of fire, possessed a charmed life. Men in front, behind and beside him, fell. Corporal Sydney Smith, the CO’s signaller, was killed by shrapnel through his forehead, and Lieutenant Philip MacKenzie was cut down, seriously wounded in the side and head; “but Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell still hasn’t a scratch in spite of being consistently where the going was toughest.”570 The Regiment retired into St-André and tried to take stock of yet another disaster. It seemed inexplicable. By 2100 hrs they regrouped near the crossroads north-west of StMartin. Two companies from Le Régiment de Maisonneuve came up just before dusk, passed through the Watch and established a defensive position above the Factory. 1 RHC shook itself out and dug in beside them. Both battalions sent out night patrols, but as one sergeant muttered, it was too little and too late. Ron Bennett’s death was a particularly savage jolt to the battalion and haunted Mitchell for weeks. After Action Accountability The 5 August attack seems, at this distance, almost naive in its execution. Megill blamed Mitchell. He may have had a point. But it was also very clearly another failure of small unit tactics. Once was a tragedy; twice, on the same battlefield, invited serious critique as much as compassion. The reasons are still debated and often presented as a misinterpretation of intelligence data. One historian observed: “Despite its seemingly Delphic nature, there was no guarantee that the information revealed by ULTRA would be interpreted correctly.”571 The Black Watch could not help thinking both the brigade and division were to blame. It certainly was an extraordinary decision – ordering a regiment, virtually destroyed trying to capture May a few days before, up the same ridge with no notice or orthodox support. What were they thinking, wondered Black Watch veterans … Again, the division (indeed the corps) ignored the sacred rules for tactical success embedded in the Canadian operational art by General Currie in 1917–1918: active patrolling, raids, training and careful rehearsals. Time was the enemy. Mechanized warfare was fast-moving. The American success in the west put the greatest pressure on Simonds to get on with it. This last Black Watch battle on Verrières Ridge was an improvised rushed affair and found the battalion tactically ill prepared. It paid a terrible price.

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 143 Although command in war is often the stuff of derring-do and Fingerspitzengefühl (a military sixth sense), to send the BW back into May on a hunch reflects as much on the lack of common sense of both brigade and division as the tactical ability of the Black Watch CO. Mitchell promised Hutchison a full explanation, but his initial reaction was to praise the enemy: Later, God willing, I will add a little having directed the battle in which we lost Tom Anyon and his practically unborn, but gallant little company of 50 odd men who suffered at the same spot with, I have since learned, the same information and instructions … I have looked back when came our courageous and well-disciplined 4 Coys.572

It was not a trap, but it was bloody good tactics! In Montreal, Colonel Hutchison wrote to Viscount Bennett, the former prime minister and Bennett’s uncle. It was a most sorry correspondence, for by the time Ron Bennett’s death had been confirmed, news arrived that his brother, Henry Harrison Bennett, had been killed in action with the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa.573 He had joined the Black Watch, served with 2 RHC under Jaquays but at disbandment, was transferred to the Camerons. Henry was buried beside his brother. Operations Totalize and Tractable – A Battlefield Pause The division had for this operation an acting commander, Brigadier KG Blackader. The sure control maintained on all arms and units from the top down reflected the value of experienced veterans and displayed itself on the battlefield. Reginald Roy, The Canadians in Normandy574

The rest of August was spent recovering, rebuilding and participating in minor actions. Although replacements continued to arrive, old concerns were not addressed and new problems identified. Hutchison noted, with a certain bitterness: The battalion, therefore, was not brought up to strength and many of the reinforcements were found to be very untrained in infantry work to say the least. In spite of the large numbers of Black Watch reinforcement officers available at the pools in England during the late summer and autumn months, stranger officers from other regiments were sent out to reinforce the battalion (Since last August 50 of these strangers have been sent to 1 RHC while numbers of our own were sent to Ontario and other Canadian Regiments and on Can Loan to the Imperials).575

Mitchell appointed new company commanders. Major Alan Carmichael took over B Company and Major James Fox took over D Company. The attack on May had a

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shattering effect on Douglas Cowans. He returned despite being wounded in July; but the 5 August battle was too savage and too soon: “I have been trying to pull myself together … I have had a hell of a struggle and finally realize that I cannot do it again.”576 Cowans became another of many battle exhaustion casualties in the battalion. Mitchell transferred him to division for medical attention. James Edward Fox was from Montreal and had been with the Watch since September 1939. He was a graduate of POTS and had impressed Stuart Cantlie as the OC of the Anti-Tank Platoon: “Keen, efficient and able.”577 Bill Ewing, returning from a year at Corps HQ, took over A Company. The twenty-nine-year-old Ewing was now considered an auld hieland laddie in that he was a product of McGill COTC and POTS. There were precious few POTS officers left in the battalion by the summer of 1944. Ewing was originally with the Victoria Rifles but joined the Black Watch as a sergeant in 1938 and was commissioned in 1940. He was a country boy at heart, originating from Vankleek Hill, sixty-five miles west of Montreal on the road to Ottawa. He loved farming by proxy; his family operated a long-standing business for the wholesale processing of agriculture seeds. Ewing was a crack shot: “recognized as one of Canada’s most brilliant young marksmen.”578 In 1935, he was selected as a member of the Canadian team competing in the Lord Dewar International Match. The following year, at the Canadian National Matches, Bill won the Grand Aggregate Medal and was selected for the 1937 Canadian Bisley Team. Again, in 1938, Sergeant Ewing won the Grand Aggregate Medal at Bisley, in addition to the Kolhapur Cup and Wimbledon Trophy. The prize was presented by the Honourable Vincent Massey, High Commissioner for Canada. However, his favourite was the Rajah of Kolhapur Imperial Challenge Trophy, won for team competition against India, Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies. Ewing’s father, William Ewing Sr, was a prominent businessman, sportsman and philanthropist. He was also president of the Quebec Division of the Navy League of Canada. Tragically, he died from burns received in the explosion of a ship in the Lachine Canal while on his way to inspect Sea Cadet camps on 14 July 1944. It was considered essential that Ewing be returned to Canada to manage the family business. The request was driven by senior officials of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, who stated that Captain Ewing’s expertise was vital to the war effort. The request was fully supported by Major General Percival Montague, Crerar’s chief of staff at Canadian Military Headquarters London. It was a simple matter of Ewing forwarding a request, and he would be home within a week. To everyone’s surprise, except to those who knew him, Ewing refused. “He believes his obligation is to the Army at the moment, and will not consider making an application.”579 Ewing rejoined

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 145 1 RHC just after the catastrophes of Verrières Ridge, being one of the few remaining Black Watch original officers. The new Scout Platoon OC was Lieutenant Jose Alexander Banfield Nixon (better known as “Joe” to his brother officers). Fresh from McGill COTC, he arrived in the middle of August. He remembered it was a hectic time: “We barely got a chance to know our men or sergeants.”580 The scout platoon had gone through four leaders since crossing the Orne. Two were promoted, the remainder wounded. The scouts had been actually run by Sergeant Barney Benson who magically had survived the Verrières Ridge assault, despite being in the thick of it – first in and practically last out. Nixon immediately got on with Benson (“I had my pick of all the sergeants in the battalion”); he was smart enough to realize that his survival depended on his learning from a veteran. The men were a different matter: “Between the two of us, we handpicked our men … we were using the ones that nobody else could handle any way. They were very undisciplined men and had to be led; they couldn’t be told what to do”.581 When Nixon first met his platoon, he was taken aback: “They were the most bedraggled bunch I had ever seen in my life. Rather than wearing their packs they had a couple of bands of bandoliers around their shoulders, grenades stuck in their belts and old straw hats on.” The scouts were very independent people, very good at their job and very difficult to replace. They dressed like rogues and were regarded as mavericks by the rifle companies. Nixon would not have changed one of them: “The only trouble we had was that those that were very good we put a tremendous pressure on – they were working all the time, day and night”.582 The scouts could sniff out German positions and were most valuable because they could quickly identify where enemy fire was coming from. The techniques required took time to perfect, Verrières had depleted the battalion – training was rushed. Battle schools did not really prepare recruits for the Normandy battlefield. It needed no explanation to the young soldiers. The fields around them were filled with the smell of unburied dead; the slopes of Verrières were strewn with Canadian and German tank hulks. Shelling was constant. Nixon was joined by a flood of officer replacements that arrived mid-August. By September, they would be seasoned veterans. On 8 August, Operation Totalize was launched – another night attack. The Black Watch was deployed in the familiar ground of Beauvoir Farm, on the edge of the Totalize Start-Line. They were considerably impressed as the new 4th Canadian Armoured Division rumbled past to their form-up positions. The columns of tanks were a heartening sight. Totalize was another strategic venture, which comprised heavy bombers (the USAAF), a profusion of sophisticated artillery support and a Byzantine organization which featured an intricate testudo of armour; it was a great

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phalanx slowly grinding through the dark and very much a Simonds effort: brilliant yet too complex. After the initial success, the corps was checked by an aggressive German rearguard they completely outnumbered and should have swamped. During the heavy bomber segment, Major General Rod Keller was wounded by a short drop. He was last seen being carried away, hollering to his batman: “Roberts! Bring me my pistol! I’m going to shoot the first American I see.” The commander of 8th Canadian Brigade, Kenneth Blackader, was appointed acting GOC of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. It was the first time a Black Watch officer had commanded a major formation since the Great War. Blackader had been in the thickest fighting since D-Day and was awarded a DSO for his determined handling of his brigade, which faced the often fanatic 12th SS Hitler Jugend Panzer Division. It was a great disappointment to the Regiment when Blackader, for what Hutchison thought were political reasons, was not confirmed in his command.583 During Totalize, 1 RHC was in reserve, deployed in a quarry previously used as a logistics dump by the Germans: “The boys had a grand time browsing around the caves and collecting everything German from after-shaving lotion to half-tracks.”584 There were lighter moments: Our new Adjt, Captain Law, was snatching a short nap between his many duties and his appearance in rest was such that an MO from the 18th Amb, seeing him with his eyes only partly closed, his unwashed and unshaven countenance, presumed that he was a casualty. He dashed off and in no time reappeared with a jeep and two aides who immediately proceeded to load our recumbent officer on a stretcher. The dozing Adjt, so rudely awakened, was most anxious to know what the H___ was going on and worriedly felt himself all over for wounds. The MO, seeing his error, tendered his apologies, immediately accepted, while the onlookers laughed heartily.585

There was a week’s pause before the follow-up offensive, Operation Tractable. On the evening of 13 August, the padre, Rev Captain Royle, at last managed to conduct a battalion church parade. The War Diary noted: “Whoever said: ‘There are no atheists in foxholes’ knew whereof he spoke, and we all went to bed tonight, much cleaner in body and in soul.”586 The next day, Operation Tractable was launched, again supported by heavy bombers (the RAF) and this time, Simonds finally broke through – the corps was on its way to Falaise. 1 RHC moved from place to place in the dust of a mechanized army. Simonds’s command now boasted four tank formations in addition to its two infantry divisions: the 4th Canadian and 1st Polish Armoured Divisions, plus the 2nd Canadian and 33rd British Armoured Brigades. The battalion was easing into an organized steady

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 147 routine. “The St Andrew’s banner is now flying from RHQ” Captain JPW Taylor wrote to his father, Lieutenant Colonel DH Taylor.587 On 18 August, the Black Watch Pipes and Drums played retreat for the first time in what seemed like months. The band, almost up to strength, included Pipe-Major Hector MacDonald, pipers William Hannah and Duncan MacDonald, and drummers Ian McLaren and Calvin Wilson – luckily not wounded and alive after three battles. Lieutenant William McKenzie Wood, wounded on Verrières, arrived patched up and ready to work. Wood was from the McGill COTC and joined in 1943; his brother was in the Artillery and his sister served abroad with the Red Cross overseas. He was briefly made IO as one of a handful of experienced platoon leaders and put back into A Company. On 24 August, the battalion was again on the move. The Falaise Gap was closed, the Germans were in full retreat across the Seine, and Paris was liberated. General Montgomery allotted the left flank to the First Canadian Army: the clearing of the Channel Ports. It was an important assignment for the area was the site of dozens of V1 launch sites. They were the first “cruise missiles” used in warfare. These robot bombs were self-guided and initiated a second “Blitz” in London, bombarding the city for nearly five months.588 Nevertheless, it was almost a “secondary front” and a disappointment for Crerar. It would be slow and demanding as the Channel ports were the strongest sectors of the Atlantic Wall and protected by extensive fortifications. Last and certainly worse, the terrain became more hostile as one advanced north with flat farmland and polders, intersected by dozens of canals. It was a landscape that favoured the defender and would further test the resolve and endurance of Canadian troops. All of this was far too early for Mitchell. He felt he needed another two weeks to rebuild the battalion. Their three battles swept away most of the unit. The hundreds of fresh replacements funnelling into the Watch required training and time to meld. New officers had yet to meet their men. The Battle of Bourgtheroulde – 26 August 1944 It does not take long to learn the rudiments of staying alive in this game. 1 RHC War Diary, 17 August 1944

The battalion pushed past Chambois, Camembert and into Vimoutiers. Sadly, several veterans were lost in sudden skirmishes with the German Army now desperate to escape across the Seine River. Nevertheless, they continued fighting at roadblocks and setting ambushes to delay the Canadian advance.589 The 2nd Division headed in the direction of Rouen. They intended to reach the Seine between Pont de l’Arche and Elbeuf and secure additional bridgeheads as opportunity presented itself. The

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5th Brigade moved north-east and by 25 August were thirty-seven miles from the great river. Brigadier Megill held an Orders Group and outlined the last stage of the advance. 1 RHC would be the vanguard, and the battalion was given trucks to move the four companies. Mitchell hoped to zip through Bourgtheroulde (a crossroad on the edge of le Forêt de la Londe) and then dash through the woods to the Seine grabbing the crossings and ferries, thus trapping as many Germans as possible. Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell had the key parts of a battle group consisting of a squadron of tanks from the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment (C Sqn, 27 CAR), a platoon of Royal Canadian Engineers and a detachment from the 18 Field Ambulance. He organized a road-march for a quick dash. The Carrier Platoon formed the vanguard followed by the tank squadron. Then came A Company, now commanded by Bill Ewing, followed by Mitchell with his Tac HQ and his assigned battery commander (BC), Major JM Watson, 5th Field RCA. Each Rifle Company was grouped as a small combat team with attached detachments from the Pioneer, Anti-Tank and Mortar Platoons. Behind BHQ, the battalion was deployed in convoy fashion: C Company (Major Pinkham), B Company (Major Carmichael) and D Company (Major Fox) with the Engineer troop forming the rearguard. They crossed the Start Line at 0415 hrs, thundering down the road. They outpaced everyone in the Division: “How they (the Black Watch) had arrived in Bourgtheroulde ahead of 4th Brigade was a mystery. However, they had fought off several German counterattacks with fairly heavy (from our observations) casualties on both sides.”590 Unfortunately, 1 RHC ran into an ambush and became dispersed. Second in the line of march, C Company was hit by German fire, which included small arms, machineguns and the odd grenade. The company did not deploy or counterattack, but simply dismounted and blasted at gun flashes or anything that looked menacing. The Germans did not seem interested in getting involved in a hot skirmish and stopped shooting. C Company got back on the trucks, and the BW convoy motored on. Pinkham’s good fortune held. Frank Mitchell, in the lead column, totally unaware his battalion was now divided, bashed ahead and roared into Bourgtheroulde, catching the Germans asleep at the switch. Bourgtheroulde became one of those complicated little battles that charging armies are too busy to take note of, and most histories ignore. However, it was 1 RHC’s first real dust-up since 5 August. This performance would be closely watched by the brigade, as well as the battalion’s new soldiers. Mitchell’s battle group arrived at dawn. Brigade HQ instructed them to “curl up” (secure and defend) the town. Mitchell decided to push past the centre and grab the higher ground to the north-east that dominated the area. As they rumbled through,

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 149 the garrison came to life and opened up from what seemed like every house and window. It was a mixed batch of leftovers from the 711th Infantry Division and a competently led group from the 858th Grenadier Regiment of Generalleutnant Erich Diestel’s 346th Infanterie Division. Diestel was not Schack, but came from good stock. His father was a Prussian general who had been repeatedly decorated by the Kaiser. This would not be the last time the Black Watch would meet the 346th. Just then, C Company caught up and entered the town. “The initial phase of the battle resembled an individual battle in which every man carried on his own private war, firing in any direction he heard shots coming, taking his own prisoners and not knowing in the confusion where to send them.”591 The battalion was divided. A Company, the tanks, Carriers and Mitchell were north of the town behind the Germans but cut off from the rest of 1 RHC. The Highland convoy was still en route but as packets of trucks arrived, they began to bunch up. As well, a 75mm PAK anti-tank gun unmasked itself in the town square and began to blast away at the trucks at point-blank range. Mercifully, it usually missed. Mitchell’s solution was audacious defying established doctrine. He ordered the battalion to charge through. The trick was to wait for the anti-tank gun to shoot, then dash past, braving the snipers and phosphorus grenades: “[at] about every seventh or eighth vehicle, the gun would fire and often catch a vehicle. Considerable casualties were suffered.”592 Remarkably, the remaining companies made it through save for the engineers who were bringing up the rear. By the time they arrived, the enemy was better organized and their troop suffered many casualties. Mortars and artillery slammed into the town. The battalion transport officer, Captain McNab and his driver, Corporal Swailes, were killed together in a stonk of shell fire. The net result was that the battalion was established on ground of tactical importance to the north of Bourgtheroulde. Mitchell’s gambit resulted in his being cut off, but he, in turn, cut off the Germans. Moreover, there was a brigade coming up to join him. This created a certain panic in the enemy. Counterattacks were soon launched. The Watch was attacked from all sides: Germans trying to break out, and Germans trying to break through to the garrison. Fortuitously, a German map marked with many gun positions was captured. Lieutenant Shea and Major Watson pin-pointed each position and called in artillery, while Lieutenant Tessier got his mortars going.593 Meantime, the 3rd and 4th Canadian Divisions reached the Seine. The Germans broke. It was a bold but confusing bit of manoeuvre that restored Mitchell’s self-confidence, and gave the men a chance to raise their Hackles. Frank Mitchell could not help being satisfied and noted: “The boldness of the move was justified by the surprise achieved.”594

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I am hurt but I am not slain. I’ll lay me down and bleed awhile, Then I’ll rise and fight again595

Bourgtheroulde was, for 1 RHC, the end of the Normandy campaign which proved a tragic mix of courage and sacrifice with the Regiment performing well beyond the call of duty. The history of the Black Watch post-Verrières was one of rebuilding, organizing and coming to terms with the new reality. Despite all that had happened, its determination to succeed was a source of frustration to its immediate family and sorrow to veterans from other formations. Almost fifty years after the war, General Jacques Dextraze DSO and Bar retired as Chief of Defence Staff. In 1944, he was a major, commanding Dog Company, Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal. He won his first DSO recapturing the now-famous church in St-Martin on 1 August 1944. He returned to Normandy in 1990 and walked the slopes of Verrières ridge where he was deeply moved re-living the BW attack. Dextraze commented on senior commanders in Operation Spring: “There’s got to be courage at a level higher than the unit … the courage to take the decision not to do a certain thing … the moral courage of standing on your two feet accessing the situation and saying no.”596 In late 1945, Colonel Paul Hutchison asked Eric Motzfeldt why, despite the constant action, there had been virtually no decorations for valour; Motzfeldt (by then a lieutenant colonel) explained that during the initial stage (18 July–25 July), no one had any sleep between these battles, and therefore, no chance to prepare recommendations for gallantry. He considered two actions (crossing the Orne and capturing Ifs) were fought under Megill while, the Atlantic counterattack and subsequent holding the crossroads as an action fought under the command of Brigadier Young. When summer ended Hutchison confided to his diary: Since D-Day, only one DCM and four MMs to members of the battalion have been announced in spite of glowing accounts published in the Press … it is understood that the battalion made 80 recommendations for awards covering the first three months of fighting in Normandy, Belgium and Holland but that the Higher Command turned all of these down!597

Motzfeldt explained that, in fact, some eighty recommendations for awards were put forward, and it is understood “all of these were returned by brigade as being insufficiently dressed up and too matter of fact.”598 This would appear to be yet another point of disagreement thus distancing Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell from Brigadier Megill.

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 151 Meantime, there was the matter of rebuilding and absorbing green troops. The Regiment began to receive replacements as early as 17 July before attacking across the Orne. Before the end of July, they had taken in thirty-one new officers and 234 other ranks with more on the way supervised by staff officers in London. This would not last. August and September were to be the deadliest months of the war for the Canadian Army. The heaviest casualties for any one month occurred in August (8,835 in Northwest Europe, 1,118 in Italy, a total of 9,953).599 The Black Watch sympathized, though their black month was July with its bitter memories of Verrières Ridge. However, with unanticipated speed, the Norman summer dried up the reservoir of troops, resulting in a divisive conscription crisis in Canada. BW Losses in The Normandy Campaign July–August 1944600

Losses

Replacements

July August

524 194

July August

234 493

Total

718

Total

727

By the end of August, 1 RHC losses for the Normandy Campaign were 217 KIA; 395 WIA and 106 PWs – a total of 718 officers, NCOs, and men. Replacements for July and August were 727 all ranks, but these were essentially untested soldiers with little more than basic training.601 The pressure of combat made men behave in bizarre ways (or as Black Watch Normandy slang would have it: “went a bit bazookie”). However, a few days away from the front, close to comrades from their own platoon, seemed to work. Canadian psychiatrists discovered the best way to cure men of battle exhaustion or psychological breakdown was a partial withdrawal from the front lines, yet remaining within the sound of the guns and surrounded by familiar faces. This brought men back faster than hospitals.602 Montreal: The Aftermath of Verrières Verrières Ridge was immediately ordered Secret. Yet somehow, within days, word got out. In Verdun, in Westmount: “Something has happened to the boys.” Bits of information, rumours really, were immediately discounted; but there remained the gnawing feeling that something quite terrible had taken place. Officers on holiday quickly returned home. Black Watch veterans in summer homes in Murray Bay and Cacouna took the train to Montreal. By Saturday, the enormity of the 25 July assault

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was realized and the regimental family was shaken to its very core. 1 RHC Officers arriving in Canada for staff courses confirmed it. The 1st Battalion was virtually wiped out. Anguish took hold of Montreal from disbelief and horror, ending in the numbness of the deepest sorrow. By the end of August, Major the Reverend GH Donald VD DD, a veteran of the worst years of the Great War, met with Colonel Hutchison, General McCuaig, Colonel Cantlie and Lieutenant Colonel Clark-Kennedy VC. A service of tribute was held on Sunday evening, 24 September 1944 at Percival Molson Stadium, in memory of the officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada. It brought the family together and gave them fresh resolve in this, their worst moment of the Second World War. The stadium was filled. The sidelines manned by soldiers from the 3rd Battalion. Dr Donald spoke into the night, over the soft sobbing of wives, mothers and children: “With the unquenchable ardour of youth they plunged forward on one impetuous attack after another and, though suffering terrible casualties, they stayed the course.”603 Back to Dieppe and the Channel Ports – September 1944 We rounded a corner and the pipe band by the saluting base broke into the strains of “Hielan’ Laddie.” We marched past, the salute being taken by Lieutenant General HDG Crerar, GOC-in-C First Canadian Army. At this moment we were both solemn and proud, and surely we may be forgiven if we strutted just a little. WD 1 RHC, 3 September 1944, recording the parade through Dieppe

With the end of Normandy, accompanied by lightning advances by General Patton’s 3rd Army, as well as General Sir Brian Horrocks’s 30th Corps, there was every hope that another Hundred Days (August 1918) was about to begin. It was expected that a determined pursuit accompanied by constant battering would break the German Army and secure peace – perhaps by 11 November. The awful difference was more than a matter of demented dictators; it was distance. The road from Amiens to Mons was one hundred miles; the distance from Caen to the Rhine was eight hundred miles, with a series of major rivers and canals to cross. 1 RHC crossed the Seine on 30 August. Though technically still in Normandy, psychologically that crusade was behind them. Ahead was the port of Dieppe, which meant a great deal to 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, The Black Watch included. They were the first unit to go through Rouen, which may have accounted for their warm reception. It was like unto a triumphal procession. The boys of the Rifle Coys rode on tanks through the city … civilians lined both sides of the street, throwing flowers, kisses and fruit, and

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 153 madly, gladly reaching up to shake as many hands as they could reach. We felt we should like to come to know these people better.604

The great Canadian victory parade through Dieppe was even better and certainly more satisfying. Montgomery was said to have been displeased with General Crerar for missing an operational conference, on 1 September, in order to be present when the 2nd Division returned to the port that caused Canada so much grief. The chalk cliffs briefly echoed with the skirl of the pipes and as quickly as they came, the Canadians left. To many Black Watch soldiers, it was the first time they marched to Hielan’ Laddie. The battalion was in better shape than it was in late August, but only slightly. Carmichael, in B Company, had large shoes to fill; he soon harnessed a young and testy company, who like Colonel Mitchell, believed that “poor old Ronnie Bennett” could never be replaced. Major Alan Henry MacDonell Carmichael was twenty-six years old and another graduate of Westmount Academy (Westmount High School). Married, his wife was a serving subaltern in an artillery battery, part of the Auxiliary Territorial Army in England. Carmichael was an “original” POTS alumnus and, by 1944, a rather knowledgeable officer. He had spent a year as an instructor at the Divisional Tactics School and was considered an expert. Ritchie soon wrote: “Carmichael proved himself a very satisfactory coy comd.”605 Their first channel battle encouraged Mitchell. Major Pinkham captured Coppenaxfort, which was named for a post-Reformation stronghold built by the Spanish. The fame of the hamlet rested more on its brewery and distillery, which appealed to Pinkham. He bagged 250 prisoners comprising a motley crew of Wehrmacht, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe fortress troops. The Dunkirk siege began to look promising. The battalion’s next battles were as telling, in some ways, as Verrières Ridge, for they cost the Regiment a great deal in the long run and led to the loss of its CO. The corps commander later opined it was a demonstration of both the complexity and unique patrician needs of the Black Watch. The Battle of Spycker 12–13 September 1944 The episode merely became one of attrition with little to gain on our side. Major EV Pinkham, of Spycker, 17 September 1944 Lack of supporting fire, lack of time to get adequate information down to the last man; false rumours, and lack of mail – all had adverse effects on morale. Major Alan Carmichael, 6 October 1944606

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Now here’s a story, A little bit gory, A little bit happy; A little bit sa – hah – had ‘Bout Lydia Pink and Her medicinal compound and how it drove her to the bad. . . We’ll drink a drink a drink To Lydia Pink a Pink a Pink The saviour of the human ra-hay-hayce She invented a medicinal compound Whose effects God can only replace. Pub song, circa 1890; heard in 1 RHC Officers’ Mess – particularly when OC C Company was in attendance, January – December 1944

On 9 September, 1 RHC advanced along the north bank of the Canal de la Haute Colme to Grand-Mille Brugghe which was a dyke-crossed farmland with little to attract the eye. The War Diary could not help grousing: “Why this place rates the title ‘Grand’ Mille Brugghe is hard to imagine as it is nothing more or less than a row of houses on either side of the canal.”607 They were within six miles of the fortress port of Dunkirk, which was surrounded by supporting forts and maintained a large garrison under orders to create strategic delay by forcing the First Canadian Army to establish a siege. It was commanded by Generalleutnant (two-star general) Wolfgang von Kluge, brother to the former GOC of the western front, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, whose fortune failed when he was suspected by Hitler with involvement in the Attentat attempt on his life. Der Kluge Hans was forced to commit suicide. Wolfgang was naturally anxious to prove his loyalty and conducted a most active and aggressive defence. The area was under constant artillery fire; most bridges were destroyed. The fields beside the road where the Germans had blown the canal bank were a quagmire, and many were completely under water. The German garrison was a mix of naval, Wehrmacht, SS and, perhaps best of the bunch, Luftwaffe paratroopers, a crack determined breed. They showed remarkable initiative: patrolling, setting booby traps, jamming radios, cutting wires, and then ambushing repair parties. The siege, with its non-productive monotonous slogging, affected morale. The recent reinforcements became glum and dispirited. As the battalion deployed into the featureless area, Major Edward Fox was ordered to secure Armbouts-Cappel on the north flank, a mile from the large Bourbourg Canal, Dunkirk’s defensive moat. It was not much of an objective, there being little to secure save for a ditch or two. However, the slightest movement toward Dunkirk interested the Germans. Halfway across the open polder, D Company was raked by mortars and 88 fire. Heavy machine-guns arched onto its area, creating a beaten zone and limiting manoeuvre. Lieutenant Kenneth Simms, a platoon commander, vanished in a double blast of artillery. He was a high school teacher, a graduate of Bishop’s and Loyola and delighted to serve in his father’s old regiment. He was never found.

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 155 Major Fox ordered his men to redeploy around a house near the only road. As he directed their withdrawal, he received an abdominal wound. Fox continued directing the operation until he succumbed to shock. He was evacuated and thought safe but died within hours. It disheartened everyone, particularly the remaining “originals” for Fox was one of the few left standing by mid-September. The grieving CO eulogized: Fox’s action in getting his company under cover without doubt saved many casualties. The next day, yet another set-back that marked Dunkirk as a miserable place for the Black Watch occurred: the loss of Sergeant Barney Benson, the soul of the Scout Platoon. This larger-than-life leader was a role model to all who served with him. On 10 September, during a casual shelling by Dunkirk’s heavy guns, one of his men fell wounded. Benson rushed out to retrieve him. He was severely wounded by the next salvo and died on his way to the hospital. His loss cast a deep gloom over the platoon. He had been a mentor to Duffield, then Nixon and every soldier who came to know him. Besides being a bulwark to the battalion, it was believed he brought good luck to those around him for he was one of the last senior NCOs to have survived the Verrières Ridge battles. The Scout Platoon now turned to its young commander, Lieutenant Joe Nixon. Originally from Fort Rouge, Winnipeg, he grew up in Granby and was, like so many others, a product of Bishop’s College School. He had started a BA at McGill when he joined. Nixon sported a natty Errol Flynn moustache and soon established a reputation for intelligent leadership and gritty warfighting skills in Spycker, a dismal village with a few brick houses. His easy yet resolute panache was what the Scout Platoon liked; his prowess in battle made his name. On 12 September 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell was ordered to capture Spycker, which was less than a mile from the Colme Canal, a waterway about twenty-five yards wide. The characterless area was as flat as a pool table without the slightest cover, not even a tiny copse. Mitchell planned a two-company attack, sending in Major Alan Carmichael’s B Company and Esmond Pinkham’s C Company. They were supported by Lieutenant Nixon’s Scout Platoon, and a recce troop of the 8th Reconnaissance Regiment (14th Hussars) from Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The Hussars were equipped with light armoured cars: four-wheeled Humber Mk IIIAs, armed with a machine-gun and a 37mm gun. They were too high (nearly eight feet), thinly-armoured, and mostly road-bound, not the best vehicle for the sloppy terrain. The advance was preceded by a fifteen minute barrage by the artillery shooting Smoke, and the BW 3” mortars firing high explosive. The 5th Field BC, Major Watson, and the Mortar Platoon officer, Lieutenant Rowland Tessier, corrected fire from about a mile away. Tessier and his brother Trevor were both serving 1 RHC subalterns. From Montreal, they joined as soldiers and were “CFR’d” (Commissioned-from-theRanks). Rowland never drank. He was deliberate, calm, and produced a smooth-

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running platoon. By 1944, it was unusual to have two brothers in the same battalion. The Tessiers seemed born under a lucky star. Both were present in every Normandy battle the Black Watch fought. The soggy ground quickly sucked up any value the opening barrage might have had, acting more to alert the Germans than to discourage them. Both companies followed close behind the barrage, and occupied their objective with little trouble. Some of the reinforcements became jumpy; one platoon from C Company got disorientated since reading a map on featureless terrain required experience. They were suddenly too far forward and completely exposed. The platoon leader tried to withdraw when he found himself cut off. It was a rushed, poorly conducted tactical manoeuvre. They were cut to pieces. The Spycker fight began with a familiar Black Watch dirge: “The enemy let them into the town and then opened up with everything they had, whereupon our boys took cover in some of the houses and retaliated in no uncertain manner.”608 The entire battle evolved in slow motion. B Company held at Spycker, while Pinkham took C Company along the canal supported by 8th Recce; however, the armoured cars held back after the lead vehicle was “knocked out by a 75 or 88mm gun.”609 C Company then dug in around the canal T junction, under sporadic fire. B Company was soon under attack by enemy infantry and close indirect fire. Carmichael was wounded. The men hesitated. Staggered by the vicious counterattack, the company hastily took cover near the Spycker church. Carmichael and Nixon, with two platoons, set up a strongpoint in a two-storey schoolhouse. The rest of B Company tried to escape in a disorderly sprint and were captured or shot up. The shaken remnants gathered at the brickworks near the canal. Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell went to see them and quickly recognized their dissident mood. He let them rest, have a smoke and commiserated. It was the wise approach: “If he had threatened, all would have mutinied.”610 Mitchell understood his men. He also had an instinct for the battlefield. Joe Nixon recalled him fondly: Colonel Frank Mitchell was our CO then, and he coached me. I’d be up at the front with Frank and I’d hear the report of these mortars going off. I’d duck under the colonel’s van and he’d say, “For God’s sake, get up there. I’ll tell you when to duck. I know when they’re coming and where and how close they’re going to land.” He’d be there with his Balmoral tam on; he didn’t even wear a tin hat.611

It would take Mitchell most of the day to organize a proper force to rescue Carmichael’s and Nixon’s commands from the school house. The incident not only tested Mitchell but brought unwanted scrutiny from brigade.

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 157 Spycker developed into a furious action; the enemy counterattacked and was driven off in fierce close-quarter fighting. It was here that Lieutenant Joe Nixon acquired a lasting reputation as a Black Watch warrior. When the Germans closed in at midnight, Nixon ran upstairs again and again to throw grenades down on them. The Germans responded. One Stielhandgranate exploded near Nixon. He woke up the next morning, discovering there were only two fit men to protect eighteen Black Watch wounded remaining in the school. The three men repelled a continuous series of attacks: We had a lot of weapons – from Stens, Brens, Lee-Enfields, the odd pistol, a commando knife, and a PIAT anti-tank gun. We used them all – alternating from Stens to Brens to rifles. We wanted them to think there [was] a lot more of us.612

This went on all day. At 5 o’clock in the afternoon, the Germans called on Nixon to give up: “Come on Canada! Surrender! We’ll take care of you!” Nixon was not impressed: “Well that got my dander up.” He grabbed the PIAT, stepped out of the door and fired. It exploded about fifteen feet away. “That stopped everything.” The advantage was that the PIAT (Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank) had no back-blast and could be fired from an enclosed space, but it required a steady, robust grip. Nixon let go with three more bombs. The Germans decided to hang back and wear them down with small-arms fire and mortars.613 The intrepid group held out for over thirty hours without food or water, until rescued by a large battalion fighting patrol. Nixon’s assessment: “It was a miracle. I’m delighted to have survived.” In the end, Brigadier Megill decided that trying to hold on to Spycker just wasn’t worth the cost. The village was ordered abandoned. Lieutenant Nixon and his scout-snipers were the stars of the Spycker battle. One, Private Frederick DeLutis, was awarded the Military Medal for his feisty performance. Cut off, he became the model soldier, encouraging his chums, rescuing the exposed wounded, and moving from position to position to fight the enemy. He accounted for nine. A second NCO, Sergeant RB McKinnel, was also awarded the MM for his efforts in bringing out D Company wounded under fire. No one wrote up Joe Nixon for a gong. The battle demonstrated what Mitchell, indeed all battalion commanders, had been pointing out to their brigadiers that the soldiers in the rifle companies were only partly trained. There was a desperate need for experienced warrants and sergeants to settle the men down and show them what to do. For the most part, the BW officers were fresh out of training and, barely knew one another. “We worked as platoons. I never saw the other platoon leaders except during O Groups – and very briefly.”614

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Nixon knew his platoon but had little opportunity to become Regimental. The key to it all was more training. Some men could not strip a Bren Gun or change magazines. “They were willing – even determined, but were NOT up to infantry standards.”615 Some were afraid of grenades. Most were fit, but not infantry fit, that is, used to long marches, night patrols, living rough, and surviving the wet climate which brought colds, sniffles and foot problems. “We nearly liquidated the lot by marching them 60 or 70 miles,” recalled Carmichael. He had been an instructor in the Tactics School before coming to France. He was forced to admit the lads of fall did not measure up to the boys of summer. During the thirty hours of the battle, Mitchell tried to get help from brigade, principally tanks. Megill thought tanks and armoured cars were unsuitable for the terrain and besides, would take some time to appear. Mitchell grew angry. He announced he had a company cut off, and German pressure was growing. Megill sent a liaison officer to make a personal recce. Mitchell again requested tanks but allowed that armoured cars would do, even if they took two hours to arrive. Megill ordered the armour as well as an air strike against the German guns. Mitchell then brought up A Company and induced the remainder of B Company to move back up to Spycker. With Pinkham’s group leading, the relief force reached the school. In the adjacent church, they discovered “Dante’s Inferno – the dead and wounded lay on the pews and in the aisles, while Marcel Paresys (the local Abbott) worked the floor distributing rosaries and administering last rites.”616 A Company extracted the injured and survivors while Pinkham held off the Germans. Mitchell was infuriated. He requested ambulance jeeps to recover his wounded men and additional supporting fire. Both took far too long. He insisted on answers. He was told to wait by junior staff officers as the brigadier and his gunner were away from brigade HQ, visiting another battalion action. The final evacuation took some time to complete. The two days of Spycker had cost 1 RHC over fifty men. “Spycker will always recall bitter memories … One could always count on a fair amount of excitement,” Mitchell later wrote to Hutchison.617 Unfortunately, his reasonable temper did not extend to his brigadier. Post-Spycker Confrontations: Mitchell vs. Megill A Commanding Officer of very strong personality is required to lead it. Lieutenant General GG Simonds, of the Black Watch, September 1944 The last two months have been grim. Mitchell to PPH 22 September 1944

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 159 Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell requested a formal meeting. Both had things to say. “The tension between the two men led to an explosion. Mitchell refused to accept any criticism of his battalion.”618 After the war, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Motzfeldt reported to Hutchison: “Mitchell became very worried about the state of training of the new reinforcements received and wanted time to reorganize – this was refused by Brigadier Megill … [there was] a complete clash of personalities.”619 The row settled nothing. Mitchell then demanded an interview with the divisional commander, Major General Foulkes. Megill arranged it. It proved to be Mitchell’s undoing. Frank Mitchell was a complex man. His company commander’s course evaluation (“self-conscious and slow at making decisions and plans”) was rejected by the GSO 1 Training at CMHQ. He wrote instead that Mitchell should be classed as “dignified and reserved.”620 Mitchell was another type of RHC gentry. He was most sensitive to the frustrations and needs of his battalion. His RMC background should have helped, but conversely, may have been an annoyance to his brigadier, who had come up from the ranks. To Mitchell, Megill was an unsympathetic gauleiter. The events of 25 July and 5 August tormented his soul. He had been raised in an elite battalion, but by midSeptember, after five years of careful training, three battles had left him with a unit comprised of incompletely trained soldiers, inexperienced NCOs and officers, and a timetable that continually sent his unit into battle without adequate preparation. Conversely, Megill saw in Mitchell, a CO prone to mediocre tactical solutions, with an exaggerated opinion of his battalion’s worth. Given the events of July and August, it is easier to side with Mitchell. However, the conduct at May-sur-Orne and Bourgtheroulde left some room for reservation. Megill’s actual written evaluation was almost kind,621 but there clearly had been behind-the-scenes discussions. Mitchell arrived determined to present the BW case and expose an unsympathetic brigade HQ. Instead, Foulkes asked him to resign. To senior staff, the action at Spycker suggested a precarious state within 1 RHC. Megill and Foulkes decided these were Mitchell’s failings. There was no alternative. The final verdict was by the corps commander himself, who wrote: “It is considered that in order to bring the unit back to its full fighting efficiency a commanding officer of very strong personality is required to lead it.”622 To the Army, certainly Lieutenant General Guy Simonds, the Black Watch was not a battalion like the others. It required a dynamic patrician hand. Stuart Cantlie seemed to have it. Frank Mitchell, despite commendations, was considered not up to BW requirements. Mitchell left his battalion in the field. It broke his heart and would eventually affect his health. By Christmas 1944, he deteriorated noticeably. In February 1945, he was diagnosed at Basingstoke Neuro for psychoneurosis, specifically, as being in

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a state of combat-anxiety – a major problem in the European theatre of operations. The psychological effects of reviving the Black Watch, enduring battle, then having it snatched away left a telling mark on its commander.623 The Scheldt It was sort of like arriving at a rink and they taught you how to skate, and then they’d give you a hockey stick and said: now you’re going to play in the NHL – for your life. L/Corporal Bruce Ducat, speaking of Black Watch replacements in France during the summer of 1944

On 22 September, Lieutenant Colonel Bruce R Ritchie took command of 1 RHC, in less than auspicious circumstances. Megill did not want him. They were forced upon each other. This was a continuance of the RMC vs. up-from-the ranks demarcation. They had met in militia days and did not hit it off then, nor did they hit it off now. Megill was old school, followed orders and, while clever, was never comfortable with the BW as a caste. Ritchie was no Cantlie; his modus operandi tended to underscore his background at Sun Life Insurance. Ritchie loved to itemize, analyze, to create statistical reports. He was no better a tactician than Mitchell, but certainly no worse. However, Megill wanted a brigade team. The only Black Watch CO to hit it off with Megill (beside Cantlie) was West Coast Highlander, Lieutenant Colonel Sydney Thomson DSO, MC. He thought the secret to getting on with the brigadier “was working with Megill as opposed to for him.”624 That may not have been an option for Ritchie. There was now too much history between the battalion and brigade. Brigadier WJ Megill and the Black Watch Outspoken and stubborn in his opinions but he loyally accepts the decisions of his superiors even though adverse to his opinions. Major General Chris Vokes, of Brigadier WJ Megill, 1952

Brigadier William Jemmett Megill is at times portrayed as the bête noire of the Second World War Black Watch. He was the only commander of 5th Brigade and controlled 1 RHC throughout the war. Two Black Watch COs found him insufferable, two managed to get on with him, and one, the most experienced and decorated of the bunch, rather liked him, but he was from another regiment. Megill came up from the ranks. He joined as a signalman in 1923 and served with RC Sigs for sixteen years throughout Canada. He once spent two years as the senior NCO on a desolate wireless station in Mayo Landing, Yukon. Too much has been

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 161 made of his humble roots. Megill was an intelligent and often brave officer. He was temporarily discharged in 1928 to attend Queen’s University. At the time, he held the rank of company sergeant-major. He completed two years in the faculty of Electrical Engineering and was commissioned in 1930. In January 1939, as a major, he was selected for senior Staff College. He chose to attend Quetta, in India – an unusual choice but shrewd. It was every bit as professional as England’s Camberley, but more Empire and certainly more exotic.625 Upon graduation, he went straight into staff jobs, serving in various GSO positions until promoted acting colonel. It was decided he had the makings of a brigadier. To acquire experience with the Combat Arms, Megill was given command of the Algonquin Regiment, an infantry unit. He had some reservations, but despite his personal hesitation, seemed to get on. In February 1944, Megill was given command of 5th Infantry Brigade. Stuart Cantlie had been in the running, but it went to Megill. It is interesting to speculate how Verrières Ridge would have evolved on 25 July had Cantlie been the brigadier. Major General Chris Vokes’s post-war description of Megill could easily fit the brigadier in Europe circa 1944–1945: Tall [6’1”], robust and ruddy featured. Well turned out at all times. A disciplinarian but kindly by nature. Somewhat reserved but mixes well. Outspoken and stubborn in his opinions but he loyally accepts the decisions of his superiors even though adverse to his opinions. Moreover, he executes them faithfully.626

Megill held command until May 1945, the end of the war and longer than any Canadian brigadier. Conversely, despite vast experience, he was not promoted, which is curious, for Simonds praised his “bold and determined thrust forward to surprise and overrun enemy positions [Normandy to Dieppe] … He was continually with the forward elements.” He underscored Megill’s “aggressive determination, bold tactics and absolute control … ”627 Field Marshal BLM Montgomery was impressed enough to write of 5 CIB’s October-to-November advance “against a numerically superior enemy force, encountering strong defensive positions and continuous artillery fire … Brigadier Megill, with unlimited endurance and without regard for his personal safety under shell, mortar and small-arms fire, directed these difficult operations from the most forward positions.”628 Megill’s clash with Mitchell was partly forced by the inflexible demands of Foulkes and Simonds; but, there was an underlying cause. Motzfeldt identified it as “personal clash.” Mitchell and Ritchie, raised in the blue-ribbon hierarchy of the Black Watch, were at ease with the upper-class and probably considered themselves members of that caste. They were prepared to analyze and discuss. Megill followed

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orders. Period. This dogged, often inflexible quality, was yoked with what may have been a personal uneasiness with RHC senior officers. Clearly, it was not the style of the Watch to question authority. Its history written in blood shows the unit’s determination to do exactly as it was bid. However, RMC-Montreal-bred COs like Mitchell and Ritchie, were inclined to ask why when matters did not make military sense. The spirited defence of their battalion’s best interests fashioned a gap. Though their case was proven by the bitter results of Maysur-Orne and Black Friday, Megill had his reservations. Try as they might, both COs proved to be less than dynamic tacticians, thus giving them less room to manoeuvre in conference. Post factum, one aspect of this conflict must be made clear: The Black Watch, shattered as it was by a series of battles where 90 percent of its leadership was killed, was never given sufficient time to train and rebuild, i.e. 26 July to 1 November. While other battalions suffered the same difficulties, no unit sustained the same losses in the same sequence of hammering assaults. In October 1944, the Black Watch calculated that out of 379 all ranks in the battalion’s rifle companies, 159 had received three months training, forty-six two months or more, 131 one month, twenty-nine less than a month, and fourteen none. CP Stacey, in the Official History of the Canadian Army noted: “The case of the Black Watch was, perhaps, extreme, for this unit had had unusually heavy casualties on several occasions.”629 This was the very point the battalion tried to make repeatedly: their case was extreme. Training Replacements Ritchie’s problem was twofold: replacements and training. Many of the new soldiers were rerouted from other branches with little or no infantry training, exhibited poor morale and often arrived hours before an attack.630 As Alan Carmichael noted earlier: We were almost desperate for want of NCOs. Much good material was available but no time was available for training the prospective NCOs. The ideal situation would be a constant flow of trained NCOs from England in fairly large numbers … If the fighting strength of a battalion could be maintained at a higher level than was normal in France, I see no reason why many of the LOB group should not be prospective NCOs undergoing training.631

All this shed light on the ugly political drama that was dividing Canada. The lack of trained replacements, following the two bloodiest months of the war, created a series of conscription crises that affected both the home front, and the front lines. Ritchie was not discouraged despite the state of the reallocation officers, who arrived with Artillery, Service Corps and Engineer Corps backgrounds: “They are

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 163 honestly keen and good chaps, and if we get sufficient time before we are heavily committed, all should go well”632 he wrote to Hutchison. Unfortunately, that would not be the case. However, there was nothing he would change in his Regimental structure. His second-in-command was the stalwart Major Alan Stevenson, just back from the hospital, recovered from wounds taken during the Orne crossing at the start of Operation Atlantic. He was a company commander since April 1943, and brought experience and stability to his job. The RSM remained the solid and effective Archie Leitch. The rifle companies were led by proven officers who were well respected by the veteran NCOs. Major Bill Ewing was already a legend in the ranks and if anything, too brave in the field. Arriving to assist Ritchie was the brigade major, Robert Gordon “Torchy” Slater who was famous for his red hair and his many skills as a soldier. He was Brigadier Megill’s favourite Black Watch officer and had been the BM for the 5th since March 1944. The only reason Megill let him go back to the regiment was because he wanted him to have more field experience before promotion. The brigadier saw Slater as the next and best choice to command the Black Watch. Ritchie made him OC of B Company. C and D Companies were led by veteran officers. Esmond Pinkham commanded with a style that puzzled those who did not know him. He was both lucky and well-liked by his men. By the war’s end, he would be the longest serving Black Watch company commander. D Company’s Major, James Russell Popham, was a McGill COTC officer who arrived in 1942. Like Pinkham, he served with Morton Jaquays’s 2 RHC in the Maritimes. A graduate of Lower Canada College and Trinity College, Toronto, he was mature, careful and calmly led D Company through tricky firefights. Less flashy than the average RHC major, Popham was capable and devoted. He fought in every Normandy battle from Atlantic, to Bruges. Captain David Law was selected by Mitchell to replace Campbell Stuart; this was a daunting task for an officer who had lived in the regimental shadows. He was, however, from a Black Watch family; his father served in the 42nd Battalion CEF, and he knew all the right people, from Royal Ewing to GS Cantlie. He was six-foot-one, a member of the Hunt Club, but curiously, was not considered Black Watch senior officer material – at least in the field. Stuart Cantlie refused to give Law a platoon: “a very valuable officer but for reasons of physique he is not suitable as an infantry platoon comd … could be made use of in Civil Affairs.”633 All this changed after 25 July. Law excelled and kept the job until January 1945, when he was succeeded by the raffish Stan Duffield. Both COs found Law to be a first-rate adjutant: “David deserves the highest commendation … He is truly wonderful – I cannot sing his praises loudly enough.”634

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Another gem was the intelligence officer, Lieutenant William John Shea. He was not a Montrealer and had no previous ties to the Watch. He was from Sudbury, and later attended the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall. The twenty-nineyear-old barrister-at-law quickly proved a natural at his job. Mitchell remarked: “a remarkably fine fellow – highly capable. Can see in the dark. Best map reader I ever came across.”635 Shea served as IO until the New Year. Thus, Bruce Ritchie inherited the makings of a great battalion, but time proved the enemy once more; for, on 18 September, the battalion entered Belgium.636 Fall 1944 – Two Bloody Months Each day sees the strength of each company being gradually whittled down. War Diary, 1 RHC, 4 October 1944

The Black Watch drove through St-Julien, just outside Ypres. The Highlanders marvelled at the beautifully kept First Canadian Division war memorial (“The Brooding Soldier”). However, there was no time to pause at Gravenstafel Ridge or take the men to the “Apex” of the Canadian line at the junction of the Poelcapelle Road and the Lekkerboterbeek, where the Watch first earned glory during the infamous gas attack of April 1915. They carried on northwest, slipping past Antwerp and finally dug in beside the Albert Canal, which separated them from the Scheldt and the Germans. They were pawns in a complex strategic game. Although the British (General Horrocks’s XXX Corps) had captured Antwerp directly after the Normandy campaign in a brilliant blitzkrieg dash, it could not be used. Antwerp is eighty miles from the open sea on the River Scheldt. It was the largest European port available in 1944 to the Allies who were in desperate need of supplies if they were to cross the Rhine before Christmas. Their logistics tail stretched hundreds of miles all the way back to the D-Day beaches. The Channel ports were unusable, and the railroads made inoperable by air-strikes. The main source of gas and ammunition was “The Red Ball Express” which was an enormous system of truck convoys rumbling twenty-four hours a day from beaches to the front lines. Mechanized advance depended on oil and petrol, and the Allied armoured divisions were forced to slow down to almost walking pace.637 Antwerp was the answer, but the Germans still controlled the Scheldt Estuary. Not a ship could enter the great port until the estuary was cleared, and this task was given to General Harry Crerar’s First Canadian Army. Montgomery already tried a bold but desperate gambit: Operation Market Garden (17 September) which failed with heavy losses. It was the largest parachute

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 165 operation up to that time incorporating three airborne divisions. The goal was to force an entry into Germany by seizing the bridges across the Meuse (Maas) and two arms of the Rhine. After an initial success, it foundered at Arnhem (A Bridge Too Far). The Battle of the Scheldt became a detestable, exhausting campaign in which the losses suffered by the Canadian infantry were exacerbated by another conscription crisis. It would take a full month and 12,873 Allied casualties before the Scheldt was secure. Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie was to fight four battalion battles between 29 September and 1 November. The campaign would cost the BW twenty-five officers and 429 other ranks. Although Verrières Ridge will forever dominate regimental history, the grinding assaults along the Channel coast and into the Scheldt were just as savage a campaign and, in some ways tougher, for they had to be fought with green troops and new officers. It was much the same for all of 2nd Division, but to the Black Watch, it seemed they were continually starting from scratch and unable to catch their breath. The German Infanterie Division 346 – The Antwerp–Turnhout Canal Line The Black Watch’s opponent through most of their battles in Holland was the German Infanterie Division 346. This unit shared a Normandy past with 1 RHC. It was behind the Orne, just north-east of Verrières Ridge, but never close enough to meet the BW. It made up for it in Holland. The 346th was a second-tier formation, always low on the totem pole for reinforcements or equipment. However, it still managed a host of mortars and a fair artillery park: equipped with 12 x76mm (Russian) guns, 12x 105mm, and 12x 122mm (Russian) gun-howitzers. It comprised two weak regiments (857 and 858 Grenadier Regiments), and its anti-tank unit (346 Panzerjäger Abteilung) included a company of ten StuG III assault guns. Their low silhouettes were perfect for the flat terrain of the Scheldt. They could be hidden anywhere, and their appearance would completely disrupt any force of infantry. They mounted two MG42 machine-guns and a 75mm gun which fired both anti-tank and high explosive rounds – a menace to both armour and Black Watch rifle companies. After the Normandy collapse, the 346th Division withdrew north to the Seine River through Lisieux and Bourgtheroulde, where it battled with the Watch. Their brief meeting in that town was forgotten by October 1944. The 346th was soon reduced to half its infantry strength. The Division became part of General Otto Sponheimer’s 67th Corps (Fifteenth German Army) and joined the 711th and 719th Divisions holding the Antwerp–Turnhout Canal line. The 2nd Canadian Division (and the Watch) would fight against the 346th and elements of the 711th Infanterie Division until the final clearing of Hoogerheide–Woensdrecht.

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The 346th dug in north of Antwerp. Here, unluckily for the BW, it was reinforced with remnants from other divisions and as well, some artillery. By the time 1 RHC bumped into it at St-Leonard and Brecht, it had almost rebuilt its depleted batteries, and still had plenty of mortars, MG42s, and spunk. Their CO, Lieutenant General Erich Diestel, won the Ritterkreuz conducting rearguard actions during the retreat towards Holland. By October 1944, it was commanded by Generalleutnant Walter Steinmüller. Although rebuilt to some 8,000 men, it was now regarded as a Kampfgruppe rather than a Division.638 To make things worse for the Watch, at the last minute the Panzerjäger Abteilung was reinforced with five new SturmHaubitzes (SP Assault Howitzers). This tracked vehicle was specially designed as both an infantry support weapon and as a bunker buster. The converted tanks mounted a robust 105mm howitzer; its big explosive shells made it a particularly deadly weapon against troops trying to hold on to land which offered little cover. St-Leonard and Brecht, 29 September–1 October 1944 There were two separate but simultaneous campaigns to clear the Scheldt. The southern envelopment in the lower Scheldt (“The Breskens Pocket”) was conducted by 3rd Canadian Infantry Division (Major General Spry); the 2nd Canadian Division, under Foulkes, was tasked to clear the northern Scheldt estuary. It would take another five weeks of ruthless fighting. The 2nd Canadian Division’s objective comprised a large bit of terrain that looked like a peninsula, but was, in fact, three separate islands (North and South Beveland, and Walcheren Island). The two latter islands commanded the sea route to Antwerp with great coastal batteries encased in concrete and steel. South Beveland was actually connected to the mainland via a narrow isthmus. Walcheren Island was the final objective. Allied possession of Antwerp remained irrelevant as long as cargo ships could not reach its docks. Walcheren’s dykes were breached by RAF Bomber Command flooding its centre and forcing the Germans to whatever high ground remained. Attacking them required a series of infantry battles across flat, soggy ground. Much like the Great War, all the attacks would be frontals, directly into the teeth of enemy fire. The 5th Brigade, leading the 2nd Canadian Division, had conducted a right hook that brought it through Belgium and presented the opportunity for an envelopment that would put Antwerp behind Allied lines. St-Leonard and Brecht were obstacles along the approach to South Beveland. They proved a real test for Ritchie and his men. The first Black Watch battle of the campaign occurred at St-Leonard on

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 167 29 September. It was a follow-on to Spycker, and the battalion was apprehensive. Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie asked for time to prepare for this night attack against a strongly-held position. His request fell on deaf ears: “The Brigadier left him no alternative and ordered him to attack with the least possible delay.”639 A and C Companies went straight in with tanks and artillery. Advancing astride a centre road, they came under heavy crossfire and, at dawn, endured a savage counterattack by the 858th Grenadier Regiment of the 346th. Major James Popham tried to withdraw D Company, but was hit hard. The company fell back, and Lieutenant William Wood was taken prisoner. His platoon had picked its way through the night and came upon a StuG III assault gun. It loomed up suddenly like a monster from the darkness: “I can recall being absolutely terrified. My hair stood on end.”640 The platoon was surrounded. Wood was sent to a German PW camp. He discovered Lieutenant Edmond Notebaert there who, like him, had arrived at 1 RHC the night before Verrières Ridge the previous July. Together, they spent the rest of the war in Oflag 79, near Brunswick (Oflags for officers and Stalags for enlisted men). After the war, Wood became a diplomat, and was sent to posts all over the globe as Ambassador Extraordinary by the Department of External Affairs. He served as Plenipotentiary to Haiti and, in 1965, was appointed Canada’s Ambassador to Israel. Captain Race Chapman took over the company as the battalion reformed on the Start Line to repel the counterattack. What may have been bold brigade tactics played havoc with infantry battalions. It was a rough start for Ritchie as CO. The Black Watch dug in and sent out a series of aggressive night patrols. St-Leonard was a bloody nose, but no one panicked. The young soldiers followed orders and stood firm against the counterattack, sending the Germans back to their own Start Line with casualties. Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie was encouraged. The day after, 1 RHC was ordered to attack Brecht, another Flanders town surrounded by flat, open farmland. It was a key crossroads, one and a half miles from St-Leonard and six miles south-east of the Beveland isthmus. Brecht controlled the approach to Hoogerheide – gateway to South Beveland. Ritchie was given sophisticated and rather nasty technology: Wasps (Universal Carriers mounting flame throwers), tanks, and a troop of 17-pounders. The tracked flamethrowers terrified the German infantry and demoralized those not killed outright. After a brisk advance and determined house-to-house fighting, B Company consolidated the objective and for once, the battalion took only minor casualties. Brecht was a success. Ritchie was chuffed. Nevertheless, the final bill for St-Leonard and Brecht amounted to 119 all ranks – a sixth of the rifle companies. The 2nd Canadian Division now sought to sweep through Beveland and capture Walcheren Island. The initial stage was to secure the South Beveland isthmus. The

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5th Brigade was ordered to attack through Hoogerheide into Woensdrecht. They assaulted over open, flooded land. Driving rain, booby traps, and land mines made the advance very difficult. On 7 October, the Black Watch crossed the frontier into Holland and made ready to assault the town of Hoogerheide. The area was remarkably flat but possessed sufficient topography to make it interesting for the defenders and deadly for the attacking foot soldiers. Hoogerheide, 8–9 October 1944 The battalion moved up to the attack through an early-morning mist. They discovered the Start Line had not been secured. Ritchie called an O Group to alter the plans. It was held in the open near a large windmill, shrouded by fog, and under intermittent mortar fire. The CO decided on a cautious advance: Esmond Pinkham’s C Company, Bill Ewing’s A Company along the west side of the road (the main axis), D Company along the east side, and finally “Torchy” Slater’s B Company. D Company was led by Douglas Horatio “Race” Chapman, now promoted to major. Chapman was from Montreal, where he had graduated from Westmount Academy and Lower Canada College; he joined the regiment in July 1940 while in the McGill COTC. He was just twenty-four years old, young for a company commander, even in the 1 RHC. Chapman was six feet tall, athletic, with striking looks and intense eyes. Stuart Cantlie praised his “outstanding ability … He is aggressive and has plenty of initiative.”641 He was the fifth OC the Company had had in four months. Since their first battle on 18 July, the BW had employed twenty company commanders; the average tour for a major before being killed or wounded was five days.642 Ritchie set up BHQ in a large schoolhouse in the outskirts of Hoogerheide. H-Hour was 1030 and announced by a loud barrage. D Company encountered stiff opposition: “The enemy was well dug in, in well-sited positions, and supported by artillery, mortar, heavy m.g., and scores of snipers.”643 The company’s platoons immediately suffered casualties. Under punishing machine gun and mortar fire, Chapman was forced to withdraw back to the Start Line. The enemy followed up with a fierce counterattack. Very heavy fighting ensued. It ended in a stalemate. The battalion lost eighty-one men. At this point, recognizing the opportunity, Field-Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery issued a directive that made the opening of the Scheldt estuary the top priority of 21st Army Group. His favourite Canadian, Lieutenant General Guy Simonds, assumed temporary command of First Canadian Army on 2 October. The next morning, the brigade’s battalion commanders were surprised to see Major General Foulkes, GOC 2nd Div, at Brigadier Megill’s O Group. Foulkes announced that it was his intention

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 169 to attack into South Beveland (Operation Angus). Ritchie at once held a meeting of the company commanders, and explained the coming operation. At the conclusion, Captain John “Jack” Ethelbert Orr, one of the most courageous officers the unit had ever known, was killed by a sniper’s bullet as he returned to brief his Carrier Platoon. He was struck down no more than thirty yards from BHQ. He was born in Maine but grew up in Moose Jaw. A star hockey player at the University of Saskatchewan, Orr joined the Regina Rifles and transferred into the Black Watch in the spring of 1944. The family was heartbroken. His father, John Orr Sr, wrote to Colonel Hutchison thanking him for Padre Royle’s kind letter that relayed the melancholy news: “Jack was buried with some of his men beneath the spreading branches of some great beech trees on a country estate, the service concluded by the playing on the bagpipes of The Lament.”644 On 10 October, at Ritchie’s formal O Group, everyone noted the absence of Major Slater. His company sergeant-major reported that he had simply disappeared. Slater was last seen by his batman, his runner, and a company HQ signaller. “Wait for me here; I will be back,” he said.645 Extensive searches produced nothing. It was not until the end of the war that it was discovered Major Slater had been wounded by mortar fire and captured by the Germans. He spent nine days as a PW in the Bosschenhoofd Monastery, a German Field Hospital, before succumbing to wounds. He was the only Canadian buried in the village of Seppe where his name appears on their war memorial.646 Major Slater would be missed, not only by the battalion, but by the brigade commander, who had great expectations of him. “Black Friday” – Operation Angus, 13 October 1944 The Black Watch vs. The Blue Baron It was a day of bloody fighting and failure. Colonel CP Stacey, Official History Canadian Army Second World War The monumental task of attacking these strongpoints on a one-man front, dyke by wretched dyke, without respite. This was bad enough, but when it had to be done in cold, driving rain, through ankle-deep mud, with little hope of a change of dry clothes or a warm place to sleep, not knowing from one moment to the next if you would be dead or alive, it was a new form of hell. This was polder warfare. BGen DW Whitaker, RHLI 647 A couple of NCOs who lived through May-sur-Orne told me it was just as bad as that. Lieutenant AVL Mills, letter to Colonel ALS Mills, 22 October 1944

The approach march to Woensdrecht required heavy fighting. Hoogerheide, the village a mile southeast of that village and just 14 road miles north of Antwerp,

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was determinedly defended by the Germans for it opened the way to the isthmus connecting Beveland and Walcheren to the mainland. It was here that 5 Brigade bumped Kampfgruppe Chill (Generalleutnant Kurt Chill), which was the Germans’ Scheldt “fire brigade”. The Watch exchanged fire with new infantry, although they did not yet appreciate the quality of the reinforcement Chill was receiving. The KG was built around an exotic piece of armour, the very rare Jagdpanther tank destroyer. It looked very much like a stealth tank. It was built on a Panther chassis but without a turret featuring very sleek lines, carrying the powerful pak 43 L71 caliber 88 mm gun that was the same as the one mounted on the King Tiger tank. It was very tough to kill and it destroyed anything it hit. The 559th Heavy Tank Hunter Battalion (schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung 559) was composed of three companies: one Jagdpanther and two StuG III companies. The latter were augmented by Sturmhaubitze StuH 42 from a Sturmgeshützbrigade – infantry assault guns on a StuG chassis. They could deliver a large explosive shell directly into any strong point, house or trench. The only relief was that by October the fighting strength of schPzJg Abt 559 varied from two to three Jagdpanthers and six to eight StuGs per day.648 But it was not armour that would kill Black Watch soldiers in the polders – it was enemy infantry. As fighting in Hoogerheide intensified, it became clear to the Black Watch these were not the weary infantry of the old 346th Wehrmacht Division, but rather, Fallschirmjägers. The prisoners taken were: …members of the Luftwaffe, the first we have ever contacted. It is apparent that there has been heavy reinforcement of this area, and that the enemy is determined to make a stand. The troops we are now meeting are very definitely the cream of the crop … They range in age from 20 to 26 years, are fine physical specimens, keen to fight and with excellent morale.649

The fighting was house to house and directly the battalion’s companies took an objective, they were immediately counterattacked: For a while things were again very sticky, but once again this attack was repulsed without the loss of any ground … An enemy tank was reported edging in between two of our companies. Our artillery were unable to engage it owing to its proximity to our own lines, and it continued to roll forward, down the street, where our C Coy was located. As it came close to one of the houses one of our men edged a PIAT over the window sill of an upstairs window, and with one bomb put it out of commission. One of our own tanks then put the finishing touches to the job. On closer inspection it was ascertained that it was not an enemy tank but an s.p. gun, of the Ferdinand type.650

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 171 It was the Black Watch’s first encounter with a Jagdpanther.651 This, and the confirmation of paratroopers, should have caused some concern at brigade and division headquarters. The first brush with KG Chill in Hoogerheide cost the Black Watch eighty-one casualties in two days of fighting. There was no pause. A tank shot northwest of Hoogerheide was Woensdrecht, which controlled the main road and rail route to Beveland and Walcheren – the entrance to the isthmus and an essential objective. The area was criss-crossed with dykes, flooding was massive and ground so soft that often artillery shells would not explode. The Start Line was held by the Royal Regiment of Canada, and Woensdrecht village by the Calgary Highlanders. Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie was ordered to capture the enemy strong points that controlled the approaches to the West Scheldt. The assault against Woensdrecht was the second devastating battle in the Regiment’s European campaign. To those who joined since August, it was a horrid war experience and it was forever known in the regimental messes as “Black Friday”. The objectives were appropriately named for a Black Watch assault: Angus 1, 2 and 3. Angus 3 was the main objective, the rail station near Korteven, about 2 miles northeast of the Start Line. The first two were part of a lazy turn that featured the main highway and rail line to Beveland. Angus 1 was a bleak crossing, where road, rail and dyke met. Set amidst flat polders and farmland, the junction was dominated by steep dykes that offered deadly observation over the southern approaches. The enemy, again assumed to be elements of an infantry battalion from the 346 Infanterie-Division, held several platoon-sized strong points.652 But in fact, the sector had just been reinforced by a rough and tumble paratroop battalion from the elite Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 6, commanded by a veritable living legend, Colonel Baron Friedrich von der Heydte.653 Ritchie later said, “We were misinformed; we had no idea the Germans would be so good. We really were up against the crème de la crème.”654 The Black Watch went into the attack just after dawn, supported by artillery and heavy mortars. They passed through the Royal Regiment of Canada, who occupied the levee along the Start Line. It was yet another frontal, two companies up. B Company was commanded by Major Race Chapman; C Company was led by Captain Eric Buch who assumed command when Pinkham was designated LOB. After an advance of 250 yards, they encountered heavy small-arms fire from Angus 1. Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie called for mortar support, but the German fire did not slacken. Enemy shells began to explode; artillery fired airburst rounds, sending deadly showers of shrapnel splinters like lancets that sliced through flesh. The lead companies went to ground. Major Chapman asked C Company for assistance. Fire intensified, seemingly from the flanks as well as in front. Owing to the nature of the country, it was extremely

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difficult to indicate a target with any precision. By 0815 hrs, the battle was making slow progress, but five minutes later, the forward companies reported that they were again pinned down by mortar fire. To add to the confusion, German forward observers located The Black Watch Mortar Platoon and switched targets, firing air bursts over the base-plate position that made life most unpleasant for the mortar crews. The Fallschirmjäger Company facing the Watch comprised 155–160 soldiers, divided amongst four to five positions and a reserve. The platoon at Angus 1 numbered less than thirty, but they were dug in, had pre-recorded supporting fire and were veterans. Further, the Watch went forward in piecemeal, two companies up, and not capable of offering each other effective support.655 Dismal reports reached Ritchie. Mounting casualties forced B Company back to its Start Line; the company was savaged and all its officers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Race Chapman was struck down and died from his wounds. In C Company, Captain Eric Buch, a veteran of Verrières, was wounded; the remainder doggedly pushed toward Angus 1, led by platoon commanders. It was turning into a cataclysmic day. Ritchie met with the OCs of A and D Coys at 0850 hrs. There were no clear reports. Returning wounded insisted C Company had reached Angus 1 and secured the position, but heavy fire prevented confirmation. Brigadier Megill was called, and immediately requested air support from Div HQ. At 0945 hrs, the brigadier and Ritchie went forward to recce. A new plan was formulated, incorporating the use of tanks and flame throwers. Meantime, C Company was huddled on the south edge of Angus 1, pinned against an embankment twenty feet high. As the men tried to dig in, the German paratroopers lobbed grenades over the dyke at them: “They taunted our guys. They would jump out of their slits on the dykes, taunt our guys, and as soon as we started to fire, they’d get down”.656 [See Maps Woensdrecht] After two hours, twelve Typhoon ground attack aircraft (reported as Spitfires by the Watch) zoomed in and shot up enemy positions; regrettably, their strikes were directed toward Angus 3. Just as well, since close air-support in the Angus 1 position would have likely added to Black Watch losses. The Gordian battle continued; C Company was apparently doomed. At noon, Captain Share, the BW medical officer, reported three dozen casualties had been evacuated, but that there were many more lying at the front impossible to reach. A second airstrike appeared at 1430. Ten Typhoons from 197 Squadron (146 Wing) dropped twenty 500-pounder bombs, joined by eleven Spitfires from 74 Squadron (145 Wing);657 again Angus 2 and 3 were the main targets. A temporary truce with German stretcher-bearers at 1440 permitted additional casualties to be evacuated

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 173 by Black Watch stretcher-bearers, aided by men from the Royal Regiment of Canada and the 18th Field Ambulance. During the second air attack, Captain John Shea, the IO, climbed to the top of a barn and, ignoring snipers, watched as Fallschirmjägers marched Black Watch soldiers back as prisoners. Resolute, Ritchie ordered a second attack to secure Angus 1. A Company, led by Bill Ewing, would attack on the right; D Company, led by the much-liked and now very experienced Major James Popham was on the left. There were a half squadron of tanks from the Fort Garry Horse and 17 pounder anti-tank guns to provide supporting fire. Because of reduced numbers, it was a weakened effort, but it was not for want of trying. Companies were the size of platoons. B Company, normally 125 strong, now totalled forty-one men, including company headquarters. The twenty-five men left in C Company and the remnants of B Company were to give what covering fire they could. Three flame throwers mounted on Bren Gun carriers (called Wasps) further augmented the assault. Their first task was to help C Company secure the embankment. The attack, supported by artillery, went in at 1700 hrs. The self-propelled flame throwers gave them momentum and initially, progress was made through the beet fields – then things went wrong. Two radios were knocked out by mortars, and forward movement bogged down in the mud as enemy fire stiffened. The remnants of B Company pushed forward to reinforce C Company, and got as far as the bend in the dyke. By 1820 hrs, the situation became sticky for Major Popham, OC D Company, was seriously wounded. Lieutenant Beau Lewis, undaunted, did a marvellous piece of work getting his platoon into their objective under the stiffest possible opposition. It was erroneously reported that Angus 1 was now secure. The Anti-Tank Platoon was sent forward, with disastrous results. It quickly retreated back across the line of departure. The shattered Popham refused to leave his men. It was only with difficulty that Lieutenant Lewis persuaded him to go to the rear for medical attention. Meantime, A Company was being decimated by fire. Trying to encourage the jocks forward, Bill Ewing was hit. He was taken to the rear and insisted on appearing before Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie, bleeding and totally exhausted. He made his report before being evacuated. It was not good. Although A Company had nearly reached the Angus 1 area, there had been heavy casualties. Ewing was afraid that few of the company would come out alive. There was absolutely no cover unless one reached the dyke and railroad line, only to be bombarded with grenades and corrected mortar fire. The fields were covered with bodies and wounded Black Watch trying to come home. Ritchie ordered the battalion to hang tough. He organized all his resources to evacuate the wounded and to make sure that every fit man available was sent forward to reinforce the companies on the objective. The War Diary recorded:

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Many acts of heroism were performed in the dark which will never come to light. No words can pay sufficient tribute to those of our men who went out in the dark searching through flooded fields to ensure that all possible had been taken out to proper medical attention.658

The attack had not succeeded; all company commanders had been lost and casualties were bound to mount in the morning light. At 0100 hrs, 14 October, Brigadier Megill ordered 1 RHC to withdraw. This was accomplished in a controlled and efficient manner. The battalion returned to their company areas: The weary and nearly exhausted men rode back in carriers and jeeps to the positions they had left barely twenty-four hours earlier, though to them it had seemed days. Typical of their condition was one man lying on top a pile of accoutrements on a carrier, sound asleep with the earphones from his disconnected set, awry, upon his head.659

Among the dead was Lieutenant Gordon WL Grant. He had been wounded during the attack, but it was not serious. As he walked back to the collection post, he was hit again by shrapnel. Grant was from Lacolle, Quebec. He had been a King’s Scout, and his father was a Great War veteran with the 24th Battalion CEF. Grant graduated early from RMC in 1942 since the course was cut short because of the war and was posted to the Black Watch. There was some resistance, as Grant was an officer not passed by the regimental election committee and unknown to the senior officers of the regiment. In the end, he was sold a balmoral by the adjutant and given a letter to Scully’s, the regimental tailor, for a full highland uniform. Grant was on an AntiTank Course in July, and returned to take part in the September–October battles. He was very young and sometimes uncertain, but “polite and conscientious, helpful and considerate of others.”660 Grant was the last officer left in his company when he fell. At battle’s end, the battalion’s platoons were led as often as not by sergeants and corporals. This most savage battle was forever eulogized in the Regiment, mainly because there were more survivors than from the Verrières attack – though each was an absolute blood-bath. The Black Watch had the misfortune to meet the best of the German army in its two worst battles: in Normandy it was 2nd Panzer, 9SS Pz and, the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler – although 267 ID cannot be deprecated. In Holland it was Baron von der Heydte’s crack Fallschirmjägers, led by a fervent Catholic, ferocious in combat. Goering called him “the paratrooper with a rosary”. It is not appreciated that the Scheldt campaign (considered a lesser front) in fact pitted Canadian infantry against first rate opponents.661 This was not simply soldiers’ bitterness triggered by cruel war; battalions that witnessed the Woensdrecht fight were irate at the way the battle had been handled. Brigadier General Denis Whitaker DSO and Bar,

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 175 commanded the RHLI and was present at the Black Watch assault: “We were angry at the terrible waste of life we had witnessed when the Black Watch lost almost half their strength – futilely, without wresting a foot of ground from the enemy”.662 The slaughter of the Battalion enraged survivors because they were novices against veterans. The Black Watch had not recovered from Verrières Ridge. The time for training demanded by both Mitchell and Ritchie was denied. The result tormented experienced officers. The second-in-command, Major Allan Stevenson who survived his wounds crossing the Orne returned to find a very raw outfit – the antithesis of the battalion that landed in Normandy. Just before Woensdrecht, Stevenson handed Ritchie a report that his CO passed on until it reached the minister of defence; its contents would stun the population of Canada. Stevenson pointed out that of the circa 400 men in the rifle companies, 174 or 45% had one month’s training or less: It is unnecessary to point out to you, sir, that the previous training of a man listed as for instance ‘one month’ on paper, probably represents considerably less time actual training … very few men arrive with knowledge of PIAT or elementary section and platoon tactics. Some reinforcements have never fired the Bren LMG or handled grenades.663

The Woensdrecht attack had cost the battalion 183 all ranks. Lieutenant AV Mills, who had not endured Verrières Ridge, spoke with the few survivors, and advised his father, Colonel Arthur Mills: “It was just like that.” The official Canadian Army historian, Colonel CP Stacey, recorded that 13 October was “a day of bloody fighting and failure.”664 The rifle companies were decimated. A Company lost sixty-nine all ranks; B Company, thirty-seven; C Company, forty-three; and D Company, twenty; Support Company and BHQ, fourteen. The priority was rest. The men were given a hot meal immediately upon their return and, utterly exhausted, allowed to sleep. The planned evening movie (“We Die at Dawn”) was replaced by a film in a much lighter vein. In the midst of it all, the Black Watch maintained not only a stiff-upper lip but a wry Scottish sense of humour, reminiscent of the Great War trenches. In the last weeks of October, the weather turned ugly – cold, dull and windy, with heavy rain in the morning. The mud and slush created a new respect for the Somme: “we are now finding what a limiting effect ‘General Mud’ can have on a war of movement, to say nothing of the inconvenience and discomfort to the individual.”665 Intensive training continued. Replacements arrived every two days, bringing the battalion (at least on paper) nearly up to strength. Major Stevenson continued his crusade to prepare the young soldiers for war. He ensured courses were run at every opportunity and stalked the training sessions to ensure instruction in battle-

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drill was uncompromising. The green replacements were intently focused on their task. On one occasion, he approached one out-of-breath soldier and said: “Private, what is your platoon doing this morning?” The soldier stood to attention and reported with enthusiasm: “Sexual training, Sir!” His sergeant grabbed him by the collar and moved him aside: “He means section training, Major.” Stevenson carried on. On 26 October, a regimental delegation left for Ossendrecht to attend the burial of Black Watch soldiers who fell on the 13 October attack. It was composed of Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie, Majors Alan Stevenson and Bill Ewing, Captains Jean Duchastel, Beau Lewis, Ted Price, and the IO, John Shea. The event was photographed by the eminent Canadian war photographer Ken Bell. His classic shot of Bill Ewing saluting the dead comrades from his company appeared in dozens of Canadian newspapers.666 They remained on the dykes and tried to control the night in the tradition of the CEF Black Watch. An extensive patrol programme was organized; it comprised twelve patrols covering the battalion area, in addition to the companies’ normal contact patrols. Bill Ewing, patched and recovered, returned to the battalion and assumed command of his old company, while Major Robert MacDuff was made OC of B Company. The third major operation of the Battle of the Scheldt opened on 24 October. The 2nd Canadian Infantry Division began its advance into the South Beveland peninsula. Megill’s brigade took the van, and he ordered the BW to the front. Goes – 28 October 1944 The men had to kiss babies and sign autographs all the way through town. 1 RHC War Diary, 28 October 1944: The Liberation of Goes, Holland

Operation Mac began on 28 October. 1 RHC was assigned the capture of Goes, a medieval town with narrow streets, set in the now familiar and impossibly flat farmland. The advance was brisk, which made veterans nervous. Contact with the enemy was made at less than one hundred yards. The battalion was engaged by automatic weapons and by snipers hidden at various vantage points. Their response was violent, hammering every gun flash with tremendous fire. The Germans fell back, and then appeared to fade away. The lead platoons cautiously pushed into the town and found no opposition but rather, a tumultuous reception: Orange flags were being flown everywhere. The people clambered all over our vehicles, and the riflemen had to fight their way through the civilians to get to their areas in the town. When they heard that the men had had nothing to eat since early morning they

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 177 brought out tea, coffee, hot chocolate, bread, biscuits, cake, and all sorts of fruit. One old lady brought out a bottle of “Old Mull” and handed it to the boys telling them that she had been saving it for four and a half years for this day. The men had to kiss babies and sign autographs all the way through town.667

It was a splendid beginning to the operation. But old hands knew it wouldn’t last. That evening, they were ordered to attack the last bastion of the Scheldt defences – Walcheren Island. The Walcheren Causeway: 31 October 1944 Originally, I told the Black Watch to just get out there with some patrols and see how far they could go – just feel it out. And, of course, they were untrained. I should have known better, they were not up to it. Brigadier WJ Megill, recalling the Walcheren operation668 We never got that far. We were going nowhere at all. The company ahead of us was bogged down … our artillery was probably five or six hundred yards off target. I don’t know what the hell they were trying to do. Major Bill Ewing, officer commanding A Company, 31 October 1944669

The island was connected to the South Beveland by a narrow causeway which was only forty yards wide and a sobering twelve hundred yards long – a defender’s dream. The initial tactical solution was unimaginative yet could not be avoided; the brigade had to simply fight up the causeway, enter the island and clear each strongpoint and battery, which was an infantry nightmare. Megill had attempted to persuade Major General Foulkes that the 13 October attack was badly conceived, but he had no such objections to the task outlined for the brigade for Walcheren.670 Both the 5th and Brigadier Frederic Cabeldu’s 6th Brigade were weary and under strength, but they accepted there was no other option – although creative manoeuvre via amphibious means might have inspired a more tactical mind, certainly at division headquarters. However, inspired tactical minds were not common in the army that fall. Simonds’s willingness to use the navy seemed stuck at the corps level. On 31 October at 1040 hrs Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie held his battalion O Group. The 5th Brigade was ordered to establish a bridgehead across the Walcheren causeway. Reconnaissance showed the Germans had cratered the centre of the approach and the surrounding area was a slough with marshland, impassable to infantry, let alone armour. The ditches and gaps were filled with water that reached the chests of most men; anyone shorter or weighed down by grenades and other gear would be swamped. There was no room to deploy. Any attack would be a one-up frontal.

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The order of march was C Company leading, followed by A, B and D. As soon as C Company approached the causeway the enemy went into action, dropping shells and mortar on the east end. At 1345 hrs, C Company was held up by snipers and called for artillery. Despite the shelling and long range machine-gun fire, C Company continued to advance and at 1415 hrs, reported that they were within seventy-five yards of the far bank but under heavy mortar attack – a one thousand metre advance under fire! Actually, only one brave section had been successful in reaching this point, under the command of Lieutenant Thomas Jodoin, who was wounded while the remainder of his platoon (and Company) remained pinned down. Thomas Percy Jodoin was twenty-four years old, he had been TOS’d into 1 RHC on 16 October 1944 and immediately given a rifle platoon. He was from Brockville Ontario, in his third year of college, mature for his age, married, with one child. Soldiers either like you or hate you. They liked Jodoin and were prepared to follow him. He led from the front and by personal example managed to get what was left of his platoon to the other end of the causeway – and there they stayed, virtually cut off by the weight of enemy fire that careened over their heads and around them. Supporting tanks could not move up the causeway. The road was impassable. C Company tried to follow up and waded through a crater, in water up to their armpits. In the midst of this, Major Pinkham was wounded. Regimental black humour prevailed. A quick-witted corporal signalled: “Lydia substitute hurt”, again linking the name of the major with the purveyor of pink pills for pale people. Captain HS Lamb became acting OC and valiantly urged his men forward. It was a frustrating fight, with German guns sited to bring cross-fire on the causeway. As well, there was a StuG III assault gun dug in, and an anti-tank gun firing down the centre of the road. German snipers had positioned themselves in the marsh bordering the causeway and were very accurate. Maj Bill Ewing tried to push A Company forward but in the face of the fire and mortars, it was futile. The RSM, WO 1 Alan Turnbull, crawled forward to help sort things out but ended up seeking cover himself: We were trying to dig in on those bricks [the causeway foundation and buttress] and it was hell trying to dig out even a six-inch slit trench while they had their tanks and 88s lined up at us just like a bowling alley. We just couldn’t dig in. Halfway across, Major Ewing gave me command of the company while he went back to talk to the colonel about the useless position we were all in.671

C Company was fixed; it was impossible to make any headway. Enemy fire was so heavy that all the other companies dug in as well. Lamb called for artillery and tried

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 179 to correct the fall of shot. Their forward platoon had spotted four MG42s but had no working radios. To send a runner across the open would be a death sentence. German artillery even incorporated heavy coastal batteries: “The enemy was firing at least one very heavy gun the shells of which raised plumes of water 200 feet high when they fell short. He was also ricocheting AP shells down the causeway, which was hard on the morale of the men.”672 The men dug deep slit trenches. Jeeps evacuating the wounded were having a difficult time as connecting roads were coming under heavy mortar fire. The officer commanding the engineer recce party estimated that it would take eight hours to fill in or bridge the craters. At 1530 hrs, Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie returned from a brigade O Group and was informed that another acting company commander, Captain Charles Gordon Bourne, had been wounded. Bourne (no relation to Lieutenant Colonel John Bourne) was from the South Shore and had attended St Lambert High School with Tom Anyon. He had mixed luck for he was wounded in September and then again, a month later, but survived both times. Finally, at 1730 hrs, Ritchie ordered B and D Companies to withdraw to the previous night’s positions. A Company would come out when notified, and C would withdraw to two hundred yards from the end of the causeway, supported by a heavy artillery barrage. C Company hung tough, but managed to evacuate its casualties. Two signallers stayed back to maintain contact. Even in the darkness, casualty evacuation was next to impossible. At the slightest sound of movement, the enemy plastered the roadway with shells and mortar and machine-guns fired on fixed lines. At 2130 hrs Brigadier Megill visited Ritchie and informed him the Calgary Highlanders would move through the Black Watch under the cover of a heavy barrage and take the van. The battalion was not sorry to be pulled out. The brigade’s second push went in as big guns crashed down. Darkness fell and the battle area became surrealistic; Brigadier General Whitaker recalls it was a “four dimensional hell”. The Black Watch War Diary recorded: “The red fire of Bofors laced the dark sky; mortar shells could be seen bursting on the far bank, and the sound of heavier artillery was everywhere.”673 At the head of the causeway, having survived a horrid Halloween, C Company greeted All Saints Day by giving supporting fire for the Calgary Highlanders as they went through. They were finally relieved by 0100 hrs. The signallers and the carrying party from D Company followed C Company back. As a happy coda, the “lost section” survived: Lieutenant TP Jodoin and four men of his leading section (two of whom were wounded) had reached a position 25 yards from the Island end of the causeway and had been forced to go to ground, unable to withdraw before our barrage started … saw it through from a

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German slit trench on the causeway … [were] evacuated by the Calgary Highlanders the following day, and [guided out] by Private Parker of A Company.674

Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie reflected later on what he described as a “monstrous” attack: “When we got the order to bounce the causeway, one thing that hit me right off the bat was that the brigade failed to realize that when you move a battalion under observation of the enemy, then you have to string out a bit … But I was told to bounce it and we did bounce it.”675 The day was spent resting, and regrouping. As it turned out, the Black Watch was about to receive the one item it craved the most: time. The next two months would see the battalion tasked with few martial tasks and allowed to rebuild and train. October was, next to July, the Regiment’s bloodiest month. A total of twentyfive officers and 429 other ranks were casualties. November to December 1944 The Pipe Band looked very smart, wearing the kilt for the first time since the battalion landed in France. WD 1 RHC, 19 November 1944

The unit moved through Antwerp and settled into a rear-area bivouac at Lierre, four miles south-east of the great port. An officers’ mess was established in the Hotel du Commerce, and the pipe band played Retreat. Church services were conducted by the padre, H/Captain Royle. The Catholic service was held in the Jesuit church. The men were given a bath parade, and the massed pipe bands of the Black Watch and Calgary Highlanders played in the main square to a very appreciative, if diverse, audience. So much so, it became a daily occurrence. There was even a dance organized, to which civilians were invited.676 The only disturbing reminders of the war were the odd V2 rocket that fell short (the Germans were bombing Antwerp’s docks) and sporadic raids by the Luftwaffe. During a 19 November attack, Lance Corporal Harry Pinck, who had been the driver for all Black Watch COs in Europe, was hit in the head by a piece of shrapnel, and died instantly. His death was a sad exception. During the month of November, the battalion lost: one man killed, one died of wounds, and ten were wounded. On 10 November 1944, Major General Bruce Matthews DSO assumed command of 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. Major General Foulkes left for Italy to assume command of 1 Canadian Corps. Matthews, the son of an Ontario lieutenant-governor, was educated at Upper Canada College and the University of Geneva. He was a Militia

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 181 officer and a stockbroker. Matthews had previously been the Commander Corps Royal Artillery (CCRA) for 2nd Canadian Corps. The Black Watch’s Army was now run by three gunners: General Harry Crerar, Guy Simonds at corps and Matthews. Despite the ravages of the October battles, by the end of November, Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie, in his evaluation of 1 RHC’s status after two months under his command, could not help noting that there had been a definite and noticeable boost in the morale of the battalion. This was due entirely to the training period – the opportunity to teach the troops and NCOs. Bringing the battalion to a proper footing required care and discipline. This was done. The CO recorded that during October– November, “There were more courts martial for personnel of the battalion than at any time since the start of the war … We know that the explanation is that improperly and inadequately trained men were committed to battle. Their lack of knowledge of the fundamentals of field craft and battle drill outweighed their personal courage when the battle was joined.”677 By 1 December, the battalion was moved to Groesbeek, one hundred miles northeast of Antwerp and just five miles south of Nijmegen. It was located on higher ground, sandwiched between the swollen Rhine River to the North, and the Maas River behind it. They settled into a former German camp and found quarters generally comfortable. The war was much closer. Regular patrols were despatched. In the early hours of 5 December, a standing patrol from the Scout Platoon was ambushed within twentyfive yards of its destination. Of the first group of three, Lance Corporal Stewart Reed and Private Edward Snider were killed instantly while Private LJ Lamourie was wounded. The three remaining members of the patrol immediately went to ground, and later succeeded in bringing out the wounded man. Lieutenant Robert Davey, with Corporal Jim Wilkinson, then went out to the spot where the ambush had taken place. They removed all identification from the men there, as it was impossible to bring them out. Self-confidence and technique returned, enough for the battalion to launch a complex raid into enemy lines.678 D Company Raid – Grafwegen, 7 December 1944 The attack was planned and executed by D Company’s Major Edward “Ed” Wallace Hudson. He was a thirty-three-year-old insurance executive from Moose Jaw and had been a member of the Saskatoon Light Infantry. He was commissioned in 1941, and went to Europe as an exchange officer in 1942, serving in England, Sicily and the Italian mainland. Hudson joined the Black Watch on 22 October 1944, and was made company commander. He was mature and responsible, married, with three sons. He

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took care to ensure the soldiers in his company were ready for battle. He was creative, both as a trainer and a leader. Hudson seemed to welcome the challenge of tactics and battle. He had been wounded in December 1943 in Italy, and would be wounded twice more with the Black Watch, before the war ended. In the afternoon of 7 December, Hudson called an O Group for his force. It was a strong collection of infantry and supporting arms: officers commanding 4.2” mortars and machine-guns from the Toronto Scottish; the Calgary Highlander 3” Mortar Platoon officer; Captain Harold Freeston, the 1 RHC Mortar Platoon officer; Captain Don Menzies, OC Support Company; and the FOO, Captain Degan from 5 Field Artillery Regiment. The assault was to be supported by the Carrier Platoon. H hour was set at 2000 hrs. The aim was to test the enemy by attacking a likely objective: a defended zone astride Grafwegsche Straat, the road to Grafwegen village and to observe the reaction. Hudson prepared in the manner of the Great War battalions: rehearsing the company across a piece of ground, which closely resembled the actual objective. Times and distances were carefully checked and the objective outlined, to duplicate the dimensions of enemy positions shown in the division intelligence summary. After several dry runs, Hudson decided the men were ready. The order of march was No.17 Pl (dismounted) followed by No.16 and No.18 Platoons on carriers. The Start Line was to be secured by 17 Platoon with 4 and 5 Carrier Platoon sections. CSM JP Young deployed the 2” mortars on the right on the line, and the PIATS on the left, firing on the nearest houses of Grafwegsche Straat. The village was actually just inside Germany; the border meandering around Groesbeek, less than two miles to the north-west, on the edge of the Reichswald, or, Imperial Forest. The area leading to it featured low, lazy ridges that were no more than slight knolls. These knolls, however, were deadly to infantry, as they easily concealed anything from an assault gun to a machine-gun nest, to a platoon strongpoint. The area was defended by the 1052nd Infanterie Regiment, part of the 84th Infanterie Division. It was a second-tier formation; decimated, then reorganized after Normandy. The untried troops were equipped with orthodox weapons and given experienced leaders. They at least had the virtue of being young and healthy. The formation included an example of German practicality and, by now, desperation: the Sicherung battalion Münster (elderly men normally employed guarding static locations), and the 276th Magen (stomach) battalion (a formation of men with digestive complaints). Major General Heinz Fiebig, the divisional commander, said that he had chosen them in preference to an Ohren (ear) battalion “who were too deaf to hear even the opening barrage of an attack.”679

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 183 No. 16 Platoon took the right half of the advance, dropping off their Bren Guns in “cut-off” positions on the right flank to frustrate a German manoeuvre; No. 18 Platoon followed suit on the left. One section from No. 17 Platoon advanced up the centre, laying white mine-tape as they moved. Indirect support was accurate, and the company leaned into the barrage. Mortars joined in, and one section fired smoke along the centre road. The indirect fire and Vickers machine-guns blasted every target designated by Hudson, suppressing all enemy movement. They then switched targets, plastering reinforcement routes, or flanking farms, in anticipation of German reaction. Brigade’s orders to Hudson were to shake up the Germans and bring back a prisoner. He told his men there would be no withdrawal until they accomplished the mission. Very soon, after the barrage lifted and the platoons attacked south, Sergeant R Morrison’s section surrounded a strongpoint. The sergeant induced one German to come out and made a present of a 36 grenade to the others who preferred their shelter. The object was achieved; at 2015 hrs, Major Hudson ordered the withdrawal covered by defensive fire (DF) tasks from mortars and 25-pounders, but they were shot up. Some casualties were sustained. Lieutenant Thomas Wilson Mackenzie vanished during the raid. The former Alberta school teacher led his platoon into Grafwegen and was wounded. His men tried to carry him back but were shot up as well. One crawled back to inform Major Hudson, who promptly organized a rescue patrol. Two bodies were recovered, but not Mackenzie. After the war it was learned that Mackenzie was captured by the Germans but he died of his wounds later that day.680 This was not a spectacular operation and completely ignored in military history; however, it was important to the battalion. The raid achieved its mission quickly and efficiently. More important, it was a professional bit of tactics and was executed with precision. The final results of the raid were about twenty-five enemy killed, thirty wounded and one prisoner taken. D Company’s losses consisted of three killed, five missing in action (presumed dead), and fourteen wounded.681 They had penetrated half a mile into Germany, and the raid drew approval from above. Hudson was written up for a Mentioned in Despatches but, like most Black Watch nominations, or so it seemed to Ritchie and his staff, shelved by brigade headquarters. On 18 December, Verrières Ridge finally caught up with Black Watch veterans. Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery held an investiture at Grave Barracks. Included and presented with decorations were: CSM JP Young, Sergeant John Pearce McInnes, and Sergeant Robert McKinnel. They all received the Military Medal. The remainder of the month was spent watching the river Waal and conducting night patrols. Except for the shelling and recurrent firefights, it could be considered garrison duty. Snow fell several times. The deep drifts made patrolling difficult, but everything

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was covered in white. Soldiers from Canada were reminded of home, which did not make it any easier. Regimental Sergeant-Major Leitch The battalion War Diary seldom mentions the regimental sergeant-major. Given the deadly operations, it only records the things that went wrong, which is a pity. In the case of RSM Archie Leitch, things went right, quietly and proficiently, usually behind the scenes. The RSM kept himself busy with everything from discipline to new replacements. At Groesbeek, he took a truck (although more often he zipped around on a motorcycle) to get parts to make stoves for the boys. These stoves were greatly prized and for some months accompanied battalion HQ wherever they went. The RSM had a number of types, together with a wide assortment of stove pipes, which they could install at short notice. Rations were bland and monotonous but in Holland, there was pork and beef “on the hoof.” The battalion behaved in true Highland fashion: “it was not uncommon to get a phone call from the Calgary H to the effect that a group of our men were chasing a pig across the front of their positions and if they were still there in five minutes they would be fired upon.” Actually, the battalion had acquired a “porker” in France which they named Peter, in fond memory of a former RSM (a poor replacement for Flora MacDonald of First World War fame). Peter was fattened up for New Year’s Day, but when the dinner drew near, it was discovered everyone had grown quite fond of the regimental pig, and Peter received an unconditional stay of execution. Before 25 December, as usual, Her Majesty the Queen sent Christmas pudding for the whole battalion. Another present was the return of a healthy Captain Stanley Duffield, who was appointed adjutant. During the twelve days of Christmas, each company had a Christmas dinner and party, usually in relays of one platoon at a time. Colonel Ritchie, 2IC Major Stevenson and the adjutant were invited by each company to attend their dinners and had a remarkably good time. The newly restored Duffield managed to enjoy six Christmas dinners. The season’s holidays were spent working: “the wily Hun had things planned differently and caused the Black Watch to spend both Christmas and New Year’s in the line.”682 On 27 December, Major William Ewing finally gave in to NDHQ requests to return and manage the family business for the Combined Food Board. He was wounded twice and by the end of the year, physically weary and psychologically spent. Duffield wrote: “The men of his company were really sorry to lose a commander they held in high regard, and for whom they had the greatest respect and admiration.”

France, Holland and the Scheldt – August to December 1944 | 185 The year ended. December was spent on the river Maas in very close contact with the enemy. Considerable experience was gained in all types of patrolling. The battalion morale remained high, despite foul weather and fearful living conditions and enduring the extremes of rain and mud or snow. Casualties for the month were higher than November’s but still nothing like the previous fall: five officers and fifty-nine other ranks. However, the Regiment’s total losses were sobering. Ritchie recorded: “From 18 July to 31 December over one hundred officers and over seventeen hundred other ranks have become battle casualties.”683 There were four months of war left, but 1944 was mercifully over.

Chapter 6

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945

Hogmanay, 1945 Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? For auld lang syne, my jo, for auld lang syne, We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne. Robert Burns We are perpetually short of Captains. Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Ritchie to Brigadier K Blackader, 16 January 1945

The year 1945 literally opened with a bang. “The Hun had many of his guns pointed up in the air, and exactly on the stroke of midnight he fired off tracers madly in all directions. It was a very fine pyrotechnical display. There were no festive pauses.”684 Captain Bob Davey was ordered to conduct a fighting patrol to capture a prisoner for brigade HQ but could not get back to Scout Platoon quickly enough. Nonetheless, he went out with two corporals and nine scouts, as close as they dared to enemy lines. They managed to search two houses but found no Germans. Two machine-guns opened up, and a firefight ensued. The patrol returned at 0350 hrs careful to avoid another Black Watch recce patrol, also out in No Man’s Land. New Year’s Eve was a particularly rotten time for patrolling. In addition to bright moonlight, there was a thick coating of ice and hard rime on the stubble to be crossed. Then, just after dawn, the enemy hit D Company with a heavy concentration of shells and mortar bombs,

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covering a lightning raid. One isolated outpost, fifty yards from the German trenches, was quickly over-run and four men lost.685 Later that morning, Brigadier Megill questioned Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie, expressing surprise that Captain Davey had been unable to reach his platoon quickly and thus secure a German prisoner. He wondered if it was impossible to crawl this distance – approximately 2750 yards – and if other means were available. He went on to point out that in the town of Mook there must be many baby carriages from which the carriage could be removed, and a man, lying on the chassis could paddle his way along with his hands. The Black Watch officers exchanged looks, but said nothing. The colonel thought to himself if the year would get worse. It would. At 2000 hrs, Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie received a message from brigade that it was imperative a prisoner be taken that night. He ordered Major Robert MacDuff (B Company) to conduct the mission. The conditions were exactly the same as New Year’s Eve with a bright moon and ice on the stubble. Lieutenant SW Nichols’s platoon was fired upon and had to withdraw to reorganize. When company headquarters was reached, it was found that one man was missing; so another patrol was organized to recover the casualty. Nichols led the second patrol, consisting of one corporal and eight men. They worked their way out to the same spot where the first patrol had been hit but were unable to find any trace of the casualty. Nichols decided to go in and grab a German prisoner. Using the covering fire from two Brens and a PIAT, they moved toward a German position. Suddenly, four MG42s and various small arms opened up. Nichols withdrew through a vicious cross-fire, dragging two wounded men, but was unable to bring out two others who fell when the first shots were fired. He did not get far, and was captured while giving aid to one of his dying men. The remains of this patrol reached B Company at 0400 hrs. Major MacDuff immediately put together a third fighting patrol and went out after Nichols and his men. But it was nearly dawn; visibility now extended to three hundred yards, and it was very difficult to move as even crawling on the ice and stubble could be heard for some considerable distance. They abandoned the mission and returned. The mood in the battalion was not good. There had been no linking of arms and singing of Auld Lang Syne that Hogmanay. Bruce Ritchie could not help the inevitable sadness when writing to Blackader: “I have now reached the situation where all coy commanders on my takeover have been lost to the battalion.”686 It was true. Ewing had left; Slater was missing, presumed dead; Carmichael, Traversy, Taylor and Motzfeldt were in hospital. The “originals” from 1940, his other chums, had all been killed. And now he felt he must recommend that Major Esmond Pinkham take leave and be given another billet. Ritchie explained:

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 189 He [Pinkham] has done a wonderful job with the battalion. As a Company Comd right after the first St-André show, he formed an excellent company out of the green reinforcements and has been particularly good at getting young officers quickly familiar with their jobs in the field. He has lately found that the rigours of continual action under difficulties, and the Dutch winter kept him under continual strain.687

Megill agreed. Pinkham had been in action since July, longer than any Black Watch company commander and survived more battles than any serving senior officer. His last task was a merry one – to escort Captain Gerald Clark, the war correspondent for the Montreal Standard, who had spent the night with Pinkham’s company, as his guest in the dugouts. Apart from set piece raids, there were no major actions in January. Promotions and leaves were granted. Captain (soon, Major) Beaufort Lewis was made D Company 2IC and marked for field command. Beau Lewis was thoroughly Montreal: Westmount Academy, McGill BSc Engineering and, finally, in 1941, the Black Watch. He was an insurance broker-in-training when he donned the Hackle. Beau’s best friend was Joe Nixon; they sported similar debonair moustaches, which almost dared snipers to discover their rakish style in battle. Charles Stewartson MacLaren, a former cost accountant, took over A Company. His previous military experience had been with the Highland Cadet battalion where he had trained boys as an NCO, and as a commissioned officer, for fourteen years. MacLaren was gazetted into the 4th Battalion RHC in 1943. He had been prevented from becoming active by his employers, Noorduyn Aviation, who declared him “indispensable” and blocked the transfer. MacLaren was finally released after a series of letters on his behalf. Stanley Duffield took stock of 1 RHC and noted, “The battalion was always under strength in ORs and over strength among junior officers who seemed to come and go with remarkable rapidity.” The shortage of junior leaders meant tighter discipline and more paperwork: “there was always at least six courts martial to prepare.”688 At the end of January, the Black Watch padre, H/Captain, the Reverend E Cecil Royle, left to become senior chaplain of 2nd Division. Royle was much liked and always there for the soldiers. He was particularly steadfast in following up on soldiers missing or wounded. Personnel files are filled with kind, informative letters sent to next of kin. The padre was born and educated in England, but finished his education at Bishop’s, in Lennoxville. He had completed OTC training in 1929, but was most proud of his last army course, which qualified him “Driver, Class 3.” He was replaced by H/Captain the Reverend Allan Reoch. The new padre was forty-four years old, from Toronto, and had been a missionary in Shanghai. His command of Mandarin and Japanese would be of little help in Holland and Germany.

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On 8 January, there was good news: Lieutenant Nichols, taken prisoner on the first night of the New Year, had successfully escaped from the town of Cleve, while in the hands of the Gestapo, and was returning to RHC lines. It was an exciting escape. Pursued by a posse with dogs, whom he managed to elude, he travelled by night, guiding himself by the stars. He reached Canadian lines with a good intelligence report on German defences. On 30 January, the CO announced that the Military Cross had been conferred upon Nichols. He was given leave. Tragically, three days later, the battalion received word that Lieutenant Nichols MC had been killed in a plane crash, while en route to Britain. Ritchie tried to focus on other, less depressing matters. He reinstituted “hardening training” and kept up aggressive patrolling. January, by his own account, was a comparatively easy one for the battalion. Casualties totalled fifteen while an additional 111 reinforcements were received, including five officers.689 Ave Atque Vale – February, 1945 As I sit on the banks of the MAAS I reflect that it’s really a FAAS At my time of life, and miles from my wife, To be stuck in the mud on my AAS. Doggerel submitted to RHQ, 1 February 1945690

Although the brigade was in Holland, its eastern flank (sandwiched between the Waal and the Maas Rivers) included parts of Germany. All of D Company and two platoons of C Company were actually dug-in on German soil. The men lived, for the most part, in dug-outs and while these were fairly comfortable when the ground was hard and the weather cold, by mid-February the thaw had set in. Over a foot of water covered the floors in many of the positions. Division operations near the Rhine (which the Germans let flood) were now increasingly dependent on Buffalos (tracked amphibious vehicles based on American LVT-4 Water Buffalo) for transport. They proved invaluable in the Scheldt and again de rigueur in the Rhineland. RHQ was dynamically reinforced with the arrival of two Normandy veterans: Majors Eric Motzfeldt and John Taylor, both wounded on Verrières Ridge, but now fully recovered. They arrived, ironically, as the battalion received notification that Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Cantlie, Major Phil Griffin and Major Ron Bennett were to be awarded Mentioned in Despatches commendations for 25 July.691 This addendum allowed Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie to shuffle battalion positions. Major Motzfeldt was appointed second-in-command to replace Major Stevenson, who was in hospital.

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 191 Captain ES Duffield remained adjutant. He quipped that he was “drawing the pay and Captain Art Powers did the work.” Major Taylor was given command of C Company, while the remaining rifle companies were led by Captain Charles MacLaren (A Company), Major Robert MacDuff (B Company), and Major Ed Hudson (D Company). Captain Don Menzies commanded Support Company and Captain Dallas Hull led HQ Company.692 The intelligence officer was Lieutenant Joseph Mulhearn and Captain Archie Hanna was transport officer. Ritchie wisely put Motzfeldt to work by first liaising with brigade headquarters. The thorny question regarding citations had to be addressed. Major Torchy Slater, had he survived to become second-in-command, would have likely solved it. Alan Stevenson was very much a Black Watch ambassador. Perhaps a relatively fresh face would do the trick. Motzfeldt was despatched to discover why Black Watch recommendations for valour appeared to be discounted. Perhaps they required a new technique. This was of particular concern to the regimental commandant, Colonel Paul Hutchison, who could not understand why, after six months of war and eleven serious actions (four of them valiant battalion assaults), not one Black Watch officer had been awarded a DSO. There were certainly plenty of recorded incidents. But, somehow, they were insufficiently compelling to excite senior staff officers to push the papers forward to the attention of generals. Hutchison suspected Brigadier Megill, and he noted that neither Major General Foulkes nor his successor, Bruce Matthews, had investigated the brigadier’s attitude towards 1 RHC, nor the very heavy casualties incurred. On the other hand, Motzfeldt reported that Megill personally worried about the excessive Black Watch casualties and in subsequent conversations, blamed Mitchell and Ritchie for being “too dashing in action.”693 Frank Mitchell explained to Hutchison: Frankly, David [Law] and I did our best … We battled on and off for six weeks with Bde and Div and I am content that they were all put through for something, though many were changed in the grade of award … We were constantly on the lookout for possible [nominations] after that first disastrous week, but no names were ever put forward though Company Commanders were hounded regularly … The one great difficulty is time where a battalion never stops and getting them through in a sufficiently exaggerated and flowery manner to be suitable for Canadian Press publication – which is absolutely contrary to instructions issued by the Br Srs [British Seniors] who say five lines is sufficient.694

Mitchell had advised Ritchie and Motzfeldt that he had sent in a big list after Verrières and Bourgtheroulde but that these had been sent back by brigade to be dressed up more. As second-in-command, Motzfeldt spent a whole day with the brigade staff

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captain being trained in the writing of citations! Between 8 February and 5 April 1945, about twenty recommendations prepared by Motzfeldt, were accepted and sent forward. These included the ones which resulted in a DSO for Major MacDuff and an MM for Private Albert Fromstein.695 The battalion prepared for a new offensive, Operation Veritable, to begin on 8 February. The War Diary noted: “It is six months today since the opening of the barrage preceding the breakthrough to Falaise at which time the Black Watch were at Beauvoir Farm.” The Rhineland: Ops Veritable and Blockbuster 8 February to 11 March 1945 The Rhineland Campaign was some of the fiercest fighting of the whole war … a bitter slugging match in which the enemy had to be forced back yard by yard. General Dwight D Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander The enemy parachute troops fought with a fanaticism unexcelled at any time in the war … the volume of fire from enemy weapons was the heaviest which had so far been met by British troops in the campaign. Field Marshal BL Montgomery, 21st Army Group, March 1945

Operation Veritable (8 February-11 March 1945) was a pincer movement conducted by Field Marshal Montgomery’s 21st Army Group to clear and occupy the land between the Rhine and Maas Rivers. Terrain was an enemy. The heavily forested areas nullified the Canadian advantages in manpower and armour. When Veritable was launched, the Germans blew the gates out of their three largest dams, and the surging waters flooded the valley. Nevertheless, Montgomery opted for manoeuvre with Veritable the northern phase of a double pincer movement. The proposed southern pincer, by General William Simpson’s 9th US Army, had been postponed, when the Germans released the flood waters. The delay allowed German forces to be concentrated against the Anglo-Canadian advance in the Reichswald. Before Veritable began, 1 RHC concentrated at Nijmegen, in Prince Hendrik Barracks. The pipe band moved up with the battalion and played “‘Lights Out” on 14 February and the next day, when A Company mounted the incoming guard. It was regarded as “one of the smartest parades we have seen in many a long month, and favourably comparable to the guards we used to see back in England.” There was keen anticipation as they moved toward the front on 18 February: “At last, after five years of waiting, we are moving into Germany tonight. It has been a long, hard, and costly road that we have had to travel, and we have aided in liberating two countries and part of a third.”696

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 193 The tension was relieved when Don Menzies acted as mid-wife to a cow. The adjutant wrote: “Wars may come and wars may go, but nature must continue in its predetermined course … and we are pleased to say that both mother and offspring are doing as well as could be expected.” Captain Donald Crerar Menzies transferred from the Victoria Rifles in 1942. A graduate of McGill with a degree in Commerce, he was made transport officer – a position he held until 26 July, when he succeeded Ron Bennett as OC Support Company. Menzies proved to be a dependable rock during a period when RHC company commanders lasted an average tour of less than three weeks. He was rated as calm and balanced and capable of working under stress.697 The reviewing officer added, “plenty of guts” – which he repeatedly demonstrated. He was wounded in July 1944, but immediately returned to regimental duty. Menzies ended the war exactly as he always hoped, commanding a Black Watch rifle company in battle. The optimistic mood continued when Captain Val Traversy, formerly adjutant and OC of Support Company, wounded during Atlantic, reappeared and was given a great welcome by everyone. He was promoted to the rank of acting major and given command of A Company, just in time for the offensive. The rest of the day was spent in final preparations. The company commanders briefed their platoons in turn, using a sand table Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie had constructed. Behind the Start Line, the BW soldiers noted with interest the new kit now made available. In addition to supporting armour, each brigade was allotted two squadrons of flame-throwing Churchill Mk VII tanks from the British 79th Armoured Division. These basilisks, called Crocodiles, were a terrible weapon that terrified German infantry. They were so hated (as were the Wasps), that their crews were immediately shot when captured.698 There was, as well, plenty of supporting artillery from divisional regiments to corps AGRAs. An extensive smoke-screen was fired to mask the assault from enemy forward observers on the east bank of the Rhine. However, despite the added resources, the offensive fast deteriorated into a bitter infantry battle fought on platoon and company frontages. The soldiers were constantly hammered by mortars and artillery. Brigadier Megill persuaded General Matthews to give him the South Saskatchewan Regiment to protect his flank, so that the brigade could have “troops tight against Xanten Forest.”699 By 25 February, the Black Watch was before Calcar, five miles short of the Hochwald. Opposition stiffened as they neared their respective objectives. D Company, led by Major Edward Hudson, assaulted the area near the Schloss Moyland, a medieval castle in the Moyland woods.

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Commendations in the field of battle: The Hochwald, 25–26 February 1945 The attack was subjected to intense mortar and machine-gun fire, which threatened to check the advance. Hudson, “with complete disregard for his own personal safety, led them forward through this fire until he received a serious head wound. Unable to go forward, he directed and encouraged his men from where he lay, refusing to be evacuated until his company had consolidated the objective and he was able to hand over command to another officer.”700 Ed Hudson was a source of strength and inspiration in the battalion. In his many months of service during periods of extreme physical discomfort, Hudson’s thoughts were always directed towards the comfort of his men. The costly attack also killed Sergeant Ronald Morrison and Lieutenant William James Sheppard, cut down by 88s and machine-guns. Both had pre-war militia service with the Black Watch: Sheppard, thirty-one years old, had initially gone overseas as a sergeant-major; Morrison was wounded in September and had just returned from hospital. The situation remained touch and go until the armour came in; shortly afterwards the enemy broke. Hudson was awarded the DSO, one of the two earned in the Hochwald battle – both awarded at long last, grumbled the RSM. The next day, 26 February, Major Robert MacDuff, leading B Company, attacked the same escarpment. On reaching the Start Line, he discovered that two enemy strongpoints, which were to have been taken out prior to the attack, were, in fact, still holding out and had shot up A and C Companies, led by Traversy and Taylor. The large number of casualties temporarily stopped the BW assault. MacDuff acted quickly and formed a new plan unperturbed by the heavy fire which was sweeping the area. He calmly gave orders and skillfully redeployed his company. He subsequently directed supporting fire and led the platoons forward to a close assault. CSM William Leslie Frost brought up carriers through a minefield, and then crawled forward alone to recce the terrain. His actions prompted MacDuff to say: “In every case he has displayed exceptional initiative, complete disregard for his personal safety, and courageous leadership, reorganizing his company and maintaining the control which, if lost, would have affected seriously the entire battalion.” His report permitted MacDuff to refine his plan of attack. One soldier, Private John Joseph Koropchuk, from Freelton, Ontario, raced ahead alone for fifty yards, firing his Bren Gun from the hip. Throwing grenades, changing magazine after magazine, he singlehandedly took out a half-dozen dugouts. Koropchuk killed twenty-three of the enemy before he was hit by a machine-gun fire. Inspired, his platoon overran the enemy position. Duffield put him in for a DCM; his platoon insisted it should have been the VC.

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 195 MacDuff was commended for turning things around in what might have been a battalion defeat. In addition, he assisted the other companies to reorganize and complete their tasks. “It was due entirely to Major MacDuff’s exceptionally clear appreciation and cool good judgment and superb leadership” that the strongly held positions were quickly taken and the brigade able to proceed.701 The thirty-threeyear-old Robert MacDuff was from Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and was educated at Macdonald High School and McGill. After receiving his Bachelor of Commerce, he acquired a teaching diploma from Macdonald College. A schoolmaster, he opted to serve. His abilities earned him a series of both instructional and HQ posts. He held LO positions at 1st Brigade and CMHQ, where he was appointed GSO 3. In late October 1944, he wrote to Montreal asking the adjutant, Captain FC Smith, to order a complete highland kit from Scully’s. He had been posted to the Black Watch. MacDuff’s bearing and dynamic style immediately impressed Ritchie. He both taught, and led, from the front. MacDuff’s DSO became the first awarded to 1 RHC during the war. Major Hudson’s recommendation was not received at brigade headquarters until after May 1945. Hudson is sometimes overlooked in regimental lore, even though his decoration was chronologically earlier. CSM Frost and CSM Alan Turnbull were both awarded DCMs for this action. Turnbull performed his duty in gallant fashion after being severely wounded. He was commended as a company quartermaster-sergeant who: … never failed to bring up to the forward defended localities rations, ammunition and supplies, in spite of the heavy and continuous fire to which these localities were subjected. He also was directly responsible for the speedy evacuation of many wounded from this area. On two occasions, at Grande Mille-Brugge in France, and St-Leonard in Belgium, when his Company Commander became a casualty, Company Sergeant-Major Turnbull assumed command of the company, although himself wounded in the second mentioned action, and successfully directed his company onto its objective in the face of stiff opposition.702

Meantime, as battle raged, Sergeant Paul Victor Ciceri assumed command of two platoons, virtually all of C Company: This task he carried out in the face of continuous enemy fire, in a most creditable manner, displaying a high standard of leadership and courage that gained him the confidence and respect of both officers and men…On this occasion, the sections were forced to withdraw, but Sergeant Ciceri, seeing that another man was wounded, remained behind to assist him. Completely ignoring the enemy fire and at great personal risk, he carried the wounded man out to safety. Later in the day, when six wounded men were left lying in no man’s land

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after a second assault on the same strongpoint, Sergeant Ciceri led a carrying party out into the fire-swept open ground to bring in these casualties, all of whom were evacuated safely under his sterling and courageous leadership.703

He was awarded the MM. The battle is overshadowed by Verrières Ridge, but proved almost as deadly. Yet, for the Hochwald, the Black Watch received more official recognition – something that forever puzzled the battalion. Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie continued the Hochwald attack on 28 February. Robert Davey, leading B Company as an acting major, successfully led his men toward a key objective at the edge of the forest. They followed him across fire-swept approaches and cleared out the paratroopers in fierce hand-to-hand combat. Davey then reorganized his platoons to hold the position and deliver devastating covering fire, which enabled the other companies of the battalion to reach their objectives. It was both heroic and tactically impressive. Davey shrugged it off. He, therefore, was most surprised when, nine months later, he was presented with a Military Cross.704 It was a fitting acknowledgement of not just this action, but a chain of battles, particularly 13 October 1944 in the battle of the dykes and again in the battle of the Walcheren Causeway. Davey, then captain, assumed command of his company and seized the objective in the face of heavy opposition. He was not atypical. Much like Black Watch battalions of the CEF, valour was commonplace in 1 RHC. The Black Watch passed through the Calgary Highlanders and completed the clearing of the Hochwald Forest. That evening, the transport officer, Captain Archie Rufus Hanna, brought up five carriers containing rations for the rifle companies. Reaching a key crossroads, the carriers became bogged down. Hanna managed to procure the use of a large bulldozer as the Germans began shelling, using the sound of the bulldozer as the target. The shells and bombs followed the bulldozer all the way, causing great discomfort to Hanna, who, “… being unable to get into the armoured cubbyhole of the big vehicle, was walking along behind it. Every time a shell or bomb began its whistling descent he would sprint around to the opposite side he figured it would hit.”705 The rations reached the troops by nightfall; with them arrived Captain Charles MacLaren who surprised all by returning from the hospital. He had been out just one month after being wounded in action. He took over command of D Company, their sixth OC since July 1944. In the fighting through the Hochwald, the 2nd Division took more than nine hundred prisoners in forty-eight hours. The official Army history noted en passant, “The Canadian Black Watch also gained their objectives without difficulty.”706 February ended in the middle of the campaign. Motzfeldt recorded “the fighting was a test of the morale of the men, many of whom have never before been engaged in

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 197 such stiff battles … the loss of Major EW Hudson (wounded) is a heavy blow to us for he was an excellent leader of his men, a most enthusiastic soldier, and what we need now is enthusiasm to carry us through this campaign, the success of which depends so much on our punch and verve.” The month’s casualties totalled 143 officers and men.707 Fighting through March, 1945 March came in like a lion, plastering A Company with artillery and mortars. Major Traversy reported twenty-two casualties. The company now had no officers; a sergeant and two corporals served as platoon commanders. Major John Taylor injured his leg and had to be hospitalized. Captain John Fraser Baillie, who had led the Anti-Tank Platoon, took over command of C Company. Baillie was another Bishop’s College School product and was studying Chemistry at McGill when he joined in 1940. He was tall, and liked to box, which accounted for his many gold fillings. Operation Blockbuster 2 started at 0430 hrs on 8 March. Le Régiment de Maisonneuve attacked at midnight, mounted in “Kangaroos” (tracked infantry carriers created from Ram and Sherman tanks, their turrets removed). They were supported by 27th CAR (Sherbrooke Fusiliers), and Flails (mine clearing tanks). Supporting arms included three regiments of Field Artillery, two regiments of Medium Artillery, plus a squadron of Crocodiles. When the first objective was secured, the Watch passed through. They controlled Birten by 0400 hrs. Then, 5th Brigade was ordered to take the high ground overlooking the Rhine. On 7 March, the BW prepared to attack Xanten and secure four objectives on the bluffs. They passed through Xanten at 2030 hrs; the town was in ruins, and still burning. Ritchie was optimistic, hearing that Le Régiment de Maisonneuve had met little opposition. H hour was set for 0135 hrs. As they crossed the Start Line, the forward companies reported that RHC mortars were falling short. All mortar fire was stopped. It turned out to be an old Normandy trick. The Germans fired their own mortars, mixing into the brigade barrage. As the supporting fire crept forward, the German mortars continued to dwell on the initial target. This caused infantry to report the guns or mortars were firing short, which caused all artillery to be stopped and played havoc with the set-piece attack’s timings. After sorting out the confusion, the attack restarted and objectives were taken with little trouble. However, Xanten itself was a slow securement. It was filled with booby-traps. Some bombs contained a twenty-one-day fuse. The Germans continued to mortar and shell; then employed Moaning Minnies, firing 80mm and 210mm rockets against the Watch. That afternoon, Brigadier Megill ordered Ritchie to seize

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the Wesel Bridge on the River Rhine. It was a hard nut to crack. Megill breezily stated he expected the BW to simply jump a crossing over the Rhine. He admitted later he was kidding and said it as a bit of a pep-talk at the end of his O Group. But Ritchie felt the pressure regardless.708 As it turned out, the Germans retired across the Rhine that night and blew up the Wesel Bridge as they left. Operation Veritable was now completed. The battalion was tired of war. Eric Motzfeldt remembered that he could feel morale was waning and that some of the seniors, and many of the men, were very tired from the constant fighting and the dull dismal winter. Three days later, 13 March 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie was summoned to brigade headquarters. Brigadier Megill gave him his evaluation report and announced he was being posted to England and replaced as CO of the Black Watch. Ritchie was flabbergasted.709 Black Watch COs and their Brigadier Bruce Ritchie, some argued, was doomed from the outset. While other colonels in the brigade seemed to slip through the cracks, the Black Watch was met with a perceived coldness and unforgiving silence. Ritchie was not the victim of an adverse report. He was presented with a change of employment document. Notwithstanding, this took him away from the Watch and posted him to the headquarters of the Canadian Reinforcement Unit in England – a virtual limbo. Megill had the right to remove him; in this case, with little negative evidence save the vague belief that the Watch was simply too great a challenge. Major General Frank Fleury, the assistant deputy adjutant general (ADAG) at CMHQ noted that only a real ball of fire could have made a go of it under the circumstances. Although the Black Watch battles in Holland and Germany were dogged slugfests rather than notable triumphs, Ritchie had done his best. But this did not prove sufficient for his brigadier and division commander. Yet, his past history was, as Fleury argued in his defence, “always first class – he received a good chit from the Senior Officers’ School, did a long and satisfactory tour as 2i/c Algonquin Regiment and, in the stress of operations last summer, was successively 2IC RHC, CO RHLI, CO South Sask Regiment and CO RHC. Until this most-recent development, reports were uniformly good.”710 He was recommended for another command. Regrettably, the relationship between Ritchie and Megill was yet another clash of personalities. Whatever either did failed to impress the other. Further, the odds were stacked against Ritchie. The brigadier felt Ritchie had been forced on him. The situation was not made clear to Paul Hutchison until Eric Motzfeldt returned to Canada and had a private debriefing. He opined that Mitchell and Ritchie faced

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 199 similar difficulties in their relationship: “Megill was a permanent force officer … resented questioning of his orders from those below him, even if they did not feel the brigadier’s orders were possible to carry out in timing.” Motzfeldt confessed he had to be very careful in his handling of Megill to avoid a clash. “This was possible by his listening to the Brigadier’s orders but carrying them out in a way Motzfeldt considered correct.”711 Though Megill liked Motzfeldt’s dynamic lead-from-the-front style, it remained a delicate relationship. Megill seemed to feel more comfortable with his other battalions; when the brigadier was awarded the DSO – a tribute to both Megill and the brigade – he chose to celebrate it with the Calgary Highlanders in a Nijmegen restaurant with attending pipers and chilled champagne.712 Megill was the antithesis of Archibald Macdonell – the practical vs. the romantic. But then, Verrières was not Ypres. While the Scheldt was much like the Somme, there was no Vimy or Hundred Days to allow the Black Watch to shine. While Blackader was very much like Loomis and McCuaig, neither Mitchell nor Ritchie were a GS Cantlie or a Ewing. There were brilliant majors, but no Norsworthys. The brigadier repeated to Motzfeldt several times he would never have another Black Watch officer as CO of the 1st Battalion. And on one occasion, he admitted that he considered neither Mitchell nor Ritchie fit to command and that he was not certain Motzfeldt was either. Motzfeldt told the brigadier he resented his remarks about Mitchell and Ritchie, and that “as to himself he did not claim any outstanding qualities as a tactician but was prepared to be judged on the results he obtained in action.”713 Even in the face of such plain-speaking, Megill and Motzfeldt seemed to get along. Let it be said that Ritchie was often walking on eggshells, looking ahead at the Germans and often, back over his shoulder. His prospects became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Part of the problem, as Major General Fleury noted, was the reputation and status of the Watch. From the corps commander down, it was regarded as a complex battalion that required a commander with almost super-human qualities. The assessment of Simonds (written to relieve Mitchell) would haunt every successive commander, until the appointment of a larger-than-life CO, from another regiment, with both a DSO and MC. He would succeed, not because of Herculean qualities, but rather the encouragement and approbatory expectations of senior commanders. Besides, by then the war would be practically over. Spring, 1945: Lieutenant Colonel Motzfeldt On 14 March, in bright sunshine, Major Eric Motzfeldt took over as Acting CO of the Black Watch: the eighth commanding officer since 1 RHC arrived in Europe and the fourth (not counting Major Phil Griffin) to lead the battalion in battle. Major

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Robert MacDuff DSO was appointed second-in-command. By 21 March, 1 RHC was redeployed to Groesbeek, now a rest area. The March equinox marked the arrival of spring. The weather was delightful and the battalion sensed renewal, new life and better times. Adjutant Duffield succumbed: “Symptoms of the attack were first noticed when he moved the desk from his office out to the edge of the lawn, where he spent the best part of the afternoon. It is felt that the disease may prove to be slightly infectious as the meeting conducted by Major Motzfeldt was held in the same sylvan surroundings.” Spring fever prompted socials. C and D Companies organized a dance with the music of a local band. Dutch civilians were invited. Sergeant A Goodyear advised the IO that the soldiers were spreading new versions about the Hackle. The current tale was that “a soldier joining the Black Watch is issued with a white feather and continues to wear it until he has killed at least one of the enemy when he is permitted to wear a red one. One lady was very perturbed at being unable to see any white feathers.”714 The battalion fought into Germany and maintained its self-confidence. Motzfeldt commended them, noting that despite operations during appalling physical conditions, and continued periods of mud, rain, cold, which contributed to making roads almost impassable, the morale of the troops remained high. Added to this, the attacks were mainly night operations, which are never conducive to high spirits. He also paid tribute to RSM Leitch, the regimental HQ and the echelon, recording that, with Captain Jean Duchastel, now MID, in charge that not once, during the most discouraging periods, did the companies fail to get three hot meals per day. Having suffered sixty casualties, 1 RHC was given two weeks rest and permitted to train reinforcements. Motzfeldt made careful note that battle losses were not quickly replaced during this time: “it is to be remembered that the reinforcement flow of 234 was to bring the unit back to strength after the high casualties of the February operations, replacements for which were NOT received until March.”715 Above all, Motzfeldt was proud to state despite all that had happened, the BW continued to be “Hackle Happy.” It was an optimistic end to a shabby month that had rattled and depressed the Regiment at home in Montreal. Motzfeldt would not be daunted. On 1 April, 1 RHC was ordered into Operation Plunder. Clearing Germans: Terborg, Groningen and Stenum: 1 April to 4 May 1945 The battalion roared into northern Holland aboard Fort Garry Horse tanks. The Dutch rejoiced in liberation but scattered rearguards (including Dutch SS) caused delays in a series of short sharp engagements. Of great annoyance was the ever-

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 201 increasing number of booby-traps set in their path. Captain John “Jock” McLennan (Paul Hutchison’s godson), son of Captain GS McLennan of the 73rd, and cousin of Lieutenant Colonel Bart McLennan DSO, stepped on a Schu-mine 42. It was a German anti-personnel landmine encased in wood, with a two hundred gram block of cast TNT, difficult to detect with conventional mine sweeping. Jock had been previously wounded in the 25 July assault on Verrières, but recovered enough to serve again. His wounds “required new Medical Category.” Briefly posted with Jim Weir’s CGRU (Canadian General Reinforcement Unit) indefatigable, he returned to 1 RHC to finish the war. The battalion moved in “jock columns”, a type of ad hoc mechanized/motorized battle group comprised of combined arms consortiums including armour, infantry and artillery. These had originated with Lieutenant Colonel “Jock” Campbell VC DSO, the consummate desert warrior. It was 8th Army jargon and popular in the 1st Canadian Corps in Italy.716 Jock Columns seemed, to the Black Watch, an appropriate term for any battle group that included them! The region was a cobweb of canals and connecting roads, and they sometimes got lost, particularly in bad light. In this terrain, enemy tanks were rare but the low StuGs often hung back to fire from flanks in sudden ambush. At Terborg, when the lead company was caught in a cross fire, Corporal RE Stacey from Toronto took over his platoon and stormed a strongpoint. Major Val Traversy praised his action: “If Stacey hadn’t succeeded taking his objective the battalion attack wouldn’t have finished.”717 A Company was next waylaid by two assault guns, which knocked out tanks and inflicted twenty casualties. Major Traversy requested permission to withdraw, reorganize and carefully try again. No one wanted to lose men in the last days of the war. Lieutenant Colonel Motzfeldt, exhausted, agreed. He was always forward and never seemed to rest, as if catching up for missed battles. Finally, after two days without sleep, he was prevailed upon to go to bed for a spell. No sooner had he bedded down at Tac HQ, when the brigadier arrived and ordered another advance. It was that sort of war. Laren Attack: Motzfeldt Wounded, 5 April 1945 The battalion captured Hummelo (the fourth objective taken in less than fortyeight hours) and crossed the Twente Canal to attack Laren, a town commanding the approach to Amsterdam. The brigade O Group was held on 5 April at 1000 hrs. The Black Watch was to attack through Le Régiment de Maisonneuve, who were to secure the Start Line. Motzfeldt briefed the company commanders; zero hour would depend on the progress of the Maisies. At 0745 hrs, the battalion left their Form Up Place.

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A/Major RF Davey led the way; his company mounted on the tanks of A Squadron, Fort Garry Horse. Robert Frederick Davey was a high school teacher from Vancouver. He was daring, albeit in a careful, common-sense way, which suited the Scout Platoon just fine. When he took over B Company, his patrolling habits ensured that any advance was preceded by a reconnaissance detachment well forward; and took his time in examining each bound with binoculars. The company lived by the maxim: “time spent in recce is seldom wasted.” Davey would soon earn an MID to be followed by the MC. This vanguard was followed, in order, by C Company (A/Major Baillie), D (Major Beau Lewis), A (Major Traversy), and Support Company. The Start Line, however, was not secure. They quickly came under heavy machine-gun and anti-tank fire.718 Motzfeldt came forward, established his Tac HQ about three hundred yards behind the leading companies, and requested artillery support. The Germans responded with heavy fire from StuGs, mortars and eighty mm rockets. C Company suffered massive casualties, and one of the tanks was knocked out. At the same time, two of the rockets landed beside RHC Tac HQ, wounding Lieutenant Colonel Motzfeldt, the scout officer, Lieutenant AG Guam, and the IO, Lieutenant JG Roberts. Motzfeldt was evacuated. Roberts radioed for Val Traversy to take command. Major Traversy held a quick O Group with his FOO (Captain E Billow, 5th Field RCA) and the A Squadron OC, Major Norman Rushforth. A new plan was formed: the town was assaulted from three sides, cutting off the Germans. An extra-heavy barrage was arranged. Laren was hit hard, and the Watch went in with the Garry tanks. By the time Brigadier Megill arrived (with Captain Shirley Griffin, still the brigade IO), all the companies had moved on to their first objectives; the town and its approaches were securely held by 1600 hrs. The brigadier was impressed, but not enough to permit another Black Watch officer to take over 1 RHC. Colonel Sydney Thomson – “An Outstanding Stranger” We are all very distressed … What we fear most of course is that now a stranger will be sent. Colonel Paul Hutchison, on learning Eric Motzfeldt had been wounded719

Megill brought in Lieutenant Colonel Sydney Wilford Thomson DSO, MC, late of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, to be appointed as CO of the Black Watch. Thomson, thirty-one years old, was born in Salmon Arm, BC. He dropped out of school in Grade 10 to earn money for the family during the depression. In the 1930s, he joined the local company of the Rocky Mountain Rangers as a signaller; perhaps this common heritage

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 203 attracted his brigadier’s interest. Thomson was commissioned in 1939, and by 1943 was overseas with the Seaforth Highlanders. He was soon a company commander and awarded an MC at Monte San Marco. Within months, he was commanding the Seaforths. Thomson won the DSO at Ortona. His bravery, “unruffled calm and big smile acted like a tonic; [Thomson] showing a cheerfulness and coolness under fire, which did much for the men beating off the attack.”720 After the Gothic Line campaign, Thomson returned to England to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Training Unit (CITR) at Aldershot, commanded by Brigadier Jim Weir, a Black Watch officer. In April, he had been selected to succeed Weir and was promoted to full colonel. Requested by Megill for 1 RHC, he reverted to lieutenant colonel in order to take command of the Black Watch. The loss of Eric Motzfeldt was a serious blow to the regiment. Luckily, his wound was not grave, but he was sent to Canada to recover. It was here that Hutchison first learned in detail the struggles of the Black Watch COs with their brigadier. Colonel Hutchison was already nonplussed by Thomson’s appointment: “I am sorry indeed that an officer from outside was put in command of the battalion. It was totally unnecessary in view of the large number of senior Black Watch officers available and willing to take over.”721 It was known that Weir’s three battalion commanders at 3 CITR included John Bourne, Bruce Ritchie (replacing Frank Mitchell) and Syd Thomson. It is again curious that Bourne, with an impressive record as a battalion commander in 3rd FSSF in Italy, was not given the job. But then, he was a Black Watch officer. Thomson was a fresh face and, of great importance to Megill, from a different Highland regiment. He proved to be exactly what the brigadier wanted and a very decent chap. Best of all, he established an immediate rapport with Black Watch officers: “if we had to have an ‘outsider’ we couldn’t have asked for a better one”, wrote Traversy.722 Suddenly, there was good chemistry with brigade. Megill was now comfortable in a Black Watch battalion headquarters – a thing that had not happened since Stuart Cantlie was CO. Meantime, Traversy was appointed second-in-command. Stan Duffield took over A Company; Majors Davey, Baillie and Lewis commanded the remaining rifle companies. As well, Don Menzies was told he would soon be major and receive D Company. The battalion pushed on, heading north-east toward Groningen, on the road to Wilhelmshaven, the great German naval base. It was another trek past snipers and through rearguard skirmishes.

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1 RHC reached the city of Groningen on 13 April. It was to be their penultimate battle in Europe. They attacked the next day as part of a major brigade push. B and C Companies reached the main canal on the eastern edge of the city. The Scout Platoon, under Lieutenant WA Westwood, made a thorough recce; they were followed by Major John Baillie and Captain Edward Price, with the CSM of B Company, who crossed the canal in a rowboat. They selected a crossing point: “A barge was swung across the canal leaving a gap of about 4 feet which the men were able to jump with comparative ease, heavy-laden though they were.”723 Lieutenant Colonel Thomson elected to make the crossing under cover of darkness, while Groningen “received quite a pounding from our artillery and not a few fires lined the horizon.”724 Clearing the city took two days; bitter, often hand-to-hand fighting, ensued. SS troops were discovered sniping in civilian clothes, and orders were issued for these men to be shot on sight.725 As B and C Companies cleared the streets, C Company evolved a novel method. Parties were formed to check all the houses, still occupied by the civilians, and access was gained by first, ringing the door bell, and then standing on the door-step waiting admission. The Black Watch was always well-mannered. By 0700 hrs, the remaining companies having passed, the always enterprising Major Hanna commandeered a small ferry to deliver the rations over to the other side. Archie Hanna was a salesman from Craik, Saskatchewan. He joined 1 RHC in September becoming quietly (and quickly) indispensable. There was a pitched battle in the city centre. The platoons edged their way forward through back gardens until they reached the houses facing the park itself. Fighting lasted over two hours, with men using PIATs and Brens, grenades, as well as 2” mortars, against enemy bunkers and slit trenches. At one point, the Germans counterattacked A Company HQ. The signallers dropped their sets, and everyone else stopped what they were doing and dashed out, firing in all directions. The astonished enemy soon surrendered. The day’s casualties numbered one dead and seven wounded, while the battalion killed dozens and took 247 prisoners. The battalion regrouped and re-entered Germany, heading to Grossenkneten, a town on the outskirts of Bremen. Major Charles MacLaren, now OC of D Company, led another “Jock Column” and quickly secured the town. The remainder of the BW followed on foot, through high wind and rain. The padre, Captain Alan Reoch, marched with the soldiers “shouldering a man’s rifle or Bren, and handing out cigarettes here and there. The padre walked all the way with the men.”726 The war was literally winding down, but the business of war continued. Major Rob MacDuff DSO left to

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 205 take the post of brigade major at 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade; Traversy and Duffield were confirmed as 2IC and OC A Company; and, at long last, Shirley Griffin, IO at 5th Brigade since 24 July 1944, returned to the unit as adjutant.727 One could never lower one’s guard, for the horrors of war were never far away. Lieutenant Walter Allan Westwood went out with his scouts to pick up some enemy reported to be awaiting capture, close to BHQ. The prisoners were taken, and while they were being searched, a single shot fired by a sniper struck Westwood in the head, killing him almost instantly. The scouts pulled their very popular young officer into a slit trench to await burial, and returned with the prisoners. Westwood was a colourbearer at the regimental memorial service honouring the sacrifice at Verrières Ridge, held at Molson’s Stadium, 25 September 1944. He was so moved by the experience (“he felt he had a score to settle for those friends he knew so well that fell” 728) that he volunteered for active service with 1 RHC. Sadly, this incident occurred just before the battalion’s final battle of the war. The brigade was ordered to attack the area around Hude; 1 RHC was tasked with capturing a small German village called Stenum, near the River Weser, and about ten miles north-west of the port of Bremen. It may be noted that the Black Watch, which led 5th Brigade into action at Caen, led off in the final battle of the campaign. Stenum, 26 April 1945 – The Last Act One of the last laurels awarded to the Black Watch was bestowed on a vintage veteran; Major Stanley Duffield had survived Normandy (only just) and returned in December, to serve as adjutant and finally, company commander. He was still the dashing young officer with a slight but noticeable English accent. It would forever infuriate him when he crossed the border into Canada from the USA that he, a decorated Canadian soldier, would be closely questioned and “treated like an immigrant.”729 Duffield led A Company during the finishing push into Stenum. It was 26 April, the war was about to end, and this was supposed to be a sweeping-up operation. Suddenly, small-arms fire cut into the force, causing casualties; they scattered into cover. At once, Duffield went forward to the lead platoon, realizing if they wavered and lost momentum, the attack would stagger and greater losses would ensue. The area was completely swept by automatic and small-arms fire. Major Duffield moved from section to section, outlining his plan to attack the village. He then personally led the company into the village. The enemy immediately responded with artillery and mortar fire, saturating the area. Nevertheless, Duffield moved freely about the area, directing and supervising the assault. During the last assault, A Company again

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came under heavy fire, and as before, Duffield went forward to take charge. The enemy recognized him as the leader, and continually sniped at him with both small arms and automatic weapons.730 It took a lot to inspire battle-savvy veterans at this stage of the war, but Duffield did it; he was an example of bravery and coolness under fire. Duffield was recommended for a DSO – Matthews approved the MC. Casualties during this month totalled one officer killed and eight wounded; twenty-four ORs killed and 126 wounded.731 Lieutenant Colonel VE Traversy On 1 May, Lieutenant Colonel Thomson was appointed acting brigadier of 5th Brigade and Major Val Traversy took over as acting CO of the Black Watch. Thomson was in command for less than a month (about a week longer than Motzfeldt). Three days later, a BBC news bulletin interrupted the battalion Orders Group: All German Armies in Northern Germany, Holland, Denmark, Heligoland and the Frisian Islands have surrendered unconditionally. There was a moment of silence while the enormity of it all was comprehended, then followed a round of mutual congratulations. The O Group was immediately disbanded.732

The ceasefire became effective at 0800 hrs, 5 May. There was some celebration throughout the battalion, but largely the feeling was one of relief, rather than jubilation. Suddenly, there was new business. The pipe band left for Holland where a massed band from the Canadian Army was scheduled to begin a tour, which included The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. RHQ began to pack. On 26 May, General Harry Crerar, GOC 1st Canadian Army visited the brigade and expressed a wish to inspect the Watch. The party arrived just as the RHC convoy was lining up ready for the move back to Holland. Rather than have the men de-bus, Crerar walked around among the vehicles chatting with some of the men and the officers. The general clearly liked what he saw. The next day, it was announced Lieutenant Colonel Thomson was confirmed as commander of 5th Brigade. Ironically, in the end, it was a Black Watch officer who replaced Brigadier Megill. Val Traversy was now lieutenant colonel, with Major CS MacLaren as 2IC. He was the last Black Watch CO of the war and the eleventh commander of 1 RHC.733 They were soon ordered back on parade; on the last weekend of the month, Lieutenant General GG Simonds, commander 2nd Canadian Corps inspected 5th Brigade. The parade was very Black Watch: Brigadier Thomson commanded, the parade RSM

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 207 was Archie Leitch and the pipe-major of the Black Watch Pipes and Drums, led the massed bands. It was the regimental sergeant major’s last hurrah. On 30 May, Leitch left for Canada, after a rousing farewell party in his honour in the sergeants’ mess. A respected Black Watch war horse, CSM AF Turnbull DCM, became the new RSM of the battalion. The battalion organized leaves and sight-seeing tours, sending groups to Amsterdam, Brussels and as far south as Paris. They resurrected their sports teams and competed against everyone, re-establishing their traditional domination: “our track team won the 5th Brigade Meet again, our boxing team simply slaughtered a team from 29 US Div.”734 By 22 September, they were at Nijmegen; then entrained for Ostend to cross the Channel. They were to wait almost two months at Petworth Camp in Essex, before leaving for Canada aboard the Queen Elizabeth on 14 November. The great ship was crammed with Canadians; “among them were four Highland units whose massed pipe bands on the sports deck enlivened the passage across the Atlantic.”735 The gallant 1st Battalion returned to Montreal on 21 November. Traversy was met by Eric Motzfeldt, at the head of the 2nd Battalion RHC, at Bonaventure Station. With him was Minister of National Defence Douglas Abbott (a Bishop’s College graduate), Colonel Paul Hutchison and a throng of generals and colonels. The whole city seemed to turn out. St James Street was gaily hung with banners as the two battalions marched smartly past wildly cheering crowds under a snow-storm of ticker-tape to the Craig Street Drill Hall. They were met by the reserve battalions, the affiliated cadet corps from Bishop’s College School, and, most importantly to the soldiers, their loved ones. The short addresses of welcome were briefly acknowledged by Lieutenant Colonel Traversy before he dismissed the parade when “pandemonium broke loose as the men dashed across the floor to join their families.”736 Resolution – A Regiment’s War … but largely the feeling was one of relief rather than jubilation. 1 RHC War Diary, 5 May 1945

The Black Watch had finished a war, in which it was forced, time after time, not only to resurrect itself but to do battle under less than tolerable conditions. It did so, without complaint; suffering intolerable losses, with little or no recognition. It had evolved through nearly five years of garrison duty, continuously losing its best men who were transferred away; and almost constantly, wrestling with its brigade. The relationship between the battalion and its brigade commanders, from Whitehead to Megill, was a source of great concern to Colonel Hutchison. The

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developments, after 25 July, became a series of disappointing news and hard blows. The methods of CMHQ puzzled him, but the war was an ocean away and news took weeks to reach Montreal. Reluctantly, the regimental commandant decided not to second-guess Army headquarters. However, replacing Lieutenant Colonel Ritchie was the last straw. Paul Hutchison bit his tongue all through the winter. It was the Black Watch way. Though he had agonized over the 1st Battalion, he kept it to himself, refusing to complain, even to brother officers. This time, he decided to call a meeting of the regimental advisory board. It met on 24 April 1945 in the armoury: “All the former commandants, the surviving senior officers of the last war battalions and the five honorary colonels.” Hutchison told them every item he had heard, whether confirmed or rumoured: “All were very exercised and General McCuaig, at the request of the board, went to Ottawa and saw the minister.”737 However, by the end of April, the war in Europe was about over; and by May, the bitterness was somewhat relieved by the encouraging reports about Syd Thomson sent by Val Traversy. Hutchison admitted, “We have been glad to learn that we have been sent such an outstanding ‘stranger.’”738 For the Black Watch, the war had been a vicious struggle that had to be borne with a quiet, inner strength. During the Second World War, The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada supplied 521 officers and more than five thousand other ranks to the Canadian Active Forces. Sixty-eight of its officers and former members reached the rank of lieutenant colonel or higher on active service; there were three major generals, ten brigadiers, ten colonels and forty-five lieutenant colonels. RHC officers served in 168 different units and staff formations in Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Palestine, India, Burma, Australia, the South Pacific, Newfoundland and Canada; twenty-six of these officers commanded Canadian Active Force units and training centres. Two (Blackader and the armourized FF Worthington) commanded divisions. The Regiment supplied approximately 350 warrant officers and NCOs to Canadian district staffs and ITCs; twenty of the Regiment’s warrant officers became RSMs of units. The Regiment’s casualties were sustained by its 1st Battalion. That battalion’s losses were among the highest of infantry battalions in the Canadian Army, and in the 21st Army Group during the campaign in Northwest Europe.739 One hundred seventeen officers and 1,735 ORs appeared in its casualty lists; among the killed, died of wounds, died accidentally and missing were thirty-seven officers and 474 ORs. The RHC as a whole suffered total casualties of 150 officers and more than two thousand other ranks.740

The Last Year of War: January to May 1945 | 209 A Highland Melting Pot Four thousand regimental numbers were allocated to the two active service battalions of the Black Watch, D81000 to D83999 were assigned to the 1st Battalion; and D86000 to D86999 to the 2nd Battalion. Soldiers with these numbers were considered “originals” as they specifically joined the Black Watch at Bleury Street as opposed to being registered in an Army recruiting depot, then later assigned to the Black Watch: “6.6 percent of the Black Watch ‘originals’ were US residents. Of the 223 US residents who joined the Black Watch, only 32 saw service with the 1st Battalion at Dieppe and/or North West Europe.”741 Of the 845 officers and men who embarked for France in July 1944, only three officers and seventy-seven ORs returned to England in September 1945. Even more interesting is that of the 526 officers and ORs repatriated to Canada, not a single officer and only ten other ranks were on the strength of the 1st Battalion, when it sailed from Canada in 1940.742 This invites historical comparison and comment. In the Great War the CEF Black Watch saw combat within four months of deployment. The 1940 battalion endured constant training and only much later, faced seemingly continuous battle. The unit evolved through fifty-four months of garrison duty, most of it exceedingly boring to the rank and file. Further, after four years of parade drill and exercises, regimental discipline required constant attention as exemplified by Lieutenant Colonel SST Cantlie’s concerns in October 1943.743 There were changes, postings and frequent transfers (many by their own request): less than three hundred of the 1940 “originals” actually made it into combat with the battalion into Europe, including Dieppe. The remainder had, by June 1944, found positions in service units and training commands. Nevertheless, the battalion, despite dozens of officers serving in other theatres and headquarters, maintained a solid foundation of NCOs and officers. This lasted until 25 July 1944. The subsequent reinforcements were, despite a varied background, a wonderful representation of the best that Canada could offer. Above all, the Black Watch was, after all, a clan and took familial care of all who wore the Red Hackle. The single intriguing fact is how quickly men and officers became die-hard converts to the Regiment and adopted a life-long devotion to their distinct brotherhood. The Second World War was, in retrospect, a vexing war for the Black Watch – almost the antithesis of the Great War. Perhaps that was the difficulty. The accomplishments of the CEF battalions, though daunting, were, after two decades, regarded as predestined within the Regiment. Much was expected of the 1st Battalion – in hindsight, too much. It should be appreciated that the remarkable Great War honours were earned by three battalions over four years of war. This heritage was

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shouldered by a single battalion in the Second World War, and it had less than eleven months to replicate the triumphs of its forefathers. The 1st Battalion was very aware of the legacy it held. In retrospect, it could not have given any more. This was a war that, in the ensuing decades, somehow became focused on a few unhappy battles. Better to recall the valour of a regiment determined to overcome all obstacles. To win is not everything. To have fought well is! Men bred in the rough bounds, the host that is trustworthy … Men of élan and mettle with blue blade in pommel … Descendants of noble clans, begotten of north men, ‘twas their instinct in every action to advance … Duncan Ban Macintyre, 1725

Notes to Part 4

1. 31 March 1939 Chamberlain confirmed British and French guarantees to Poland in the event of any aggressive acts. Churchill and Lloyd George praised Chamberlain’s government for issuing the guarantee to Poland. Hitler was not daunted: “Our enemies are small worms. I saw them at Munich.” See: Neville Chamberlain, The Struggle for Peace (London: 1939); Martin Gilbert, The Roots of Appeasement (New York: 1966); F McDonough, Neville Chamberlain, Appeasement and the British Road to War (Manchester: 1998); J Wheeler-Bennett, Munich: Prologue to Tragedy (London: 1965). 2. Large armoured formations (tanks) would make possible the doctrinal system called Bewegungskrieg (“manoeuvre warfare”), Blitzkrieg was a media term that caught on, and stayed. See: Heinz Guderian, AchtungPanzer London (London: 1937, 1952, 1999); RM Citino, The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years War to the Third Reich (Lawrence: 2005); JS Corum, The Roots of Blitzkrieg: Hans von Seeckt and German Military Reform (Lawrence: 1962); RJ Jarymowycz, Tank Tactics (Lynne Rienner: 2001). Hereafter, Jarymowycz. 3. 1st Cdn Inf Div. The Saskatoon Light Infantry (Div Machine Gun Bn); 3 Brigades. 1 CIB (Ontario): The RCR, The 48th Highlanders, The Hasting and Prince Edward Regiment; 2 CIB (Western Canada): PPCLI, The Seaforth Highlanders, The Loyal Edmonton Regiment; 3 CIB (Eastern Canada): R22eR, The Royal Montreal Regiment (initially as a Machine Gun Bn), The Carleton and York Regiment (from New Brunswick) and The West Nova Scotia Regiment. Also, Stacey 45, 54; GWL Nicholson, The Canadians in Italy 1943–1945 (Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, Vol II), Ottawa: 1957. Hereafter, Nicholson Vol II and CP Stacey, The Victory Campaign (Vol III), Ottawa: 1960. Hereafter, Stacey Vol III. 4. Stacey, 45, 54, 536. 5. BWA. Hutchison Papers: “Regimental Headquarters Historical Notes, 1939”, 2–4. Hereafter Hutchison Notes. Also, Hutchison War Diary or “Commanding Officer’s War Journal – Vols I–IV. See: “Commandants Memo for Period Prior to Commandants War Journal Covering Regt HQ Activities August 1939 to November 28th 1940”, Vol IV (written post war); hereafter as Hutchison Diary. Hutchison got his CO’s office back just before Christmas, after Blackader and 1 RHC were sent to Newfoundland. 6. The Regiment had to arrange catering. Soldiers had eighty-five cents per day food allowance but trucking meals to the Soulanges ending up costing ninety cents. The RHC picked up the difference. Eventually NDHQ reimbursed the unit. 7. BWA. Hutchison Diary IV. 39–40. Molson resigned in May 1941 to go active svc as 2IC No.48 Basic Trg centre at Huntingdon QC, training RHC recruits and built up as strong a BW staff at No.48 as existed; succeeded as CO 3rd Bn RHC by Major WE Macfarlane MC. NPAM eventually became known as the Reserve Army. 8. Hutchison Notes, 7. 9. BWA. War Diary 1st Bn RHC. Report on period 1–21 September 1939. 10. BWA. Hutchison Pers File. PPH letter to Captain JB Ogilvie 9 September 1939. 11. 2nd Cdn Div. The Toronto Scottish Regiment (Div MG Bn) 3 Brigades. 4 CIB: The Royal Regiment of Canada, The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, The Essex Scottish; 6 CIB: The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders (Winnipeg), The South Saskatchewan Regiment, The Calgary Highlanders). Switch in 1940 5/6 CIB: FMR / Calgary H.

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12. Hutchison Diary IV. 19. 13. Stacey Vol I, 45. The plans for a fully French brigade with a French speaking staff were abandoned in the summer of 1940. 14. Stacey Vol I, 45. 15. Chief Steward Sergeant Roscoe MM left to become chief steward at MAAA, and Sergeant D Burns, assisted by Sergeant Lezal were hired on a full time basis to look after the Mess. 16. Lady Allan was Honorary President and Mrs. Paul Hutchison was President. Women’s Div met regularly at The Church of St Andrew and St Paul; they acquired warehousing space and offices outside the armoury; during the war they gathered thousands pairs of socks, millions of cigarettes and other comforts. At the end of the war a handsome silver bowl suitable for flowers, was presented to the church as a thank-offering. It is known as The Black Watch Bowl and remains a treasured possession. 17. 1 RHC was replaced by a new 3rd Bn in Reserve Force and a Reserve Veterans Company. Infantry was prominent. The RCAF was mobilized with only 235 pilots and initially relied on civilian airports for transports and training. The RCN (1819 all ranks) had fifteen ships, including six destroyers, five small minesweepers and two training ships. 18. Cols JD Macpherson MC, WSM MacTier MC; A Fleming, AT Howard and, MG Ibbotson, NA Fellows (promoted Lieutenant Colonel during war). Captain JC Stewart MC (late, 42nd) was school Adj. 19. The previous District HQ was in the Post Office building at Bishop and St Catherine Streets. It was briefly taken over by The Black Watch to house the 2nd Battalion RHC. 20. Hutchison Diary IV, 13; also: RC Fetherstonhaugh, The Royal Montreal Regiment 1925–1945 (Westmount: 1947), 20–21. The project inspired The Royal Montreal Regiment which introduced its own POTS and trained fifty officers. 21. Ibid., 28. 22. Ibid., 37–39. Panet, Harkness, Perry and McKenna were also named. 23. BWA. Uniforms. CO RHC to Brigadier JFU Archambault DSO 16 November 1939. 24. Blackader to PPH. Hutchison Diary IV, 39–40, and, 1st Bn Files CASF BWA. 1-24-22 Vol 1. 25. Hutchison Diary IV, 23. 26. On 6 February 1940, Tweedsmuir suffered a severe head injury when he fell during a stroke at Rideau Hall. Two surgeries by Dr Wilder Penfield were unsuccessful. JA Smith, John Buchan: a Biography (Boston: 1965), 423. 27. BWA. Personal correspondence Brigadier RC Alexander/Colonel A Fleming 25 November 1935. 28. Hutchison Diary, IV, 32; Pers. 1940, PPH to Colonel AA Magee DSO. 29. CGG mobilized as France fell, 3 June 1940. See: A Fortescue Duguid, History of the Canadian Grenadier Guards (Montreal: 1965), 241. 30. Hutchison Notes, 8. 31. Ibid., 12; Hutchison Diary, 33. Group included COs of 2nd (and later 3rd) Bn RHC, 1st Bn, The Victoria Rifles, 2nd Bn, The Royal Montreal Regiment and 2nd Bn The Canadian Grenadier Guards. 32. General Harry Crerar, 24 September 1940; Stacey Vol I, 89. 33. Ibid., 282. 34. The Montreal Gazette, 28 March 1941. 35. LAC. Order in Council 19 November 1940; Stacey Vol I, 89. 36. Hutchison Notes, 23–24. PPH met with a council of rabbis to discuss cultural issues. 37. National Resources Mobilization Act. 38. Ibid., 20. In 1941 the BW rolls included eighty Jews; NDHQ records indicated hundreds of Jewish trainees shown as attached to The Black Watch; most were posted to other regiments and services by 1942. 39. BWA. Correspondence. PPH to Blackader 22 December 1942. 40. The Battle of the St Lawrence was fought in three phases: May–October 1942, September 1943, and October– November 1944. In total, twenty-three ships were sunk, three ships damaged including frigates and corvettes: HMCS Charlottetown, HMCS Raccoon and HMCS Magog (damaged). 41. Potential Officers listed: Hutchison, Mowat, Popham, Ross, Williamson, Ballantyne, Jaquays, Martin, Mills, Johnston, Taylor, Pinkham, Henderson, Reed, and Phillip Griffin. 42. Hutchison, 26–27. 43. Plebiscite held April 27, 1942: “Are you in favour of releasing the Government from any obligations arising out of any past commitments restricting the methods of raising men for military service? The final result was yes.

notes to pages

44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49.

50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62.

63. 64. 65.

66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71.

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Hutchison Diary IV, 115–126. Ibid., 116–118. Hutchison Diary Vol IV, 118–119, 123. Hutchison cited Hansard to prove authority but Wallis continued to express doubts. Ibid., 125–126. Hutchison Diary, Vol IV, 125–126 and 132–135. 24 April 1942; Conference DOC 24 April 1942, Minister Ralston, Dir General Reserve Army, General BW Brown. 2 RHC 2IC was Major JW Knox, the Coy Commanders were Majors: RB Mowat; HW Roper. Captains: SD Denman; D Williamson; HB Glassford; D Cowans; JR Popham; EV Pinkham; GA Ross; Subalterns: Lts TG Henderson; HD Yuile; AP Bates; CN Turner; OB Richardson; H Gall; GB Taylor; GM Smith; RD Martineau; DM Chapman; MG Johnston; JE Martin; AV Mills; WK White; SG Heaman; JF Baillie; EK Cooke; JR Ballantyne; WA Reed; GN Stanley; and WL Jarvis. 4th RHC absorbed personnel unable to go on active service or with the 42nd Infantry Reserve Company. 7th Cdn Inf Div was raised on 18 March 1942; HQ was at Debert, NS. It initially consisted of 16th, 17th, and 18th Cdn Inf Bdes. In July 1942, the 7th CID comprised the 15th, 17th and 20th Cdn Inf Bdes. LAC RG24 15012. WD 2 RHC January–August 1943. The 2 RHC Pipe Band comprised eleven pipers and six drummers. The Watch Word was a formidable journal, included art, reviews, poetry and local advertising. Editor: Lance Corporal BHF Croll. LAC, BWA. WD 2nd RHC. Training Exercises 1942–1943. Hutchison. Correspondence, PPH to KGB, 21 June 1943; Letter 27. WD 2 RHC, Pt 2 Orders; 1 officer and 17 ORs were supplied to the 2nd Canadian Parachute Regiment. In June 1943, 2 RHC received 105 French speaking NRMA recruits. Lectures and training were conducted in French. BWA. Hutchison Papers. PPH to KG Blackader, 21 September 1943, Letter No. 28. Jaquays’s war was over. He served as Chief Instructor at the Officers Training Centre at Brockville fm February 1944 to March 1945. BWA. Offrs Pers Letters 1943–1945 71/4-21/2. Min of Defence JL Ralston/WH Clark-Kennedy VC 21 July 1943. RHC was authorized 3rd and 4th Bn RHC (Brigadier KM Perry as Honorary Colonel) in April 1942 when 2nd RHC was mobilized. Upon disbandment, the Reserve Black Watch was reorganized as the 2nd and 3rd Bn RHC. Hutchison History, 216. Hutchison II, August 1942– October 1944), 97. The Forbes mull, presented by Mrs D Forbes Angus, had belonged to her late father-in-law, RB Angus, also an honorary member of the BW Mess. Hutchison Papers, Letter 28. Ibid., PPH-KGB 21 June 1943; Letter No. 27. The tradition was suggested by Colonel Arbuthnot of Imperial BW to PPH. Fetherstonhaugh, 134; also see: Walter G Pavey, An Historical Account of the 7th Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (17th DYRCH) (Montreal: 1948); WJ Patterson, Soldiers of the Queen (CGG 1859–2009) (Montreal: 2009), 205; and, A Fortescue Duguid, History of the Canadian Grenadier Guards 1760–1964 (Montreal: 1965). The RMR was reduced then reorganized as the First Canadian Army Defence Company. GWL Nicholson, The Gunners of Canada, Vol II (Montreal: 1972), 637–640. His good friend Air Marshal Billy Bishop got Molson interested in flying in 1934; he soon formed an airline, “Dominion Skyways.” He joined the RCAF (401 Westmount Squadron) in September 1940. K Molson, The Molsons. Ibid., 374, 379. Hutchison Diary Vol III 30–31. Pers Files. Lieutenant JE Martin. October 1944. According to the passage in Hutchison’s Diary which he entitled “Bringing a Jew Landlord to time,” it is clear that his motivations in part stemmed from anti-Semitic attitudes (prevalent in Canada and particularly in Quebec during this period) and not simply the well-being of his wounded subordinate. The District HQ refused to let The Black Watch train en masse at summer concentrations until 1944, when both Reserve battalions were finally permitted a combined Camp. Letter PPH to KGB 20 June 1944. Hutchison Notes, 46–47 and Hutchison Notes V II, 101–102. Stacey Vol I, 216, The Montreal Gazette August 23–25 1941. Time, 10 August 1942. BWA. 1 RHC WD 23 August 1941; also, interview, Corporal James Wilkinson, September 2011. Donald H Taylor fractured his leg on a jump, was returned to Calgary and later was promoted Lieutenant Colonel. He took command of the Cdn Parachute Training Centre at Shilo, Manitoba 7 October 1944. Taylor

214

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73.

74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80.

81. 82. 83. 84.

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also trained at Fort Benning, Georgia. He married a stunning southern belle. BWA. Pers, Lieutenant Colonel DH Taylor. Original officers, 1st Bn RHC: Lieutenant Colonel KG Blackader MC, Majors IL Ibbotson, SD Cantlie, H Hamer, HM Jaquays, JC Routledge, JB Weir, AW Wright, Captains SST Cantlie, HET Doucet, FM Mitchell, C Petch, EC Rawlings, Lieutenants RB Somerville, NLC Mather, DH Taylor, JW Knox, HS Peck, BR Ritchie, WA Wood, JDW Halbert, IR McDougall, RG Slater, JG Bourne, JA Kenny, AP Boswell, RE Miller, Major FJ Smith (Paymaster), Captain BD Robertson (Surgeon). 1 RHC Depot: Major GHW Eadie ED, Capts WJ Anderson, JD Cleghorn. Black Watch Battalion promoted COs Second World War: (* combat CO)KG Blackader* 1 RHC, 8 CIB, 3 CID; J Bourne*, 3/FSSF; SD Cantlie, 1 RHC; SST Cantlie,* 1 RHC; HET Doucet, Perth Regiment; GP Henderson, AlqR, 1 RHC; HM Jaquays, 2 RHC; F Mitchell*, 1 RHC; E Motzfeldt*, 1 RHC; C Petch* , NNS, 4PLDG; RB Ritchie*, AlqR, South Sask, RHLI, 1 RHC; RB Somerville*, CBHghrs; DH Taylor, Cdn Para Regt; JB Weir*, CBHghrs; VE Traversy*, 1 RHC. And, FP Griffin* commanded 1 RHC as Major/ Acting CO at Verrières. Of remaining originals not aptd to comd, three were WWI vets: Major JC Routledge, BCS, RAF cadet August– December 1918, posted to Cda as TO, Sussex NB, 1943. Major H Hamer MM, RQM of 1st RHC; Eng, transfd to Min of Supply (UK) as munitions specialist, 1942. Major AW Wright, Artillery and RAF 1915–1919; promoted Lieutenant Colonel, commanded a training unit in Farnham, QC. Black Watch Offrs at 1 Cdn Corps in Italy: Major HET Doucet GSO1 Corps; Lieutenant Colonel WA Wood GSO2, 1 Cdn Div, Lt Col NLC Mather OBE, SSO 1 Corps; Major A Nesbitt; Major R Pilot MID, MBE, G3 Camo 1 Corps HQ; Major R Prince G3 1 Div; W Murray TO 48th Highlanders; Major E Rawlings, Coy OC 48th Hghrs – KIA; Major Al Ross Coy Comd Hastings and PER; Major Al Fraser, Cdn Photo Unit; Major WW Ogilvie, Major Ian MacDougall. BW Officers Lieutenant Colonel and above, on Active Service during the Second World War. A total of sixtyone officers that originated from BW or were still part of the Regiment. By rank 13x Generals: Major Generals GE McCuaig, RO Alexander and FF Worthington; Brigadiers KG Blackader, DK Black, CB Topp, KM Perry, JA Leclaire, AH Gault, MF Gregg, JE Fauquier, EA Blais, MP Bogart; 10x Colonels: AT Howard, HM Wallis, GP Henderson, JB Weir, HK McLean, Paul Grenier, LC Montgomery, JH Christie, J Jeffery, CA Macintosh; 31x Lieutenant Colonels: A Fleming, SD Cantlie, SST Cantlie, HM Jaquays, FS Mathewson, IL Ibbotson, C Petch, FM Mitchell, H Hamer, HET Doucet, JG Bourne, JBT Montgomerie, NA Fellowes, BR Ritchie, RB Somerville, WA Wood, MG Ibbotson, DH Taylor, NLC Mather, RB Mowat, JW Knox, GW Halpenny, AC Evans, WJC Stikeman, AM Gordon, HF Webber, RW Fordham, IMR Sinclair, JK Gordon, RY Cory, JW Ritchie, In addition, 7x Wing Commanders with past ties to BW: HW Molson, FB Foster, HB Norris, JD Heaman, Wm Sutherland, RH Gee. See: BWA. Hutchison Papers. Memo: The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada Active Service Record. “Individual Records of 1st Bn RHC Officers” (p3) and, “Senior BW Officers on Active Service” (p4). Montreal Star, 17 October 1938. Colonel SF Angus, Interviews Erin, Toronto and Montreal. Correspondence, 14 September 2011; Hereafter Colonel SF Angus. The first soldier to be attested on 7 Sept 1939 was D.81002 Private D MacDonald, ex CQMS D Coy 42nd Bn. Interviews, BW veterans. Captain Campbell Stuart, Major John Kemp, Captain SE Griffin, Corporals Jim Wilkinson and Bruce Ducat, Major Stanley Matulis, Captain J Nixon, Sergeant R Duplessis. June–July 1989; May, 2000; April–May 2007; August–September 2011. LAC Jacket 02 50816M Personal File KG Blackader. The Montreal Gazette 2 October 1937. BW combat COs: KG Blackader, SST Cantlie, FP Griffin, FM Mitchell, BR Ritchie, E Motzfeldt, V Traversy; BW Offrs as combat COs leading other Regiments: C Petch, J Bourne, JB Weir, RB Somerville, BR Ritchie who also commanded Algonquins, South Sasks and RHLI while HET Doucet the Perth Regiment, but they did not lead them in battle. Fred Cederberg, The Long Road Home (Toronto: 1989). Alex Morrison and Ted Slaney, The Breed of Manly Men, The History of the Cape Breton Highlanders (Toronto: 1994), 78. Hereafter cited as, Cape Breton Hghrs. WJ Wilkinson, intvw, LaSalle, 15 September 11 and, The Cape Breton Hghrs, 82. Within two months of assuming command Weir had to deal with a sit down strike – men refused to go on parade – and a battalion riot in Aldershot, the CBH taking on the 8th NBH. Tighter discipline soon prevailed.

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85. Weir: November 1943–August 1944, CO CBH; Sep44–May 1945, CO 1 CBRG; May 1945, CO 3, 4, 8 CIRU; July–August 1945, Comd 109 CIB. 86. Colonel SF Angus, 4 October 2011. 87. Tim Ellis, letter, cited by Morrison and Slaney, Cape Breton Hghrs, 80. 88. DHH. Honours and Awards. DSO Citation, Lieutenant Colonel RB Somerville, January 1945. Also, Cape Breton Hghrs, 388. 89. WWO to PPH 8 August 1942. 90. BWA. Nesbitt correspondence. JANUARY to PPH, 5 December 1943. 91. Ibid. 92. BWA. JANUARY to PPH, 5 November 1945. 93. Colonel SF Angus, 5 October 2011. 94. Presently in the collection of the Glenbow Museum Archives, Calgary, Alberta. 95. Hutchison Diary Vol II, 109–110. 96. Leslie Roberts, “Yugoslavia Jones,” Saturday Evening Post 6 May 1944. 97. Roberts, Ibid. Jones was with D Coy 13th RHC (Walter Macfarlane), a Lance Sergeant 1915, lost eye 16 August 1916. BWA and, Fetherstonhaugh, 201. 98. Saturday Evening Post, 6 May 1944, also, Maclean’s Magazine, 1 December 1944; The Montreal Gazette 18 January 1944. 99. Interviews in France, Germany and Canada: General SV Radley-Walters, Colonel Hans Siegel 12SS HJ, Colonel Hubert Meyer, 12SS HJ: 1991, 1992. See CP Stacey Ibid,. Vol III, 126–132 and Hubert Meyer, Kriegsgeschichte der 12.SS-Panbzerdivision Hitlerjugend (Osnabruk:1987), 76–85. Canadian casualties included 242 to NNS, 128 POWs; twenty-one (twenty-eight) Canadian Sherman tanks lost. Later twenty Canadian soldiers were illegally executed at the abbey. Kurt Meyer was court martialed after the war; he was acquitted on two charges, and his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment; he was released after serving nearly nine years. 100. LAC RG 24 RG-24, Vol 15122 WD North Nova Scotia H, 25 July 1944 and, Vol 15271, WD Stormont Dundas & Glengarry H, 25 July 1944. “We need rest … been in line since D-Day.” 101. Interview RJJ/Brigadier Ben Cunningham, Kingston, September 1990. “Harsh words were exchanged.” See: Tony Foster, Meeting of Generals (Toronto: 1986), 354. See also, JA English, The Canadian Army in the Normandy Campaign (New York: 1991), 250–251, and Stacey Vol III, 190. Eventually, all commanders of the highland brigade (Cunningham, Lt Col Frank Griffiths, CO of The Highland Light Infantry, Lt Col GH Christiansen, CO of the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders, and Petch) were cashiered by Simonds after Spring. 102. By April 1945 the PLDG casualties (after twenty months) totaled 802: five times the average for a Cdn armoured regt, which was two hundred. The next highest were the Fort Garry Horse (402) and Three Rivers Regiment (382). 103. Petch/PPH 22 January 1946. 104. Correspondence Major T Gilday / Colonel Stephen Angus re Colonel John Bourne, May 1998. 105. Major WS Magee, RCR, formerly FSSF, awarded Bronze and Silver Stars. Interview 23 November, 2011. 106. Citation, Bourne Papers, courtesy, Thomas Bourne, correspondence/interview Montreal, December, 2011. 107. Ibid. 108. See: Lieutenant Colonel Robert D Burhans, The First Special Service Force 1942–1944 (Washington: 1947); Kenneth H Joyce Snow Plough and Jupiter Deception (FSSF 1942–1945);(St Catharines: 2006); Robert H Adleman/ Colonel G Walton, The Devils Brigade (New York: 1966), 216.”Orders were given to two companies to take these bridges – three each. The third company was kept in Reserve with Battalion HQ”; also, John Nadler, A Perfect Hell (Toronto: 2005). 109. LAC. Jacket 04-95416. Confidential Report, Pacific Comd HQ 4 August 1945. Pers File SD Cantlie. Hereafter, SD Cantlie Pers. 110. LAC. Jacket 04-95416. Mil Pers File, SD Cantlie. Hereafter, SD Cantlie Pers. 111. 1 RHC as at June 1942: 1x Lt Col; 2x Major; 7x Captain; 22x Lts; 1x RSM; 1x RQMS; 4x CSMs; 2x WOIII; 4x CQMS; 17x Sergeants; 15x Lance Sergeants; 42x Corporals; 39 x Lance Corporals; 644x Ptes; inclu 6x RCOC Sergeants/Lance Corporals/Ptes. Officers from Montreal: 96 percent; origins Other Ranks: City 77.78 percent; rural 22.22 percent.

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112. 5th Cdn Inf Bde Sorts Sports Championships 1941–1944

113. 114. 115. 116. 117.

118. 119. 120.

121. 122. 123. 124. 125.

126. 127. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133.

Track

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RHC

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RHC

Calg H

n/a

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RHC

RHC

RHC

RHC

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XCntry

Hockey

Softball

Boxing

Soccer

1941

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RHC

RHC

RHC

1942

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RHC

1943

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1944

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RG24 17514. War Diary 1st Bn BW (RHR) 1 July–31 July 1942, hereafter, WD 1 RHC. Ibid., 7 July 1942. Ibid., 9 July 1942. RG 24 17514 WD 1 RHC, 23 December 1942. Allied air: 15 Sqns Spitfires; 8 Sqns Hurricane fighter-bombers, 4 Sqns recce Mustang Mk I, 7 Sqns No. 2 Gp light bombers. Germans employed apx 120 fighters of Jagdgeschwaders 2 and 26, mostly Fw 190, and about 100 bombers from Kampfgeschwaders 2, 45 and 77. Mostly Dornier 217s and elements of III./KG 53, II./KG 40 and I./KG 77. Allied aircraft losses were 106 fighters and 18 bombers. Luftwaffe lost 48 aircraft, over half (28) were bombers. Stacey. Vol I, 354–55; 4 coastal batteries (105, 150mm) with 21 guns and 16x 100mm Howitzers as Div Arty plus 8 French 75mm guns in beach defences, augmented by 9 small caliber anti-tank guns in forward strongpoints. Technically, there were five Dieppe beaches. Yellow 1 and Yellow 2 (RM Commandos) were east of Puys and Orange 1 and Orange 2 (again RM Commandos) were west of Pourville. C Coy 1 RHC CO was Major Bruce Ritchie, 2IC was Captain Eric Motzfeldt; the CSM was WO2 F Bleasdale. The HQ was not permitted to go. Ritchie and Motzfeldt would be reunited in Holland, during 1944–1945 campaign. The field strength of a Bn Mortar Pl was 1 Offr and 42 men; 6x 3” mortars with carriers. The Dieppe version was reduced. BWA. TM Barott. Invoice Wm Anderson & Sons Ltd. 7 July 1943. LCDR Christopher John Mather, USN (ret), correspondence, 10 October 2011. NLC Mather was promoted lieutenant colonel in Italy and received an OBE fm Viscount Alexander of Tunis. WD 1 RHC, August; Investigation Dieppe. Statement 19 August 1942 1700 by D82017 Lance Corporal HH Farrell No3 Sect, 13 Pl; see also, D82328 Private TL Pilkington, No 5 Sect, 14 Pl. WD 1 RHC, Jubilee Report, 1942. C Coy Dieppe: #13 Platoon, 26 soldiers; #14 Pl, 18; and #15 Pl, 18. C Coy HQ included Major RB Ritchie; Captain E Motzfeldt; CSM F Bleasdale, 2 Signallers: Privates Monk and O’Brien – sent to Dieppe, taken prisoner; 2x Snipers, 5x Pioneers; 1x Stretcher bearer; 2x Orderly. Hereafter, Jubilee Report. WD 1 RHC, Secret HQ 4 Cdn Inf Bde to CO 1 RHC, 28 August 1942. “It has not been estb what happened to them from the time they left the boat.” Jubilee Report. Private O’Toole statement, 20 August 1942. Lieutenant (N) van Cleef, LCP commander concurred: “our men [15 Pl BW] with a few exceptions succeeded in crossing the beach to the shelter of the cliff.” van Cleef/Motzfeldt Report Apx 12, WD 1 RHC, 26 August 1942. WD 1 RHC, March 1943; Jubilee Report, Letter Lieutenant M Mather to Captain NLC Mather; and, 25 November 1942 WT Cranfield London to CO 1 RHC. The Bangalore torpedo is an explosive charge fitted within one or many connected tubes (pipes); it is used by combat engineers (or soldiers) to clear obstacles like wire etc. that channel them into killing zones. Ibid. Extract letter D81039 Private E MacDonald, 1 RHC WD 5 February 1943. Interview Corporal Hilton Monroe, Montreal, 24 September 2008. Many soldiers hid their weapons before surrender. LAC. Mather Pers File, via LCDR CJ Mather, 24 October 2012. Statement Private B MacDonald, WD 5 February 1943. RHC Cas Include 6 PW from Mortar pl Det: Sergeant Oxley; Corporal Goodbeer; Smith JW; Taylor KT; Labelle F; Martin J. See, BWA. “X” List Casualties Dieppe.

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137.

138. 139. 140. 141. 142. 143. 144. 145. 146. 147.

148.

149. 150. 151. 152. 153. 154. 155. 156. 157.

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1 RHC Part 2 Orders. 5 October 1942. 19x BW soldiers were victims of grenade accident – 17 injured and two died. Barott, after his attempt to escape, was moved to prison camp at Colditz. He was repatriated in April 1945. Jubilee Report. Captain AL MacLaurin “Report on Dieppe Raid”, 25 August 1942. Hereafter, MacLaurin. See also: David O’Keefe (One Day in August) for an interpretation of other possible reasons for the raid. Referred to as “TLC2” (its designation for Dieppe), the Royal Navy vessel was registered as “LCT 127.” Lieutenant Cmdr HP Brownell, RANVR (KIA) commanded the initial flight of RN landing craft. The tanks were named Cougar, Cheetah and Cat; the armoured car was Hector. Mk III Churchill had a welded turret mounting the newly-developed 6-pdr gun, a coaxle Besa MG on its left, and a Besa in the hull. They were immune to all but the heaviest German anti-tank guns. Of 907 Canadians cas at Dieppe, 14 were from the Calgary Regiment; just 2 were killed in their tanks. Sucharov developed a carpet-laying device using a roll of chespaling, 3’ wide and 25’ long, in front of each track; electrically released from the turret, the rolls played out and were dragged under the tank’s tracks, permitting crossing over a 28” seawall. The kit was then jettisoned by an explosive charge. Major B Sucharov, “Report of the training carried out by the Engineer Group from 2 Canadian Division; Exercises Rutter and Jubilee, 20 August 1942,” to Chief Engineer, 1 Cdn Corps, 6 and Apx, File 594.019(D8), DHist, Ottawa. See also, DHH File 594.019(D8), Major Bert Sucharov, “Report of the training carried out by the Engineer Group from 2 Canadian Division during exercises Rutter and Jubilee, 20 August 1942,” for, Chief Engineer, 1 Cdn Corps, 6 and App. II. WD 1 RHC “Jubilee After Action Statements” August 1942: Private James Crozier; hereafter, Jubilee After Action; and, MacLaurin. Lance Sergeant Edward Wray, Jubilee Report. Sergeant JW Marsh, Jubilee Report. MacLaurin, Jubilee Report. Crozier, Ibid. Sergeant JW Marsh 3 Pl BW and D82448 Private Gordon McLaren, and, MacLaurin. Only one TLC was sunk, but the others were so severely damaged that most had to be towed to UK. MacLaurin’s nephew, Pipe-Major MWO Cameron W Stevens MMM, joined in 1988, served in Cyprus and participated in an official visit to Afghanistan. Jubilee Report. After Action. Lance Sergeant E Wray and, Corporal J Mcouan. Ibid., D82546 Private John Laurie. Ibid., MacLaurin; Private JM Graham and Private Thomas EF Quinnel. Armour: Of the twenty-nine tanks attempting to land, two drowned and the rest made ashore. Of these twenty-seven, fifteen crossed the seawall; later, ten returned to the beach near area Casino, where one was immobilised by the chert. The remaining twelve tanks never got off the beach. LCT2 did reasonably well compared to other ships: “The three tanks and scout car from LCTC2 were last seen going down the promenade into the town. Tanks from LCT6 put out of action as soon as they reached the beach … LCT6 one tank track blown off due to mine.” LCT127 (“LTC2”) Casualties: one seaman killed, about fifteen wounded. MacLaurin. “At 0548 the last tank towing a scout car rolled on the ramp, and [our] craft received a direct hit on cables of the ramp. The craft then eased off shore about 50 yds to allow the last tank to get off as it was stopped half way out,” Lance Sergeant ER Wray D 81662, Jubilee Report. Jubilee Report. Lance Sergeant ER Wray. Ibid. BW Mortar Pl (x28) Red Beach: 17 WIA; Blue Beach 6x Prisoners of War (Sergeant Oxley; Corporal Goodbeer; Ptes Smith JW; Taylor KT; Labelle F; Martin J). Jubilee Report. D82747Pte TJ Hunter. BWA. Letter PPH to father, Mr. RM Kenny, 6 and 29 Ap, 1 May 1944: “Kenny liaison offr 5th CIB [may have] changed to 6th CIB”; “Regimental records indicated John as having been with the 6th CIB at Dieppe.” BWA. Cantlie, Kenny Pers Files, and WD 1 RHC. Note to KGB, SD Cantlie 29 April 1942. Kenny was adjutant 1 RHC October to 1 April 1942. The Brigade staff succeeded in burning some documents before the German counter attack. Southam was captured trying to bury Jubilee’s secret ops order. Its contents were presented to Hitler and directly got the Allies into difficulties. Contrary to the Geneva Convention, Jubilee’s orders included instructions to bind prison-

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169.

170. 171. 172. 173. 174. 175. 176. 177. 178. 179. 180. 181. 182.

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ers. Hitler, enraged, promptly ordered that Allied prisoners be shackled which led to a reciprocating order by Churchill. Both decrees were abandoned after arbitration by the Swiss. Family tradition is that John was cut in half by machine gun fire while still on the beach. Correspondence Senator the Honourable Colin Kenny / RJJ, 7 October 2011. Brookwood also includes: Private GT Harwood D82024, DOW but listed KIA 28 August 1942; buried Bretteville, Normandy. BWA. 1 RHC WD, 1942 SD Cantlie (Jubilee File). LAC. MacLaurin Pers File. Confidential. CRE 2DS 2 September 1942, Major B Sucharov RCE. LAC RG24 Vol 17514 WD 1 RHC. Jubilee Report. Decoration nominations written by MacLaurin for Sergeant JW Marsh (MM) Corporal ME Morgan (MID) and Private J Barclay (MID). Cantlie recommended MacLaurin for MC. Jubilee Report. Captain AL MacLaurin, Apx 15, WD 1 RHC, 26 August 1942. Recommendations by Captain MacLaurin: D81178 Sergeant JW Marsh, D82389 Corporal Morgan, D82480 Private J Barclay. Teachers: Major Ritchie (Electricity), Captain Motzfeldt (German), Lieutenant Duchastel (French), Sergeant Tweedsdale (Mechanics), Captain Griffin (Mathematics), Corporal Walker (Radio) and, weekly lectures by visitors from exotic places. WD 1 RHC, 6 September 1942. 12th September 1942. Ibid., 28 November 1942. Ibid., 26 February 1943. SD Cantlie Pers; Offrs Confidential Report, 5 CIB, 24 February 1943. Ibid., and, 1 Cdn Corps: extracts, Minutes Senior Selection Committee, 18 March 1943. General Montgomery’s evaluation of The Black Watch was mixed: “fine battalion” with good officers but “patchy NCOs” and the CO “knew nothing whatsoever about how to command and train a battalion.” BLM Montgomery, “Notes on Infantry Brigades”, Crerar Papers Vol 2 cited in Terry Copp, Brigade (Stoney Creek: 1992), 29. SD Cantlie Pers. Minutes Senior Selection Committee, Meeting #37, 31 March 1943. Re SST Cantlie. “although the Committee does not feel that he [Cantlie] is any more suitable as a Bn Comd than Major Pangman … [SSTC] capable and hard-working offr; performed the duties of GSO 2 in a very satisfactory manner … has the ability and strength of character for command of an Infantry Battalion.” It was perhaps luck. Major Pangman became General Crerar’s G1 and was soon famous for his ruthlessness as a staff officer, known through the Corps as “Pangman the hangman.” BWA. Pers. KGB/PPH 7 May 1943 Blackader to PPH re SD Cantlie. Times 23 March 1943. BWA, 1 RHC, Ibid; Sgt Bill Davis July 2013: “He insisted on everyone looking their very best when walking out or on parade. The men seemed to have confidence in his ability to lead.” 1 RHC strength August 1943 was 795 (above establishment) and comprised thirty-four Offrs (one Lt Col, three Majs, thirteen Capts, seventeen Lts; one WOI, seven WOII, forty-four Sgts; seventy-three Cpls, 675 ORs). In September 1943: 812 all ranks. LAC. RG24 Vol 15008 1 RHC WD. WD 1 RHC 7 May 1944. KB/PPH May 1943; “a large black Rolls Royce drove up and out stepped the Queen – wearing her favourite powder blue as well as a large maple leaf pin.” WD 1 RHC 7 May 1944. BWA. Cantlie File. “Farewell Address of Lieutenant Colonel SST Cantlie given to the men of the 1st Bn The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada on relinquishing command. 9 October 1943”, 2, 4 et seq. Ibid., 7. Ibid., 8, 9. Ibid., 10–11. BWA. Hutchison Papers. PPH to Topp 18 June 1940. Henderson was not recommended for promotion while in Canada. “I should warn you that we did not put forward your name.” PPH to GHP 27 March 1940. Alq R seems to have been a test-bed for future senior officers, and curious magnet for BW officers and fellows destined to be instrumental in 1 RHC future. Henderson handed over to WJ Megill. The perspicacious Hutchison wrote in his diary: “Henderson handed over to an officer who was destined to have further and more determining contact with BW.” Megill went on to command 5th Brigade.

notes to pages

183. 184. 185. 186. 187. 188. 189. 190. 191. 192. 193. 194. 195. 196. 197.

198. 199. 200. 201. 202. 203. 204. 205. 206. 207. 208. 209. 210. 211. 212. 213. 214.

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Terry Copp, Brigade – 5th Cdn Infantry Brigade. Hutchison Papers. Letter 7 January 1944 GPH to PPH. SST to PPH 14 June 1944. Pers File. SST Cantlie, 6 March 1944: “This WO I is unfit for ops due to age and heavy physique, he lacks the necessary stamina and energy to carry his appt in the field.” Sgt Bill Davis, 5 July 2013. Interview, Leitch family, Montreal, October 2011. SST to PPH 14 June 1944. PPH to Aird Nesbitt 15 December 1943. In addition to the secondment of officers and NCOS, as well as ordered levies to various units and schools, 2 RHC, on disbandment, was divided into seven groups including: overseas reinforcements, French speaking specialists, and, unit transfers to 1st Bn Victoria Rifles (290 all ranks) and Prince of Wales Rifles (100 all ranks). “The Div is full of them … one unit had a platoon of Black Watch still wearing the Red Hackle” LM/FSmith, 17 February 1944. CP Stacey, The Victory Campaign, 194. “The Valour and the Horror”, a joint NFB and CBC trilogy (historical docu-drama, 1989–1990), featured The Black Watch and Verrières Ridge in its Normandy segment. The series’ interpretations resulted in cross-Canada debate, a five hundred million dollar law suit, and an unprecedented public inquiry in the Canadian Senate. Adv Party arrived 28 June; 845 All Ranks embarked; Bn deployed in three days (6–8 July). Pt II Orders, WD July 1944. BWA. Pers. Sergeant Bernard Frank Arnold Benson. The US Sherman tank (which armed Canadian, British and US armd units) was a match for Pz Mk IV; that tank was being replaced/converted to low silhouette up-armoured Jagdpanzers (tank hunters). A British adaptation of Sherman, mounting a 17-pdr gun, the Firefly (Sherman VC) was the only weapon that could defeat German armour at range. There were few Fireflies – the average was four per squadron. Cpl Russell (Sandy) Sanderson/RJJ, Toronto, 20 Aug 2008. Panzerschreck was 88mm compared to Bazooka’s 57mm; the Panzerfaust came in various sizes, 60 to 120mm. See CP Stacey, Vol I, Six Years of War. Appendix G: Note on the Equipment of the Canadian Army Overseas, 1939–1945, 544–546. MG42 fire sounded like “ripping cloth”; various nicknames: “Hitler’s buzz saw; Hitler’s zipper.” D-83056 Private William T Booth, Int Section Bn HQ, 1 RHC July 1944; Intv, Correspondence WTB/RJJ September–October 1990; diary/notes, cited by father, Prof W J Booth, Vanderbilt University. 5 March 2012. Hereafter, Booth. D109991 Private Jack Albert McSorley, 8 Pl, A Coy 1 RHC; interview Montreal 1989. Hereafter, McSorley. Berlis: “Mortar fire was when he lost a lot of his hearing!” Sheldon Mackenzie, cited by JSS Armour, 10 March 2012. Total of nine Black Watch senior officers (colonel or major) were RMC graduates; service in Europe Second World War: SST Cantlie, SD Cantlie, Mitchell, Stevenson, Petch, Doucet, Ritchie, Ogilvie, and L Mather. LAC; BWA. Pers Files. SST Cantlie ED MID. Studied at Selwyn House and Appleby. Married, two sons. Major April 1941, posted Cda as instructor RMC; Corps HQ, UK; staff offr 4th Armd Div HQ, 21 April 1942; CO 1 RHC April 1943. LAC Jacket 02-50816 Pers File FM Mitchell; evaluation, 23 January 1943. Hereafter, Mitchell, Pers. Ibid. OS/RJJ. Interview, Rigaud, December 2003. Prince Philip (House of Glücksbor) renounced Greek ties, adopted surname Mountbatten in 1947. BWA. Pers. Campbell Lewis Stuart. Evaluation, Lieutenant Colonel WO Meikle HQ 2 Cdn Div, May 1941. OS/RJJ. Interview, Rigaud December 2003. Interview RJJ/OS, 12 February 2012. BWA. Mitchell/PPH September 1944 and, Major A Stevenson/PPH 12 September 1944. BWA. SD Cantlie’s eval of VET, 28 January 1943. BWA. Pers, Shirley Griffin to Father, 1 August 1944; RJJ/HH Griffin, February 2004. FP Griffin’s height was 5 feet, 8¼ inches".

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215. Interview, SE Griffin and Eileen Griffin, Montreal, September 1989. 216. D83067 Private James F Nugent, intvw and correspondence October 1990. Hereafter, Private JF Nugent. 217. LAC. Pers File. FP Griffin. Evaluation by SST Cantlie, December 1943. Eval 28 August 1943: “a very good Coy Comd. He is sound tactically.” Griffin was considered by some to be overly ambitious and perhaps impulsive. 218. BWA. DHH: File Major A Stevenson 1 RHC. 219. BWA. Lieutenant Colonel AC Evans ED/PPH 11 August 1944. 220. BWA. PPH/Major CL Smart re article re Fr Cdn service in BW. 5 November 1943, 2 para (k) 2. “10 percent” Fr Cdns may refer to BW battalions in Montreal and recruiting centres in Cda but seems high for 1 RHC in Europe. 221. Terry Copp, “The Approach to Verrières Ridge: Army, Part 25”, Legion Magazine, March 1, 1999. 222. WD 1 RHC 18 July 1944. 223. Kapok bridge designed as infantry assault bridge: kapok-filled floats supported a wooden walkway. Kapok bridge floats and decking sections each six feet long. Two men carried float; one man carried length of decking. 224. BWA. Pers. Stevenson/SD Cantlie 7 September 1944. 225. BWA. Statement D 82579 Private F Delutis. 226. BWA. 1 RHC (1-17-1) Report, Major AG Stevenson “The Crossing of the Orne River” 12 September 1944. 227. D82026 Lance Corporal Bruce Ducat, interview, 12 October 1989, 42. Hereafter, Ducat. 228. RG24; DHH “Account by Major Bennett, D Coy, of the attack by The Black Watch on May-sur-Orne 25 July 1944 as given to Captain Engler at Basse, 1 August 1944.” Hereafter, Bennett. “It took us two days to get all the snipers out of IFS.” 229. BWA. Pers. Captain JPW Taylor/ Lieutenant Colonel DH Taylor 15 August 1944. 230. Interview RJJ / Brigadier WJ Megill, Kingston, 12 January 1990. Hereafter Megill / RJJ. 231. R Lehmann, R Tiemann, Die Leibstandarte Band IV/1 (Osnabrück: 1986), 162–163. 21 July 1944: “In der Nacht befiehlt das Korps, das die LAH die 272. Inf. Div. links von uns bei ihrem Angriff … [In the night, the Korps ordered LAH to support the 272nd Inf Division, positioned on our left, with its counterattack]. 232. Ibid., WD 1 RHC 21 July 1944. 233. Kampfgruppen were ad hoc organizations, named after the designated commander. 234. Bennett. 235. “Notes on Action of 25 July 1944” Stuart, 29 May 1990. First Cdn Army (General H Crerar) operational 23 July 1944. 236. LAC RG24 WD Diary 2nd Cdn Armed Brigade July 1944. 6th CAR was in sp to 3rd Cdn Div. The 27 Cdn Armd Regt was placed under command of 2 Cdn Inf Div on 19 July 1944. 2 CAB: 6th Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars); 10th Armoured Regiment (The Fort Garry Horse); 27th Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment). 2 CAB was an independent tank brigade, designed to either exploit, or be used in bespoken groupings of infantry for special missions. Brig Wyman had launched the only armored battlegroup attack to that time, the disastrous Le Mesnil-Patry/Rots assault on 11 June 44. It was defeated by the 12SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend, in essence, a weak battalion of infantry (from 25th SS Regt) and an under strength Pz Coy of Mk IVs commanded by SS Major Hans Siegel. Intvws/correspondence, R Cline/J Colwell/AB Conron/ F Hull/ R Walters, H Siegel / RJJ circa 1989–90; 1992; 2012; Europe and Canada. See, Jarymowycz, Tank Tactics, 116, 121, 134. 237. Stuart, 1; “… the company commanders arriving as we reached the objective.” 238. BWA. Correspondence Young/PPH and, Hutchison, Canada’s Black Watch, 222. 239. Bennett. This may be wrong, there were only Panzer IV ausf G to the front from 2nd Pz Bn, 1 LAH – a “fair fight” for Canadian Shermans – although some late-model Pz IV’s three inch front hull armor could defeat the Sherman’s 75mm gun at battle range, the turret remained vulnerable. 240. Megill / RJJ. 241. Stuart, 3; the attack was completed by 1855 hrs. 242. Leibstandarte IV/1, 181; See: MHI B 549 “272 Inf Div Normandy from 5–26 July 1944” General August Schack. Annex 3, 21 July. Hereafter, 272 Inf Div B 540. 243. See Map “Operation Spring 25 July 1944.” Most accounts confuse Hill 67 (on RN D562) with the “Black Watch Hill 67” (route D89, between St-Martin and Beauvoir Farm). Both heights are indeed at 67 meters and so marked on maps – hence the on-going confusion. The much cited Hill 67 (RN D562) is south of Fleury-surOrne and overlooks St-Martin/St-André/ Verrières. Circa 2000 it was turned into a memorial park through the

notes to pages

244. 245. 246. 247. 248. 249. 250. 251. 252. 253. 254. 255.

256. 257. 258.

259. 260. 261. 262. 263.

264. 265.

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efforts of Prof Terry Copp (WLU) and the Cdn Battle of Normandy Foundation, assisted by the Comite Souvenir Juno. Tactical map shows the original Beauvoir Farm. Rebuilt after the war, but is now south of the east–west road. Staff Colleges and military tours tend to visit the Hill 67 Park north of St-André because of parking and an unobstructed panoramic view in most directions. The area near Beauvoir Farm has a more limited view. DHH. 145.2B1 CMHQ, Captain TM Hunter RCA, “Notes on the Movement of RHC at May-sur-Orne, France, 25 July 1944”, 12 November 1945. Hereafter, Report 150. McSorley, 23. Ibid. The rare sJPzAbt 654 (the only one of its type in France) equipped with the new JagdPanther tank-hunter, a stealth version of Panther: no turret, super deadly 88mm gun. It was deployed on Hill 112 in May. WD, 1 RHC July 21–24; and, Stuart. Ibid. Clark, Standard. RG24 14046, WD 2 CAB and, 27 CAR July 1944; Bundesarchiv RH21-5/44. Kriegstagbuche Pz-Armeeoberkommando 5. 21–24 July 1944; Also, RH 19IX/9 Tagesmeldungen v 6.5.44 bis 31.8.44, 258, 254–266 (July); Hereafter, Tagesmeldungen. See: RG24 14046 Radio Logs 2 CAB July 1944; entry 19 July, 21 July 1445 hrs. Bennett, Ibid. Ibid. Booth, Ibid. Stuart, 4–5. 2/Lieutenant Markland Molson served as a Pl Leader in 2 RHC in 1940; posted to 1 RHC as soldier, June 1941. For an in-depth analysis to how close the II Corps came to breaking at the end of the Normandy Campaign circa 6 June–6 August 44, see: Terry Copp and Bill McAndrew, Battle Exhaustion (Montreal:1990). Copp contends situation was as bad, if not worse in Dempsey’s army. BWA. Pers. “I have the honour to resign as an officer in The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada for the purpose of serving in the ranks of The Black Watch. (s) William Markland Molson, 2nd Lieut.” 26 May 1941. John Henry became president of Molson’s Brewery; commanded the 3rd Bn RHC; later appointed comd of BW training depot at Huntingdon, QC. Major Walter Molson was OC 42nd (Inf) Res Coy during war. Molson family service: Father, Lieutenant Colonel JH Molson MBE (13th Bn); Uncle, Major FS Molson (13th Bn). Cousins: Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Molson MC (42nd Bn); Captain Percival Molson MC (PPCLI); Captain William Hobart Molson MC (42nd Bn); Walter Molson (42nd Bn). Second World War: Lieutenant CJG Molson was Paymaster 3rd Bn RHC in Montreal; 2/Lieutenant W K Molson, 3rd Bn RHC 1940–1941. D83194 Sergeant Macgregor Roulston, correspondence, September 1990. BWA. JPW Taylor/Major P Griffin, 14 January 1944. BW Casualties 6–24 July 1944: 37x KIA/DOW; 161x WIA; 1x PW; Total 199. See, WD 1 RHC. Stuart, 9. Omar N Bradley, A General’s Life (New York: 1983). The Twelfth US Army Group comprised the First US Army (Gen Courtney H Hodges); the Third US Army (Gen George S Patton, Jr). See: Martin Blumenson, The Battle of the Generals: The Untold Story of the Falaise Pocket, The Campaign That Should Have Won World War II (New York: 1993); Carlo D’Este, Decision in Normandy: The Unwritten Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign (New York: 1983); Russell F Weigley, Eisenhower’s Lieutenants: The Campaign of France and Germany 1944–1945 (New York: 1981). In particular, besides the sine qua non of Canadian WW2 military history (CP Stacey’s The Victory Campaign), for a Canadian perspective, see: Terry Copp: Cinderella Army: The Canadians in Northwest Europe; Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy; and, The Brigade: The Fifth Canadian Infantry Brigade; for operational art see: John A English, The Canadian Army and the Normandy Campaign (New York: 1991) and tactically, RH Roy, 1944: The Canadians in Normandy (Toronto: 1984). II Canadian Corps opened its first tactical headquarters at Amblie on June 29, 1944. Simonds’s headquarters became fully operational on July 7 as the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division began to arrive. Simonds was born in England and still had a faint Brit accent. Making him a comfortable addition to a British dominated Army Group. See Jarymowycz 163–165; 129, 139. First Canadian Army comprised: I Canadian Corps (April 1942 to Nov 1943 attached to the Brit 8th Army in Italy Nov 1943 to Feb 1945; then reunited with First Cdn Army, Feb 1945 to July 1945); II Canadian Corps (January 15, 1943 to June 25, 1945); I (British) Corps (August 1, 1944 to April 1, 1945) and, XXX (British) Corps (attached January to March, 1945 for Operation Veritable).

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266. Rommel had been wounded on 17 July by Canadian air attack near Vimoutiers. F/L (MGen) Richard Rohmer flying recce Mustangs for 430 Sqn spotted Rommel’s staff car. He was forbidden to attack, F/L Charles William “Charlie” Fox DFC and Bar, 412 Sqn, was vectored in and shot up Rommel, removed him from command. C Fox/RJJ 8 September 2008; R Rohmer/RJJ intvws, correspondence 2012–14; Rohmer Log Book 17 July 44; 430 Sqn War Diary July 1944. 267. These were the only King Tigers on the western front (save for a reduced HQ Company with the Panzer Lehr Division). Invincible as long-range gun platforms, but as all Tigers, they broke down when forced to move / manoeuvre repeatedly. The 503rd SchPzAbt was given only one Tiger II company. See, Jarymowycz, “Who Killed Tiger?”, 255. RH 21-5/44 Kriegstagebuch Panzer-Armeeoberkommando 5. 10.6.44–8.8.44, order of battle, 25 July 1944. 268. Captain HC Butcher, My Three Years with Eisenhower (New York: 1946), 619. 269. Stacey, v III 186, CMHQ Report 150, Lieutenant General GG Simonds Memorandum “Attack by RHC Operation Spring”, 31 January 1946. For clear review of Canadian and Allied command in Normandy, see English, Chapter 8, 184–194. 270. Stearns Papers, 23 March 1981. These words were spoken to Captain Marshall Stearns MBE, during the Goodwood battle. Stearns, a Harvard-trained American, joined the Canadian Army and became Guy Simonds’s Personal Assistant throughout the war. The Stearns Papers were created via detailed and lengthy correspondence with Professor Reginald Roy, Victoria, 1980–82. Hereafter, Stearns. 271. RG24. WD 5 CIB July 1944; 3rd Cdn Div was required to capture Tilly-la-Campagne (NNS Highlanders). 272. Stacey V3, 186. The Cramesnil spur was the higher terrain south of Verrières Ridge – a height that ended as bluffs north of the Laison River, near Rouvres. 273. Megill, RJJ, 7; RG 24 20275. Memorandum Interview w Lieutenant General GG Simonds at CMHQ, 19 March 1946. CP Stacey: “General Simonds said he held no Corps Orders Group during Operation Spring. He never had all the divisional commanders with him.” Also: RG24 10826, 2 Cdn Corps “Notes for CCRA’s Conference on Operation Spring”, 23 July 1944. 274. RG24 14116 Operation Spring Conferences and Orders. 275. Correspondence, September 1989. 276. Megill/RJJ. 277. 2 Cdn Div Instruction No.1 Spring, 24 July 1944, Order of Battle; 1 RHC: “under command one platoon C Coy Tor Scot R (MG) and in support B Sqn, 6 Cdn Armd Regt, one troop 17-pdr A/Tk, two sub sections 11 Cdn Fd Coy.” also, DHH “Action of RHC Fontenay-le-Marmion 25 July 1944”, Captain FS Weatherston HQ First Cdn Army, 19 August 1944. 278. DHH. “Notes on the Movement of RHC at May-sur-Orne, France, 25 July 1944.” Captain TM Hunter, RCA. 12 November 1945 (Report 150), 4, 6. The artillery fire plan depended upon RHC reaching its SL by 0530 hrs. 279. LAC RG24 Vol 20275 “Operation Spring”; “Report On the Battle of St-André and May-sur-Orne 25 July 1944”, written December 1945 by the senior BW survivors. Hereafter, Motzfeldt Report. 280. RG24 18511. 5 Cdn Inf Bde Operation Order No.1 Operation Spring 24 July BW Report Operation Spring. 281. RG24 10677 Special Interrogation Report GenLt FA Schack. HQ Cdn Forces Holland. 2 August 1945. 282. MHI. Pers File FA Schack. Office of Chief of Historical Operational History (German) Branch. 1 April 1945. 283. Ibid. The Cdn interrogation officer, clearly despised Schack: “one of those generals who never knew anything and forgot it all … an absent minded, stupid man, born, rather than made, to his profession.” Interestingly, Schack’s later interrogation by the US Army, in Austria, produced very different results and remarkable detail. For his defence of Verrières Ridge, Schack had been awarded Oak Leaves for his Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross (21 September 1944). The 272nd Div was noted in the 24 July 1944 Wehrmachtbericht: “under the inspirational leadership of Lieutenant General Schack [the 272 ID] especially distinguished itself through its tough defence and magnificent counterattacks.” Martin Jenner, Die niedersächsische 216./272. Infanterie-Division 1939–1945 (Nauheim: 1964), 233. For US Army Interrogation of Schack, see MHI, ETHINT MS #B-540 and MS #B-702: “272 Infantry Division in Normandy” (July–September 1944). Manuscripts by Schack and Jenner. 284. The 272nd Inf Div caused more Canadian casualties than any other German formation in the Normandy campaign, however, the 12SS HitlerJugend and 1st SS LAH Divisions were a very close second. 285. RG24 13750 WD 2 CID; Intsums, July 1–31 1944. “Coys only 50–100 strong and reinforcements poorly trained.”

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286. 272 ID had a troop of three tank destroyers: SdKfz 139 PzJager III Marder (Martin). These were converted obsolescent Czech Pz 38t Praga tanks. The Praga tank hunter was sleek, angled; turret removed and fitted with a Russian 76mm tank gun). 287. Bundesarchiv RH26-272, “272nd Inf Div” (July– September 1944) and ETHINT Ibid., by General FA Schack. The 272nd German Infantry Division: 3x Rifle Regiments (980, 981, 982) each of two Battalions, and a Fusilier Battalion (Total 7 Inf Bns). Heavy weapons included PzJagAbt (3xSelf Propelled Panzer Jaegers or “tank hunters”. and 21x towed 75mm anti-tank guns); 46x mortars, 48x lt infantry guns; 46x pieces of Artillery (75mm, 105mm, 150mm) plus 464x lt MG and 102x Hy MG. Tpt: 177 motorcycles, 105 cars, 136 trucks, 4,302 horses. Str as at 19 June 1944: 11,211 Germans, 1,514 HiWi (Hilfswilliger “volunteers”). In comparision, the 2nd Cdn Inf Div had three brigades (Total nine infantry battalions); an armoured recce regiment (forty armoured cars and sixty Bren Gun carriers) and three artillery regiments (nine batteries: 72x towed 25-pdr guns. An anti-tank regiment (three batteries, thirty-two towed 17-pdr and sixteen towed 6-pdr guns). 3,350 vehicles, including 595 Bren carriers, almost 1000 radios, 1,262 LMGs, 40 MMGs, 436 PIATs, 110 anti-tank guns, 359 mortars and 125 LAA guns. Apx 18,400 troops including engineers, support, signals etc; but no tanks. 288. Stuart “Campbell Stuart’s Story”, The HomeTown News, St Lambert Vol 1, No. 10, 1 January 1945. 289. NNS Highlanders were part of 9 Bde (Brig DGB Cunningham), 3rd Cdn Inf Div. 290. RG24 14109 WD 5th Cdn Inf Bde July 1944. Identification of 272 ID Regiments fm PWs and contact with 2nd Pz reported as early as 19 July 1944; also, RG24 14046 Radio Logs 2 Cdn Armd Brigade July 1944. Entry 19, 21 July 1445 hrs. 291. Cited in “Report to CMH re Movements RHC 25 July 1944”: Captain SE Griffin IO, RHC, until 24 July, stressed the fact that there was incessant movement along the front on both sides [the Orne during 18–23 July]. Hunter, 3. 292. Bundesarchiv . RH 21-5/50. Kriegstagebuch Pz-Armeeoberkommando 5. 10.6.44–8.8.44. SitRep dated 24 July 1944 reports “Aufkl.Abt 10.SS Pz.Div beiderseits St-Martin dicht hinter HKL.” [Recce Bn 10 SS Pz Div deployed on both sides of St-Martin, closely behind Fwd Edge Battle Area]. 293. RG24 14109. “Int Report on Rocquancourt-St-Martin-de-Fontenay Iron Mines”, Appx, WD 5 CIB, August 1944. There were two main tunnels, in parallel, both running NW to SE. The northern tunnel had its main shaft in St-Martin (the Factory); the southern tunnel had its main shaft south of May. Both were ventilated by a series of 6x6 air shafts. St-Martin tunnel had two prominent airshafts. Vertical lifts (Factory and May) were inoperable; access was by ladder. The digs were immense and extended through the ridge to the river, dozens of levels and cavernous works. The extent defied reconnaissance. Bombing caused some collapse. The tunnels were used during Cold War by France to hold strategic materials. “Mines de May-sur-Orne et St-André-sur Orne” D Lequien, Maire Honoraire de St-Martin de Fontenay, correspondence, 3 May 2006. 294. PPH / F Pedlar 18 December 1944. Post war accounts refer to the mines and Factory but without detail. CSM Charles Wilfred Bolton recalled the elevator shaft: “[I] threw down a number of grenades.” Intv RJJ/Bolton September 1989. The eastern end of the tunnel led to an exit shaft near the top of Verrières; the western end led to the Orne River. The tunnels were actually used by French civilians and Germans as shelter from Allied bombers or to store supplies. Maire D Lequien, St-Martin, interviews and tours with citizens, RJJ, May–June 2005. 295. “Both [Duffield and Griffin] confirmed the fact that a mine shaft existed at the Factory with an underground connection to Fontenay-le-Marmion.” DHH Cdn Mil HQ “Notes on the Movement of RHC at May-sur-Orne, France, 25 July 1944, para 8. 296. RG 24 10677 “Special Interrogation Report Oberst Gruppenführer (Colonel General) Joseph “Sepp” Dietrich, Commander 1 SS Pz Corps and 6 SS Pz Army”, 1945, 5. The 503rd was a “Corps tank unit which supported 272 Div” plus: 2nd Pz, 9th SS Pz and 10th SS Pz Divs. The 101st SS and 102 SS hv Pz Bns were in the area. It was likely (though a tough shot) that 102 SS SchPzAbt Tigers firing from area Hill 112 knocked out Powis/RHC vehicles. See: RH26-272/5 272. Infanterie-Division 27–28, for initial Order of Battle of Pz reserves available to Schack: “Ausserdem wurde en im Abschnitt der Div. am 24.7.44 eine Panzerabteilung und ein PzGrenBtl von 2.Pz.Div., eine Pz.Abt. und Pz.Gren, Btl von 9.SS Pz.Div., die Aufklar. Abt. der 10.SS Pz.Div” The Recce Bn, 10.SS Pz.Div directly behind HKL on both sides main road, made available to St-Martin as operational reserves however, by 25 July, the 10SS was decisively committed against British in Hill 112 battle. 297. Report No. 150 defined the enemy force confronting 5 CIB on 25 July: 1x type 44 Inf Div (272nd); 2x Pz Bns (from 9SS & 2nd Pz Divs); 2x PzGren Bns (9SS & 2nd Pz Divs); 1x SS Recce Bn (10SS Pz Div) para2c.

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298. Megill/RJ, 4, 8. 299. Ibid., 6. 300. See Copp, Brigade; MacLaughlan was not popular in his own regiment. Several of his officers “fled the Highlanders to join other units.” He was considered gun shy and wore an American helmet for better protection instead of the one issued to his men. Calgary H historian David Bercuson admits MacLaughlan was not suited to command: “‘… a good performer when not under battle pressure,’ he was not a battlefield leader.” Cited in DJ Bercuson, Battalion of Heroes, The Calgary Highlanders in the Second World War (Calgary: 1994), 80. 301. DHH 5 Cdn Inf Bde Doc II “Account of the attack by the Calg Highrs on May-sur-Orne carried out 25 July 1944 as given by Lieutenant Colonel MacLaughlan, OC, at Fleury sur Orne 28 July 1944.” WD 5 Cdn Inf Bde, Docket II, Hist Offr 2 CID July–September 1944. Folios 1–10, Eye witness accounts: “Tactical HQ for bn and bde were north of the orchard … the area also occupied both the Calg and RHC rear echelon as well as the RHC Mortar Platoon base plates.” The RHC mortars were controlled by FOOs from 5 Field Regiment. 302. Ibid., “Account of the Atk by Calg Highrs on May-sur-Orne 25 July 1944, Given by Lieutenant Morgandeen “A” Coy to Captain Engler at Basse, 29 July 1944. Hereafter, Morgandeen. And, RG24 20275. Operation Spring. Correspondence to Lieutenant Colonel GFG Stanley, from Lieutenant (Captain) Theodore E Williamson (B Sqn, 6 CAR (1H), 23 January 1946; hereafter, Williamson. 303. McSorley, Ducat interviews. 304. Statements Operation Spring; Calg H Lieutenant Moffat recalled: “Searchlights helped us.” Nevertheless, he missed finding his objective, May-sur-Orne. 305. DHH WD 2 Cdn Div and WD Calgary Highlanders, Operation Spring 25 July 1944. “Account by Sergeant Palfenier, Sigs Sergeant Calg H, of his actions during the Bn attack on May-sur-Orne 24/25 July 1944.” Given to Captain Engler at Basse, 29 July 1944. An even more interesting aspect is that Sergeant Palfenier drove to May’s centre twice; returning with more cable. 306. Beginning with The Black Watch Start Line, named for the Scottish lord, MACDUFF; from Macbeth. The remainder included, GOBBO (for May) from Lancelot Gobbo, The Merchant of Venice; LAUNCE (Fontenay) from The Two Gentlemen of Verona; then, GRAZIANO (Verrières village) with LORENZO (Rocquancourt) both from Merchant of Venice. Other Operation Spring Code Words: ANTONIO, BIANCA, HAMLET and, OTHELLO. 307. Report Brigadier WJ Megill 28 July 1944, cited in Report 150, 8 para 17. 308. PPH Vol 4. 309. LAC/BWA: Based on X List transfers and casualties, the available combat strength to Lt Col Cantlie on 25 July 1944 was at least 400 all ranks, though some sources suggest simply “more than 300.” Reported effective strength of 1 RHC was 714 on 24 July (-16 percent), and, discounting casualties: “Transfer to X3”, LOB (assumed at least 100), less BHQ, Support Company, but including the Scout Platoon and Carrier Platoon (52), 1 RHC had 386 available (4x Rifle Coys, Scout platoon, Carrier Pl and Tac HQ) to attack Verrières Ridge on 25 July. WD 1 RHC. The War Diary and Pt 2 Orders list individual transfers but no totals. Replacements began to arrive at 1 RHC on 18 July (five officers and 138 men) and another group circa 24 July. 310. D82142 Private Allan D Smith, Bn HQ; statement to Brissette. 1 RHC sent out recce patrols the night of the 24th; D141210 Private Norton Hart was taken prisoner. 311. Bennett, Ibid., these hulks left from earlier attacks (21–22 July) by 2nd Pz and 9SS Pz KGs against St-André. 312. Booth. 313. Bennett, 1. 314. RG24 12745. “Statement Captain GD Powis, 5 Cdn Fd Regt, May-sur-Orne. 25 July 1944” submitted to GFG Stanley, 12 February 1946. Hereafter, Powis, 1, para 11a. 315. DHH Report on Battle May-sur-Orne/Fontenay-le-Marmion, 25 July 1944. Dictated by Bde Comd, 5 CIB 161500 August 1944. Hereafter, Megill/Fontenay. Sketch Map “Movements of the RHC 25 July 1944” by CMHQ for Report 150. 316. LAC Jacket 40-95605 Pers File Motzfeldt. Report Operation Spring sit 25 July 1944. “… groups of these regiments [Camerons/CalgH] milling about very mixed up … in personal combat with the enemy.” Hereafter, Motzfeldt. 317. Morgandeen, 2; incident circa 0445 hrs. 318. Cantlie hit in the upper body around the neck. Another version of Cantlie’s last words: “Someone take over.”

notes to pages

319.

320. 321. 322. 323. 324. 325. 326. 327. 328. 329. 330.

331. 332. 333. 334. 335.

336. 337. 338. 339. 340. 341.

342. 343.

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Cantlie and Motzfeldt were placed on Bren carriers. “Taylor with some of his men finished off the German machine gun.” Lieutenant WM Wood “gave Motzfeldt a shot of morphine from a vial which I was carrying.” Correspondence WMW/RJJ, 4 May 2012. RG24 Vol 20275 “Operation Spring – Account by Sergeant Benson, Scout Platoon, RHC of the Attack on Maysur-Orne, 25 July 1944”, 2 August 1944. Sergeant Benson thought Griffin did not take command until 0630. Hereafter, Benson. See: RG24 20275: D81360 Private Arthur R Williams, D Coy RHC, “The Attack of RHC on Fontenay-le-Marmion, 25 July 1944” CMH, 4 January 1946: “Confusion, orders, counter orders were given.” Hereafter, Williams. Report Megill, et al. Rumours persist of some discussion between Griffin and Taylor re seniority and command. The Battalion 2IC Major FM Mitchell was following situation by wireless at RHC rear HQ at Ifs, about 15–20 minutes north-east by Bren carrier – it is not clear why he did not simply drive forward. HQ 5 CIB recorded msg fm RHC at 0600: “CO a CAS. E3 taking over”; Duffield thought it was at 0500; Bennett said nearer 0500 and Sergeant Benson thought it was closer to 0730 hrs. Hunter, 7 para 15; Benson, 1. Bennett, 2; and, BW Report Ibid. D86056 Private Charles Grimwood; “Lieutenant Magill wounded … fire from rear. Platoon told to carry on”; Stacey; letter RJJ. BW Report Operation Spring para 3, 6. Bennett, 2. Private JF Nugent. DHH. 5 Bde, Doc II. Operation Spring. “Account of the Atk by the Calg Highrs on May-sur-Orne night 24/25 July 1944. Lieutenant EA Michon D Coy / Captain Engler at Basse, 29 July 1944.” Michon indicated his meeting with Griffin took place at “about 0830 hrs.” See also Bercuson, 75–77. Ibid., Lieutenant EA Michon. Stacey, Vol III, 207. WD 1 RHC. The Victoria Rifles group: Officers ES Duffield, Don Menzies, Bill Magill, Bob Austin and CSM Turnbull. BWA. Letter ES Duffield to CO Lieutenant Colonel CF Ritchie, 2nd Bn VRC, 30 August 1944. They were well remembered. CSM Bolton: “We will always appreciate the Victoria Rifles of Canada for the members of their unit that came to us during and after this attack to reinforce our Unit. They were a splendid group of soldiers and many stayed with us during the whole campaign in Europe.” Bolton, 3. BWA. Duffield Pers File. SST Cantlie, evaluation 6 December 1943. Benson, 1. Ibid., “The enemy, keeping his troops under excellent control, remained in concealment.” Ibid. Captain G Powis, post war account, confirmed Duffield reported: “No, or little, enemy activity in the line of advance.” Powis, 13a (2). A subsequent interpretation argued Duffield reported May occupied and Calg H withdrawn: “Report on actions of Major Griffin 1st Bn Black Watch (RHR) on 25 July 1944” Major JPG Kemp, 26 February 1945. Brigadier JW Megill to a soldier in St-Martin, at 0900 hrs, 25 July 1944. Megill/RJJ, 12. Megill/RJJ, 11; “Megill was to use Nighswander as his deputy commander throughout the campaign in Northwest Europe, leaving the artillery officer in charge of Brigade Headquarters while he operated from a tactical headquarters close to the battle.” Terry Copp, Brigade (Stoney Creek: 1992), 38. WD Radio Log 2 Cdn Inf Div 25 July 0823 5 Cdn Inf Bde HQ to RHC. “Sunray” code for commander, in this case, Griffin. RG24 WD 5 Cdn Inf Bde. Message log. 0645 “GOC phoned to say D Coy Calg NOT to dig in cut to go wide and keep going.” Also, Report 150, 10–11. Stuart Correspondence 29 May 90, 3. By 0730 hrs all four Calgary Companies were scattered north of May-sur-Orne: one along the ditches just before it, a second clearing the area around le Château de Saint André sur Orne, just south of St-André, near Orne river; a third in St-Martin and the fourth between St-Martin and St-André, moving back to the original start line. WD, and Bercuson, 71–77. RG 24. 14109. 5 Cdn Inf Bde Message Log, 25 July 1944, Serials 114–118; Hunter, 10–11. LAC RG24 Vol 20275; Ibid., Motzfeldt Report.

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344. Bennett, 1. For another version: BWA. Captain JPW Taylor letter to Lieutenant Colonel DH Taylor, 15 August 1944. Hereafter, Taylor. 345. It is not clear when Sergeant Foam took over B Coy, most likely during the approach when the last officer had been cut down. Post action accounts offer no detail. See: Hunter and Report 150 “Spring.” 346. BW Report; not clear if report meant a subsequent O Gp. Also not certain if fm C Coy Tor Scot Regt (MG) and troop 17-pdr Anti-Tank attended this O Gp; they were likely deployed north near Mortar Platoon. Ibid, ORBAT and, Report Major JHD Barrett, 11 Cdn Fd Coy, RCE, 25 July 1944. Ibid., para 9. 347. Report 150, 10–11 paras 20–21; the designated old Start Line was now called the “battalion check-line.” Report 150 simply described the subsequent actions of The Black Watch. It did not discuss whether or not Griffin’s 0730 plan had been altered. 348. DF targets – planned at areas where counter-attacks were anticipated. These planned targets were not timed or scheduled; they were on-call, usually with particular fire units assigned to them. 349. CSM Bolton stated: “Order of march to come after O Group where Coy Comd [Major Taylor] remained until approximately 9am.” Bolton/RJJ. Q1. 350. Bennett. 351. Colonel P Hutchison, after private interviews, was convinced that Griffin attacked under protest “that when Phil held his O Group he told his Company Commanders that the unit would be wiped out in his opinion [emphasis added], but that the orders were to carry on regardless.” PPH/CH Peters, Editor, The Montreal Gazette, Personal. 20 July 1945. No BW officer has confirmed this allegation. 352. In a later report, written three months after Motzfeldt’s caucus, Captain Kemp stated that at 0900 hrs approx. Major Griffin called an O Gp. Kemp then further elaborated on the Duffield patrol: “Captain Duffield reported that the Calgary Highlanders had failed to take May-sur-Orne.” DHH. Major JPG Kemp, “Report on actions of Major FP Griffin 1st Bn The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada, CAO on 25 July 1944.” 26 February 1945, Montreal. He was the only officer to record a second O Gp – it may have been a quick confirmatory conference. 353. Ibid. Stanley/Williamson 23 January 1946. 354. DHH. Colonel CP Stacey,” Memorandum Interview with Lieutenant Colonel JW Powell DSO MC at CMH, 9 January 1946.” Hereafter, Powell/Stacey. Powell on Harris: “Not a back-slapping, hail fellow-well met type. I would classify him as reserved, analytical, efficient, unflappable and with a legal mind.” Para 1. Colonel Stacey was Historical Officer, Canadian Military Headquarters (CMH) in London, England until 1945. 355. DHH. Lieutenant Colonel GF Stanley, “Memorandum of an interview with Major WE Harris MP” at HS DND 26 January 1946. Hereafter, Harris. The scheme was explained at the original O Group at 5 Bde HQ and repeated on one or two subsequent occasions. Also, interview, Petawawa, Ont, Major R Little / RJJ, May 1985. 356. Harris, 2 para 5; see also: RG24 14046 Radio Log 2nd Cdn Armoured Bde, 25 July 1944, Page 3, 0830 serial. That left the squadron with ten tanks out of fifteen. 357. Ibid; Powell/Stacey, 1, Para 2; and, Lieutenant Colonel / RJJ correspondence 23 May 1990. Para 3. 358. Powis, 1, para 13a. 359. Total Artillery available to 1 RHC (via CRA approval): 4x Fd Regts each 24 Guns (25-pdr); 1x Med Regt 16 Guns (4.5/5.5”); Also avail, 25 Fd Regt RA and 19th Field Regt, RCA. Total 107 guns. The three Army Groups Royal Artillery (2 Cdn, 3 and 8 AGRA) each comprised: 1x Field Regiment (24 x 25-pdr) perhaps self-propelled; 4x Medium Regiments (64 x 5.5” guns plus 1x Heavy Regiment (8 x 7.2” howitzer and 8 x 155mm) for total of 104 for each AGRA. Spring Artillery support: minimum of 419 guns. 360. Interview Powis family, Snowdon, Montreal, April 1989. And, Interview, Lieutenant Colonel E Nighswander, Pompano, Fla, 6 July 1990. Hereafter, Nighswander. 361. LAC RG24 2 Cdn Corps, Hist Sec Report No. 162. Artillery Support, Spring. A gigantic programme of harassing fire by 2 Cdn, 3 and 8 Army Groups Royal Artillery (AGRA) and concentrations by the field regiments of both Cdn Divs (six Regts) supplemented by 25 Field Regiment Royal Artillery and the self-propelled guns of 19 Cdn Fd regt. Furthermore 3 Brit AGRA was at the instant disposal of 2 Cdn Inf Div to protect the flank exposed along the Orne. 362. “It was decided to refire original fire plan less targets on or behind May-sur-Orne” Powis, 1 paras 12–14. See: RG24 14109, 5 Bde WD, RCA 2 Cdn Inf Div Trace P “Fire Plan, 5 Cdn Inf Bde Attack 25 July 1944.” BW supporting fire was predicted: 6x DF linear shoots, in sequence (Df 55, 53, 51, 43, 45, 48); the Calg H support included 8x ML and 7 x DFs.

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363. Nighswander Ibid., Colonel (and Mrs Nighswander) interview and correspondence with RJJ July–Sept 1990. Nighswander recalled a “very active artillery programme to support the attack in general” but no specific fire programme devoted to The Black Watch. “We repeated or adjusted established, calculated, fire plans.” 364. In Kemp’s second account, he stated “Captain Duffield reported that the Calgary Highlanders had failed to take May-sur-Orne which he reported to be occupied by the enemy. He also reported that the Calgary Highlanders had withdrawn from the area.” This version is not supported by the Powis report, and presents deductions not found in the official BW report written by Motzfeldt. BWA. Kemp, February 1945 Report, 1. 365. Benson: “This was about 0845 and the Bn was forming up on the SL near the iron works [Factory].” 366. Bennett, 5. 367. Bolton. CSM Bolton did not specify whether these were Wehrmacht (272) or Waffen SS soldiers. 368. Report 150, citing Duffield interview by Hunter, 13 para 27. 369. Megill/RJJ, 12; Megill/Copp; 5 Cdn Inf Bde Message Log confirms (at 0845 hrs) “OC RHC MR 022606”, which is a house near the highway, on the edge of an open area between the Factory and the St-Martin church. 370. Megill / Copp; and, Megill / RJJ, 12. 371. Ibid., Megill / Copp; and, Megill / RJJ, 12. 372. Stuart offered written testimony to the author in 1990; Kemp refused to comment on both reports until his brief exchange with Col O’Connor in 1991. Brigadier Megill submitted comments on the official 2nd Div report; he was interviewed by CP Stacey and later interviewed by Terry Copp and Roman Jarymowycz. Proceedings were recorded and transcribed. The Copp interviews are extensive and included correspondence. 373. LAC Ibid., Operation Spring Interviews: D82430 Private Gabrielle Baynham, to Major Cam Brissette. 374. JW Powell/Stacey 10 January 1946. 375. Megill /RJJ, 13. 376. Powis, 1 para 9. Lieutenant Colonel MacLaughlan still declined to come forward. 377. Bolton, 2 para 15 “Remarks.” 378. Bennett, Ibid. 379. See Appendix: LAC. RG24 Vol 14109, WD 5 CIB August 44. RCA 2 Cdn Inf Div Trace “P”; Fire Plan for 5 Cdn Inf Bde Attack 25 July 44. 5 Field Regiment’s shoot had initially adjusted for a 0900 H-Hour. See also, RG24 14325: RCA 2 Cdn Inf Div Trace “D”, Fire Plan for 5 Cdn Inf Bde Attack 25 July. The rolling barrage moved incorporated 6 phases, approx three hundred yards apart. 380. Ibid., Lt Col JW Powell, 9 Jan 1946. B Sqn laager in orchard: “about MR 025608, north of the church in StMartin” this was 1300 yds via lanes from Factory (“by narrow and sunken roads”). The lanes were narrow and strewn with rubble. 381. Ibid., Operation Spring. Statement for Cols Stanley and Stacey: Lieutenant (Captain) TE Williamson, 23 January 1946. “Lieutenant Kavanagh hit a mine on the main street and we had to find another way around.” 382. DHH, Lieutenant TW Williamson, correspondence GFG Stanley CMH, 23 January 1946. Hereafter, Williamson. Communications (Rear Link) were maintained by Capt Frank Allen, HQ Troop B Squadron, who recalled there was “some confusion and lack of direction” in B Squadron until Powell took over. Interviews F Allen/RJJ, Montreal 1984, 1989. 383. In Griffin’s defence, Private J MacAulay, runner for Major Griffin, stated: “At 0930 Major Griffin received orders on R/T from Bde to cross the Start Line to the objective.” D81073 Private John MacAulay / Brissette. Hereafter, MacAulay. 384. 1 RHC landed in France: 845 all ranks. 6–8 July 1944. See App C: 1 RHC Battalion Organization as at 8 July 1944. BWA. Pt 2 Orders. Result of action during July: 248 all ranks were struck off strength, while during the same period 119 all ranks taken on strength. Command CAS 18 July–23 July: KIA: Lieutenant RE Austin, Lieutenant TK Dorrance; Major GC Fraser. WIA: Lieutenant AHM Carmichael; Lieutenant JA Horwood; A/Captain WA Magill; Lieutenant CW McCaw; Lieutenant DC Menzies, Lieutenant JDP Noad, Captain VE Traversy, Major AG Stevenson. PW/WIA: Lieutenant JK Neil. 1 RHC WD and WO M Cher study, Pt II Orders, July 1944. 385. The securing of St-Martin cost the BW another three Officers and 15 ORs. Org of 1 RHC as crossing SL: Key – Blank positions reflect CAS taken 0001–0930 25 July – replacements not made/not recorded. Asterisk (*) denotes Casualty (MIA, DOW or PW); double asterisks (**) denote KIA. BHQ: (Lieutenant Colonel SST Cantlie**, DOW); Int Offr: A/Captain ES Duffield* (replaced Captain SE Griffin 23 July; Duffield in turn replaced by Lieutenant PH Mackenzie*, 25 July); Medical: Captain M Share (replaced Captain Ohlke 24 July);

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386. 387. 388. 389. 390. 391. 392. 393. 394. 395.

396. 397. 398. 399. 400. 401. 402. 403. 404. 405. 406. 407. 408. 409. 410. 411. 412. 413. 414. 415.

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#1 Signals Platoon: Lieutenant HF Pedlar*; Padre: H/Captain EC Royle. HQ Coy: A/Major AL MacLaurin*; #2 Admin Platoon. BN HQ Main: 2IC Major Mitchell with LOB (RHQ rear echelon at Ifs): Major TD Anyon, Captain D Cowans, Captain EV Pinkham, Lieutenant DA Law (appointed Adj, 26 July). A/Captain WA Magill, Lieutenant AHM Carmichael, and Lieutenant CW McCaw wounded before H Hr 25 July; Assault Pioneer Pl, brought fwd by Lieutenant NEGH Buch to help Rear Guard, took casualties during Spring, including Lieutenant Buch. 1 RHC effective strength (all ranks) at midnight 24 July was 714. Circa July 20–23, Taylor replaced Stevenson; Bennett replaced Traversy; Kemp replaced Fraser KIA 21 July. 1 RHC Platoon Leaders listed were present at Ops Atlantic / Spring but specific Pl affiliations are estimations. B Company (Motzfeldt) quickly lost its officers. Sergeant Foam may not have been designated OC B during Griffin’s O Group but he assumed command after 1 RHC began the advance, probably just past the SL at Factory. Immediately SE of the Factory. MR 023602. Min of Def Statement: “The four rifle companies advanced with A and C forward and B and D in rear”, 10. D81792 Private John C Jack, Scout Pl. Correspondence, 7 March 1990. Ibid., Powell. By the time Lts Williamson and Rawson reached the FUP, Griffin’s battalion had begun their advance. Harris recalled seeing The Black Watch moving through the fields when he reached the mine head. Williamson. Ibid. D81966 Corporal James Wilkinson, 25 March 1990. CMHQ Report (Captain Hunter) lists The Black Watch advancing in “line ahead” but “two-up” formation: A Coy Left (east), C Coy Right (west); B Coy right rear, and D Coy left rear. Bn HQ was centre, slightly rear and between B and D Coys. Captain JPW Taylor, OC C Coy later wrote that he was left forward and Sergeant Foam (B Coy) was on his right. This may have occurred later; during advance, Coys may have leapfrogged once (Wilkinson: “C Company later passed through us.”), with B and D Coys in the van; or simply, the result of casualties and bunching-up as enemy fire increased. The second FOO, Lieutenant GH van Vliet, reporting his radios out, was ordered to cover in St-Martin by Captain Powis until he could repair his means. Powis later sent him back when van Vliet’s last vehicle was knocked out. Powis, 1. Bolton Ibid., and, Hunter, citing Captain Weatherston Report dated 19 August 1944, 13 para 27. Interview RJJ/WB, Truro, Nova Scotia, October 1989. Bolton, Hunter. Taylor, 15 August 1944. Bolton. The “SP 88s” may have been the Pzjaeger Marders from 272nd’s Anti-tank Pl; Tigers were always on reverse slope. No Jagdpathers or were identified in the area of May on 25 July by German War Diaries; Nashorns served on Eastern Front or in Italy. D82183 CSM Thomas M Larkin, C Coy 1 RHC, correspondence, 5 March 1990. Powis, 17; and, interview RJJ/Gordon R Powis Jr, Montreal, 11 March 1990. Benson. Lieutenant WM Wood/RJJ, May 2011; March 2012. Ibid. CSM CW Bolton, “Notes on Verrières”, October 1990. German long barreled 75mm anti-tank guns tended to be identified as “88s” by Allied infantry. The PzMk IVs Ausf H with the long 75mm KwK 40 L/48 gun were also regularly identified as Tigers. BWA. Pers JL McLennan. Evaluation note, Lieutenant Colonel SST Cantlie, 14 May 1943; McLennan, badly wounded, survived. Benson. BWA. Pers Lieutenant ARW Robinson. His mother wrote to PPH on18 August 1944 “A time of great anxiety for us … The BW have certainly been very hard hit and it seems as though they have had more than their share of casualties.” D82864 Private Michael McGarr and, D82421 Private Thomas Wm Maskell: Major C Brissette, September 1944. Private JA McSorley, 11. Williams. Private McSorley, interview, October 1989, 7. Private JC Jack/RJJ, 9 March 1990.

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416. Ducat, 13. 417. D81506 Private “Hank” H Mooney, former bartender. A Coy runner and section leader. HHM/RJJ 2 March 1990. 418. D81596 Private Joseph C Deodati; D82421 Private Thomas Wm Maskell / Major C Brissette, September 1944. 419. D86056 Private Charles Grimwood. 420. Message Log, 5 Cdn Inf Bde Operation Spring 25 July 1944, Ser 146, at 1340 hrs; 26 July was very hot and sunny. 421. BWA. Letter, ES Duffield to fmr CO, Lt Col CF Ritchie, VRC, from 23 Cdn General Hospital, England, 30 August 1944. 422. Kemp, February 1945 Report. 423. Harris, 3 para 7, 8; Powell recalled Harris late: “It was some considerable time before he arrived, well after the attack had commenced.” Correspondence RJJ April–June 1992. Hereafter, Powell/RJJ. Also, Powell/Stacey, para 4. 424. Ibid.; also, Williamson re liaison with Black Watch Adjutant C Stuart. 425. Ibid., Williamson 23 January 1946. “When May-sur-Orne was taken approximately twelve days later two of my crew were found still hiding in a slit trench and had lived on carrots and wine.”; RG24 20275 Stacey/Powell. 426. D81779 Private Allan D Robson; Statement taken by Major Brissette. Hereafter, Robson. 427. Lieutenant W Rawson, B Sqn, 6 Cdn Armd Regt (1H), to GFG Stanley, 24 January 1945, Hereafter, Rawson. 428. Ibid., Prien/RJJ: Action 25 July. Initially B Sqn tanks KO’d by Pz IVs from Lt Prein’s HQ Zug (Headquarters Troop) of 2nd Pz Div, stationed in May; later, Panthers and JPz IVs from Sterz’s KG. Grey Day. Changing constantly. Visibility good. 8–10 tanks approached May. Without inf support … “With my Pz IV I shot two tanks; two other ones were killed by A/T gun of the infantry and a tank destroyer … [later, another group of tanks appeared] “We succeeded in killing two of them.” 429. Powell, Ibid., B Sqn “lost twelve of their seventeen tanks in this battle.” See also, MHI MS# B 257. 2nd Panzer Division (6 June–25 July 1944) General Heinrich von Luettwitz. Captain TE Williamson 23 January 1946. “Our tanks were mistaken for German and Typhoons knocked two out with rockets; shortly after Lieutenant Allen by this time 2IC was wounded.” Powell/Stacey, paras 4–5. There was a brief tank fight: one Panther was knocked out, and another reported hit. 430. The official history of the First Hussars notes Powell’s squadron “without infantry support later succeeded in penetrating May-sur-Orne. Lt W Rawson’s troop entered the town and Lt Teddy Williamson’s tanks reached the town. For several hours the tanks remained at the entrance to the mineshaft at May-sur-Orne [probably the Factory at St-Martin is meant] but four were knocked out they were ordered to withdraw back to the infantry. One of the tanks was destroyed by a rocket-carrying RAF Typhoon.” See: AB Conron, EF Hull, WR Newman, and SW Pawley, A History of the First Hussars Regiment (London:1981), 87. The locations are unclear; and there is curiously no mention made of The Black Watch, O Groups with Maj Griffin, or the subsequent combined attack and battle. 431. Tonbandaufzeichnung P Prien, v.20.04.1990. Lieutenant Peter Prein, Sigs Offr, 3rd Pz Regiment, 2nd Pz Div. Taped account and correspondence RJJ, April 1990. Hereafter, Prein. 432. MHI P Series: MS #B-407, SS Gen Sylvester Stadler, and RG 24 10677 Special Interrogation Report Oberstgruppenfuhrer (Colonel General) Joseph “Sepp” Dietrich, Commander 1 SS Pz Corps and 6 SS Pz Army, 19455. 433. Generalfeldmarshall Günther von Kluge: on 5 July replaced von Rundstedt, who was advocating negotiation with the Allies. Two weeks later, Rommel was wounded and Kluge took over as commander of Army Group B as well. 434. BA/MA RH26-272/5.Geschichte der 272.ID, and, Geschichte der H.Div., Nachrichtendienst 1.PzRegt. Zf., 53b. See RG 24 10677 Interrogation Report Colonel General Joseph Sepp Dietrich 1 SS Pz Corps, 6 Pz Army. 435. 2nd Pz’s Warning Order issued at 0530 hours 25 July; counterattack was not launched until around 0945 hours. BA/MA RH 26-272/5; Also Oberst Helmut Ritgen, “Kampf um May-sur-Orne am 25 Juli 1944” unpublished manuscript, 1990. Hereafter, Ritgen. Also, Jenner; Straub. WD HQ 2 Cdn Inf Div Ops Log at 1035 25 July 1944: “6 Cdn Armd Regt report counterattack forming up – ten enemy tanks with inf.” 436. After the Attentat, SS panzer operations were controlled only by trusted SS generals, or Hitler himself. 437. Tonbandaufzeichnung P Prien, v.20.04.1990. A dramatic account, not actually perplexing, holding rifles across chest is the best way of marching through high wheat. BW adopted battle drills only when enemy opened fire. 438. Correspondence RJJ/Prein. Tape statement, April 1990. Maj Sterz commanded 38th PzJaeger Bn in 2nd Pz Division. The Panthers attached to his KG supported a company from 304 Pz Grenadier Regt under Captain Scholing “an outstanding one-eyed officer”. Prein, 2; Jarymowycz, 143-144.

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439. Prien/RJJ April 1990; KG Sterz (previously, KG Koehn) commanded 22 July by Maj Sterz, CO 38th Pz Jaeger Bn: the three tank troops 3rd Pz Regt; the remainder of 1st Bn, 304 PzGrenadier Regt (Capt Scholing) and the remaining TDs of 38th Pz Jaeger Bn. 24–25 July Prien: “Sky overcast, a break from Allied fighter-bombers.” 440. Strass, 168; Ritgen, citing 2nd Pz WD, Ibid., 168; also, Jarymowycz, 134–136. 441. D81779 Private Allan D Robson; Statement taken by Major Brissette. Hereafter, Robson. “From my position, I could see the tanks on the crest of the hill; they fired at the Canadian tanks.” Private M McGarr: “started moving up with half-tracks and armoured cars, a few tanks and some infantry.” 442. D82339 Private Henry Ewing /Brissette. 443. D83191 Private James Thomas Watts / Brissette. 444. DHH. Lieutenant EC Notebaert; interview 1945, after liberation. “The 4 coys with half strength around 250 men spread out and we started up the hill to the ridge, [D Coy] had about 15 men leading with 45 men 50–100 yds behind.” 445. Prein. 446. Kemp/PPH. 447. The Montreal Gazette, 22 August 1960. Maj James Colin Kemp DSO MC, The Victoria Rifles, Montreal: Adj, then Bde Maj 3, 5 Cdn Bdes and GSO Canadian Corps. 448. Kemp/RJJ; D82890 Private Maurice Montreuil, statement: “It was just a plain case of suicide.” 449. Kemp/RJJ; D125265 Private Edgar Clark / RJJ, September 1990. Clark was sent to a coal mine in Upper Silesia. “We left there on a Death March 25 January 1945 until Patton captured us on 25 April 1945. We had walked for three months.” 450. Williams. 451. Prein. 452. Private JC Jack/RJJ, 9 March 1990; and, D86056 Private Charles Grimwood, statement CMHQ, Hereafter, Grimwood. 453. MHI MS B470, Combat Report of 9.SS Pz Division “Hohenstaufen” 7.03.44–7.25.44. General Sylvester Stadler, 1947. 454. RH 19 IX/9 Tagesmeldungen – Morgenmeldung 26 July 1944, 120. Morgenmeldung means Morning Report. 455. Private C Grimwood reported he saw “Griffin killed by what I believed to be an ‘S’ mine.” Private G Baynham recalled: “There was nothing organized for the withdrawal, only Major Griffin shouting “Make your own way back!” 456. Private AR Williams reported Griffin “killed by a mine while walking back after being wounded [while] organizing a lay-back position to cover withdrawal of leading companies.” See: Megill, RHC scout’s report; Williams. 457. MacAulay. 458. Ducat, 12. 459. D135265 Private AI Nadler/Stacey. 460. D81804 Private William Proudfoot. 461. DHS. Extracts from MI9 Interrogation Reports RHC Pers captured 25 July 1944. M38820 Private Alexander D Knupp. Above: D81969 Private Bernard E McAran and, D81970 Private John K McAran. 462. B540, 272 Inf Div July 1944, 11; Tagesmeldungen: Abendmeldung 25.7.44. HKL: Hauptkampflinie – forward edge of the battle area. 463. Furbringer, 340. 464. Powis, 3, para 22. 465. 482 BCS Old Boys and 7 masters were on active service. 60 Old Boys were casualties of the war. Ms Merrylou Smith, Archivist, Bishop’s College School, Lennoxville; correspondence and interview 7–8 June 2012. 466. Powis Ibid., and, Intvw Sqn Ldr HH Norsworthy, Hudson 1999 / Toronto 2009. Norsworthy noted that the weather prevented adequate time-over-target Verrières area. He could not recall specifically identifying the BW. 467. Powis, 3 para 22. Kemp, after medical treatment, was interrogated by an officer from 9th SS. Kemp/RJJ. See: Tagesmeldungen 25–26 July 1944; and, MHI, ETHINT MS # B-257, “2 Pz Div” by General H von Luettwitz. 468. Ibid., Kemp’s correspondence inspired Colonel Hutchison to another attempt to get Griffin an award for valour. PPH/MAC 5 March 1945. 469. Stuart/RJJ 29 May 1990. 470. Prein, Ibid. 471. BWA. Pers File Bennett, and, interview Okill Stuart, Montreal February 2012.

notes to pages

118–125

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231

472. Bennett, 2. Bennett concluded “The Bn got little support from the tanks. Either Major Griffin moved very fast or they moved very slowly.” He did however spot tanks later (“we saw tks on the ridge”). 473. Bennett, Ibid., “ they had ignored the SL which would be very dangerous with May-sur-Orne in enemy hands.” 474. Bennett. Captain John Taylor, to Ron Bennett, at St-Martin, ca 1300, 25 July 1944. Near the Factory MR 022603. 475. Time, 28 August 1944; “Don’t Send Reinforcements”; cited Ralph Allan’s article from The Globe and Mail: “Here is the epitaph of a regiment, three words only ‘Don’t send reinforcements.’“ Also: The Montreal Gazette: “Trapped Black Watch Fights Until Last Man: Asks for No Aid.” 12 August 1944. 476. BWA. Pers File Neill. SST Cantlie evaluation, May 1943. Died 1530 28 July. 477. Bennett. 478. Ibid., Powell/RJJ para 16. Powell decided manoeuvring forward was not viable: “They would be picked off like flies in one or two minutes by concealed 88s.” B Sqn withdrew fm Factory but during the remaining hours of daylight, they gave assistance from the hedges on the south edge of the town. 479. Hunter, 20 and Bennett. 480. Ibid. While British tanks did nothing to help The Black Watch, they were active around Verrières village and the assisted RHLI. However, 22nd Armd Bde only sent individual squadrons forward (to the tree line near the central crest). 7th Armd Div had four tank regts available: eight Hussars, four CLY, one RTR and five RTR (about 240 Shermans). 481. Stuart/RJJ, 28 May 1990. Stuart reinforced Bennett: “I was left in St-André keeping communications … in the afternoon we took what men we had – drivers, signallers and a few stragglers who had got back – and took up a defensive position in St-Martin for the expected counterattack.” 482. Ibid. 483. Booth/RJJ. 484. Brigadier Megill: “In my opinion the [Black Watch] after being pinned by hv fire, tried to disengage but exhausted its amn supply before being able to do so … movement to and from the trapped battalion was impossible due to hv mortar fire and MG fire. A Scout who came back took 1 hr fm ridge to St-André. Several attempts to est contact by runner were made but failed.” Megill/ Fontenay. 485. Sergeant Vernon Blake MM, 2IC, Carrier Platoon. 486. Megill/ Copp, and, Megill/RJJ. 487. WD R de Mais, 25 July 1944. 488. D140010 Private Donald DD Dupont, statement taken by Major Brissette. 489. Copp, Brigade, 83 and, WD Calg H 25 July 1944. 490. Robson. 491. Message Log 5 CIB. Serial 167 26 July 1944 at 1100: “R de Mais to relieve RHC party at church at 025607.” 492. “Le 28 juillet le Bataillon recevait l’ordre de nettoyer complètement le village de Saint-André, la compagnie a réussi à s’approcher de l’église, toujours infestée d’Allemands.” J Gouin, Bon Cœur et Bon Bras : Histoire du Régiment de Maisonneuve 1880–1980 (Québec: 1980), 104. 493. Stacey/Simonds Interview 19 March 1946, 2, para 9. 494. Dietrich, 5. The General wrote: “So much did 272 Inf Div suffer during this period … that the div was finally pulled out on 29 July and sent to take over the sector held by 21 Pz Div in the area of Troarn.” 495. B540. 272 Inf Div, July 1944 “Evaluation of the Enemy.” The paper noted Cdn: “careless radio communications helped in recognizing his intentions … Command too methodical … assembly positions were often so badly camouflaged that our artillery was repeatedly able to destroy them.” 496. Hunter, 24. 497. BWA. Colonel Paul Hutchison, Commanding Officer’s War Journal, 11 April 1945. 498. Megill/RJJ, 12. 499. Interview Brigadier DGB Cunningham/RJJ, Kingston, August 1990, 6. 500. Brigadier Megill/Terry Copp, January 1988. 501. BA/MA RH26-272/5, Geschichte der 272.I.D., S.25; Jenner; MHI 540, 272 Inf Div 5–26 Juli.44. Schack; and, Ritgen, correspondence RJJ. Also Nachtrag z. Tagesmeldung Pz.Gr. B v. 24.7.44/25.7. 502. RG24 10826. “CCRA Conference on Operation Spring 23 July 1944.” 2 Cdn AGRA had three Medium Regts and one Field Regiment; available to support were British AGRAs (8 AGRA and 3 AGRA – on call, similar organizations. 2nd CID had three Field Regiments (4th, 5th and 6th).

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503. Prein, taped statement, April 1990. 504. Battalions’ and Headquarters’ War Diaries have contradictory weather reports for the 25th, from overcast to sunny. It was mainly overcast, with some rain from 1000 to 1400. 505. Ellis, British Official History: Normandy, 379; it is not clear how many were over Verrières. Wing Commander H Norsworthy DSO could not recall more than one mission over May-Rocquancourt. Interview, Hudson, 1999. 506. 438 Sqn hit Fontenay on the 26th; S/L Norsworthy next hit St-Martin on the 27th, “to blitz enemy strongpoints in a group of buildings at St-Martin de Fontenay. No. 439, attacking in conjunction with No. 438, “came down to 1,500 feet in a steep 80o dive and almost obliterated the target. All but three of the sixteen buildings in the village were leveled by the 1,000 lb. bombs. Our own troops, just 500 yards away, were admiring spectators of the effectiveness of air support.” 507. FJ Strauß, Geschichte Der 2. (Weiner) Panzer Division (Vowinckel: 1977), 185–186. 508. RH 19 IX/20 Geheime Kommandosache, Heeresgruppe B, Ia. Tagesmeldung, 31 July 1944. 509. Jenner, 233. See: R Roy, “Black Day for The Black Watch” CDQ 3 (Winter 1982–1983) and, MacLean’s, 11 November 1992. 510. DHH 112.3 letter, CP Stacey/Syd Wise, 9 February 1972. 511. LAC. Crerar Papers Vol 3 D73. HQ 3 Cdn PR Group, Cdn Army Overseas. Censorship: Lieutenant Colonel RS Malone, ADPR 21 Army Group, “Black Watch Story by War Correspondent Ralph Allen” 14 August 1944. 512. RG24 20275 Operation Spring; DHH, 24 AEF/1/6 DHS. Confidential: LtGen JC Murchie/CGS “Attack by RHC 25 July 1944” 8 February 1946. (Confidential) Min of Def statement re “The Black Watch (RHR) of Cda in operation Spring, 25 July 1944” 21 January 1946. See Clark “Many Didn’t Come Back” Montreal Standard 19 August 1944. 513. Assisted by Major Cam Brissette, a historian and journalist. 514. Stearns, Ibid., Capt Stearns recorded Simonds’s personal witness of the Black Watch debacle, observed from their Staghound armoured car, atop Hill 67. Stearns always rode with Simonds. 515. Officers Notebaert, Powis, Stuart, Taylor and Williamson. See: RG24 20275 Operation Spring, Captain TM Hunter, “Notes on the Movement of RHC at May-sur-Orne, France, 25 July 1944”, 12 November 1945.This study was buttressed by a lengthy report that carefully examined four battalions involved in Operation Spring (RHLI; Calg H; 1 RHC; and 1 RRC): Operation “Spring” 25 July 1944 written by Captain J Swettenham, CMHQ. 516. LAC. RG24 Vol 20275 “Operation Spring et al; DHH Spring; Stacey; BWA. Hutchison, Motzfeldt. See: Motzfeldt to Lieutenant Colonel GFC Stanley, Hist Sect NDHQ, 12 December 1945. The Motzfeldt Report: Report on Battle of St-André and May-sur-Orne 25 July 1944. Report submitted by Lt Col E Motzfeldt to DND 12 December 1945, staffed by Lt Col GFG Stanley, reviewed by Col CP Stacey 18 December 1945. Listed as “Black Watch Report” by Stacey. The report “ furnished in chronological sequence and is based on the memories of Major (now Lt-Col) E Motzfeldt (B Coy Comd), Captain (now Major) JPW Taylor (C Coy Comd), Captain (now Maj) JPG Kemp (D Coy Comd), Captain Campbell Stuart (Adjt), and Lieutenant (now Major MC) ES Duffield (I Offr) all 1st Bn The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada.” Hereafter, The Motzfeldt Report. This report, according to Maj John Kemp, “holds all the necessary information about what really happened”. Interview RJJ/Kemp, Montreal, Nov 1989. Stuart: written statement, CL Stuart/RJJ, 28 May 1990. 517. JK/RJJ; BW Report Operation Spring, Narrative, para 3, 8. The telling line in the report may be: “Major Griffin repeatedly received orders by wireless from Bde that in spite of the SL NOT being secure, 1 RHC MUST proceed with Phase II.” 518. The Report was divided into three parts: 1. General, 2. Brigade Plan, 3. Narrative. The Brigade Plan section noted “a complicated and extensive fire plan composed of numerous concs” [see Appendix E: Spring Fire Plan]. Timing was “based on timed programme which was fired up to include H Hr. BUT [emphasis in original] thereafter provisional on success of Phase II, eg Calg Highrs expected to report success at a certain time which would enable 1 RHC to cross SL at H+? (0500 or 0530 hrs). Orders for 1 RHC attack based on this timing but contingent on success of Calg Highrs.” Ibid., The Motzfeldt Report. 519. See Stanley comment, Para 2 Black Watch Report, 18 December 1945. 520. BWA. Letter Captain J Kemp/PPH re 25 July 1944 battle dated 26 February 1945. Hereafter, Kemp/PPH. 521. Kemp/PPH. 522. Kemp also suggested during RJJ interview (1989) there was “more to the story” but declined to elaborate. However, two years later, Kemp confided to Col DF O’Connor (later Hon Col BW) that he was: “standing

notes to pages

523. 524. 525. 526.

527.

528. 529.

530.

531.

532. 533. 534. 535. 536. 537. 538.

128–131

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beside Griffin as he spoke on the radio to Bde HQ and recalled Griffin saying ‘I want to take May first’”. Kemp died shortly after. Col D O’Connor, citing Kemp at Regimental Red Hackle Dinner, Toronto, 22 January 1991. DFO’C/RJJ 15 December 2011. Compare to: Stuart/RJJ 29 May 1990: “Major Griffin was of the view that he should not proceed with the assault.” Stuart/RJJ, 29 May 1990, 3. The Charge of the Light Brigade (25 October 1854, Crimea). Lord Cardigan, interpreting an order, was fatalistic (“Here goes the last of the Brudenells”) and led brigade to its end. Griffin was reported in better spirits on 25 July – at least before 0900. RG24 20275. Colonel CP Stacey, Dir Historical Section. Report 150. Simonds prepared a memo dated 31 January 1946. It was included as Appendix C of the report. Report No. 150, Hist Section, CMHQ. Reasons for Failure of BW Attack 25 July: Failure to secure May-surOrne and the original Start Line for the BW by Calg H; Enemy’s Strength and Tactics; Lack of Battle Experience previous to the Attack: “It may be doubted if the CO (Major Griffin) would have adopted the plan he did with more experience.” [p 26]; The Nature of the ground: “With May, Fontenay and Rocquancourt occupied by the enemy, any forward movement would have been suicidal” [p9]. Lack of Armoured Support. [p24]. Failure of Comms. p 29. GG Simonds Lieutenant General, GOC Cdn Forces in the Netherlands. Memo, GGS to Chief of Staff CMHQ, 21 January 1946 “Attack by RHC Operation Spring.” CMHQ 24/AEF/1/6 DHS. Para 11. “That we failed to capture and hold May-sur-Orne and Tilly-la-Campagne and that we suffered what were, in my opinion, excessive casualties was due to a series of mistakes and errors of judgment in minor tactics.” Ibid. Ibid., para 17. Griffin was perhaps too ambitious. BW Historian David O’Keefe opined: “[Griffin] would go about finding the solution to the conundrum facing him instead of admitting “defeat” in the face of said challenge. In fact, I know that some criticism has been heaped on him for acting like a company commander rather than a battalion commander.” DO’K/RJJ correspondence, 13 March 2012. Memo 10 April 1946: “On instructions from the Chief of Staff, the paper prepared by Lieutenant General GG Simonds to which reference is made in paras 4 and 5 of Report No. 150, Historical Section, CMHQ, and appended thereto as Appendix “C”, extracted and destroyed on 9 April 1946.” Brigadier MHS Penhale, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, CMHQ. And, RG24 20275 Note, CP Stacey. 18 April 1946. “Appendix C to Report No. 150 was extracted and destroyed in accordance with agreement between CGS and Lieutenant General Simonds.”; DHH 112.3 letter, CP Stacey/S Wise, 9 February 1972. Ibid., CPS/Wise: “All the copies were destroyed, except, by some strange mischance, one. It may still be somewhere in your office.” Correspondence: Desmond Morton / RJJ, 9 March 12; and, Steven Harris, Director DHH, 7 March 12: “[Stacey] was an insider – who had experiential knowledge and familiarity with the army beyond ‘document based’ knowledge and familiarity.” In September 1945, after review of Simonds’s submission to Chapter 3 of “Canada’s Battle in Normandy” Stacey wrote: “I have greatly shortened the reference to the losses of The Black Watch in Spring. I have felt, however, that it would not be good policy to omit all reference to them, in view of the considerable amount of newspaper publicity in Canada at the time.” RG 24 12750 CMHQ, CPS/ GGS, 15 September 1945. The Globe and Mail, Letters and Op-Ed 8, 11 November 1992, 11 December 1992. Also, Brian McKenna, MacLean’s, 11 November 1992; and, EJ Dick, Archivaria, #34 Summer 1992. Baynham to Brissette. Ibid. PRO. BLM Papers. Montgomery/Brooke, 27 July 1944. BWA. Letter fm Captain Shirley Griffin to his father, 1 August 1944 “Personally I am convinced he is safe and unwounded as a prisoner. I have investigated every possible source of information and I am now positive this is the case … So don’t worry too much – “the little Major” will show up alright somewhere.” Report by Brigadier Megill, GOC 5 Cdn Inf Bde, to CMHQ (London), forwarded to Ottawa, 4 April 1945; See: LAC Jacket R112 30537 Pers File FP Griffin. Also, Report, MGen EG Weeks, NDHQ Ottawa 4 April 1945. LAC. Griffin Pers File. Major General EG Weeks, CMHQ, to The Secretary, DND, Ottawa. 4 April 1945. Griffin’s brother, Captain Herbert H Griffin, a decorated veteran, never gave up. He returned his Order of Canada in protest. He failed in attempts to acquire information (Report 150, in toto). His sought help from DHH but Sydney Wise declined to show the report (surprisingly, with the concurrence of CP Stacey).” They didn’t do

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that to spare my feelings,” Griffin, then ninety-one, said in an interview, “They knew I was Philip’s champion and wouldn’t let it rest.” [Brian McKenna, “Heroism on Verrières Ridge”, Maclean’s, 11 November 2002, 74. For a defence of Stacey and DHist, see WAB Douglas: Letters, Globe & Mail, 18 November 1992. 539. Griffin, Frederick Phillip, Major (killed in action). Mention in Despatches. Infantry (The Black Watch [Royal Highland Regiment] of Canada) – awarded as per Canada Gazette and CARO/5324, both dated 3 February 1945. 540. Four days after Verrières, Simonds signaled: “All Formation Commanders 2nd Canadian Corps. I wish the attention of every officer and soldier in 2nd Cdn Corps directed to the citation for the Victoria Cross awarded to Major JK Mahoney of the Westminster Regiment.” Mahoney was awarded the VC in Italy (1st Cdn Corps). The citation (24 May 1944) described Major Mahoney leading an attack “enclosed on three sides” by enemy fire; endured “the enemy counterattack with infantry supported by tanks and SP guns”; company’s strength was reduced “to 60 men and all but one of the platoon officers had been wounded.” Mahoney, wounded, refused medical aid, “never allowed the thought of failure or withdrawal to enter his mind, and infused his spirit and determination into all of his men.” The brave major would forever be an inspiration to his Regiment and to the Canadian Army. Simonds: “a fine example of determined courageous and skilful leadership.” RG24 13712, “Leadership and the Fighting Spirit”, GG Simonds, GOC. War Diary, Main HQ, 2nd Cdn Corps, 29 July 1944. 1 RHC read the message with interest and wondered: Did the Corps Commander also mean this as a sermon to 1 RHC? 541. Private JC Jack, correspondence, 7 March 1990. 542. FUP to Ridge Plateau/Crest

Plateau Plateau/Crest

Beyond Crest to Fontenay

KIA

37

60

15

WIA

40

74

18

68

17

202

50

PW TOTAL

543.

544.

545. 546. 547.

548.

77

DHH. Weatherston, 2 para 13. And, Minister of Defence Statement, Black Watch CAS 25 July 1944, p13. Megill noted “bodies of many soldiers killed during the battle were found spaced in groups of two or three several paces apart.” Crerar Papers Vol 3 958.009. “Outline Report May-sur-Orne 25 July 1944” Megill, 16 August 1944. MI9 Interrogation Reports RHC, Personnel captured 25 July 1944. Ptes C Goodale, WL Derby, GA Beaudoin, RB Deberry, JM Cuiman, AR Williams, AD Knupp, B Fairfield. Treated by German Medical Orderlies. Derby: “taken 15 kms back, then hospital 50 kms to the rear … then Paris hospital until 3 August … They treated me fairly well.” Cuiman and Major Kemp liberated by US forces 1/5 August 1944 in German Fd Hospital, Rennes; thirty BW soldiers freed at Alençon. Black Watch Casualties 25–26 July 1944: KIA: 3 offrs and 105 ORs; Presumed killed in action: 4 other ranks; DOW (Died of Wounds) 2 offrs and 6 ORs; DOW as PW: 3 ORs. Total KIA: 123 ; WIA: 10 offrs, 109 ORs. Total WIA: 119. PW: 2 officers, 81 ORs. Total PW: 83 ; Total: 123 + 119 + 83: 325. BWA Study by WO M Cher calculates final numbers as: 329. Includes CAS reported after 26 July. Specific: 124 KIA + 120 WIA + 85 PW: 329 (1 RHC Pt 2 Orders, NDHQ records). Operation Spring took place fm 0300 25 July to midnight 26 July. 1 RHC not in action until 5 August 1944. With Scout Pl, Carrier Pl, 1 RHC had 394 for attack (83.4 percent CAS). See BWA: WO M Cher, BW Casualties Op Spring, unpublished (5 pp) 2012. Ibid., Colonel CP Stacey, The Victory Campaign, Official History NW Europe 44–45 Vol III, 194. Ibid., Cher. Brig Megill: “sheer bravery and pride in the unit.” Megill/Copp. DHS. Operation Spring; Min of Def statement. “Verbal instrs by CGS to DHS to prepare a statement to be issued by the Minister in connection with the attack of RHC on Fontenay 25 July 1944”; Draft was submitted to LtGen GG Simonds and Brigadier WJ Megill who added “certain observations for purposes of historical record only … Brigadier Megill made some comments, the substance of which has been incorporated.” LtGen JC Murchie, COS CMH 8 February 1946. Eric and Andrio Linklater, The Black Watch (London: 1977); of the BW, though not specifically 1 RHC, yet appropriate. Canadian Military Historian Major Michael R McNorgan CD MA (The Gallant Hussars; A History

notes to pages

549. 550. 551.

552. 553. 554. 555.

556. 557. 558. 559. 560. 561. 562. 563.

564. 565. 566. 567.

568. 569. 570. 571. 572. 573. 574. 575. 576. 577.

136–144

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of the First Hussars Regiment 1856–2004; Black Beret; A History of The Windsor Regiment; co-author, with John Marteinson, The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps) commented: “I read about Simonds berating a surviving [Black Watch] NCO, I think a corporal, over the attack. Why did the battalion insist on attacking the enemy position without armour or artillery support, with both flanks unsecured, etc, etc. When the tirade ended the corporal is reputed to have said to Simonds, ‘Well Sir, I guess that is what people expect from the Black Watch.’ Simonds was reputedly struck dumb by the response and left the poor corporal alone.” Correspondence MMcN/RJJ, June 2012. BWA. SST Cantlie / PPH 14 June 1944: Reinforcement Policy. Weir to PPH 27 February 1945. See: Gen ELM Burns, Manpower and the Canadian Army, 1939–1945 (Ottawa: 1956) passim. Burns, as close to a pre-war military philosophe as Canada had, commanded the 1st Corps in Italy; later was deputy minister of veterans’ affairs; chief of staff in 1954, head United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to maintain the general armistice agreements; he led the UN emergency force from November 1956 to December 1959. Interview Major S Matulis (fmr D142168 Private Matulis)/RJJ, Pointe Claire, 5 August 2011. Hereafter, Matulis. Ibid., Matulis. BWA. FM Mitchell to PPH 2 August 1944. Replacements 1 RHC. Month of July: 31 officers and 284 Ors; in August 25 Officers and 500 ORs. Total: 56 + 784 (840) vs. loses of 579 (losses – net gain of forty. By end of August 1 RHC losses were 217 KIA; 385 WIA and 106 PWs – a total of 718 officers and soldiers. Replacements for July and August were 727 All Ranks but these were essentially recruits with little more than basic training. WD 1 RHC, Part 2 Orders July–August 1944. BWA. Major TD Anyon, Pers File. He was rated as needing more experience: “Very young in his ways.” WD 1 RHC, 1 November 1944; Lydia Pinkham Herbal Tablets were first introduced in 1875. Gregory Clark, Standard, August 1944. McSorley/RJJ, October 1989. WD 1 RHC 4 August 1944. Mitchell/PPH 2 August 1944. Jarymowycz, 180; Walter Warlimont, Inside Hitler’s Headquarters 1939–45 (New York: 1962), 446. “Ultra”, the greatest secret of the Second World War, was the breaking of German codes via recreated Enigma and Lorenz machines with the first computer. Intercepted messages had to be translated and then interpreted by experts. Bletchley Park was the main decryption station and also housed Station X, secret radio intercept station. DHH. Brigadier NE Rodger CBE, Personal Diary entry, Saturday, 5 August 1944. WD, 1 RHC 4 August 1944. Leibstandarte IV/I, 200–203. Fort Garry Horse (10 CAR) may have been in the area. CP Stacey (207) states 1 RHC was “supported by a squadron of the Fort Garry Horse.” RHC WD does not mention it. FGH, circa 1–6 August, alternated Sqns forward; A, B, and C took turns as “Verrières Sqn.” WD FGH and Sqn Diaries note C Sqn knocked out a Panther on 5 August 1944 and took casualties. Correspondence, MR McNorgan and G Crossley, FGH Archives, 3–5 April 12. 1 RHC WD, 5 August 1944. Liebstandarte IV/1, 203. Ibid. DR O’Keefe, “Unborn but Gallant”, The Red Hackle, No. 8, 2006; also, O’Keefe, “Double Edged Sword, Part I: Ultra and Operation Totalize Normandy, August 8, 1944”, CAJ Vol. 12, Winter 2010, 87–88. BWA. Mitchell/PPH, 22 September 1944. Mitchell: “I have since walked the ground over which those two exercises took place and I have stood in the positions in the vicinity of which authentic reports showed no enemy.” Major ER Bennett. Black Watch RHR, 5 August 1944; age: twenty-seven. Bretteville cemetery, Grave XX. C. 10; Lieutenant Henry H Bennett, Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (MG), KIA 14 August 1944. Age: twenty-four. Reginald Roy, 1944: The Canadians in Normandy (Ottawa: 1984), 249. BWA. Hutchison Diaries. Megill vs Mitchell, Hutchison Vol III, 10-12. BWA. Major D Cowans Pers File. Letter to Lieutenant Colonel FM Mitchell, 9 August 1944. BWA. Major JE Fox, Pers File. Evaluation, Lieutenant Colonel SSTC, May 1944.

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notes to pages

144–151

578. Montreal Star 6 June 1941; Ewing: Victoria Rifles, BW 1940, 1st Cdn Corps HQ 2 yrs, Captain April 1944, 1 RHC as Major, August 1944; see also: The Montreal Gazette 26 October 1944 and The Montreal Gazette, 6 August 1989, D1. 579. BWA. Ewing files. Letter, Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell/CMH, 28 August 1944. 580. Captain JA Nixon/RJJ, interview, May 2011. 581. Denis Whitaker interview with JA Nixon, Niagara, c 1982. BGen DW and Shelagh Whitaker, Tug of War: The Allied Victory That Opened Antwerp (Toronto: 2000), 306. Hereafter cited as Whitaker. 582. Ibid., 146; Intvws Jim Wilkinson, JA Nixon / RJJ. 583. Brigadier Blackader reverted to 8th CIB when Major General DC Spry DSO was appointed GOC 3 CID 18 August. Blackader led 8 CIB until 28 September 1944, when he was hospitalized. It was hinted at BW that the Brigadier’s social life in London had met with Crerar’s and Simonds’s disapproval. 584. WD. 1 RHC 6 August 1944. 585. Ibid., 6 August 1944. 586. Ibid., 13 August 1944. 587. BWA. Captain JPW Taylor Pers, to Lieutenant Colonel DH Taylor, 15 August, 1944. 588. Vergeltungswaffen (retaliatory weapons): V1 attacks lasted fm 13 June 1944 to October 1944. At peak, over 100 V-1s a day were fired at SE England, 9,521 in total, decreasing in number as sites were overrun by 1st Cdn Army. 589. Killed in Action: Sergeant Cartwright, Corporal Isherwood, and Corporal Swailes. 590. WD The Essex Scottish Regiment 25 August 1944; cited in, DW McIntyre, “Pursuit to the Seine: The Essex Scottish Regiment and the la forêt de La Londe, August 1944”, CMH, Volume 7 (1998), 59–72. Hereafter, Essex. 591. DHH. Mitchell: “Account by Colonel FM Mitchell of the Capture of Bourgtheroulde by the RHC 26 August 1944 as given to Captain Engler at Bourgtheroulde, 27 August 1944”, 1; “A shuttle service of one officer and a TCV (truck) sped back and forth across the square.” Hereafter, Mitchell re Bourgtheroulde. 592. DHH. Shea: “Account of the Capture of Bourgtheroulde by RHC, 26 August 1944 by Lieutenant Shea, IO to Captain Engler near Dieppe, 5 September 1944”, 1. 593. WD 1 RHC, 26 August 1944 594. Mitchell re Bourgtheroulde, 2 595. Ballads of Sir Andrew Barton, Child Ballad Number 167. 596. Interview General Dextraze/RJJ, Caen and Ottawa 1989–1991. This comment is recorded in full in the CBC documentary The Valour and the Horror. See the Normandy segment “In Desperate Battle”, Brian McKenna / NFB/CBC 1992. 597. Hutchison Diary Vol III, 3. 598. Ibid., 10–12. 599. MGen ELM Burns, Manpower in the Canadian Army (Toronto: 1956), 61. The next heaviest total was 8,196 for September, 1944. 600. 1 RHC CAS Normandy 44: as reported to Battalion records; Pt 2 Orders. July 1944 KIA

WIA

PW

Total

5–24

37

25

81

161

1

199

67

2*

150

26–31

43

51

81*

175

Total

161

279

84

524

0

4

August 1944 1–4

1

3

5

9

21

1

31

6–24

24

36

20

80

25–26

18

45

1

64

27–31

4

11

0

15

Total

56

116

22

194

notes to pages

601. 602. 603. 604. 605. 606. 607. 608. 609. 610. 611. 612.

613. 614. 615. 616. 617. 618. 619. 620.

621. 622.

623. 624. 625. 626. 627. 628. 629. 630. 631.

151–162

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WD 1 RHC, Part 2 Orders July–August 1944. Also, Cher article, BWA. It is important to note that besides battle losses, the Regiment also experienced additional wastage for diff reasons, including “Transferred to X3 List” (“medical treatment beyond field ambulance”) strength – these amounted to 54 in July and August. See: Terry Copp and Bill McAndrew, Battle Exhaustion (Montreal: 1990), the only history to properly examine Canadian psychological treatment during the Second World War. BWA. RHC, Memorial Tribute on Sunday 24 September 1944. Pers File. Major the Reverend GH Donald VD D; See also The Montreal Star, The Montreal Gazette and The Herald 30 July – 10 August 1944, 25 September 1944. WD 1 RHC 31 August 1944. BWA. Major AHM Carmichael Pers File. BR Ritchie, 15 November 1944. RG24. Vol. 9879 Battle Experience Questionnaires: Major AHM Carmichael October 1944, Hereafter, Carmichael Notes. WD 1 RHC 9 September 1944. WD 1 RHC 12 September 1944. DHH. Pinkham: “Account of B and C Coys attack Spycker 2077 (Black Watch) by Major EV Pinkham, OC to Captain Engler, 17 September 1944”, para 3. BWA. “Anonymous statement from a soldier” cited by DR O’Keefe in “With Blinders On: The Black Watch and the Battle for Spycker, September 12–14 1944” CAJ, Vol 11, Spring 2008, 98–109; hereafter O’Keefe, Spycker. Nixon to Whitaker, Ibid., 146. Passim: Lieutenant JA Nixon/RJJ Interview May, November 2010; see, also, “Battle of Spycker – Last stand of The Black Watch of Canada” for Lieutenant Nixon’s personal account on film via YouTube extract. “We used this weapon [PIAT] NOT against tanks but against a determined enemy who was reorganizing behind a thick stone wall for a fourth counterattack against the building in which he had taken position. Three PIAT bombs at different points on the wall so completely demoralized the enemy that he left and did not return again to our position.” RG24 9879 Battle Experience Questionnaires Major AHM Carmichael 6 October 1944. Hereafter, Carmichael. WA Wood/RJJ and, JA Nixon/RJJ. Both platoon officers emphasized how little time there was (August–October 1944) to “get to know your own men or your brother officers.” The Bn kept moving, from skirmish to skirmish. Carmichael; O’Keefe, Spycker, 101. Ibid., 104. FMM/PPH, 22 September 1944. Copp, Brigade, 126. Lt Col Eric Motzfeldt to PPH in a post war interview. Hutchison Diaries; Motzfeldt to PPH. LAC Jacket 02-50816 Pers File FM Mitchell. Evaluation, Lieutenant Colonel JE Crowe, GSO1 Trg CMHQ, 22 January 1943. Hereafter, FM Mitchell Pers File. “Though his officer displayed sound military knowledge and good judgement and has proven calm and steady in action, he has not succeeded in impressing his personality on the Bn to the extent of overcoming the serious lack of cohesion and esprit-de-corps that resulted from heavy losses incurred … ” WJM Megill 21 September 1944. LAC 02-50816 Pers File Lieutenant Colonel FM Mitchell; hereafter, FM Mitchell Pers File. Ibid., GOC 2 Cdn Corps: Lieutenant Colonel FM Mitchell – Officer’s Confidential Report, 24 September 1944. FM Mitchell Pers File. 6 February 1945 he had been hospitalized at Basingstoke Neuro for Psychoneurosis Anxiety; diagnosed with severe stress and dyspeptic symptoms. Most of it caused by psychological torment. The initial report showed concern: “This officer is in a distressed frame of mind brought on by worry … ” HQ 2 CID, 15 January 1945. Letter, SW Thomson to T Copp, April 1992, cited in Brigade, 189. Thirty years later, Megill’s son, Colonel Bill Megill, an armoured officer, also elected to attend Quetta (now in Pakistan) and was delighted to encounter his father’s former professor. B Megill/RJJ, interview, Ottawa 1999. Megill Pers File. Major General C Vokes, Evaluation for Promotion, Appt Comd BC Area, 1952. Ibid., Commendation, GG Simonds, 8–27 November 1944. Ibid., FM BLM Montgomery, Commendation Brigadier WJ Megill, 27 November 1944. CP Stacey, Vol III, The Victory Campaign, 386. DHH Lieutenant WS Shea, “Account … RHC” 5 September; 15 October 1944. Carmichael. Ritchie/PPH, 22 November 1944.

238

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notes to pages

163–172

632. BWA. DA Law Pers. Evaluation Reports: HQ 2 CID, 27 January 1944; E Motzfeldt, March 1944; SST Cantlie, June 1944. 633. Ibid., cited in PPH/Mrs David Law, 24 October 1944. 634. FMM/PPH, 2 September 1944. 635. The remaining 1 RHC officers circa September/October 1944: HQ Coy, Captain AED Hull; Spt Coy, Captain D Menzies; Mortar Pl, Lieutenant Tessier; Anti-Tank Pl, Captain JF Baillie; Carrier Pl, Lieutenant F Bertrand; Pioneer Pl, Captain O Burgess; QM, Captain J Duchastel; TPT, Captain AR Hanna; MO, Captain Share MD; Padre, Captain Royle; Band, Pipe-Major Hector MacDonald. 636. Red Ball Express routes were marked with red balls and closed to civilian traffic; the trucks were marked with red balls and given priority. System lasted three months, August 25 to November 16, 1944.The US 3rd Army introduced “rolling ammunition depots” based on truck companies; Bradley ordered all 8” and 240mm artillery battalions grounded. To the Americans’ rage, Eisenhower diverted most of the supplies to Montgomery’s Army Group for the dash to Antwerp and Germany. The main Canadian challenge in the fall of 1944 was replacements, not supplies. 637. Stacey, Vol III, 366; Bundesarchiv RH IX; Kreigstachbuch, Octoberober 1944. 638. WD 1 RHC 28 September 1944. 639. WM Wood/RJJ, interviews December 11, March 12, 16 April 2012. 640. BWA. Captain DH Chapman, Pers, March 1944. 641. 1 RHC Coy Commanders 18 July–13 October 1944. Spt Coy: Traversy, Bennett, Menzies; A Coy: Griffin, Louson, Anyon, Ewing; B Coy: Motzfeldt, Foam, Bennett, Carmichael, Slater; C Coy: Stevenson, Taylor, Pinkham; D Coy: Fraser, Kemp, Fox, Popham, Chapman. 642. WD 1 RHC 9 October 1944. 643. BWA. Captain JE Orr Pers; JEO/PPH, 10 January 1945. 644. LAC Pers File Jacket Major RG Slater. Coy HQ Hoogerheide; Private Kravitz, batman; Private Goodman, runner; Private Waxman, Coy HQ Sig. 645. Ibid. Slater was the only Canadian to ever be buried in the Seppe cemetery. After the war, he was reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Bergen-op-Zoom, Holland. However his grave is still marked in Seppe; thanks to Mr Nol Krijnen. He was considered the first “Liberator” by Seppe citizens. German Medical Report: Multiple shrapnel wounds, found by German Patrol; died in German hospital. Grabmeldungen, Slater; 30.11.44. 646. Whitaker, Tug of War, 306. 647. Jack Didden and Maarten Swarts, Autumn Gale / Herbst Sturm (Boxtel: 2013), 321–322. Hereafter cited as Didden. 648. WD 1 RHC, 9 October 1944. 649. Ibid. 650. See Didden, 324. Photo shows a Sturmhaubitze of Sturmgeshützbrigade 280 knocked out by a PIAT fired from the first floor of a house, but not the one described by BW WD 9 Oct 651. Deployed in the Woensdrecht area were units from 346 Inf Div (Regimente 857, 858) as well as Grenadier Regiment 731 from 711 Infanterie-Division. The paratroops at Angus 1 were further supported by elements from I./ Fallschirm Panzer Ersatz und Ausbildungs-Regiment Hermann Göring. See: Jack Didden, Kampfgruppe Chill and the German recovery in the West between 4 September and 9 November 1944, case study; Thesis; Proefschrift ter verkrijging van de graad van doctor aan de Radboud Universiteit te Nijmegen, 2012, 251–255. 652. The highly decorated von der Heydte, of noble birth and a staunch Catholic, was to become a distinguished law professor. He headed the Institute for Military Law at University of Würzburg, was a member of the Institut de Droit International, and continued with his military career - promoted to Brig General in the Bundeswehr Reserves, one of only two to receive that rank. 653. Ritchie to BGen Dennis Whitaker c. 1982. Both were battalion commanders in this battle. Ritchie left no report or memoires with BWA – Whitaker was the only historian to have interviewed him about Scheldt. Whitaker, 175. 654. Kampfgruppe Chill now included six battalions (3500) plus: KG von der Heydte - I, II, II, IV Coys of Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6 (FJR6)and, 1 Coy FJR 2; KG Dreyer (3 Coys). FJR 6, the 6th Para Regt comprised 2600 experienced elite troops. The Regt’s seventeen companies were at 75% strength about 165 paras in each. FJR6 was divided into three light battalions supported by engineers, infantry guns, mortars and anti-aircraft guns. Didden, 322–327; 516. 655. WD 1 RHC 13 October 1944. Ritchie/DW, 173. See also, Copp, Brigade, 148–150 and Didden, 333–336.

notes to pages

656. 657. 658. 659. 660. 661. 662. 663. 664. 665. 666. 667. 668. 669. 670. 671. 672. 673. 674. 675. 676. 677. 678. 679. 680. 681. 682. 683. 684.

685. 686. 687. 688. 689. 690.

172–190

|

239

WD 2nd Cdn Inf Div, Ops Log, 13 Oct 1944, serial 1167; Second TAF, daily log, 13 October 1944. WD 1 RHC, 14 October 1944. Ibid. BWA. Lieutenant GWL Grant Pers File, Report Adj 5 November 1944; and, correspondence PPH et al, April– July 1942. Didden, 238–249. Whitaker, 179. WD 1 RHC Oct 44, Anx, Report Stevenson. Ritchie later told Whitaker, “We taught the simplest battle formation such as fire and movement, which was brand new to most of these people and to their officers. Brand new.” Ibid., 224. Stacey, Vol 3, 384. WD 1 RHC, 22 October 1944. Ken Bell’s photos and a news reel filmed by The Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit (CFPU) were made available by NFB and LAC Archives Canada and may be seen via internet: “A Military Funeral.” WD 1 RHC 28 October 1944. Megill to Whitaker, c 1982. Ibid, 339. Ewing to Whitaker. Ibid, 330. Copp, Brigade, 156. Turnbull to Whitaker, Ibid, 330. WD 1 RHC 31 October 1944; RJJ/JW Interview, Lasalle, 2012. Ibid. Ibid. Ritchie to Whitaker, Ibid. Ritchie launched an investigation after the battle, determined to find out why the supporting Field Artillery Regiment kept firing short. He discovered “the whole field regiment in support of us was calibrated to one faulty gun. Our men never got the right fire support out on the causeway.” On 7 November Lieutenant Colonel FM Mitchell, then OC #10 CBRG, visited 1 RHC, and spent the evening at the officers’ mess. WD 1 RHC, CO’s Summation and Notes, 31 November 1944. WD 1 RHC 6 December 1944; RJJ/JW Interview, Lasalle, 2012. Stacey, Vol 3, 463. BWA. WD 1 RHC 7 December 1944 and, Lieutenant TW Mackenzie pers File. The area was searched again in February 1945 but nothing was found. Lieutenant Mackenzie’s remains were later found and buried in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery. Ibid., KIA: Sergeant LJ King D81436, Private JSR Pelland B110751, Private JB Watt D71528; MIA: Lieutenant TW Mackenzie, Private RA Martin B127860, Corporal CB Tuplin F59901, Lance Corporal GGF Elliot B128004, and Private JE Walker K54846. ES Duffield, correspondence 31 December 1944. WD 1 RHC, CO’s Summation and Comments, December 1944. WD 1 RHC 1 January 1945. Lieutenant Colonel FM Mitchell visited the Bn for New Year’s lunch at BHQ. Ibid., KIA: B150090, Lance Corporal Conner, NJ, A103755, Private Dauncey, JF, M100358, Private Grainger, KD, and B119008, Private Creamer, WG MIA. “Instead of fighting it out the three men who were killed made a dash to get back to the rear elements of the platoon.” Creamer is the only RHC grave at Mook Commonwealth War Cemetery, Netherlands. Ritchie to Blackader, 16 January 1945; “We are perpetually short of Capts.” Ibid., WD 1 RHC January 1945; BWA. EV Pinkham Pers: posted; Confidential Report 7 January 1945: “Due to age and strain.” Duffield, Correspondence, January 1945. Casualties for January 1945: three OR killed, two officers; seven OR wounded and three OR missing. Officers arriving: Lts SG Cooper, C Jones, JP Brooks, HJ Kerr, JG Roberts. Maas (river); acronyms for: Forward Area Alerting System, and perhaps Approved As Stands. WD 1 RHC 3–5 February 1945. Also awarded MID: D82297 L/Sergeant FW Kelly and, D81913 Corporal RE Stephen.

240

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notes to pages

190–204

691. Captain Hull achieved a certain notoriety by becoming Colonel Hutchison’s last headache of the war – stemming from a VE Day party at Sqn Ldr WEF Powell’s house, and a missing bottle of Dewar’s. Profuse letters of apology solved all. 692. LAC. WD 1 RHC and, Hutchison Papers, 1 RHC notes, Appendix #81, “Some of Colonel Hutchison’s Questions and Lieutenant Colonel Eric Motzfeldt’s Answers 8 June 1945”; hereafter, Hutchison/Motzfeldt. 693. FMM/PPH correspondence, 25 October 1944; re citations. 694. Hutchison/Motzfeldt, 2. 695. WD 1 RHC, 15 February 1945. 696. BWA. Pers File DC Menzies, 7 March 1944. 697. Crocodiles pulled an armoured fuel trailer that used compressed nitrogen for pressure. It could deliver eighty one-second bursts out to 120 yards before refuelling. 698. Copp Ibid. German stubbornness was part patriotism and a need to maintain prestige; however, the Wehrmacht was offered little choice. Special security detachments were formed to enforce discipline and dire consequences were threatened if troops stopped fighting. 699. LAC. WD 5 CIB, Commendation DSO, Major EW Hudson, 22 July 1945. 700. LAC. WD 5 CIB, Commendation DSO, Major Robert MacDuff, 3 March 1945. 701. LAC. Commendation AF Turnbull, Canada Gazette dated 10 November 1945 and CARO/6193 dated 12 November 1945. 702. LAC. Commendation. CICERI, Paul Victor (Acting Sergeant) – Canada Gazette and CARO/6074, both 22 September 1945. 703. LAC. Davey, Robert Frederick, Captain (Acting Major) Military Cross; Canada Gazette 10 November 1945; CARO/6193 dated 12 November 1945. 704. WD 1 RHC 28 October 1945. 705. Stacey, 519. 706. WD 1 RHC 28 February 1945. CAS: three Offrs, twenty-one ORs Killed, four Offrs, 109 ORs WIA; one Offr, five ORs MIA. Reinf: eight offrs, eighty-two ORs. 707. Brigadier Megill/Copp, correspondence, 22 June 1988. Megill: “No one, except some of the most literally minded Black Watch took it all seriously.” Megill recalled the line when interviewed by Copp; he was surprised it was cited by Ritchie. Megill/Copp. 708. LAC Jacket 41-81356 Pers File Lieutenant Colonel BR Ritchie. 709. Memorandum Lieutenant Colonel BR Ritchie RHC, FJ Fleury, ADAG (MS), 3 April 1945. 710. Hutchison/Motzfeldt, 3. 711. Copp, Brigade, 186. 712. Hutchison/Motzfeldt, 3. 713. WD 1 RHC, 27 March 1945. 714. WD 1 RHC March 1945, CO’s Comments and Summary. 715. On January–February 1945 the Corps (now led by Lieutenant General Charles Foulkes) joined the First Canadian Army. It was transported to Northwest Europe (Operation Goldflake) and participated in the campaign to complete the liberation of the Netherlands. 716. BWA. Hutchison Papers; RHC Officer’s Bulletin No. 6, 10 June 1945. 717. WD 1 RHC 5 April 1945 “from a position which we had understood to be held by the R de Mais and from the town itself, and the men on the tanks had to take cover in the ditch.” 718. Hutchison, 6 April 1945. 719. Reginald Roy, The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, 1919–1965 (Vancouver: 1969). 720. Hutchison, Ibid., 1945 and; Weir/PPH, 27 February 1945. 721. 1 RHC had previous success with officers from other units. PPH / BR Ritchie, 6 April 1945: “a relief to know fm you that the “strangers” sent to you have been of a high caliber.” Re Thomson: Traversy / PPH, 29 April 1945. 722. WD 1 RHC, 13 April 1945; BWA. Pers Major ED Price: Loyola/McGill; WIA March 1945; returned to become OC B Coy. 723. WD 1 RHC, 13 April 1945; BWA. 724. Stacey, Vol 3, 555. 725. WD 1 RHC 22 April 1945.

notes to pages

204–209

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241

726. Ibid., 23 April 1945. Major Hanna was hospitalized; Lieutenant RF Bartlett became TO; Lieutenant Walter Sparrow took RHQ Pl. 727. BWA. Pers File. WA Westwood. Letter, Mrs Patricia Westwood/PPH, 21 May 1945. 728. Correspondence, Prof Christine Duffield RN, PhD, April, 2010. 729. LAC. 5 Cdn Inf Bed, Awards, Major ES Duffield, June, July 1945. WD 1 RHC 26–27 April 1945. Casualties included one officer killed (Westwood), Lieutenant JT Brooks, of C Coy wounded, and eleven OR wounded. PWS comprised sixty-five, including one officer, two CSMs, and one sergeant. The Hutchison RHC History refers to this action as Hude. 730. On 30 April, 1 RHC was formally advised that nine honours had been conferred: Major R MacDuff, DSO; Captain CL Stuart, MID, Croix de Guerre; Vermillion Star; Lieutenant GD Birks, MID; Major EV Pinkham; MID; D82356 CSM NW Price, Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star; B143322 Sergeant SS Chandler and D71284 Corporal A Fromstein, MM; D81851 Corporal DR Sudds, BEM; D81507 Private Cormak, MID. Reinforcements totalled 238, including nine officers. 731. WD 1 RHC 4 May 1945. 732. Blackader, SD Cantlie, SST Cantlie, Henderson, SST Cantlie, Griffin, Mitchell, Ritchie, Motzfeldt, Thomson, Traversy. Seven COs led 1 RHC in battle during 10 months of campaigning. 733. VET to PPH, 23 July, 1945. 734. Hutchison précis “Wartime Activities of The Black Watch RHR during the Second World War”, 46. 735. Ibid., 47. 736. There were fourteen Black Watch seniors, most wearing DSOs, one with a Victoria Cross. Black Watch Bns and Honorary Cols as at April 1945: Honorary Colonel Sir H Montagu Allan; Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 1st Bn GS Cantlie DSO; Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 2nd Bn MGen GE McCuaig CMG DSO; Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 3rd Bn Lt Col WH Clark-Kennedy VC CMG DSO; Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 4th Bn Brigadier KM Perry DSO. Hutchison Diaries. Vol III, 10–12. 737. Hutchison, Letter No. 8; PPH/BR Ritchie (Pers File), 4 May 1945. Hutchison recalled that Motzfeldt, upon rejoining 1 RHC in 1945 reported the Bn “Good in numbers and excellent in trg.” Hutchison Diary. 738. Stacey, Ibid., 739. Stacey, Ibid., DHH, WW2 Cas Stats Records. 740. BWA. BW002A, BW002B, BW003L. 741. All were not US citizens; some were British subjects or Canadian citizens living in the US Twenty four (24) were struck off strength of the 1st Battalion for the specific purpose of returning to the United States for transfer to the US military. “Of these 5 died while serving with the 1st Battalion. Another 5 died while serving with other Canadian units. Of the 3368 Regimental Numbers confirmed to date … two hundred and twenty three (223) soldiers either listed a United States address or listed their next-of-kin as having a United States address.” BWA data, WO M Cher, as at 18 Aug 2013. Stats do not include officers. 742. The three returning officers were Lieutenant Colonel Traversy, Major ES Duffield and Captain SE Griffin. Only 298 of the “originals” who left Canada in 1940 landed with 1 RHC in France, July 1944. Approximately 8.5 percent of the Officers and ORs that passed through the 1st Battalion were of French origin. There may have been a higher percentage of Francophones in 2 RHC while on Active Service but stationed in Canada circa 1942–1943. Monograph, 1st Bn RHC Casualties Europe July 1944. Cher, Ibid. 743. Disciplinary records circa 1943–1944 indicate a portion of professional prisoners in and out of DB (Detention Barracks); about 5 percent were the bad apples every community had. A total of forty-seven ORs were declared deserters circa 1939–1945. Of these, thirty-five were either apprehended or returned on their own; twelve were never seen again. There were 109 cases of DB for one or more days in Montreal from September to December 1939 alone; more during the on-going grind of training for war; seventeen cases of actual detention for AWOL. The same hard knot of soldiers received increasingly severe punishments, eventually, detention barracks.

Part IV

Illustrations

Commanding Officers 1 RHC 1939–1945

Part IV – Illustrations | 245

Lt Col (BGen) KG Blackader DSO 1939–1942

Lt Col SD Cantlie ED 1942–1943

Lt Col GP Henderson OBE ED 1943

Lt Col SST Cantlie ED 1943; 1944

Lt Col FM Mitchell ED 1944

Lt Col BR Ritchie ED 1944–1945

Lt Col E Motzfeldt 1945

Col SW Thomson DSO, MC 1945

Lt Col VE Traversy 1945

Commanding Officer 2 RHC 1942–1943 Lt Col HM Jaquays ED 1942–1943

246 | Part IV – Illustrations

The Regiment marches away from The Church of St Andrew and St Paul (centre) and is shown heading east on Sherbrooke past the Museum of Fine Arts. The ranks are filled with recently inducted volunteers. By the end of September, the Regiment was flooded with officer applicants and it was decided to form “the Provisional Officers Training School of the Regiment,” or POTS.

Part IV – Illustrations | 247

Gentlemen candidates leaving the armoury and crossing over to the rented Caron Building across Bleury Street for lectures. There was no shortage of qualified instructors. Although still without uniforms and weapons, by early fall of 1939, The Black Watch was training 2000 recruits (including POTS) out of the armoury.

248 | Part IV – Illustrations

Black Watch Officers, 21 Sept 1939. The Montreal Star: “No unit responded with more alacrity to the call for volunteers when the Government announced the formation of the Canadian Active Service Force than did Montreal’s famous 1st Battalion The Black Watch (RHC) CASF”. From left, seated – Maj HM Jaquays, Maj A Weir Wright, Maj JC Routledge, Maj Ibbotson, Col Blackader, Capt SST Cantlie (Adjutant), Maj SD Cantlie, Maj JB Weir; centre - Capt H Hamer (RQM), Maj GHH Eadie, Capt BD Robertson (Medical Offr), Capt EC Rawlings, unk, unk, Capt C Petch and unk; back row – 2/lt JG Bourne, Lt BR Ritchie, 2/Lt JD Halbert, Lt JW Knox, 2/Lt IR McDougall, 2/Lt RG Slater, Lt DH Taylor, Lt WA Wood Jr.

Part IV – Illustrations | 249

The Black Watch began field training in the closest available area: the woods of Mount Royal Park. Shown here a platoon in kilts and greatcoats conducts a tactical exercise near Beaver Lake using smoke grenades and loud voices. Although unthinkable in more modern times, the Mountain was used by militia battalions as well as the 17th Duke of York’s Hussars whose armoury was on Côte des Neiges Road. Horses or Jocks charging across the park did not rattle Montrealers in the mid-20th Century.

250 | Part IV – Illustrations

1 RHC in Newfoundland

“Black Watch” Botwood N.F. Disembarking, HMCS Ottawa in Botwood, 22 June 1940

Inspection of 1st Bn RHC by Vice Admiral Sir Humphry Walwyn, Governor of the Island of NewfoundLand. In the foreground Lt Col (Brig) KG Blackader (back to camera), Walwyn, and the Regimental Sergeant Major, WO1 Peter Notman. LAC (PA-104042)

1st Battalion left Valcartier in June 1940 to defend the airfields at Gander and Botwood until 11 August 1940.

Part IV – Illustrations | 251

Black Watch Officers commanding other units

Major (Brigadier) James Buchanan Weir OBE. Commanded the Cape Breton Highlanders/8 CITR, Reinforcement Unit UK. A stockbroker and considered short-tempered. On 1 April 1942, Weir, along with Majors Robert Somerville, Aird Nesbitt and William Watson Ogilvie and WO1 Ralph Diplock (some of the toughest officers in the battalion) were despatched to join the Cape Breton Highlanders (CBH) - part of the 5th Cdn Armd Division. The CBH considered themselves a breed of manly men, fiercely independent. They were also considered impossible to discipline. Weir led them into their first battle then handed over to Boyd Somerville.

Lt Col Robert Boyd Somerville DSO, Croix de Guerre; succeeded another RHC officer, Lt Col (Brig) Major James Weir as CO Cape Breton Highlanders. His “leadership, bravery under fire, skill in action, prodigious energy and the ardent devotion to duty… resulted in an outstanding performance by the Bn”.

RSM Cape Breton Highlanders, WO1 Ralph Diplock, MBE was seconded to CBH with three 1 RHC officers – “This WO has made an outstanding contribution to the increasing efficiency of this formerly backward unit.”

Maj (Brigadier) James Aird Nesbitt, who owned Ogilvy’s yet decided to serve the Regiment in war, seconded to the Cape Breton Highlanders. A tough company commander.

252 | Part IV – Illustrations

1 RHC Officers Who Commanded Other Units Second World War

Lt Col Charles Petch OBE, captain in 1 RHC (above) and CO North Nova Scotia Highlanders in Normandy (left). Later Petch was made commanding officer 4 Recce Regt (Princess Louise Dragoon Guards) in Italy. He was the most battle experienced Black Watch colonel of the Second World War. Photo: LAC (PA-133733)

Left: Lt Col John Bourne, FSSF and 1 RHC. Bourne volunteered for the First Special Service Force (FSSF) and participated in the invasion of the Aleutian Islands. In 1943, Bourne was given command of the 2nd Bn, 3rd Regt, First Special Service Force and deployed to Italy. “The FSSF were a tough bunch to manage, difficult to lead … they fought like cats and dogs.” They became better known as “The Devil’s Brigade.” Right: Lt Col Herbert Doucet, OBE commanded the Perth Regiment.

Part IV – Illustrations | 253

Right: HM Queen Elizabeth, Col-in-Chief of The Black Watch, inspects her Canadian Regiment on 15 May 1943 at the Irish Guards parade ground near Wakehurst Place, Sussex. Lt Col SST Cantlie attends; behind is Gen Andrew McNaughton, GOC Cdn Army in England. Clearly seen are the Red Hackles, Black Watch and the 2nd Cdn Div blue shoulder patches A rare photograph, the BW Sergeants, taken in Toronto on 5 May 1940 before deployment to Valcartier. Fm Caption - “A Co 10th Platoon 2nd row, centre Tommy Abbott. Row 1 from left #3 Sgt. George Hepburn # 4 Whittingstall # 5 Sgt. Murray 2 row, from left #3 W. Monk, # 5 Joe Deodati, #6 Walker 4th row from left #3 Donald D. Stevens, # 6 Tommy Gemmell, # 7 Jon Hillen.”

254 | Part IV – Illustrations

Top left: Cpl Harold Burden, Verdun, Middleweight Champion of the Canadian Army Overseas. Above: Burden in great coat – probably less dangerous to Germans than at left. The Black Watch completely dominated its Brigade in sports, and was a regular finalist in division and corps championships 1941–1943. In 1944, all sports meets were discontinued to prepare for D Day. Left: HM Queen Elizabeth inspects 1st Battalion Pipe Band. Left is Pipe Major Hector MacDonald, centre is Piper McKay and at right is Piper Bill Hannah.

Part IV – Illustrations | 255

The Officers of The First Battalion The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada On the occasion of the inspection of the Battalion by Field-Marshal Lord Wavell GCB, CMG, MC, 24th September 1943 Top Row: Lt JG Smith (RCCS), Lt JE Fox, Lt FA Heubach, Lt CG Bourne, Lt SE Griffin, Lt FT Rea, Lt DA McAlpine, Lt GS McInnes, Lt JK Neil Centre Row: Lt RA Horwood, Capt GA Demers (RCAPC), Lt RD Yuile, Lt ES Duffield, Capt AP Bates, Lt JP Cowans, Lt ARW Robinson, Lt MH Cassils, Lt GD Birks, Lt IH Louson Front Row: Capt ER Bennett, Capt E Motzfeldt, Capt JPW Taylor, Capt VE Traversy, Lt Col SST Cantlie, FM Lord Wavell, Maj BR Ritchie, Maj AG Stevenson, Capt FP Griffin, Capt JL Duchastel de Montrouge, Capt JPG Kemp The Battalion had been successfully inspected by the Queen in June and continued to impress the top echelon. Cantlie was not quite sure they were up to standard. A month later, he would be posted away and there would be a shuffle of officers and some promotions. Cantlie would be replaced by Henderson – for a month; Duncan MCAlpine, who had joined out of McGill, would be sent to Italy. The battalion’s top officers were in the front row. Of these ten, eight would be killed or wounded by 25 July. The two Griffin brothers would remain in the battalion, but Philip (front, third from rt) would be made Company Commander by Xmas. Ronny Bennett sits at extreme left with a haunted, far-off look.

256 | Part IV – Illustrations

Above: Churchills with chespaling – the Beach Track Laying Device, which enabled a tank to climb a wall up to 28 inches high. For the Dieppe raid the first tank on each of the six lead TLCs was to be fitted with device. Four types of Churchill tanks were used at Dieppe: Mk I (2-pounder and MG) with 3-inch howitzer in hull; Mk II (2-pounder, 2 x MGs); Mk II Oke with flamethrower; Mk III with welded turret and new 6-pounder gun. [LAC Canada. Photos fm June 1942 "Yukon“ exercise.] Below: From LCT 127, The Black Watch barge: COUGAR (13 Troop, Lt Thomas R. Cornett) KO’d on Dieppe promenade. This Churchill crossed the seawall at the eastern mole using its chespaling device. Unable to adequately blow the wading extensions and track laying device, Cornett moved west, concentrating his 6-pounder fire on the tobacco factory. The right track was soon blown by shellfire. The crew evacuated but not before burning out the interior with a sticky bomb.

Part IV – Illustrations | 257

White Beach

Landing TCL 127: Red Beach

1 RHC Mortar Pl Tanks, Pl FMR, RCE Tor Scottish MGs

Mortar Baseplate loc As intended

West end Dieppe, Red Beach. BW Mortar Pl landed beside Mole TLC 127 landed beside Harbour Mole: 3x Churchill tanks, armd car, 30x inf pl Les Fusiliers Mont Royal, det RCE, MG gunners fm Tor Scot Regt, and Capt MacLaurin’s 21 man Mortar Pl, 1 RHC. Modern Photo Dieppe; Casino and Tobacco Factory no longer stand. German defences on cliffs still exist. TLC (Tank Landing Craft) used by RHC on Red Beach. Craft carried Engineers, Infantry, three Churchill tanks, an armoured car . Note the ramp: Toronto Scottish (and later Black Watch) machinegunners manned positions near the forward bow. Left: A Dieppe mystery to the present. Capt JA Kenny was the second BW officer lost - part of 6th Bde HQ, landed near the casino on White Beach - where all became confusion. Kenny (uncle to Senator Colin Kenny, 2014) disappeared; his body was never recovered commemorated at the Brookwood Memorial in England. Right: Lieutenant John (“Jack”) David Colson, commanding 13 Platoon, the first RHC officer killed in combat. He and Lt Murray Mather were the first off the landing barge at Puys. Colson was cut down almost immediately.

258 | Part IV – Illustrations

The 20th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid was commemorated in July 1962. CO 2nd Bn RHC, Lt Col WC Leonard MBE, despatched a 100-man guard of honour to the coastal town. Here the guard marches along Boulevard du Maréchal Foch on the main Dieppe beach. The Mole where RHC Mortar Platoon landed is behind them.

An earlier visit to Puys (Blue Beach) where C Company, 1 RHC was trapped. The men stand in the area where The Royal Regiment of Canada was annihilated. C Coy disembarked in area shown and sought shelter in the caves beneath the chalk cliffs.

Puys, German photo taken after the raid showing RRC dead – note the multiple banks of barbed wire blocking beach exits.

Part IV – Illustrations | 259

Top Left. Brigadier KG Blackader CBE DSO MC. Most decorated and senior RHC officer Second World War. Commanded D Day Brigade and fought through Normandy campaign, briefly appointed GOC 3rd Cdn Inf Div during the breakout to Falaise. Top Right: Col Sir Montagu Allan CVO, Hon Col of the Black Watch 1920 to 1951. In 1942, he donated the family home, Ravenscrag, to McGill University, when it became known as the Allan Memorial Institute. He was a keen sportsman who donated the Allan Cup, the trophy (which preceded the Stanley Cup) and is still awarded annually to the Canadian men’s amateur hockey champions. Right, Col Paul Hutchison commanded the Regiment in Montreal during the war, and fought repeated battles with District and Army HQ defending his regiment’s cultural existence.

260 | Part IV – Illustrations

Commanders

Brigadier (MGen) WJ Megill DSO

Lt Col Eric Nighswander, the CO of 5th Field Regt, and Megill’s right hand

Megill’s boss: MGen Charles Foulkes, the British born Commander of 2nd Canadian Infantry Division

Part IV – Illustrations | 261

Top Left: Field Marshal BLM Montgomery, Commander, 21st Army Group - everyone’s boss. Above right: GOC II Cdn Corps, British born Lt Gen GG Simonds, a Montgomery favourite. Below right: Less favoured, General HDG “Harry” Crerar, GOC 1st Cdn Army

Montgomery with officers of the First Canadian Army. From left, MGen C Vokes, Gen Crerar, FM Montgomery, Lt Gen Horrocks, Lt Gen Simonds, MGen Spry, MGen Mathews.

262 | Part IV – Illustrations

Opposite Numbers Left: Lt General Guy Simonds, GOC II Canadian Corps, later, acting commander of the First Cdn Army in the Scheldt. Planned Op Spring in all details and was later critical of Black Watch leadership during the battle. Right: SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer Josef Sepp Dietrich, GOC, 1st SS Panzer Corps, later the 5th Panzer Army. Released the pz reserves to counter-attack the Black Watch 25 July 1944. Bottom photo attributed as Pz Grenadiers, SS Aufklärungs Abteilung 10, 10SS Pz Div, Normandy, July 1944. General der Infanterie Friedrich August Schack, GOC, 272nd German Inf Division, the Black Watch main opponent in the Caen– Verrières Ridge area, 18–26 July 1944.

Above: German infantry, 272 Div, Gren Regt 980 as POWs.

Part IV – Illustrations | 263 St Martin circa 9 August 1944. The main road, HyWy D562A, which runs north toward Caen. Note KO’d Panther at left. Soldier of Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal examining this tank - either 3rd Coy, 9 SS H (SS Pz Regt 9 ) or 1 SS Pz (Pz Regt 1, LSSAH) – remnant of 5 August action vs. Black Watch. Below right: Sherman III – M4A2 with 75mm gun, commanded by Capt Frank Allan, B Sqn 1st Hussars. Allan was present at the 25 July battle and witnessed Maj Griffin’s meeting at the Factory with Major WE Harris MP, the squadron leader. Captain (Lt Col) John Wilson Powell DSO, MC, Battle Captain in B Sqn 1st Hussars, who led during Op Spring after the Sqn leader, Major WE Harris MP, was wounded at the Factory.

“Monty’s Moonlight” during Op Spring.

Photos: LAC Ken Bell / PA-114369

264 | Part IV – Illustrations

Survivors of Verrières Ridge

Above left: Cpl Jim Wilkinson; Top Centre: Pte (Major) Stan Matulis; Above centre: Pte Bob Duplessis. Above right: American born members of 1 RHC, 30 Sept 1944, Support Coy: front, Pte RF Callahan, Sergeants FJ Garvis, A McGrail. Taken at South Beveland, Netherlands. Below left: Cpl Bruce Ducat, cutting the Regimental Anniversary cake in the Mens’ Mess, January 2009. Below centre: Ducat in the Montreal Gazette, August 1944. Below right: Pte R Daigle who survived Verrières Ridge and the war.

Part IV – Illustrations | 265

266 | Part IV – Illustrations

The church at St-Martin-de-Fontenay is in the centre of the photo. Verrières Ridge is in the distance. Facing west from Point 67 on D562A. Centre St Martin and Factory, right, St André, horizon, Verrières Ridge.

Photos courtesy Terry Copp, WLU

Part IV – Illustrations | 267 The Factory Mine Tower Church St-Martin-de-Fontenay

Above: Looking back to St. Martin from the north edge of May-surOrne, the mine tower in the Factory area is clearly visible as is the church in St. Martin. Point 67 may be seen in the background. Below: A close-up of the Factory Mine Tower.

LAC (PMR 90-412), WLU: Photos taken in 1946.

Below right: Soldiers from a Quebec Regiment (probably R de Mais who occupied St Martin and reinforced 1 RHC on 26 July) guard an air shaft leading to the mines beneath Verrières Ridge. This opening was across the highway from the Factory where the Black Watch began the 25 July assault. Persistent rumours of German infiltration via these shafts (there were two) were unsubstantiated by German accounts. The condition of the deep unfinished hole made any use by Infantry next to impossible.

268 | Part IV – Illustrations

Top left: Lt Colonel Stuart Cantlie, killed at onset of 25 July battle near St Martin Church; he was the third member of the Cantlie family to command the RHC during war. Next to him, Major Phil Griffin, who assumed command of 1 RHC and led the fateful assault. Top right: ES Duffield, OC Scouts who led the infamous patrol into May. Left: RSM Archie Leitch – got 1 RHC ready for Normandy, “Shortest but toughest man in battalion.”

Above Left: Capt ER Bennett, OC Support Coy who led the heroic rear-guard action at St Martin Church 25 July; supported by the Adjutant, Campbell Stuart (centre). Right: CSM Charlie Bolton who attacked “the Factory” and later assumed command of his Company. Crack shot, SGT VL Foam (left) took over B Company minutes after 1 RHC crossed SL. All officers were killed or wounded.

Part IV – Illustrations | 269

Capt Gordon Powis, 5 RCA, just days after release as PW circa June 1945. He was captured 25 July after leading remnants of Black Watch over Verrières crest. A gallant gesture by the Forward Observation Officer, a school chum of many 1 RHC officers via BCS.

5 Fd RCA 25 Pounder and limber, France 1944. (LAC, MIKAN No. 3607521)

In action, served by Gunners of B Troop, 5th Bty, 5th Fd RCA; Holland. (LAC, MIKAN No. 3192317)

270 | Part IV – Illustrations

Major Thomas Doherty Anyon, returned from a company commander’s course and took over A Company just before the ill-fated 5 August attack into May. He and his company were shattered by fire and overrun by a PzMk V Panther (below) springing the 1st SS ambush.

Above left: Kompanieführer Wilhelm Preuß, 10th Company, 1st SS-PzDiv LSSAH. His company destroyed Lt Col Mitchell’s attack 5 August against May-sur-Orne. Above centre: Leibstandarte Pz Grenadiers in Normandy (Verrieres or May) circa 20 July - 5 Aug 1944. Above right: The divisional Tac Sign portrays a skeleton key, pun and tribute to Sepp Dietrich.

Part IV – Illustrations | 271

Lt Cols FM Mitchell (above) and BR Ritchie (right) commanded successively 26 July to 13 March 1945. Both clashed with their brigade commander.

Major Robert MacDuff (OC B Company), the first WW2 DSO awarded to 1 RHC (Gazetted 2 May 1945). His father had served as a piper with the Regiment in First World War.

The Great Dane, Lt Col Eric Motzfeldt, CO in March 1945, then WIA, again. His efforts sorted out RHC relations with Brig Megill.

Major EV Pinkham, longest serving and most experienced battlefield company OC

272 | Part IV – Illustrations

Left: Captain BS “Beau” Lewis and Lt JAB “Joe” Nixon, Nov 1944 Below: Lt Nixon and his scout-snipers were the stars of the Spycker Battle: 30 hours of close fighting cost 1 RHC 150 men. No one wrote up Nixon for a decoration. The still dashing Joe Nixon (centre) returned in 2010, posing with locals behind the rebuilt church.

Left: The Orne River Canal in Caen, facing South East. The Black Watch crossed here 18 July 1944. Below: Walcheren Causeway facing West. The Black Watch approached astride the road through soggy ground, surrounded by flooded polders. Circa 31 Oct 1944.

Part IV – Illustrations | 273

Right: Black Watch Mortar Platoon in close support fire. Groesbeek, Netherlands, 3 Feb 1945. (L-R): Private Joe Coughlin, Lance-Corporal Jack Oldham. Conditions in Scheldt and Rhineland proved the antithesis of mechanized warfare: infantry led throughout. Below: Fort Garry Horse Shermans near Beveland Canal, 5 Oct 1944. Bottom: Bren Carrier from Black Watch Carrier Platoon in depth position as German fire falls in Woensdrecht-Hoogerheide area, October 1944. Note the jerryrigged 30cal machine-gun added to give extra fire power.

Photos: LAC

274 | Part IV – Illustrations

Field Marshal BL Montgomery (left) with Brig WJ Megill.

Major William Ewing , A Coy, 1 RHC at the burial of 55 soldiers of his company after “Black Thursday” battle; Ossendrecht, Netherlands, 26 October 1944.

Privates Oscar Meadows and Lloyd Holmes of “B” Company, The Black Watch, outside their dugout, Groesbeek, Netherlands, 3 February 1945.

Part IV – Illustrations | 275

Left: Riflemen of “C” Company, 1 RHC, gathered around a slit trench in the woods near Holten, Netherlands, 8 April 1945. (L-R): Privates E Cain and Fred Cribley, LanceCorporal Bill Curtis, Private Gord Bussey. Right: 5 Brigade soldiers in the Hochwald during Rhineland Battle.

Left: Private M Therrien eating supper, South Beveland, Netherlands, 30 September 1944. A week before “Black Friday.”

Right: Maj Gen AB Matthews CBE DSO was appointed GOC 2nd Cdn Inf Div in Nov 1944, succeeding Foulkes. He brought it back to high operational efficiency after gruelling battles on the Scheldt led it through the Rhineland battles (Ops Veritable and Blockbuster) in February and March 1945. Below: Brig WJ Megill leading his preferred Scottish unit, the Calgary Highlanders, past Matthews after the Hochwald.

Photos LAC Canada.

276 | Part IV – Illustrations

A Company, 1 RHC , June 1945, Varel, Germany. Glad the war is over, itching to get home … WO and Sergeants’ Mess 1 RHC, June 1945, Varel, Germany.

Part IV

Maps

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First Battle in Normandy: Operation Atlantic, 18 July 1944. 1 RHC assault river crossing. Companies deployed at start line northwest of Hippodrome (Caen racetrack).

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Allied Front line 21 July Railroad Railroad

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threatens Cdn front.

Part IV – Maps

Allied Front line 21 July

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1 RHC area Tactical Ops: Verrières Ridge, South of Caen, Orne River (extreme left). Note contours of Verrières Ridge. 5 Brigade Map July 1944.

08

Part IV – Maps

|

285

286

| Part IV – Maps

“e Factory”

I

1RHC

B Sqn 1st Hussars

II

Griffin D

I

B C

Lt Prein HQ Tp 2 Pz

I

XMay-surOrne X

KG Sterz 2 Pz Div c. 1230 Hrs

A

I

I

Planned BW Start Line

KG Meyer 9SS Pz Div 1700 Hrs KG Zollhofer 9 SS Pz Div 1700 Hrs Troop, 102SS SchwPzAbt

Black Watch Role in Operation Spring, 25 July 1944 – Phase 2 Daylight attack with tanks to capture FONTENAY LE MARMION

OBJ RHC

Photo: WLU LCMSDS Archives

Part IV – Maps

|

LEGEND for page 286 Black Watch Role in Operation Spring, 25 July 1944 – Phase 2 Daylight attack with tanks to capture FONTENAY LE MARMION

May-sur-Orne (left centre) on Highway D562A. Black Watch objective is the reverse slope of Verrières Ridge (lower left). MG 42 reported by Griffin shown at road junction, overlooks the intended Black Watch start line. 272 Division defences are approximate. Lt Peter Prein’s Mk IV HQ Troop (2 Pz Div) shown west of May’s church and cross-roads. The three Panzer Kampfgruppen counterattacks as shown, with times of attacks: 1. KG Sterz, 2nd Pz Div 2. KG Meter 9SS Pz Div, the Gepanzerte Gruppe (tank heavy) 3. KG Zollhofer 9SS Pz Div (infantry heavy). The gruppes’ mission was to “reestablish the forward battle area” (the original Cdn Start Line for Spring). They succeeded.

Infantry company Canadian armour

Panzer Grenadier Kampfgruppe Troop Panzer Mark IVs Panther Kampfgruppe Tiger I unit

II

ba alion

I

company / squadron troop German infantry company in defence German MG42 sited to fire along flank of the intended BW Start Line, as reported by Capt Duffield’s patrol

“Except for the Dieppe operation, there is no other instance in the Second World War where a Canadian battalion had so many casualties in a single day.” — CP Stacey

287

288

| Part IV – Maps

RHC column second position. II 1RHC

III 858 (-)

346

First section of RHC column arrives from South; Remainder of column arrives 30 minutes later.

I C

27th CAR

II A

1RHC

II 1RHC TAC HQ

Bourgtheroulde, 26 August 1944

Mitchell German A/Tk Gun

Part IV – Maps to Dunkirk

First Phase: 12 Sept 1944 Flooded

Initial attack, 9 Sept 44

I

Armbouts-Cappel

D

o

urb

o eB

al d

Canal

(Fox)

urg

I B

Can

(Charmichael) 14 H

SPYCKER Church and School

Recce (Nixon)

Canal Flooded

I

CAN

AL

C (Pinkham) Brickworks

II

te Colme Canal de la Hau

1RHC Tac HQ (Mitchell) Brouckerque

1

0 0

1

2 miles 2

3 kilometres

to Dunkirk

Second Phase: 1800 hours 12 Sept to 2000 hours 13 Sept 1944 Flooded

Armbouts-Cappel I

urg

rbo

Nixon

Canal

B -

ou

B l de

a

Can

SPYCKER I A

AL

I

CAN

1RHC Tac HQ (Mitchell) Brouckerque

Flooded

Relief Force

(Ewing)

II

Canal

Church and School

Brickworks

14 H

te Colme

C (Pinkham)

1

0 0

The Battle of Spycker, 12–13 September 1944

Canal de la Hau

1

2 miles 2

3 kilometres

|

289

290

| Part IV – Maps

13 October 1944 First Phase: 0615–1500 hours

Angus 3 Black Watch Objective Railroad Station west of Korteven, 1500 yards

Typhoon Air Strikes 1145 and 1440 hours

Flooded

Angus 2 I

Angus 1

FJR 6 (von der Heydte)

I C -

Flooded (Buch)

0815 hours

I

I B

C (Buch)

(Chapman)

0615 hours

0615 hours

Star

t Li ne II 1RHC Tac HQ

II

(Ritchie)

RRC

Calg Hghrs

0750 hours

re ry Fi atte ter-B urs Coun 0815 ho

Flooded

Woensdrecht

Mortar 0 0

Woensdrecht, 13 October 1944

500 yards 500 metres

1RHC

II

Part IV – Maps

|

291

13–14 October 1944 Second Phase: 1700 hours (13 Oct) to 0100 hours (14 Oct) (withdrawal ordered) Reinforcements to railway embankment/dyke

Flooded

Angus 2

Angus 1

I FJR 6 (von der Heydte)

C (25 men)

I D -

Flooded (Lewis)

I I

D flame

Second Attack 1700 Hours, 13 October

A

(Popham)

(Ewing) FGH FGH

I B -

17-pounder anti-tank guns

II 1RHC Tac HQ Calg Hghrs

(Ritchie) 0750 hours

Woensdrecht

Flooded

0 0

500 yards 500 metres

Woensdrecht, 13–14 October 1944

II

292

| Part IV – Maps

German strongpoint supported by a Stug III assault gun. Start line

I C (Pinkham) 1300 hours

I C -

I

1730 hours

D

I

A (Ewing)

I

B

II 1RHC Tac HQ (Ritchie) The Walcheren Causeway, 31 October 1944, 1300 to 1900 hours. C Coy 1 RHC advanced under fire to position shown. Withdrawal was then ordered to depth position behind craters in causeway.

German strongpoint supported by a Stug III assault gun. I

I (Jodoin)

C -

I A

Calg Hghrs (Ewing)

D

II

I B

II 1RHC Tac HQ (Ritchie) The Walcheren Causeway, 31 October 1944, 1930 hours to 1 November 1944, 0100 hours. Calgary

Highlanders conduct passage of lines and assume attack through Black Watch; 1 RHC conducts withdrawal.

Part IV – Maps

Rees

Bedburg Hau

X Reichswald

flooded

Moyland

5

Hönnepel

0

flooded

2

1

0

2

3 4

6

5 miles 8 kilometres

Calcar II

German Defences Anti-Tank Ditch

1RHC Kehrun

26 Feb

Niers

4

Wemmershof Mooshof Steeg Todtenhügel

Halvenboom Buchholt

GOCH

Hollen Bomshof

Marienbaum

Rhine Vynen Wardt

II

Keppeln

X Wickermanshof

Kirsel

1RHC

Üdem

27 Feb– 3 Mar

Hochwald

5 Röschhof

Lüttingen

Birkenkampshof

Stein Üdemerbruch

Siebengewald Kervenheim Weeze

WESEL

Xanten

Tüschen Wald Balberger Wald

II

flooded

Ginderich

1RHC 8–10 Mar

Sonsbeck

Veen

Winnenthal

Menzelen Rhine

Winnekendonk Niers Ne Ger th ma er n la y nd s

293

|

Metzekath

Wemb Kevelaer

Kapellen

Hamb

Bönninghardt

Alpen

Maa

Die Leucht Forest

Berendonk

Ossenberg

Rheinberg

s

Issum

The Rhineland, 8 February to 11 March 1944: Operation Blockbuster. 2nd Canadian Infantry Division and 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade. Areas of Black Watch Assault: Hochwald and Xanten.

APPENDIX A

1 RHC BATTLE HONOURS AND DECORATIONS SECOND WORLD WAR

COMMANDER OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE Brigadier KG Blackader DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER Brigadier KG Blackader Lieutenant Colonel RB Somerville Lieutenant Colonel SW Thomson Major EH Anderson Major EW Hudson Major R MacDuff Major CRH Porteous Major GA Ross OFFICER OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE Brigadier GP Henderson Colonel AT Howard Colonel HM Wallis Colonel JB Weir Lieutenant Colonel HET Doucet Lieutenant Colonel NLC Mather Lieutenant Colonel C Petch MEMBER OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE Brigadier GP Henderson Lieutenant Colonel JW Knox

295

296

| Appendix A Lieutenant Colonel WJC Stikeman Major HS Bogert Major JE Fox Major ND Lowe Major AO Mackay Major MJ McLeod Major JH Molson Captain RW Pilot RSM RNC Diplock RSM RA Dynes RSM CW Foam RSM TC Riley RSM A Sawer MILITARY CROSS Lieutenant Colonel SW Thomson Major RF Davey Major ES Duffield Major RJ Gelston Major CS MacLaren H/Captain JF Goforth H/Captain LF Wilmot Captain EE Chambers Lieutenant MG Berry Lieutenant RB Coates Lieutenant DW Mitchell Lieutenant SW Nichols Lieutenant AHL Stephen Lieutenant HR Tucker MEDAL OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE CQMS GR Hunter Sergeant KW Bishop Sergeant GA Brickwood Sergeant D Campbell Sergeant HH Heavysege Sergeant GC Henderson Sergeant D Lessard Sergeant J McBride Sergeant AM Thompson Sergeant EC White Lance Corporal DH Sudds DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL RSM AF Turnbull CSM WFL Frost Sergeant JG Tootle

Appendix A

|

MILITARY MEDAL Lieutenant JW Marsh CQMS RW Oxley Sergeant VE Blake Sergeant PVH Ciceri Sergeant RJA Delaney Sergeant RB McKinnel Sergeant AM Nelson Corporal AS Daoust Corporal AT Nicholls Lance Corporal JF Paterson Private F DeLutes Private FG LeBlanc

CSM JP Young Sergeant HG Bailey Sergeant SS Chandler Sergeant WF Clements Sergeant JP McInnes Sergeant DJ Murphy Lance Sergeant EJD Wellington Corporal JK Kelly Corporal RE Stacey Private A Astrof Private A Fromstein Private RD Meloche

OFFICER OF THE LEGION OF HONOUR (FRANCE) Brigadier KG Blackader

Lieutenant Colonel HTC Doucet

CROIX DE GUERRE (FRANCE) Brigadier KG Blackader Lieutenant Colonel HET Doucet Major DSF Bult–Francis Major AF Smith Captain CHE Askwith Captain GB Taylor

Lieutenant Colonel SST Cantlie Lieutenant Colonel RB Somerville Major AL MacLaurin Major HJ Snodgrass Captain CL Stuart CSM NW Price

CHEVALIER OF THE ORDER OF LEOPOLD II (BELGIUM) Captain NG Ashly

Captain GB Taylor

CROIX DE GUERRE (BELGIUM) Captain NG Ashly

CSM LC Vincent

Captain GB Taylor

SILVER STAR (UNITED STATES) Private RB Aitken

Private CA Bowman

COMMANDER OF THE ORANGE ORDER OF NASSAU, WITH SWORDS (NETHERLANDS) Brigadier SE Griffin KNIGHT OFFICER OF THE ORDER OF ORANGE NASSAU, WITH SWORDS (NETHERLANDS) Captain SE Griffin

Captain AR Hanna

297

298

| Appendix A KNIGHT 1ST CLASS ORDER OF THE HOUSE OF ORANGE (NETHERLANDS) Lieutenant TR Tessier BRONZE LION (NETHERLANDS) Captain AR Hanna Captain BS Lewis Lieutenant WH Sparrow BRONZE CROSS (NETHERLANDS) RQMS RS Thurman Sergeant HJ Caldwell Sergeant W Clark Lance Corporal LP Rundvall Private RF Growe ORDER OF THE WHITE LION, 2ND CLASS (CZECHOSLOVAKIA) Captain JD Gibson MILITARY CROSS 3RD CLASS (GREECE) BQMS CT Craig MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES Officers, Other Ranks,

30 45

COMMANDER–IN–CHIEF’S CERTIFICATE Officers, Other Ranks,

3 7

APPENDIX B

1 RHC COMMAND STRUCTURE: OPERATIONS, SECOND WORLD WAR JULY 1944 – MAY 1945 Position

18–21 Jul

25 Jul

5 Aug

26 Aug

12–13 Sep

9–10 Oct

13–14 Oct

31 Oct– 1 Nov

Jan 1945

Feb 1945

Mar 1945

Apr 1945

CO

Cantlie / Griffin

Cantlie

Mitchell

Mitchell

Mitchell

Ritchie

Ritchie

Ritchie

Ritchie

Ritchie

Motzfeldt

Thomson / Traversy

2 i/c

Mitchell

Mitchell

Ritchie

Ritchie

Ritchie

Stevenson

Stevenson

Stevenson

Stevenson

Motzfeldt

MacDuff

Traversy / MacLaren

ADJ

Stuart

Stuart

Law

Law

Law

Law

Law

Law

Duffield

Duffield

Duffield

Griffin

A COY

Griffin

Louson

Anyon

Ewing

Ewing

Ewing

Ewing

Ewing

MacLaren

MacLaren

Traversy

Duffield

B COY

Motzfeldt

Sgt Foam

Bennett

Carmichael

Carmichael

Slater / Chapman

Chapman

MacDuff

MacDuff

MacDuff / Davey

Davey

Davey / Price

C COY

Stevenson

Taylor

Pinkham

Pinkham

Pinkham

Pinkham

Pinkham

Pinkham

Pinkham

Pinkham

Taylor

Baillie / Menzies

D COY

Fraser

Kemp

Fox

Fox

Fox / Popham

Popham

Popham

Hudson

Hudson

Hudson

MacLaren/ Lewis

Lewis

SPT Coy

Traversy

Bennett

Menzies

Menzies

Menzies

Menzies

Menzies

Menzies

Menzies

Menzies

Menzies

Menzies

Scouts

Duffield

Benson

Benson

Nixon

Nixon

Nixon

Nixon

Nixon

Davey

Guam

Guam

Guam / Westwood / Roberts

Mortars

Neil

Tessier

Tessier

Tessier

Tessier

Tessier

Tessier

Tessier

Tessier

Tessier

Tessier

Roberts

A/TK

Magill

Magill

Baillie

Baillie

Baillie

Baillie

Baillie

Freeston

Freeston

Freeston

Freeston

Larkin

Pioneers

Buch

Buch

Smith

Smith

Smith

Smith

Smith

Smith

Smith

Smith

Smith

Smith

Carriers

Bennett

Neill

Orr

Orr

Orr

Bertrand

Bertrand

Bertrand

Bertrand

Bertrand

Bertrand

Bartlett / Sparrow

MD

Ohlke

Share

Share

Share

Share

Share

Share

Share

Share

Share

Share

Share

Padre

Berlis

Royle

Royle

Royle

Royle

Royle

Royle

Royle

Reoch

Reoch

Reoch

Reoch

299

APPENDIX C

The Canadian Army in Normandy

300

Appendix C

|

301

1 RHC BATTALION ORGANIZATION – AS AT ARRIVAL NORMANDY JULY 19441 Battalion Headquarters CO: Lt Col SST Cantlie 2 i/c: Maj FM Mitchell Adj: Captain CL Stuart RSM: WOI AF Leitch BHQ (50 all ranks: 5 offrs + 45 men): Orderly Room; Int Section: Capt SE Griffin (to 23 July); Medical Section: Dr Capt RF Ohlke (RCAMC); Dental: Capt HR Brown (CDC); Padre: H/Capt RJ Berlis (CCS); to 17 July, then H/Capt EC Royle); Regimental Police, and a Provost Section (attached). Scout and Sniper Platoon (21+: 1+ 20 to 30 Scouts and Snipers) – A/Capt ES Duffield, Sgt BA Benson (part of BHQ total; did not deploy as PL; Snipers/ Scouts attached to Companies as required) Headquarters Company (99: 5+94): Coy HQ (1+5); #1 (Signal) Platoon (1+35), Lt DC Menzies; #2 (Administration) Platoon (3+53), Regimental Quarter Master (RQM) Capt J Duchastel; Paymaster Capt GA Demers (RCAPAC) Support Company (192: 7+185) includes Mortar, Carrier, Anti–Tank and Pioneer Platoons.OC, Capt VE Traversy; CSM2, JP Young (Coy HQ 1+8, including CQMS) with 4 platoons; Lt RA Horwood #3 (Mortar) Platoon Lt JK Neil 1+42 all ranks 6 x 3" Mortars (with 7 Bren Carriers)

#4 (Carrier) Platoon Capt ER Bennett 2+61 all ranks (with 13 Bren Carriers)

#5 (Anti–Tank) Platoon Capt WA Magill 2+53 all ranks 6 x 6pdr A/Tk Guns (with 7 Bren Carriers)

#6 (Assault Pioneer) Platoon Lt NEGH Buch 1+21 Pioneers (all ranks)

4 Rifle Companies (total: 508 all ranks) A Company OC: Maj FP Griffin 2 i/c Capt IH Louson CSM AF Turnbull CQMS Sgt F Bleasdale

B Company OC: Maj E Motzfeldt 2 i/c Capt AL MacLaurin CSM JR Jackson CQMS Sgt JCD Hunter

C Company OC: Maj AG Stevenson 2 i/c: Capt JPW Taylor CSM CW Bolton CQMS Sgt HEW Pullen

D Company OC: Maj GC Fraser 2 i/c: Capt JPG Kemp CSM JE MacDougall CQMS Sgt RP Murray

3x Rifle Platoons #7 PL Lt ARW Robinson #8 Pl Lt TK Dorrance #9 Pl Lt JE Martin

3x Rifle Platoons #10 Pl Lt RE Austin #11 Pl Lt JL McLennan #12 Pl 2/Lt RG MacKay

3x Rifle Platoons #13 Pl Lt JDP Noad #14 Pl Lt WM Wood #15 Pl Lt GS Cooke

3x Rifle Platoons #16 Pl Lt RE Tessier #17 Pl Lt EG Notebaert #18 Pl Unknown

Rifle Company (each, 127 all ranks) Coy HQ with Maj, Capt 2 i/c, CSM, CQMS, 3x PIAT Anti–Tank Teams (distributed); Radios, Clerks. [See: Apx Diagram 1 RHC; and, RHC Infantry Company 1944] 3x Rifle Platoons: each Rifle Platoon 37 all ranks: • 3x Rifle Sections (each, 10 all ranks ): (Corporal, 7 Riflemen, Bren Gun Team) and, • Pl HQ (7 all ranks): Lieutenant, Platoon Sergeant, L/Corporal, PIAT Team; 2" Mortar Team (provide smoke) A and B Echelon: Regimental Support (part of BHQ) Rear HQ (2 i/c) Capt HR Brown; Paymaster: Capt GA Demers; Quartermaster Stores: Capt J Duchastel; RQMS WO2 TW Tweedsdale (Bn QM Sergeants RH Law, HS Robertson); Transport Section: A/Capt RA McNab; Regimental Police; Pipes and Drums.3 Total (establishment) Strength of 1 RHC was 849 all ranks (37 officers and 812 men) – “working strength” was about 800.

302

| Appendix C

Appendix C

|

303

APPENDIX D

1 RHC BLACK WATCH as at 25 July 1944, Normandy

1st Bn RHC, Verrières Ridge – reorganized as at 0930 hrs, 25 July 19444 1 RHC effective strength at midnight 24 July was 714. The securing of St–Martin cost the BW another three officers and 15 ORs. The main battalion attack, essentially the four Rifle Companies, numbered about 380 Highlanders. † denotes killed in action; ‡ donotes wounded in action. RHQ5 CO: Major FP Griffin† 2 i/c: Major FM Mitchell (LOB, Rear HQ) Adj: Captain CL Stuart‡ RSM: WOI AF Leitch HQ Company: A/Major AL MacLaurin‡ Scout and Sniper Platoon: Sgt Benson (with IO, A/Capt Duffield‡ during initial phase of Spring) #3 (Mortar) Pl Sgt GR Hunter

Support Company: Captain R Bennett†; CSM JP Young #4 (Carrier) Pl #5 (Anti–Tank) Pl Lt EJ Neill† (A/Capt WA Magill‡)6

#6 (Assault Pioneer) Pl Lt NEGH Buch‡

A Company OC: Capt IH Louson‡ 2 i/c‡ CSM AF Turnbull

B Company OC: Sgt V Foam† 2 i/c‡ CSM‡

C Company OC: Capt JPW Taylor‡7 2 i/c A/Capt RA McNab‡ CSM CW Bolton‡

D Company OC: Capt JPG Kemp‡ 2 i/c Lt GS McInnes CSM JE MacDougall

Rifle Platoons8 7 PL Lt GS Robinson† 8 Pl Lt ARW Cooke† 9 Pl Lt TK Dorrance†

Rifle Platoons 10 Pl Lt AHM Carmichael‡ 11 Pl Lt JL McLennan‡9 12 Pl Lt CW McCaw‡

Rifle Platoons 13 Pl Lt JE Martin‡ 14 Pl Lt WM Wood‡ 15 Pl Lt RA Horwood‡

Rifle Platoons 16 Pl Unknown 17 Pl Lt EG Notebaert† 18 Pl Lt RE Tessier†

304

Appendix D

| 305

1 RHC at H Hour 25 July 1944

II RHC 11 RHC

Lt Col SST Cantlie

Capt C Stuart Adj, HQ Pl

asasat Jul4444 at 25 25 Jul

RSM A Leitch

I Support Company Capt Traversy Capt Traversy

A

I Scout Pl Maj Griffin

CaptDuffield Duffield/ / Capt Sgt Benson Sgt Benson

Maj Griffin

B

I Anti–Tank Pl Maj Motzfeldt

LtLtBourne Bourne

Maj Motzfeldt

C

I Carrier PL A/Maj Taylor

Capt Bennett Capt Bennett

A/Maj Taylor

D

Bn NCOs RSM Leitch

I Mortar Pl

A/Maj A/Maj Kemp

Lt Orr Lt Orr

Kemp

Pioneer Pl LtLtEG Buch EG Buch

RQMS Tweedsdale

CSM Bolton CSM Jackson CSM Murray CSM Price CSM MacDougall CSM Young SGT Benson

APPENDIX E

Battle Casualties and Fire Plan

Black Watch attack endured three stages of enemy fire: during the approach; at the top of the ridge; and then through the final assault against Fontenay. May–sur–Orne (left center) astride D562A. Y Junction road which was intended Start Line clearly seen. Shape of fields/crops (right) corresponds to the contours and upper plateau of Verrières Ridge. Heaviest casualties occurred at top plateau: 68%

306

Appendix E

|

307

OFFICER CASUALTIES 1 RHC BLACK WATCH AFTER VERRIÈRES RIDGE BATTLES

4th Row: Lieut TK Dorrance (KIA), Lieut RA Horwood (WIA), Lieut GS Cooke (KIA), Lieut SE Griffin, Lieut WA Magill (WIA), Lieut JL McLennan, Lieut ARW Robinson (KIA), Lieut JDP Noad. 3rd Row: Lieut RE Tessier, Lieut RE Austin (DOW), Super BJ O’Callaghan, Lieut RA McNab (KIA), Lieut CW McCaw (WIA), Lieut HF Pedlar (KIA), Lieut DA Law (WIA), Lieut DC Menzies (WIA), Capt EV Pinkham, Lieut JK Neil (WIA), Lieut EJ Neill (DOW), Lieut ES Duffield (WIA). 2nd Row: Lieut NEGH Buch (WIA), Capt JE Fox (DOW), Capt GA Demers, Capt JPG Kemp (WIA, captured, and released), Capt ER Bennett (KIA), H/Capt RJ Berlis (WIA), Capt D Cowans, Capt JLK Duchastel de Montrouge, Capt IH Louson (WIA x 2), Capt RF Ohlke, Capt AHM Carmichael (WIA x 2). 1st Row: Capt JPW Taylor (WIA), Maj E Motzfeldt (WIA x 2), Maj AG Sevenson (WIA), Maj FM Mitchell, Lt Col SST Cantlie (DOW), Capt CL Stuart (WIA), Maj FP Griffin (KIA), Maj GC Fraser (DOW), Capt VE Traversy (WIA). KIA: killed in action; WIA: wounded in action; DOW: died of wounds

APPENDIX F

OPERATION SPRING TRACE / REFERENCE MAP MOVEMENT 1 RHC, 25 JULY 44

RG24 20275 Operation Spring, Captain TM Hunter, “Notes on the Movement of RHC at May–sur–Orne, France, 25 July 1944,” 12 November 1945. See also: Operation “Spring” 25 July 1944 written by Captain J Swettenham, CMHQ.

308

APPENDIX G

MOTZFELDT REPORT

The Motzfeldt Report: Report on Battle of St–André and May–sur–Orne 25 Jul 1944. “Report on St– André’s battle as promised by me to Colonel Stacey … [included] the Brigade Commander’s report and map of the area … This report is furnished in chronological sequence and is based on the memories of Major (now Lt Col) E Motzfeldt (B Coy Comd), Captain (now Major) JPW Taylor (C Coy Comd), Captain (now Major) JPG Kemp (D Coy Comd), Captain Campbell Stuart (Adjt), and Lieutenant (now Major MC) ES Duffield (I Offr) all 1st Bn The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada.” Report submitted by Lt Col E Motzfeldt to DND 12 Dec 1945, staffed by Lt Col GFG Stanley, reviewed by Col CP Stacey 18 Dec 1945. Prepared in Montreal Queen Mary Veterans Hospital where all were recuperating. Vetted by Brigadier Kenneth Blackader. Listed as “Black Watch Report” by Stacey, hereafter, Motzfeldt Report. This report, according to Major John Kemp, “holds all the necessary information about what really happened” – but he declined further elaboration. Interview RJJ/Kemp, Montreal, November 1989. Stuart: written statement, CL Stuart/RJJ, 28 May 1990. The Report was divided into three parts: 1. General; 2. Brigade Plan; 3. Narrative. The Brigade Plan section noted “a complicated and extensive fire plan composed of numerous concs” [see Appendix: Spring Fire Plan]. Timing was “based on timed programme which was fired up to include H Hr. BUT [emphasis in original] thereafter provisional on success of Phase II, eg Calg Highrs expected to report success at a certain time which would enable 1 RHC to cross SL at H+? (0500 or 0530 hrs). Orders for 1 RHC attack based on this timing but contingent on success of Calg Highrs.” The Narrative was careful to point out key points (para 4) “Maj Griffin, appreciating that the SL was not clear and that St Martin was still strongly held by the enemy, decided to clear St Martin and consolidate in that town temporarily”; (8) “… Maj Griffin repeatedly received orders by wireless from Bde that in spite of the SL NOT being secure, 1 RHC MUST proceed with Phase III” [emphasis in original]; (9) “… Arty sp consisting of a series of concs was arranged”; (11) 0910 hrs Bn moved off and reached SL at 0925 to find Arty sp had NOT materialized and tks had NOT arrived” [emphasis in original]. Major JPG Kemp was requested to send his comments directly to Colonel Stacey but delayed and instead contributed to Motzfeldt Report – see Stanley comment, Para 2 Black Watch Report 18 Dec 1945. Interestingly, Kemp submitted a subsequent personal report after the Motzfeldt Report was submitted (which he signed). See BWA.

309

310

|

Appendix G

Appendix G

|

311

312

|

Appendix G

Appendix G

|

313

314

|

Appendix G

Appendix G

|

315

316

| Appendix G

Notes to Appendices

1. Includes Officer Reinforcements and Changes in appointments circa 19–23 July 44. 2. Company Sergeant Major, responsible for Administration and Discipline; CQMS: Company Quarter Master Sergeant. The attached (1942 onwards) Provost Section numbered sixteen soldiers (from 2 Coy, CProC, 2 CID). 3. Officers arriving as reinforcements July 1944: Capts TD Anyon, AL MacLaurin, AJ Powers, Lts JN Bagnall, GC Bourne, W Brown, FG Callaghan, DH Chapman, JE Fox, NA Gropp, EA Harman, RE Havill, HL Howison, JV Koester, DA Law, AJH Leek, PH Mackenzie, JE Martin, GP Miller, EC Notebaert, JI Orr, JE Pope, ED Price, WJ Shea, WM Wood, RD Yuile, and H Ziffle. 4. 1 RHC landed in France: 845 all ranks. 6–8 July – 24 July. Pt 2 Orders: 248 all ranks were struck off strength, while during the same period 119 all ranks taken on strength. Offrs CAS 18 July–23 July: KIA: Lt RE Austin, Lt TK Dorrance; Major GC Fraser. WIA: Lt AHM Carmichael; Lt RA Horwood; A/Capt WA Magill; Lt CW McCaw; Lt DC Menzies, Lt JDP Noad, Lt JK Neil (WIA/PW); Capt VE Traversy, Major AG Stevenson. WO M Cher study, based on Pt II Orders, July 1944. 5. Blank positions reflect CAS taken 0001–0930 25 July. Double cross (‡) denotes Casualty (MIA, DOW or PW); cross (†) denote KIA. BHQ: (Lt Colonel SST Cantlie‡, DOW); Int Offr: A/Capt ES Duffield ‡ (replaced Capt SE Griffin 23 July; Duffield in turn replaced by Lt PH Mackenzie ‡, 25 July); Medical: Capt M. Share (replaced Capt Ohlke 24 July); #1 Signals Platoon: Lt HF Pedlar ‡; Padre: H/Capt EC Royle. HQ Coy: A/Major AL MacLaurin ‡; #2 Admin Platoon; BN HQ: 2 i/c Major Mitchell with LOB (RHQ Ech, Ifs): Major TD Anyon, Capt D Cowans, Capt EV Pinkham, Lt DA Law (Adj, 26 July). Bennett, Anyon killed in August assault. 6. A/Capt WA Magill , Lt AHM Carmichael, and Lt CW McCaw wounded before H Hr 25 July; Assault Pioneer Pl, brought fwd by Lt NEGH Buch to help Rear Guard, took cas during Spring, including Lt Buch. 7. Circa July 20–23, Taylor replaced Stevenson; Bennett replaced Traversy; Kemp replaced Fraser KIA 21 July. 8. 1 RHC Platoon Leaders listed were present at Ops Atlantic / Spring but specific Pl affiliations are estimations. 9. B Company (Motzfeldt) quickly lost its officers. Sergeant Foam may not have been designated OC B during Griffin’s O Group but he assumed command after 1 RHC began the advance, probably just past the Factory.

317

318

Index to Volume II

Numbers in italics refer to photos or maps. The ranks given for individuals are the highest they were known to have held within the timeframe of this book.

Abbott, Douglas Charles, Liberal Minister of Defence 1945–46, 133, 207 Abbott, Tommy, 253 aboriginal peoples. See First Nations Peoples Académie Querbes (Quebec), 68 ack-ack formation, 104, 141 Africa, 36; North Africa, 41, 65, 71, 79. See also specific countries air forces: Canada (Royal Canadian Air Force), 12, 23, 41, 117; Germany (Luftwaffe), 13–14, 41, 65, 153, 154, 170, 180; United Kingdom (Royal Air Force), 15, 24, 36, 49, 71, 125, 146, 166; Montreal contributions, 23. Aldershot (UK), 27, 28, 39, 203. See also Camp Aldershot (UK) Alexander, Gen Sir Harold, Field Marshal Viscount, Earl Alexander of Tunis, Governor General 1946–52, 43 Allan, Col Sir Montagu, 25, 259 Allen, Ralph, 126 Allied Regiment. See Imperial Black Watch Ambrose, Stephen: quoted as epigraph, 50 ambulances and ambulance units: Régiment de Maisonneuve bearer section, 120; 18 Field Ambulance, 148, 172–73; Battle of Spycker jeeps, 158 Amsterdam (Holland), 201, 206, 207 Anderson, Sgt Jack, 106 Angus, Forbes, 21–22 Annett, Corporal, 73

Anyon, Major Thomas Doherty, 90, 141, 179, 270; biographical description, 137–38; death, 142, 143 armoury (17th Duke of York’s Hussars) (Quebec), 249 armoury (BW) (Bleury Street) (Quebec), 5, 6, 17, 247; operations past spatial capacity, 7; training, including Cadets, 8, 20; examination completions on floor, 9; proximity to Montreal Jewish neighbourhood, 16; appointments conference location, 18; reorganization ceremony, 21; drills, 22; flying of Saltire, 22; trams, 31; hockey, 98; officers’ mess, 98; 1945 meeting, 208 Army Group Royal Artillery (AGRA) (artillery formation), 75, 98 Ashbury College School (Ontario), 42–43, 138 Auld Lang Syne (song), 187, 188 Austin, Lt RE, 73 Australia, 41, 144, 208 Auxiliary Territorial Army (UK), 153 awards and honours, 22, 42, 70, 150, 191, 254; Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), 5, 33, 78–79, 258; Military Cross (MC), 5, 8, 12, 13, 19, 29, 30, 50–51, 58, 101, 109, 113–14, 121, 127, 131, 141, 160, 190, 196, 199, 202–03, 206, 245, 255, 259, 263; Order of the British Empire (OBE), 5, 43, 32–33, 35, 245, 251, 252; First World War honours (general), 8, 58, 209; 13th Battalion First World War battle honour, 8; Victoria Cross (VC), 11, 17–18, 69, 130–31; Efficiency Trophy, 29; Mentioned in Despatches (MID), 30–35 passim, 39, 51, 120,

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131, 138, 183, 190, 200, 202; Croix de Guerre, 33, 51, 120, 251; Distinguished Service Order (DSO), 33, 131, 200–06 passim, 245, 251, 259, 260, 263, 271, 275; Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), 35, 150, 194, 195, 207; Monte la Difensa capture, 38; Lieutenant Governor’s Medal (Bishop’s College School) (Quebec), 42–43; Molson Scholarship (Bishop’s College School), 42–43; Military Medal (MM), 51, 58, 121, 157, 183, 192, 195–96, 271; Army championship (hockey), 52; Efficiency Decoration, 56; Sword of Honour (cadet achievement) (Royal Military College Sandhurst), 66; 2nd Canadian Corps Championship (hockey), 114; Commonwealth Games silver medal (wrestling), 121; Grand Aggregate Medal (rifle competition), 144; Kolhapur Cup (rifle competition), 144; Lord Dewar International Match (rifle competition), 144; Rajah of Kolhapur Imperial Challenge Trophy (rifle competition), 144; Wimbledon Trophy (rifle competition), 144; Operation Spring gallantry recommendations (general), 150, 191–92; failure to reward Nixon, 157, 272; Allan Cup (hockey), 259; Stanley Cup (hockey), 259; bagpipes. See pipes and drums Baillie, Capt/Major John Fraser, 197, 202, 203, 204 balls: St Andrew’s Ball, 7, 52 balmorals, including blue balmorals, 22–23, 139, 156, 174; as anachronisms, 10; similarity to tam o’ shanter, 10; replacements for glengarries, 10; Edinburgh military tailors, 43; Motzfeldt on stroll, 76, 77–78. See also green coatees; Red Hackles bands, 200; proposed elimination within regiments, 11; funeral of John Buchan, 12; 1942 Hyde Park Corps’ concert, 52; Calgary Highlanders, 180; Canadian Army massed band Holland tour, 206; aboard Queen Elizabeth, 207. See also pipes and drums Barclay, Private James, 51 Barott, Lt Temple Murray, 42–43, 44, 45–46 Bates, Capt AP, 255 battlecruisers: Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, 20. See also boats and ships Battle Group Sterz (9th SS Hohenstaufen), 106 battleships: Orion (battleship), 12; Tirpitz, 20. See boats and ships Battles and Campaigns, First World War; Gravenstafel Ridge, 71–72; Hill 70 (France), 35; Hundred Days, 14, 29, 78–79, 133, 140, 152, 199; Amiens, 29, 152; Cambrai, including Tilloy Hill, 71–72, 133; Canal du Nord, 30, 79; Mount Sorrel (battle) (1916), 79; Observatory Ridge, 71–72; Somme, 19, 131, 175; Battle of the Scheldt compared, 199; Regina Trench, 71–72, 108, 133; Vimy Ridge, Battle of (1917) (France), 71–72; status in Canadian military history, 62, 126; strategy, 81; Operation Spring compared, 81, 82;

Battle of the Scheldt compared, 199; Ypres: first battle honour, 8; 13th Battalion, 8, 106; specific veterans, 78–79; long-term effect, 133; Verrières compared, 199. See also First World War BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS, SECOND WORLD WAR; Aleutian Islands, invasion of Kiska, 38, 252; Battle of Britain, including Blitz (1940): 13–15 passim, 35–36, 79; Battle of the Atlantic (1939–45), 20; Coral Sea (1942), 41; Midway (1942), 41; BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS, DIEPPE, OPERATION JUBILEE, 27, 138, 257; landing, 27, 40, 41; relationship to Operation Overlord (Normandy Campaign), 41; Hitler’s description, 41; German strength and positions, 42; Mortar Platoon, 42, 43, 46–49; Puys Beach, 42, 44–46 passim, 48, 257–58, 377; mission description, 42–43; grenade incident, 43–44; Edward Force (assault wave), 44–46, 48; C Company (BW rifle company), 44–46, 48; Red Beach, 46, 47, 257; Royal Canadian Engineers, 46, 48; beaches description, 48; Fusiliers Mont-Royal, 48; casualties, 50, 132, 257; effect on training, 51–52; victory parade, 152–53; appraisal of Megill’s performance, 161; attack force composition, 209; US BW participation, 209; Churchill Mk I–III tanks, including ‘Cougar’, 42, 46, 48, 49, 256–57 BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS, ITALY AND THE MEDITERRANEAN; Anzio, 38; Coriano Ridge (Italy) (1944), 33; Dragoon (Operation), 39; Gothic Line, 33, 203; Monte la Difensa, 38; Monte Marrone, 33; Monte San Marco, 203; Montecchio, 33; Ortona, 203; Rapido River, 38; Rimini Line, 33; Rome, 38–39; Savio River, 38. See also Italy; BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS, NORMANDY, OVERLORD (OPERATION), 27, 41, 57, 68, 93; BW Normandy landing, 26–27, 62; 3rd Canadian Infantry Division as D Day brigade, 30; D Day, 36, 37, 109, 136, 150, 164, 254, 259; Carpiquet airport attack, 36–37; failure to realize D Day objectives, 37; Tilly-la-Campagne, 37; relationship to Operation Jubilee (Dieppe), 41; Stuart Cantlie’s emergence as leader, 56–57, 66–67; planning, 57, 70–71; beach head securement, 59; relationship to Germany and Holland invasions, 62; battalion structure, 62–64, 66–70; general weaponry and supplies, 64–65; BW obedience, 70; 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade fatalities, 132; 272nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division, including entrainment, 84–85; ATLANTIC (OPERATION), 61, 82; casualties, 66, 76, 77–79 passim, 84–85; Verrières Ridge as objective, 71; Order of Battle and counterattack plan, 72, 74–75; German mortar fire, 72–74, 76–78 passim; 1st Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler and 272nd Wehrmacht

Index Infantry Division counterattacks, 72–75 passim, 84–87, 284; relationship to Operation Goodwood failure, 74–75; isolation on Verrières Ridge, 76; abandonment and conclusion, 77; weather conditions, 78; Régiment de Maisonneuve removal, 122; map, 284; BOURGTHEROULDE, 148–50, 159, 191; BURON, 37; CAEN, 37, 120; foiled attempt to threaten capture, 36; failure at early capture, 37; location relative to Verrières Ridge, 61, 71; location relative to Franqueville, 66; race track, 72; location relative to Ifs, 73; road/ rail junction connecting to Fontenay-le-Marmion, 76; Montgomery in, 80; sector as part of Rommel’s strategy, 80, 81; battleground south, 80; enemy breakthrough attempt south, 126; eastern resettlement of Schack’s forces, 140; distance to Rhine, 152; 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 205; Caen–Verrières Ridge area in Operation Spring, 262; highway D562A, 263; Orne River Canal, 272; CARPIQUET, 36–37; COBRA (OPERATION), 80, 83, 139; D-DAY (6 JUNE 1944), 37, 71, 109, 136, 150, 164, 254, 259; 3rd Canadian Infantry Division as D Day brigade, 30; failure to realize objectives, 37; relationship to Operation Jubilee (Dieppe), 41; beach head securement, 59; 21st Army Group, including American First Army and the British Second Army, 79; participation of Blackader, 146; 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, 332; EPSOM (OPERATION), 70; FALAISE, 58, 71, 82, 192, 259; proximity to Verrières Ridge, 71, 73; strategic importance, 81; battles near, 126; closing of Falaise Gap, 132, 146, 147, 192; GOODWOOD (OPERATION), 70, 71, 74, 79–82 passim.; HILL 112, under German control, 66, 76; geographical description and location, 71, 76; obstruction of observation from, 84, 106–07; German attack from, 138; HILL 67, 105; held by Calgary Highlanders, 74; confusion with second Hill 67, 76; defence during Verrières Ridge, 76; trenches, 77, 105; headquarters behind, 94; located by W.M. Wood, 105; digging-in during Verrières Ridge attack, 106–07; German attempt to take, 122; BW move north behind, 123; 9th SS Panthers momentarily reaching, 125; veterans’ return (2001), 596; MAY-SUR-ORNE: OPERATION SPRING, planning, 81, 82–83, 97; 2nd (Vienna) Panzer Division securement, 85; north-south road blockage, 86; German occupation of woods to south, 86; German battalion opponents, 87; battle-groups proximity to, 87; importance as tactical function, 87; march towards and occupation, 89, 97; check-line, 91; confusion with St-Martin, 91, 92–93; need for confirming recce, 92; Duffield’s patrol, 93–94, 268; German concealment, 93, 94; connecting road to Fleury-sur-Orne, 94; incorrect belief had been taken, 95, 97, 99, 110–11; failure to use for cover, 96; and fire plan, 98; German control, 99, 111; BW directed towards, 100; Verrières Ridge attack,

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102; approach towards east end, 104, 105; smoke obstruction, 106–07; B Squadron (1st Hussars), 108–10; sole tactical success, 110–13; proximity to final German counterattack, 116; German final mopping-up, 117; bypassed, 118, 128; Régiment de Maisonneuve counterattack, 122–23; as Calgary Highlanders’ original objective, 124; general description of German attack and locations, 125; in Motzfeldt Report, 127–29; in Kemp report, 128; 272nd Division withdrawal, 140; Leibstandarte assumption of 272nd defences, 140; 5 August 1944 attack, 140–42, 270; analysis second-attack failure, 142–43; effect of failure on Douglas Cowans, 143–44; Mitchell’s performance appraised, 159; attack compared to Operation Angus, 169; 9 August 1944, 270. See also Motzfeldt Report; Route D562; ROCQUANCOURT, 81, 122; SAINT-Lô, 80, 83, 111; SPRING (OPERATION): casualties, including wounded, and fatalities percentage, 24, 104, 105, 108–10 passim, 113–123 passim, 126, 129, 132–33, 137, 138, 142, 144, 147, 168, 173, 175, 189, 190, 193, 201, 264, 268, 270; North Nova Scotia Highlanders, 37, 85–86; Caen location, 61, 66, 71; assault result and contemporary reputation, 61–62; Third Battle of Verrières Ridge, 62, 140–42, 148; Mortar Platoon (BW), 63, 89–90, 94, 103; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) St-André-sur-Orne occupation, 74, 76, 82, 125; 1st Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler preparations, 76, 84–86, 126; 2nd Canadian Infantry, 76, 81, 84, 95; Tilly-la-Campagne, 76, 85–86, 124; start of second battle, 79–80; battleground south, 80; Battle of Vimy Ridge compared, 81, 82; as first allCanadian offensive, 81; contributors and organizational structure, including number of participants, 81, 102, 103; preparations, 81–84 passim, 86, 88–89, 97–99 passim, 104, 262; Blitzkrieg compared, 82; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) shifted to Megill’s command, 82; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) assigned to secure Start Line, 82; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) planned Start Line securement, 82–84 passim; Start Line location and route, 82–84 passim, 92, 98, 99, 103, 111; Calgary Highlanders second phase planned Start Line securement, 83, 84; planned rolling barrage, 83; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) cast out of St-Martin-deFontenay, 84; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) St-André securement failure, 84, 88, 125; German defences, 85; 2nd (Vienna) Panzer Division securement, 85; Canadian Intelligence information failures, 86, 87; German occupation south of May-sur-Orne, 86; Grenadier Regiments block of march, 86; north-south road blockage, 86; Route D562, 86, 94, 106–07, 141; battle-groups proximity to May-sur-Orne, 87; Factory, 87, 91, 96, 99, 103, 105, 109, 111, 112, 263, 266–67, 268; May-sur-Orne as tactical function, 87; Start Line,

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87, 106, 132, 268; 10th SS reinforcements, 87; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) Start Line securement failure Start Line, 88; German mortar fire, 88, 90, 104–07 passim, 112, 115, 119, 122, 128, 139, 141, 142; Régiment de Maisonneuve proposed to secure Start Line, 88; Calgary Highlanders’ Start Line securement failure, 88–92 passim, 95; May-sur-Orne march and occupation, 89, 97; start, 89; Carrier Platoon, 89, 92, 101–02; Cameron Highlanders of Canada bypassing of St-Martin, 90; Cameron Highlanders of Canada consequences of St-Martin securement failure, 90; D Company (BW rifle company) as advance guard, 90; loss of A and B Company commanders, 90; St-Martin deployment locations, 90, 94; St-Martin securement failure, 90, 93, 95, 97, 101; Toronto Scottish Regiment, 90; confusion with St-Martin, 91, 92–93; ‘friendly fire’, 91, 95; May-sur-Orne check-line, 91; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) location in St-André-surOrne, 92; need for confirming recce, 92; German concealment, 93, 94; Duffield’s patrol, 93–94, 268; German attack at Start Line, 93–94; connecting road to Fleury-sur-Orne, 94; incorrect belief May-sur-Orne taken, 95, 97, 99, 110–11; planning, 95–96; failure to use May-sur-Orne for cover, 96; Calgary Highlanders located, 97; 1 RHC and B Squadron (1st Hussars) proposed securement, 97, 98, 103; Sherman tanks at Factory, 97, 102, 104; fire plan, 98; German control of May-sur-Orne, 99, 111; directed towards May-sur-Orne, 100; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) disappointing BW liaison, 101; disorganization prior to Start Line approach, 101; Carrier Platoon in St-Martin, 101–02; start of attack, 101–02; approach towards May-surOrne east end, 104, 105; C Company (BW rifle company) approach to May-sur-Orne, 104–05; Victor Foam’s assumption of B Company (BW rifle company) command, 105, 268; deaths of McCaw and McLennan, 105–06; German camouflage, 106, 109, 115; smoke obstruction, 106–07; house location between May-sur-Orne and St-Martin, 109; retirement to green line, 109; Factory withdrawal of Hussar tanks, 110; 9th SS counterattacks, 110, 111, 115, 116, 119–20, 122; 1st SS tactical success, 110–12; sole tactical success, 110–13; German counterattack, 111; May-sur-Orne as original objective, and subsequent attack, 111, 124; Start Line departure, 111; 272nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division counterattack, 111, 123, 126, 140, 284; 2nd Grenadier Regiment counterattack, 111–12, 119; May-sur-Orne proximity to final German counterattack, 116; original Start Line restoration, 116; German final mopping-up, 117; Sterz’s movement towards Factory, 117; Edwin Bennett’s arrival at Factory, 118; May-sur-Orne

bypassed, 118, 128; rearguard defence, 118, 119, 307; 2nd Panzer Division loss of power, 119; Ellis’s assumption of leadership, 120, 123; fallback to crossroads, 120; field dressing station, 120; need to create defensive perimeter, 120; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) movement to wedge from North, 121; ‘Shell Alley’ liaison with Muncie, 121; Panther assault (tank), 122; Maysur-Orne counterattack, 122–23; Cameron Highlanders (Canada) withdrawal to Fleury-surOrne, 123; St-André-sur-Orne abandonment, 123; withdrawal to Fleury-sur-Orne, 123; BW Start Line securement failure, 124, 127–28, 129; Keller as General Officer Commanding, 124; May-surOrne as Calgary Highlanders’ original objective, 124; Paul Hutchison’s evaluation, 124; failure to clear completely, 125; general description of German attack and locations, 125; Quebec reaction to failure, 125, 151–52; Royal Air Force, 125; 10th SS Recce Battalion, 125; enemy breakthrough attempt south, 126; French knowledge of failure, 126; Motzfeldt Report, including full text, 127–29, 745–52; Kemp report, 128; failure to take May-sur-Orne, 128–29; National Defence Headquarters records, 130, 132; Jack description, 131; Factory to plateau approach march, 132; Edwin Bennett’s assumption of command, 137; Pinkham and Cowans as commanders, 138; Leibstandarte assumption of 272nd defences, 140; May-sur-Orne defences, 140; Third Battle Start Line crossing, 140, 148; 272nd Division May-sur-Orne withdrawal, 140; 5 August 1944 attack, 140–42, 270; movement past Factory, 141; Third Battle diamond formation, 141; Régiment de Maisonneuve defensive position, 142; withdrawal, 142; analysis second-attack failure, 142–43; effect of failure on Douglas Cowans, 143–44; vanguard, 148; Dextraze on senior commanders, 150; Mitchell’s performance appraised, 159; attack compared to Operation Angus, 169; Caen– Verrières Ridge area, 262; Philip Griffin’s meeting with Harris, 263. See also Atlantic (Operation); awards and honours; specific individuals, locations, military units, and military tools and weapons; SPYCKER, 153, 155–57 passim, 159, 167, 272; ST-ANDRÉ-SUR-ORNE: location, 71, 76; Cameron Highlanders of Canada’s occupation, 74, 82; confusion with second Hill 67, 76; Kampfgruppen July skirmishes, 77; planned clearing, 81; part of Calgary Highlanders’ Start Line, 84; progressive failure to control, 84, 86–87, 88; 2nd (Vienna) Panzer Division securement, 85, 86–87; battles for control, 87; proximity to tactical headquarters (Tac HQ), 88; proximity to Mortar Platoon, 89, 90; BW movement towards, 90; planned movement through village, 91; occupation of crossroads between village and

Index St-Martin, 92; location of Cameron Highlanders of Canada, 92; location of headquarters, 94; location of Support Company, 94; German partial loss, 111; possibility of German isolation, 111; 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade rearguard defence, 119; 9th SS counterattack, 119–20; Calgary Highlanders’ fallback to crossroads, 120; attempt to hold, 121; wounded men near village, 121; Bernard Benson’s entry, 121; abandonment to Régiment de Maisonneuve, 123; Schack’s reaction to battle, 123; securement difficulties, 125; Cameron Highlanders of Canada’s failure to take, 125; Matulis wounded, 137; taking positions from Fusiliers de Mont Royal, 139; BW retirement to after third Verrières Ridge assault, 142; Pinkham’s appointment, 189; ST-MARTIN-DEFONTENAY, 266–67; Kampfgruppen July skirmishes, 77, 86–87; planned clearing, 81; proximity to St-André-sur-Orne, 82; plan to await Calgary Highlanders at St-Martin, 83; part of Calgary Highlanders’ Start Line, 84; Cameron Highlanders of Canada cast out, 84; 2nd (Vienna) Panzer Division as securement reserve, 85; deployment of 10th SS Panzer Division reinforcement, 87; psychological relationship of Factory to battle for St-Martin, 87; Calgary Highlanders’ retreat, 89; headquarters’ deployment north of village, 90; immediate failure to be cleared, 90; in village with Calgary Highlanders, 91; occupation of crossroads between village and St-Martin, 92, 94; eventual clearing of St-Martin, 92, 95, 124, 127; troop establishment around church, 93, 95; under attack from northeast of church, 93; Duffield’s return after MG42 attack, 94; as location of Philip Griffin’s tactical headquarters, 94; attack plan distribution, 95; entrenchment north of church, 97; movement south from village, 99; proposed march to Fontenay, 99–100; eventual clearing, 101, 124; Carrier Platoon and tanks north of village, 101–02; difficulty of tanks in reaching village position, 102; strategic position between village and May-sur-Orne, 109; near-total German abandonment, 111; march from village area, 111; headquarters during Verrières Ridge attack, 114; move to recapture, 116; tank battle, 117; as hospice, 117; tank laager north of village, 118; failure to destroy MG42, 118; rearguard defence, 119, 124, 307; abandonment, 120; attempt to hold, 121; village strongpoint, 121; treatment of wounded, 121; German flanking, 122; isolation within village, 123; Schack’s reaction to battle, 123; securement difficulties, 125, 128, 129; village resistance, 125; German recapture, 125; in Motzfeldt Report, 127–29 passim; German snipers, 139; third Verrières Ridge attack, 142; church recapture, 150; destruction of main road, 263; church, 266–67; TILLY-LA-CAMPAGNE:

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North Nova Scotia Highlanders attack, 37; Operation Spring, 76, 85–86, 124; TOTALIZE (OPERATION), 62, 140, 145–46; TRACTABLE (OPERATION), 146; see also PARIS; BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS, SCHELDT, 273, 275; ‘Black Friday’ Hoogerheide–Woensdrecht attack, 162, 165, 169–76, 273, 275; Estuary strategic importance, 164, 168; Operation Market Garden, 164–65; casualties, 165, 173–75, 297–98; German strategic placement, 165–66; 3rd Canadian Infantry Division clearing of lower Scheldt (Breskens Pocket), 166; 2nd Canadian Infantry Division clearing of Estuary, 166–67; Start Lines, 167, 168, 171, 172; initial Hoogerheide– Woensdrecht strategy, 167–68; as Operation Angus, 168–69, 171–75; approach, 169–70; German ‘fire brigade’, 170; temporary truce, 172–73; Goes (Operation Mac), 176–77; Buffalo tanks, 190; Battle of the Somme compared, 199; Simmonds as acting commander, 262; BW Carrier Platoon, 273; ANGUS (OPERATION), 168–69, 171–75; ANTWERP, 169–70, 180, 181; liberation by 11th Armoured Division, 164; Allied strategic importance, 164; Antwerp–Turnhout Canal line, 165–66; German bombings of docks, 180; GOES: capture, 176–77; HOOGERHEIDE– WOENSDRECHT: ‘Black Friday’ attack (13 October 1944) 162, 165, 169–76, 273, 275; initial strategy, 167–68; approach, 169–70; temporary truce, 172–73; casualties, 173–75; WALCHEREN CAUSEWAY, 177–80, 196, 272; WALCHEREN ISLAND as part of Battle of the Scheldt, 166, 167, 177–80 BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS, RHINELAND; Blockbuster 1 and 2, 197–98, 275, 293; Calcar, 193; Hochwald Campaign, 137; attack, including commendations, 194–97, 275; casualties and prisoners, 196–97; Calgary Highlanders after battle, 275; Plunder (Operation), 200–01; Reichswald, 182, 192; Xanten, including Xanten Forest, 193; part of Operation Blockbuster 2, 197 BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS, NETHERLANDS; Groningen, 203–04; Hoogeveen, 412; Nijmegen (Holland), 181, 192, 199, 207; Waal River (Holland), 183, 190. See also Holland Baynham, Private Gabriel, 100, 130 Bedford (Quebec), 105–06 beer, British, 15; rationing, 25–26; importance, 26; Belgium, 208; fall (1940), 13; Allied entry and fighting, 164, 166; guns and rifles, 371–72. See also specific battles and locations Bell, Kenneth (‘Ken’), 176 Bennett, Capt/Major Edwin Ronald (‘Ron’) (‘Ronnie’), 69, 103, 120, 153, 193, 255, 268; cross of Stuart

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Line, 75; assumption of Support Company, 89; St-Martin attack, 90–91, 92, 96, 101–02; quoted as epigraph, 95; biographical description, 118; rearguard attack and relief, 118–25 passim, 141, 268; failure to receive award, 131; lack of serious injury, 132; promotion and assumption of B Company command, 137; May-sur-Orne attack, 142; death, 142, 143; awarded MID, 190 Bennett, Henry Harrison, 118, 143 Bennett, Richard Bennett, 1st Viscount Bennett, Conservative Prime Minister 1930–35, 118, 143 Benson, Sgt Bernard (‘Barney’), 92, 103, 105; biographical description, 63–64; assumption of Scout Platoon Command, 89; quoted as epigraph, 93; Duffield patrol, 93, 97; destruction of MG42, 99, 118; contact with rear HQ, 122; relationship with Nixon, 145; death, 155 Bernard, Private, 115–16 Billow, Capt E, 202 Birks, GD, 255 Birten, 197 Bishop’s College School (BCS) (Quebec): graduates, 24, 33, 39, 50, 57, 67, 98, 105, 106, 114, 116–19 passim, 125, 138, 141, 197, 269; Molson Scholarship, 42–43; Cadet Corps (School), 207 Bishop’s University (Quebec), 189; Canadian Officers’ Training Corps (COTC), 11 Bisley (UK): rifle competition: 1937, 144; 1938, 144; 1952, 303. See also guns and rifles, including machine guns Black Watch of Scotland. See Imperial Black Watch Black Watch Regimental Advisory Board, 21; formation and mandate, 13; nomination of Jaquays to National Defence Headquarters, 18; problems with NDHQ in 1945, 208 Black Watch Regimental Museum (Memorial Museum): British campaign medals collection, 22 Blackader, Lt Col/Col/Brig Gen Kenneth Gault (‘Ken’), 188, 245, 248, 259; appointment to command ISF Militia District No. 4, 4; demotion to CO; mobilization of 1 RHC, 5; selection of contingent, 6; obtainment of Red Hackles, 10; relationship with Jacquays, 19; departure from Montreal, 19, 29; correspondence with Paul Hutchison, 20; biographical description, 28, 29–30, 59, 259; character description, 28, 30, 143, 199; relationship with RSM, 30; appointment as acting divisional commander, 30; appraisal of Stuart Cantlie, 40; St Andrew’s Ball, 52; appointment as brigadier, 52; appraisal of Stephen Cantlie, 53; description of battalion, 53; 1943 royal Regiment inspection, 54; relationship with Alan Robinson, 106; Motzfeldt Report, 127; appointment as 3rd Canadian Infantry Division GOC and confirmation failure, 146; BW Second World War contribution to Canadian Armed Forces, 208; 1 RHC in Newfoundland, 250 Blake, Sgt Vernon, 121 Bleury Street armoury. See armoury (BW)

Blitzkrieg (Vernichtungsschlacht) (1940), 8; objectives and tactics, 3–4, 13, Operation Spring compared, 82 Blount, Corporal Walter, 107 blue balmorals. See balmorals, including blue balmorals. See also green coatees; Red Hackles boats and ships: attacks on merchant ships in St Lawrence, 17, 20; German ships in Norwegian bases, 20; Orion (battleship), 12; Gneisenau (battle cruiser), 20; Scharnhorst (battle cruiser), 20; Tirpitz (battleship), 20; Dragoon (Operation), 39; Edward Force boats, general (Operation Jubilee) (Dieppe), 41, 43–46 passim, 50; Duke of Wellington (warship), 44; Tank Landing Craft (TLC), 46, 47, 49–51 passim, 256–57; Orne River assault boats, 72–73; Lachine Canal explosion, 144; cargo ships, 166; rowboat, 204; Queen Elizabeth, 207 (ocean liner); Ottawa (destroyer), 250 Bogert, Major HS, 9 Bolton, WO2 CSM Charles Wilfred (‘Charlie’), 103, 268; movement to Stuart Line 96; ‘Factory’ attack, 99, 268; Operation Spring, 105; wounded, 105; biographical description, 105; assumption of company command, 268 Booth, Private William Tripp (‘Bill’), 78, 90, 120; quoted as epigraph, 76 Borden (Ontario), 58. See also Camp Borden Botwood (Newfoundland), 7, 250–51 Bourne, A/Capt/Major/Lt Col/Col/Hon Col John Gilbert (‘Johnny’), 31, 179, 248, 252, 255;, Canadian Parachute Regiment, 29; biographical description, 38; Selwyn House, 38; Special Service Force command, 38–39, 203, 252; appointment to James Weir’s Training Regiment, 39 Bourne, Lt/Capt Charles Gordon, 179, 255 Bowhill, Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick, 15 boxing: 1 RHC victories (1941–44), 40; division finals (1942), 52; 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade Meet (1945), 207 Bradley, Gen Omar Nelson, 70, 79, 111; relationship with Montgomery, 71, 80; Operation Cobra, 80, 139 Bremen (Germany), 204, 205 ‘Breskens Pocket, The’ (Belgium and Holland), 166. See also Battle of the Scheldt Brest (France), 13 Bretteville-sur-Laize (France): Canadian War Cemetery, 132–33 British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (‘Aerodrome of Democracy’), 23 Brockville (Ontario), 178; Brockville Officers Training School, 9, 11, 25, 31 ‘Brooding Soldier, The’ (war memorial) (Belgium), 164 Brooke, Gen Sir Alan, 28 Brookwood Memorial (UK), 50, 257 Brother Can You Spare a Dime? (song), 69 Brown, Major Gen BW Brown, 19 Brussels (Belgium), 207

Index Bryce, James: quoted as epigraph, 15 Buch, Lt George Eric H, 76, 103, 137; assumption of command, 171; twice wounded, 119, 172 Buchan, John (Lord Tweedsmuir), Governor General 1935–40, 11–12; quoted as epigraph, 11 Burdon, Cpl Harold, 254 Burma, 208 Burns, Gen ELM, 136 Buron (France), battles of (1944): 37 Bussey, Private Gord, 275 Cabeldu, Brig Frederic, 177 cadets; officer cadets, 8; proposed assumption of Highland Cadet Corps, 26; Bishop’s College School Cadet Corps, 50, 207; Sword of Honour (award) (Royal Military College Sandhurst), 66; Highland Cadet Battalion, 189; Royal Military College of Canada, 66; Sea-Cadets, 144 Cain, Private E, 275 Cairo (Egypt), 36 Callahan, Private RF, 264 Cambridge University (UK): ‘Oxbridge’, 67 camouflage; German in Operation Spring, 106, 109, 115 Camp Aldershot (UK); description, 27, 28; Mackenzie King visit, 28; Bourne appointment, 39; 3rd Canadian Infantry Training Unit, 203 Camp Borden (Ontario), 58 Camp Farnham (Quebec), 25; training, 22, 38 Camp Sussex (New Brunswick), 20 Camp Valcartier (Quebec); 1939 departure, 7, 250 Campbell, Major John (‘Jock’), 123, 201 Canadian Active Service Force (CASF): formation, 4, 248 Canadian Armoured Corps, 58; BW casualties and casualty rates, 38 Canadian Corps Junior Leaders School, 67 Canadian Forces Base Kingston (CFB Kingston) (Ontario): Vimy School of Signals, 119 Canadian Intelligence (military), 72, 85, 86, 87 Canadian Military Headquarters London (UK), 144 Canadian Officers’ Training Corps (COTC); McGill University, including graduates, 9, 11, 17, 98, 119, 144, 145, 147, 163, 168. See also recruitment; training Canadian Provost Corps, 63 Cantlie, Capt/Major/Lt Col Stuart Stephen Tuffnel, 203, 245, 248, 255, 268; adjunct appointment, 6; second CO tour, 30; appointment as CO, 53; 1943 BW inspections, 54, 253; quoted as epigraph, 54, 57; transfer to HQ 1st Canadian Army, 54, 255; BW appraisal, 54–55, 70, 209; nomination for Efficiency Decoration, 56; reappointment as CO, 56, 297; preparation for Normandy, 57; biographical description, 57, 66–67; appraisal of Worthington, 58; appraisal of Philip Griffin, 69; attach at Falaise, 73; Stuart Line counterattack, 74–75; Operation Spring isolation, 76; rum ration, 78; Fontenay-le-Marmion attack, 83;

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Operation Spring, 89–91, 96, 102; death, 91, 268, 379, 478; replacements policy, 136; relationship with Megill, 139; appraisal of James Fox, 144; comparison with Mitchell, 159; comparison with Bruce Ritchie, 160; relationship with Megill, 160; consideration for CO 5th Brigade, 161; appraisal of Law, 163; appraisal of Race Chapman, 168; awarded MID, 190 Cantlie, Col George Stephen, 66, 152, 163, 199; Great War, 10; status within BW, 39 Cantlie, Lt Col James Alexander, Jr, 66, 82 Cantlie, Lt Col/Col Stephen Douglas (‘Steve’), 6, 53, 66, 245, 248; CO appointment, 18, 31, 40; appraisal of James Weir, 32; biographical description, 39–40; relationship with Whitehead, 40; selection of C Company for Puys capture, 42; MC recommendation for MacLaurin, 50–51; as commander, 52; Whitehead’s appraisal and dismissal of, 52–53; appraisal of Mitchell, 67; appraisal of Valmore Traversy, 68; instructor nomination of Anyon, 138 Carmichael, Lt Alan HM, 103, 143, 148, 155, 188; biographical description, 153; quoted as epigraph, 153; capture of command, 156; training of replacements, 158, 162 Caron building (Quebec), 7, 247 Cartierville (Quebec): air training field, 23 Cassils, Lt MH, 255 Catto, Lt Col Doug, 45, 47 Chamberlain, Neville, UK Prime Minister, 1937–40, 3; quoted as epigraph, 3 Chapman, Capt Douglas Horatio (‘Race’), 167, 168, 171, 172 Chill, Generalleutnant Kurt G, 170, 171 China. See also Hong Kong Chinese (language), 53 Christiansen, Lt Col GH, 37 Church of St Andrew and St Paul (BW regimental church) (Quebec), 246 Churchill, Sir Winston, UK Prime Minister 1940–45, 1951–55, 8; quoted as epigraph, 17 Ciceri, Sgt Paul Victor, 195–96 Clark, Capt Gerald, 126, 189 Clark, Private Edgar, 114 Clark-Kennedy, Lt Col Hew, 21, 152 Cleghorn, Capt JD, 7 Clift, Brig/Lt Col FA, 74–75 Cohen, Lt Myer, 16 Colson, Lt John David (‘Jack’), 43, 45, 50, 257 Columbia University (US), 113 Combined Food Board (government agency), 184 Commonwealth Games: silver medal (wrestling) (1938), 121 competitions. See awards and honours Cooke, Lt ARW, 103 Cooke, Lt Geoffrey Summerset, 112 Copenhagen (Denmark), 69 Cornett, Lt Thomas R, 46 Cornwall (Ontario), 12

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Côte St Paul (Quebec), 40 Coughlin, Private Joe, 273 Cowans, Capt/Major Douglas, 90, 138, 141, 143–44; 255 Craig Street Armouries, including Drill Hall (Quebec), 207 Crerar, Gen HDG (‘Harry’), 131, 140, 144, 147, 152, 164, 181; command of 1st Canadian Army, 80; reaction to Montgomery, 153; inspection of BW, 206 Cribley, Private Fred, 275 Croix de Guerre (award), 33, 51, 120, 251 Croll, Lance Corporal Bruce, 52 Cunningham, Brig DGB (‘Ben’), 36, 37, 124 Currie, Gen Sir Arthur William, 83, 126, 142 Currie, Lt Col GS, 19 Curtis, LCpl Bill, 275 Cyprus; British Second World War defence, 36 Baigle, Private Reginald, 264 Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia), 35 Dallain, Lt Leo, 121 Davey, Lt/Capt/A Major/Major Robert Frederick (‘Bob’), 181; as leader of fighting patrol, 187; inability to secure German prisoner, 188; awarded MC, 196, 202; assumption of command, 196; awarded MID, 202; rifle company commander, 203 Degan, Capt, 182 DeLutis, Private Frederick, 157 Demers, Capt GA, 255 Dempsey, Gen Sir Miles, 71, 80, 123 Denmark: German surrender, 206 Deodati, Private Joseph, 107, 253 Department of External Affairs (Canada), 120, 167 destroyers (ships): Ottawa (ship) Detroit (US), 4 Dextraze, Lt Gen/Gen Jacques Alfred, 150 Diestel, Lt Col (Generalleutnant) Erich, 149, 166 Dietrich, Gen Josef S (‘Sepp’), 76, 111, 116, 262; and divisional Tac Sign, 270; quoted as epigraph, 110 Digby (Nova Scotia), 35 Dinesen, Lt Thomas Fasti (‘Tom’), 17–18, 69; as recipient of VC, 69 Diplock, CSM/WO 1 Ralph N, 251; character, 32; awarded MBE and MID, 33 disbandments: 2nd Battalion (1943), 20–21, 31, 143; six active service infantry units (1943), 21; Royal Montreal Regiment (1943), 22; Victoria Rifles of Canada (1940), 22; First Special Service Force (1944), 39 Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), 150; awarded to or held by William Jones, 35; Koropchuk, 194; William Frost, 195; Turnbull, 195, 207. See also awards and honours Distinguished Service Order (DSO), 131; awarded to or held by: Somerville, 33, 251; MacDuff, 200, 204–05, 271; ‘Jock’ Campbell, 201; Bartlett McLennan, 201; Thomson, 202–03, 245; Duffield

(recommended), 206; Blackader, 245, 259,; Megill, 260, 271; John Powell, 263; Matthews, 275. See also awards and honours Domville, Capt/S/Ldr Henry de Gaspe, 24 Donald, Major Rev George H, 25, 152 Dönitz, Adm Karl, 17 Dorrance, Lt Thomas Kelly, 103, 114; death 112 Dorval (Quebec): air training field, 23; Doucet, Lt Col/Brig Gen Herbert Emile Theodore (‘Herb’) (‘Pot’), 34–35, 69, 252; awarded MID and OBE, 35 Drill Hall (armoury) (Quebec), 207 drums. See pipes and drums Ducat, Lance Corporal Bruce, 264; quoted as epigraph, 73, 107, 115, 160 Duchastel, Lt/Capt Jean Lucien (‘John’), 52, 137, 176, 200, 255; biographical description, 68 Duffield, A/Capt/Major Ernest Stanley (‘Stan’), 87, 89, 99, 191, 200, 255, 268; becomes intelligence officer, 89; Stuart Cantlie’s selection of Duffield, 90; appointment to lead officer’s patrol, 92; biographical description, 93, 205; progress of patrol, 93–94, 97; leader of scout and sniper platoon, 103; location at start of Operation Spring, 103; wounded, 108; contribution to Motzfeldt statement, 127; relationship with BW, 135–36; relationship with Benson, 155; assumption of platoon command, 163; appointment as adjunct, 184; appraisal of 1 RHC, 189; recommendation of Koropchuk for DCM, 194; assumption of command of A Company, 203; confirmation as A Company commander, 204–05; Stenum assault, 205–06; recommended for DSO, 206; awarded MC, 206 Duke of Wellington (warship), 44 Dunkirk (France); Siege of (1944–45), 153, 154 Duplessis, Sgt Robert (‘Bob’), 121, 264 DuPont, Private Donald: quoted as epigraph, 122–23 Eadie, Major GHH, 248 East Wittering (UK), 52 Eastern Townships (later Montérégie Region) (Quebec), 105–06 Echenberg, Col S, 5 l’École de Cavalerie de Saumur (France), 39 Edinburgh (UK), 43, 55 Efficiency Decoration: nomination of Stuart Cantlie, 56 Efficiency Trophy, 29 Eisenhower, Gen Dwight David (‘Ike’), US President 1953–61, 71, 81; quoted as epigraph, 192 Elder, Gunner GD, 104 Elizabeth, the Queen Mother: relationship with BW, 29; 1939 Coronation, 29; 1944 inspection of BW, 54, 55; Christmas pudding shipments, 56, 184; Stuart Cantlie’s dinner with, 66–67; 1943 inspection of BW, 253, 255; inspection of 1 RHC Pipe Band, 254 Ellis, Capt/Lt Col Ross L, 120, 123

Index Elm (exercise) (1943), 52 England, 24, 36, 93, 120, 189; description, 28. See also specific battles, competitions, institutions, locations, and operations English (language), 56; and Army in 1930s, 6–7; proportional use in BW, 16 Essex (UK), 207 Etavaux (France), 94, 111 Evans, Major AC, 9 Ewing, Col Royal, 21, 108, 163 Ewing, Private Henry, 112 Ewing, Sgt/Capt Major William (‘Bill’), 168, 176, 188, 199, 274; biographical description, 144, 163; decision to rejoin 1 RHC, 144–45; commands A Company, 148; attack to secure Angus 1, 173; causeway Company attack, 178; quoted as epigraph, 177; relinquishment of command, 184 Ewing, William, Sr, 144 exercises, 30; Canadian tank units in Britain, 15; Nova Scotia exercises (1942), 20; approvals under Paul Hutchison, 25; Jumbo I (1942), 40; Elm (1943), 52; Spartan (1943), 53; in 1943, 55; from 1939 to 1943, general, 209; Mount Royal Park (Quebec), 249; Camp Valcartier, including near, 250; Yukon (1942), 256. See also manoeuvres; training Factory (industrial area) (France), 91, 96, 103, 105, 109, 111, 112, 263, 266–67, 268; description, 87, 99; psychological impact, 87; machine-gun fire, 93; movement and arrival of Sherman tanks, 97, 102, 104; withdrawal of Hussar tanks, 110; Sterz’s movement towards, 117; Edwin Bennett’s arrival, 118; 2nd Panzer Division loss of power, 119; failure to clear completely, 125; presence of 10th SS Recce Battalion, 125; Factory to plateau approach march, 132; movement past Factory, 141; Régiment de Maisonneuve defensive position, 142; Philip Griffin’s meeting with Harris, 263; Mine Tower, 267; Fernie (HMS), 45 Fetherstonhaugh, Mabel, 7 Fiebig, Major Gen Heinz, 182 First Nations Peoples (aboriginal peoples): membership in BW, 70 First World War (Great War) (1914–18): English as operating language, 6; military access to federal cabinet, 10; Montreal contribution toward, 22–23; Highland battalion cachet, 24; age restriction, 57; honours, 58; summer 1944 operations compared 62, 127, 166, 182; slang for Germans, 65; technical advantages, 65; battle tactical approach, 108, 182; battle analyses detail, 126; BW Second World War compared, 126, 209–10, 297–98; outsider participation and possible character effect, 135, 209; frontals as attach strategy, 166; command of major formations, 146; trench culture, 175; training and deployment, 209–10. See also paintings; reunions; specific awards,

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battalions, battles, individuals, memorials, and weapons flags: St Andrews, 22 Fleury, Major Gen Frank, 198, 199 Fleury-sur-Orne (France), 74, 94, 122, 123, 138–39 Flora MacDonald (regimental goat), 184 Foam, Sgt Victor L, 103, 105, 106, 268 Fontenay-le-Marmion (France); proximity to Caen, 76; Verrières Ridge reverse slope, 81, 132; planned capture in Phase II attack, 82–83; capture, 83; held by GR 980, 86; BW attack planning, including immediate support, 96–98, 100, 128; proximity to Verrières Ridge capital, 107; charge towards, 112, 114; failure to take, 114; defeat justification, 127, 129; church, 266–67 football; college and university, 42–43, 98, 105, 114, 117, 118 Form Up Places (aka Form-Up Positions) (attack positions), 84, 103, 104, 145 Fort William Henry Harrison (US), 29 Foulkes, Major Gen Charles, 260, 275; termination of Stephen Cantlie, 52; assumption of 2nd Division command, 56; establishment of bridgehead at Faubourg de Vaucelles, 72; Operation Spring entry, 74; restoration of Operation Goodwood, 74–75; rejection of Stuart Cantlie’s strategy, 76; securement of Start Line, 81–82; St-André attack, 88; relationship with Megill, 88, 95, 122, 124, 131, 177, 191; destruction of BW rifle companies, 127; destruction of Simonds memo, 130; Montgomery’s blame for Operation Spring failure, 130; conferences with Mitchell, 140; Mitchell’s relinquishment of command, 159; inflexibility, 161, clearing of Scheldt estuary, 166; Operation Angus, including Megill appraisal, 168–69, 177; assumption of 1st Canadian Corps command, 180 Fox, Major James Edward, 137, 148, 154, 155, 255; assumption of D Company command, 143; biographical description, 144; death, 155 France, 59, 85, 138, 158, 180, 269; Phony War, 7–8; fall to Germany, 13; 1940 Canadian landing and retreat, 13; The Hundred Days (1918), 14; Normandy Campaign, including preparations, 27, 39, 57, 59, 62, 67, 84–85, 209; Allied air supremacy, 64–65; Rommel’s command, 71; infantry training, 85, 162; knowledge of Operation Spring failure, 126; BW replacements, 160; mascot acquisition, 184; part of BW contribution to Canadian Armed Forces, 208. See also specific awards, battles, locations, memorials, and operations Franqueville (France), 66 Fraser, Major George Climie (‘Pudge’), 69, 78, 79, 114 Freelton (Ontario), 194 Freeston, Capt Harold (‘Bud’), 182 French (language): need for French-speaking infantry brigade, 6–7; interfacing of French- and Englishspeaking soldiers, 7; MD #4 headquarters staff, 13; 2 RHC lectures and training, 16; specific

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speakers, 24, 53, 56; arrival of French-speaking replacement soldiers, 136 Fromstein, Private Albert, 192 Frost, CSM William Leslie, 194, 195 Gander (Newfoundland): 1 RHC defence, 7, 250 Garvis, Sgt FJ, 264 gasoline containers, German, 65 Gault, Brig Andrew Hamilton, 29 Gemmell, Tommy, 253 George VI, King 1936–52, 11, 66–67 German (language), 53, 88 German Staff College (Germany), 84 Germany, 8; immediately prior to Second World War, 3; declaration of war on US, 17; as Russian enemy, 41; UK overseas government, 56; BW entry and attack description, 62; prisoner-of-war camps, 132. See also navy (Germany); North Atlantic Treaty Organization; specific awards, battles, locations, memorials and operations Gilday, Major T: quoted as epigraph, 38 Glasgow (UK), 57 Gneisenau (battle cruiser), 20 Goering, Hermann, 174 Goforth, Rev JF, 53 Goose Village (Quebec), 40 Gordon, Lt Col Mel, 36, 37 Gordonstoun School (UK), 57, 67 Grafwegsche Straat (road) (Holland): Grafwegen raid, 182 Graham, Corporal Tommy, 139 Graham, Private John Malcolm, 49 Grande Mille-Brugge (France), 195 Grant, Lt Gordon WL, 174 Great Britain. See United Kingdom Great War. See First World War Gregg, Col/Brig Hon Milton F, 11 Griffin, Bert, 68 Griffin, Eileen, 68 Griffin, Lt/Capt Shirley E, 68, 89, 95, 202, 205, 255; quoted as epigraph, 86 Griffin, Major Frederick Philip (‘Phil’), 68–69, 79, 89, 91, 94, 97, 103, 104, 110, 118, 138, 199, 255, 268; biographical description, 68, 95, 113; assumption of BW command, 92; occupation of BW Start Line, 92; discovery of D Company Highlanders in St-Martin, 93; perilous nature of situation and orders to continue forward, 94–95; attack plan, 95–96; meeting with Harris and Powis, 95–96, 263; reworking of Stuart Cantlie’s attack, 96; influence of Duffield’s report, 96, 99; strategy consultation with Powis, 98; meeting with Megill, 99–100, 111, 130; Operation Spring attack start, 101–02; order to establish platoon, 103; death of Alan Robinson, 106; stop of radio contact with companies, 107; assumption of position as command head, 108; continuation and failure of attack, 113–15, 124, 127, 128–29; wounded, 114;

death, 115, 117; Powis’s assumption of command, 116; problems contributing to attack failure, 125, 128, 130; perceived wish to cease attack, 128; tombstone inscription, 130; rejection for VC and MC, 131; awarded MID, 131, 190; recovery of body, 132 Grimwood, Private Charles, 92 Groesbeek (Holland), 182, 273–74; BW deployment, 181, 184; BW redeployment, 200 Grossenkneten (Germany), 204 Guam, Lt AG, 202 Guards Armoured (UK), 71, 81 Gulf of St Lawrence: sinking of German submarines, 17 Gustav Line (military fortification), 32 hackles. See Red Hackles haggis, 25 Hague, The (Holland), 207 Haiti, 167 Halbert, 2Lt JD, 248 Halifax (Nova Scotia); RHC departure, 7; and 2nd Battalion coastal defences, 20 Hamer, Capt H, 248 Hanna, Capt Archie Rufus, 191, 196, 200, 204 Hannah, Pipe Major William John (‘Bill’) (‘Willie’), 147 Harris, Major Walter Edward, 83, 95–96, 263; biographical description, 97; Operation Spring tank support, 102, 112; wounded, 109, 126, 263 Hausser, Gen Paul, 126 Henderson, Lt Col/Col/Brig Gavin Patterson, 55–56, 245, 255; quoted as epigraph, 55 Hepburn, Sgt George, 253 Heubach, Lt FA, 255 Heydte, Col Baron Friedrich von der, 171, 174 Hicks, Capt RC, 44 Highland Cadet Battalion (HCB) (Quebec), 189. See also cadets, including cadet-officers Highland Cadet Corps (Quebec), 26 Hillen, Jon, 253 hockey, 42–43, 66, 98, 105, 169; BW teams, 16, 40, 56; Army championship semi-finals, 52; 2nd Canadian Corps Championship, 114; Stanley Cup, 259 Hogmanay (UK): 1945, 187–88 Holland (Netherlands), 184, 189, 190, 208; fall, 13; Canadian embassy, 35; recapture, 62, 138, 150, 165, 168, 174, 176, 198, 200, 206, 269; German retreat towards, 166; South Beveland, 264, 275; Groesbeek (Holland), 181, 182, 184, 200, 273–74; Ossendrecht, 274; Holten, 275. See also specific locations Holmes, Private Lloyd, 274 Holten (Netherlands), 275 Hong Kong (formerly UK), battle and fall (1941), 17 Horace Mann School (US), 43 Horrock, Gen Sir Brian, 152 Horrocks, Lt Gen/Gen, 164, 261 Horwood, Lt RA, 103, 255

Index House of Commons (Canada), 126 Houseman, AE: quoted as epigraph, 130 Hude (Germany), 205 Hudson, Major Edward Wallace (‘Ed’), 191, 195; biographical description, 181–82; D Company Grafwegen raid, 182, 183; D Company attack on Hochwald, 193–94; quality as leader, 194, 196–97 Hull, Capt Dallas, 191 Humber (light armoured car): Mk IIIA, 155 Hummelo (Holland), 201 Hunter Report (Report 150), 96, 129 Hunter, Capt Murray, 127 Hunter, Private Tomas James, 50 Hunter, Sgt George Reilly, 50, 89, 103 Huntingdon (Quebec): training base, 19 Hurricanes (aircraft), 14, 79, 117 Hutchison, Lt Col Bruce, 25 Hutchison, Lt Col/Col Paul P, 10, 31, 38, 54, 57, 139, 143, 158, 159, 163, 169, 201, 259; commencement of Second World War, 3, 5; appointment as regimental commander, 5; enlistment of Hugh Johnston and John Molson, 5–6; BW brigaded with French-Canadian units, 6; timetable, 7; officer applicants, 8; provision of 1 RHC reinforcements, 9; access to power, 10; recruitment posters, 11; proposed activation of 2 RHC, 12; French-speaking staff, 13; unified communication between units, 13; regimental canteen, 15; recruitment and training critiques, 15–16, 17; protection of BW customs, 16–17; illness, 17; mobilization and reorganization of 2 RHC, 18; reorganization of 3 RHC, 18; 2 RHC management confrontation, 18–19; relationship with Panet and Wallis, 18, 19; reconstitution of 4 RHC, 20; quoted as epigraph, 20, 55, 89, 202; description of 2 RHC, 20; opposition to 2nd RHC disbandment, 20; appraisal of reserve battalions, 22; relationship to district HQ, 22, 25; as administrator, 24; Highland mafia, 24–25; relationship with Donald, 25; relationship with Bruce Hutchison, 25; administration of regimental concerns, 25–26; Highland Cadet Corps proposal, 26; failed remobilization of 2 RHC, 26; replacement by Ibbotson, 31; securement of post for Stephen Cantlie, 53; appraisal of Henderson, 56; appraisal of BW treatment during Second World War, 58–59; Operation Spring appraisal, 124; displacement of BW soldiers and officers, 135; admittance of Quebecers to BW without proper vetting, 136; communication with RB Bennett, 143; insufficient success of BW restoration, 143; failure of Blackader’s command confirmation, 146; lack of BW declarations, 150, 191; service of tribute, 152; relationship between Ritchie and Megill, 198; reaction to Thomson’s appointment, 203; return of 2 RHC to Montreal, 207; relationship between battalion and brigade commanders, 207–08; 1945 Advisory Board meeting, 208

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Hyde Park (UK), 52 Ibbotson, Lt Col/Col Ivan Leonard, 3, 5, 248; biographical description, 30–31 Iceland, 7 Ifs (France), 119; location, 73, 83; BW securement, 73, 150; German assault, 74; location of BW headquarters, 83, 90; RHC Rear Echelon placement, 94; proximity to 7th Armoured Division, 111 Île d’Orléans (Quebec), 17 Île de France (ship), 34 India, 41, 54, 144, 161, 208. See also Pakistan Infantry School. See Royal Canadian School of Infantry infantry training units (regiments) (CITRs): 3rd Canadian (3 CITR), 33, 39, 203; 8th Canadian (8 CITR), 136, 251 internal security force (ISF), 4, 5, 7 Irish Guards parade ground, 54, 253 ISF (internal security force), 4, 5, 7 Isle of Lewis (UK), 67 Israel, including Palestine, 167 Italian (language), 56 Italy, including BW actions and achievements in, 21, 31, 43, 59, 69, 180–82 passim, 201, 203, 208, 252, 255; and seconded BW COs, 31; Somerville’s departure, 33; and frequency of frontal attacks, 34; Nesbitt’s reaction, 34; Balkan occupation, 35; deployment of Perth regiment, 35; Petch’s deployment, 36, 37–38; Gavin Henderson’s education, 56; reinforcements marking time, 136; causalities, 151. See also specific locations Jack, Private John, 115: quoted as epigraph, 131 Jagdgeschwader 26 (German fighter-wing), 41 Janes, Sgt Fred Janes, 90 Japan, entry into Second World War, 16, 17; prisoner of war camps, 24; successes in Pacific, 41 Japanese (language), 189 Jaquays, Lt MA, 19 Jaquays, Major/Lt Col Homer Morton (‘Jake’), 6, 69, 143, 163, 245, 248; appointments to commands, 18, 31; biographical description, 19; quality of first command, 21; Highland mess dinner, 25; formation of 2 RHC, 138 Jodoin, Lt Thomas Percy, 178, 179–80 Joint Planning School (UK), 54 Jones, Major William M ‘Yugoslavia’ (‘Toby’), 35–36 Jumbo I (exercise) (1942), 40 Juno Beach (France), 37, 50 Kavanagh, Lt, 102 Keay, Private/Piper John Ross, 73 Keller, Major Gen Rod, 37, 59, 124, 146 Kelly, Private Jerome, 114 Kemp, Capt/Major John PG, 89, 91, 103, 104, 117, 127, 130–31, 255; meetings with COs, 13; relationship with Montreal elite, 67, 113;

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clearing of St-Martin, 92; relationship with Powis, 98; appraisal of Philip Griffin, 108, 113, 128; biographical description, 113–14; wounded at Operation Spring, 114; capture and imprisonment, 116, 125, 132; contribution to Motzfeldt Report, 128 Kenny, Cpt John Alexander, 50, 257 Kenny, Senator Colin, 50, 257 Kiel (Germany), 56 Kilpatrick, Major Rev GGD, 25 kilts, 6, 7, 33, 36, 70; in battle, 10, 249; pipe band, 180 King, William Lyon Mackenzie, Liberal Prime Minister 1921–26, 1926–30, 1935–48, 28 Kiska (US): invasion of (1943), 38, 252 Kluge, Field Marshal Günther von, 80, 111, 139, 154 Kluge, Wolfgang von, 154 Knox, Major/Lt Col James W (‘Jim’) (‘Gander Neck’), 248; nomination as second-in-command, 18; commander, of guard of honour, 28 Knupp, Private Alexander, 115–16 Kolhapur Cup (rifle competition), 144. See also Bisley Koropchuk, Private John Joseph, 194 Korteven (Holland), 171 Kriegsmarine. See navy (Germany) Lachine Canal (Quebec), 144 Lacolle (Quebec), 174 Lajoie, Capt, 46 Lamb, Capt HS, 178–79 Lamourie, Private LJ, 181 Lapointe, Private JE, 255 Laren (Holland): attack (1945), 201–02 Lausanne (Switzerland), 55 Law, Lt/Capt David A, 90, 138, 191; biographical description, 146, 163 Layne, Hamie, 68 LCC. See Lower Canada College LCT 127 (TLC2) (landing craft tank): 46, 47, 49–51 passim, 256. See also boats and ships; tanks Leatham, Capt RM, 102 Left Out of Battle (LOB) (rank designation), 103; selection of four LOB officers 90; subsequent to Operation Spring, 137; A Company loss to, 141; as prospective infantry replacements, 162; Pinkham designated, 171 Leichenlicht (Monty’s Moonlight) (artificial moonlight), 263; military advantage, 88–89 Leitch, RSM Archibald Frame (‘Archie’), 103, 163, 206–07, 268, 299; biographical description, 57, 184, 200 Leonard, Major Gen/Lt Col William Clark (‘Bill’), 20th anniversary Dieppe Raid, 258 Lessard, Adelaire (‘Dolly’), 90 Lett, Brig, 45 Lévis (Quebec), 6 Lewis, Capt/Major/Lt Beaufort S (‘Beau’), 173, 176, 202, 203, 272; background, 189 Lierre (France), 180

Lieutenant Governor’s Medal (Bishop’s College School) (Quebec), 42–43 Lights Out (tune), 192 Lisieux (France), 166 Little, Corporal (‘Hard Rock’), 118 LOB. See Left Out of Battle London (Ontario), 75 London (UK), 138; Canadian Military Headquarters, 68, 144, 151; second ‘Blitz’, 147. See also Canadian Military Headquarters London; Clarence House; Imperial War Museum Long Point Garrison. See Camp Longue-Pointe Loomis, Major Gen Sir Frederick, 199 Lord Dewar International Match (rifle competition), 144 Louson, Capt IH, 103, 255 Lower Canada College (LCC) (Quebec): graduates, 19, 29, 33, 67, 68, 69, 105, 163, 168 Loyola College: graduates, 154 Luftwaffe (German Air Force), 41; Battle of Britain, 13–14; Normandy bridgehead, 65; captured troops, 153, 170; paratroopers, 154; occasional raids, 180 Luger Luggin Ludwig – Lay that Luger Down (song), 66 Lütwittz, Lt Gen Freiherr von, 85 Lydia Pinkham (song), 154 Lydia Pinkham Herbal Tablets, 138 Maas (Meuse) River, 165, 181, 185, 190, 192 Mac (Operation) (1944), 176–77 MacAulay, Private John, 115 Macdonald College (McGill University) (Quebec), 68, 195. See also McGill University MacDonald, Pipe Major Hector, 147, 254 MacDonald, Piper Duncan, 147 MacDonald, Private Bruno, 45 Macdonell, Sir Archibald, 199 MacDougall, Major JE, 103 MacDuff, Major Robert, 191, 271; becomes commander, 176; conducts fighting patrols, 188; awarded DSO, 192, 195; B Company attack on Hochwald, 194, 195; appointment to secondin-command, 199–200; becomes brigade major, 204–05 Macfarlane, Major/Lt Col Walter E, 8 MacIntyre, Duncan Ban: quoted as epigraph, 210 MacIver, Colin Lewis, 67 MacKay, H/Capt Alan, 53 MacKenzie, Lt Philip, 141, 142 Mackenzie, Lt Thomas Wilson, 183 MacLaren, Capt Charles Stewartson, 189, 191, 196, 204, 206 MacLaughlan, Lt Col Donald G, 88, 89, 94, 123 MacLaurin, Capt/Major Alexander Lumsden, 79, 103; quoted as epigraph, 41, 42, 46; Dieppe, 46–50 passim, 257; biographical description, 48; twice wounded, 48, 138; MC recommendation, 50–51; awarded MID and Croix de Guerre, 51

Index MacTier, Col WSM (‘Bill’), 13, 14, 18, 19; Tweedsmuir funeral, 12 Magill, Lt/A/Capt WA, 79, 103 Mann, Brig Churchill, 45, 140 manoeuvres, 55. See also exercises; training Maritime (Atlantic) Black Watch Association. See Atlantic (Maritime) Black Watch Association Marsh, Sgt James William, 47, 51 Martin, Chief Justice John E, 105 Martin, Lt John Edward, 24, 103, 105, 121 Martin, Mrs, 24 Maskell, Private Thomas William, 106, 107 Mather, Lt Murray Gilman, 43, 44, 45–46, 69, 257 Mather, Major/Brig/Lt Col Norman Lorne Campbell (‘Larry’), 21, 43, 59 Mathews, MGen, 261 Mathewson, Major/ Lt Col/Col/ Stanton, 8, 9–10 Matthews, Maj Gen A Bruce, 180–81, 191, 193, 206, 275 Matulis, Private/Major Stanley, 136–37, 264; quoted as epigraph, 135 maxims, mottos and sayings: Nemo Pee Impune Cesspit (pipe band), 52; the Regiment never retreated (BW), 70; there was simply nothing the Watch could not do (BW), 70; forgiveness is easier to obtain than permission (13th Battalion), 78; time spent in recce is seldom wasted (B Company) (BW rifle company), 202 Mayo, Lance Sgt Norman William: quoted as epigraph, 49 MBE. See Member of the Order of the British Empire MC. See Military Cross McAlpine, Major/Lt Col/Brig Gen/Hon Col Duncan Ian A (‘Snuffy’) (‘the Dunc’), 255 McAran, Private John, 115–16 McCallum, Sgt, 114 McCaw, Lt Charles Wilkie, 103, 105–06 McCuaig, Brig Gen/Hon Col/Major Gen Eric: commandant regimental officers school, 8; permanent force recommendation, 10; regimental advisory board, 13, 208; appointment as 2 RHC honorary colonel, 20; tribute service for 1 RHC, 152; compared with Blackader, 199 McCuaig, Col Rykert, 8 McDougall, Lt Col Ian Roydon, 248 McGarr, Private Michael, 106 McGill University (Quebec); Canadian Officers’ Training Corps (COTC), including COTC graduates, 9, 11, 17, 98, 119, 144, 145, 147, 163, 168; graduates and students, general, 19, 24, 29, 34, 36, 38, 42–43, 53, 57, 67, 68, 72–73, 78, 105, 112, 113, 118, 138, 155, 189, 193, 195, 197, 255; Macdonald College, 68, 195; Allan Memorial Institute (Ravenscrag), 25, 259 McInnes, Lt GS, 103, 132, 255 McInnes, Sgt John Pearce, 183 McKay, Piper, 254 McKinnel, Sgt Robert B, 157, 183 McLaren, Ian, 147

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McLaren, Private GB: quoted as epigraph, 46 McLellan, Lt Col Bartlett, 201 McLennan, Lt John L (‘Jock’), 103, 106, 201 McNab, A/Capt RA, 103, 149 McNaughton, Gen Andrew GL (‘Andy’), 22; management of French and English-speaking soldiers, 6, 7; difficulties in relationship with British, 27–28; selection of Blackader, 30; termination of Stephen Cantlie, 52; relinquishment of command, 53, 58 McOuan, Corporal Joseph, 49 McPherson, Lt BD, 49–50 McSorley, Private Jack Albert, 107; quoted as epigraph, 70 Meadows, Private Oscar, 274 medals. See awards and honours Megill, Brig JW, 91, 92, 123, 162, 168, 202, 207–08, 260, 271, 274–75; quoted as epigraph, 74, 101, 177; Operation Spring planning, 82, 87; probability of St-André securement, 88; operational communication problems, 89; appraisal of Stuart Cantlie, 89; decision not to establish forward Tac HQ, 94; Operation Spring capture, 95; order to assist Calgary Highlanders, 97, 128; confrontation Philip Griffin, 99–100, 111; R de Mais Attacks, 122; relief of Bennett’s rearguard, 123; appraisal of May-sur-Orne attack, 124; Operation Spring failure, 130; appraisal of Philip Griffin, 131; relationship with Mitchell, including appraisal, 139–40, 142, 150, 158–60, 161–62; Bourgtheroulde advance, 148; crossing the Orne and capturing Ifs, 150; Spycker battle and abandonment, 157, 158–59; relationship with Bruce Ritchie, 160, 198–99; biographical description, 160–61; appraisal of Slater, 163; Operation Angus, 172, 174; Operation Mac, 176; Walcheren Causeway, 177, 179; securement of German prisoner, 188; appraisal of Pinkham, 189; attitude towards BW casualties, 191; employment of South Saskatchewan Regiment, 193; seizure of Wesel Bridge, 197–98; appraisal of Motzfeldt, 199; compared to Macdonell, 199; arrival at Laren, 202; appraisal of Thomson, 203; replacement of, 206 Meighen, Brig Frank, 66 Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), awarded to or held by: John Henry Molson, 5, 78–79; Diplock, 33; Leonard, 258. See also awards and honours Memorial Museum. See Black Watch Regimental Museum Mentioned in Despatches (MID), awarded to or held by: Paul Ibbotson, 30; Nesbitt, 31, 34; Diplock, 33; Somerville, 33; Doucet, 35; John Bourne, 39; Barclay, 51; MacLaurin, 51, 138; Murray Morgan, 51; Campbell Stuart, 120; Frederick Griffin, 131, 190; Hudson (recommended), 183; Edwin Bennett, 190; Stuart Cantlie, 190; Duchastel, 200; Davey, 202. See also awards and honours

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Menzies, Capt Donald Crerar (‘Don’), 182, 191, 193, 203 Meuse River. See Maas (Meuse) River Meyer, Col Kurt, 36, 116 Meyer, Oberstrumbannfhrer Otto, 116 MI5 (Military Intelligence, Section 5), 36 Michon, Lt EA, 93 MID. See Mentioned in Despatches military bands. See bands Military Cross (MC), 131; awarded to or held by: Hugh Johnston, 5; Macfarlane, 8; MacTier, 12, 13; John Kemp, 13; Brown, 19; Blackader, 29, 30, 259; MacLaurin (recommended), 50–51; Worthington, 58; Powell, 101, 109, 263; John Kemp’s father, 113–14; Dallain, 121; Duffield, 127, 206; Philip Griffin (considered for), 131; MacKenzie, 141; Thomson, 160, 245; Nichols, 190; Davey, 196, 202; Thomson, 199, 202–03; Lord Wavell, 255. See also awards and honours Military Medal (MM), awarded to or held by: Marsh, 51; Worthington, 58; Blake, 121; DeLutes, 157; McKinnel, 157, 183; John McInnes, 183; JP Young, 183; Fromstein, 192; Ciceri, 195–96. See also awards and honours Militia Districts: ISF Militia District No. 4 (Montreal), 4 Militia List, 12 Mills, Col Arthur LS, 175 Mills, Lt AVL, 175; quoted as epigraph, 169 Mills, Lt Col/Col Andrew LS, 8, 169 Mitchell, Capt/Lt Col Francis Murray (‘Frank’), 6, 39, 103, 135; 144, 153, 160, 199, 203, 245, 271, 345; biographical description, 67, 159, 199; appointment as CO, 137; reorganization of BW, 137; establishment of BHQ in St-André, 139; relationship with Megill, 139, 142, 150, 158–59, 161–62, 191, 198–99, 271, 320; quoted as epigraph, 140, 158; third battle of Operation Spring, 140–43 passim, 270; appointment of commanders, 143; rebuilding of unit, 147; battle of Bourgtheroulde, 148, 149; capture of Spycker, 155–59 passim; relinquishment of command, 159– 60; selection of Law, 163; appraisal of Shea, 164; denial of training request, 175; recommendations for BW citations, 191 MM. See Military Medal Molson Scholarship (Bishop’s College School) (Quebec), 42–43 Molson Stadium. See Percival Molson Stadium Molson, Col John Herbert, 24, 43, 78–79 Molson, Major Walter, 20, 79 Molson, Major/Lt Col John Henry, 5–6, 11, 14, 78–79 Molson, Percival, 78–79 Molson, Senator Hartland, 24, 79, 117 Molson, Sgt William Markland, 78–79 Molson, Stuart, 78–79 Monk, W, 253 Montague, Major Gen Percival, 144 Montgomery, Gen/Field Marshal Sir Bernard LM

(‘Monty’), 22, 147, 261, 274; commitment to “youth movement,” 30; management by, 34; Normandy bridgehead, 70; relationship with Eisenhower, 70–71; relationship with Bradley, 70–71, 79–80; Operation Spring, 82, 130, 140, 183; appraisal of Cooke, 112; appraisal of Foulkes, 130; appraisal of Crerar, 153; appraisal of Canadian Infantry Brigade, 162; Operation Market Garden, 164; opening of Scheldt estuary, 168; quotation, 192; Operation Veritable, 192; appraisal of Simonds, 261 Montreal (Quebec), 31; 1st Infantry Division formation, 4; 2nd Canadian Infantry Division formation, 6; recruitment, 11, 22, 23–24, 384; absence in 3rd and 4th Division, 12; armoured units representation, 12; Jewish neighbourhood, 16; ‘two solitudes’, 16–17; Second World War contributions, 22–24, 40; BW 1940 officers, 28–29; elite as officers, 67, 70; Operation Spring failure, 125, 151–52, 298; 1st Battalion return, 207; at start of World War Two, 246–47; Mount Royal Park field training, 249. See also Quebec; specific institutions and locations Montrouge, Lt/Capt Jean Lucien Duchastel de. See Duchastel, Lt/Capt Jean Lucien (‘John’) Monty’s Moonlight (Leichenlicht) (artificial moonlight), 263; military advantage, 88–89 Morgan, Corporal Murray Edward, 51 Morgandeen, Lt, 91 Morison, WO1 GP, 20 Morrison, Sgt Ronald, 183, 194 Morton, Capt JD, 318 Morton, Major Gen ROG, 307 mottos. See maxims, mottos and sayings Motzfeldt Report (1945), 127–28, 309; full text 309 Motzfeldt, Major/Lt Col Eric, 206, 207, 245, 255, 271; 245, 255, 271; meets with BW in France, 62; biographical description, 69, 201; quoted as epigraph, 76; encouragement of morale, 77–78; wounded, 91, 188, 190, 202, 203; appraisal of Stuart Cantlie, 89; Operation Spring, 91; death of Stuart Cantlie, 91; Motzfeldt Report, 127–28; BW declarations for valour, 150, 191–92; appraisal of Megill, 159, 161, 191, 198–99, 271; appraisal of Mitchell, 159, 161, 199; appointment to secondin-command, 190; Hochwald attack, 196–97; appraisal of Bruce Ritchie, 198–99; self-appraisal, 199; assumption of BW command, 199; appraisal of Leitch, 200; concerning battle losses, 200; Laren attack, 201–02 Mountbatten, Lord Louis, 41 Mugford, Private, 265 Mulhearn, Lt Joseph, 191 Munich Agreement (1938), 3 Munro, Ross: quoted as epigraph, 27 Murchie, Lt Gen JC, 127 Murray, Sgt, 253 Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal) (Quebec), 246

Index museums: BW Regimental Museum (Memorial Museum), 22; Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal), 246 musketry training, 11 Nadler, Private AL, 115 National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ): creation of Canadian Active Service Force, 4; General Order No. 124, 4; General Order No. 135, 4; senior officer to administer BW, 5; need for both Canadian cultures in military, 6; advised probationary period for POTS graduates, 9; Highland regiments Mobilization, 10; kilts and dress issues, 10, 11; BW prohibition on advertisement, 11; recruitment to fill fresh brigades, 12; absence of support for Reserve Army, 13; requirement for mobilization recommendation, 18; nomination and approval of Jaquays, 18, 19; active service infantry units disbandment, 21; proposed assumption of Highland Cadet Corps, 26; Ibbotson appointed senior staff officer, 31; Operation Spring casualty lists and news stories, 126; Simonds memorandum, 130; Operation Spring records, 130, 132; William Ewing Jr’s return and Combined Food Board, 184; Advisory Board problems in 1945, 208. See also Department of National Defence; Regimental Depot (BW) National Film Board of Canada: Valour and the Horror, The (television documentary series): In Desperate Battle (episode), 130 (unnamed) navy (Canada). See Royal Canadian Navy navy (Germany) (Kriegsmarine), 15, 20, 41, 153, 154; naval gun batteries, 42; Wilhelmshaven naval base, 203 navy (UK) (Royal Navy), 17, 41, 48; Royal Naval Reserve, 49 navy (US), 17 Navy League of Canada: Quebec Division, 144 Neil, Lt James K (‘Jock’), 72, 255 Neill, Lt Edward J (‘Ted’), 89, 103, 118, 119 Nesbitt, Capt James Aird, 32, 33, 251; quoted as epigraph, 31; biographical description, 34 Netherlands. See Holland New Brunswick, 20. See also specific camps, locations, and regiments New Zealand, 144 Newfoundland, 253; of Gander and Botwood airfields defence, 7; 1 RHC in War, 208, 250 Nichols, Lt SW, 188, 190 Nighswander, Lt Col Eric, 94, 99, 260 Nixon, Lt/Capt Jose Alexander Banfield (‘Joe’), 158, 272; reaction to Scout Platoon, 145; biographical description, 155; appraisal of Mitchell, 156; German attack, 157; relationship with Lewis, 189 Normandy Campaign. See Battles, Second World War, Overlord (Operation) Norsworthy, Squadron Leader Hugh, 116–17, 125 Norsworthy, Stanley, 108

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Notebaert, Lt Edmond Carlier, 103, 113, 130–31, 167 Notman, Sgt/WO 1 Peter, 30, 52, 57, 250 Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) (Quebec), 40 Nova Scotia, exercises (1942), 20. See also specific camps, institutions, and locations Nugent, Private James F, 68–69, 92 O’Toole, Private Alex, 44–45; quoted as epigraph, 44 OBE. See Order of the British Empire Observatory Ridge (1916), 71–72 ocean liners: Queen Elizabeth, 207. See also boats and ships Officers’ Training Centre, Brockville (Ontario), 9, 11, 25, 31 Oflag VII/B (PW camp) (Germany), 46 Ogilvie, Major William Watson (‘Bill’), 32, 69, 251; biographical description, 33–34; quoted as epigraph, 31, 33–34 Oldham, Lance Corporal Jack, 273 Ontario, 33, 180; as component of ‘Van Doos’ (Royal 22nd Regiment), 4; 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 6; contribution to BW, 40, 143. See also specific camps, institutions, and locations operations: Jubilee (Dieppe) (1942), 27, 40–52, 132, 138, 152–53, 257–58, 161, 209, 256–58; Dragoon (1944), 39; Atlantic (1944), 61, 66, 71–79, 82, 84–87, 122, 284; Totalize (1944), 62, 140, 145–46; Epsom (1944), 70; Goodwood (1944), 70, 71, 74, 79–82 passim; Cobra (1944), 80, 83, 139; Tractable (1944), 146; Market Garden (1944), 164–65; Angus (1944), 168–69, 171–75; Mac (1944), 176–77; Veritable (1945), 192, 194–98, 275; Blockbuster 1 and 2 (1945), 197–98, 275, 293; Plunder (1945), 200–01. See also Battles and campaigns Order of the British Empire (OBE), awarded to or held by: Echenberg, 5; James Weir, 32–33, 251; Somerville, 33; Doucet, 35, 252; Murray Mather, 43; GP Henderson, 245; Diplock, 251; Petch, 252. See also awards and honours Orion (battleship), 12 Orne River (France): Operation Atlantic, 61, 66, 71–74 passim; Operation Spring preparations, 82; German defences, 85; German counterattack, 111; field dressing station, 120; location, 285; Caen Canal, 272. See also May-sur-Orne; St-André-surOrne Orr, Capt John Ethelbert (‘Jack’), 169 Orr, John, Sr, 169 Osgoode Hall Law School (Ontario), 118, 164 Ossendrecht (Holland), 274 Osten Truppen (‘volunteers’), 85. See also 272nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division Ottawa (destroyer), 250 Ottawa (Ontario), 36 Ovenden, WO 1, 5 Oxford University (UK), 57, 67; ‘Oxbridge’, 67 Oxley, Sgt Alexander, 44

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paintings: destroyed, 14; of J. Bourne, 252; of Blackader, 259; of M. Allan, 259 Palfenier, Sgt, 89 Panet, Brig E de B, 18–19 Pangman, Major/Brig JEC, 53 parachutes and parachuting, 35; Canadian Parachute Regiment, 29; 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion, 38; Op Market Garden, 164–65; German, 192 parades, 1939 church, 7; funeral of Tweedsmuir, 12; 42nd Veterans’ Company, 15; 2nd Battalion, 15; 3rd Battalion, 15; 1943 Trooping the Colour, 21; Verdun, 22; 1 RHC, 29, 32, 54; 1 Canadian Corps, 54; before Queen Mother, 54, 55, 253; Stuart Cantlie’s farewell (1943), 54–55; bath, 139, 180; church, 146; Dieppe, 152, 153; Nijmegen, 192; following ceasefire, 206–07; Montreal homecoming, 207; training, including parade drills, 209; Wakehurst Place, 253. See also pipes and drums; tattoos; training paratroopers, Fallschirmjägers, 32, 154, 170–74, 196 Parc Jeanne-Mance. See Fletcher’s Field Paresys, Abbott Marcel, 158 Paris (France), 8, 58, 72; Operation Goodwood, 71; liberation, 132, 147; leaves, 207 Parker, Private; quoted as epigraph, 180 Paton, Hugh, 21–22 Patton, Gen George S, 79; and US 3rd Army, 71, 132, 139, 152 Pearl Harbour (US): bombing of (1941), 16 Pease Library (Quebec), 14 Pease, Edson L, 14 Pease, Major E Raymond, 14 Pedlar, Lt Hugh Frederick, 119 Percival Molson Stadium (Quebec) 1944 memorial service, 152, 205. See also McGill University Perry, Col/Brig Kenneth M, 8, 20 Perth Regiment, 34–35, 252 Petch, Capt/Lt Col Charles (‘Charlie’), Jr, 6, 31, 248, 252; quoted as epigraph, 36; biographical description, 36; relieved of command of 8th Reece Regiment, 36; command of PLDG, 37–38; command of North Nova Scotia Highlanders, 52, 85–86; command of Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, 252 Peter (pig mascot), 184 Petworth Camp (UK), 207 Phase 2, including Infantry, 89, 98 Philip, Prince (Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh), 67 Pinck, Lance Corporal Harry, 180 Pines (country house), 14 Pinkham, Capt/Major Esmond Vernon, 90, 137, 148, 271; described, 138, 163; capture of Coppenaxfort, 153; quoted as epigraph, 153; Spycker attack, 155, 156, 158; securement of Start Line, 168; designation as LOB, 171; wounded, 178; recommendation for leave, 188–89; appraisal, 189 pipes and drums, French-Canadian pipers, 16; 2 RHC and 2 RHC march-pasts, 21; Verdun parade, 22;

Blackader’s gift, 30; St Andrew’s Day, 34; motto, 52; concerts (1943–44), 56; battalion headquarters administration, 63; Campbell Stuart’s wedding, 67; Keay as pipe-major, 73; Retreat, 147, 180; Dieppe parade (1944), 152, 153; funeral of John Orr Sr, 169; Lierre performance, 180; Lights Out’ before Operation Veritable, 192; Megill’s Nijmegen celebration, 199; Holland tour, 206–07; aboard Queen Elizabeth, 207; inspection by Queen Mother, 254; First World War, 271. See also bands; parades; songs and tunes poems, Here Dead We Lie (Houseman), 130; Auld Lang Syne (R Burns), 187; As I sit on the banks of the MAAS (anonymous), 190; Men bred in the rough bounds (DB Macintyre), 210. See also songs and tunes Point 67 (France): Operation Spring 266–76 Point, the (Quebec), 40 Popham, Major James Russell, 163, 167, 173 Portsmouth (UK), 46 Potsdam (Germany), 84 Powell, Capt/Major/Lt Col John Wilson (‘Jake’), 104, 120, 263; quoted as epigraph, 97, 101; Verrières’s Ridge, 109, 110 Powell, RSM L, 5 Powers, Capt Art, 191 Powis, Capt Gordon, 83, 95–96, 269; quoted as epigraph, 98; biographical description, 98; Operation Spring, 98–99, 102–05 passim, 108, 112, 114, 117; assumption of command, 116; imprisonment, 117, 125, 130–31; Fontenay attack, 128, 132; rejection for gallantry award, 131; release, 269 Prein, Lt/Capt Peter, 112; quoted as epigraph, 110, 113, 114 Preuß, Kompaniefϋhrer Lt Wilhelm; 141, 270, quoted as epigraph, 140 Price, Capt Edward (‘Ted’), 176, 204 Prince Hendrik Barracks (Holland), 192 Princeton University (US), 43 Prisoner of War (PW) camps: Oflag VII/B (German), 46; German, unspecified, 113, 127, 130–32 passim, 167; Japanese, 315 Proudfoot, Private William (‘Bill’), 115; quoted as epigraph, 113 Provisional Officers Training School of the Regiment (POTS): implementation and general description, 8, 246–47; attitude of Militia headquarters towards, 8–9; qualification examinations, 9; discontinuation, 9; subsequent exhaustion of trained officers, 11; BW pride in program, 13; Reserve Army camp deployment, 14; graduates, 48, 78, 144, 153 Puys Beach (Blue Beach) (France): Operation Jubilee (Dieppe), 42, 44–46 passim, 48, 257–58 PW camps. See Prisoner of War (PW) camps Quebec (province), language of instruction, 16; description of contributing units in Second World

Index War, 23;. See also specific camps, institutions, and locations Quebec City (Quebec), 17 Queen Elizabeth, 207 (ocean liner). See also boats and ships Queen’s University (Ontario), 161 Quetta (War College) (India, later Pakistan), 161 radios (wireless), 32, 50; unavailability at start of Second World War, 10–11; Operation Jubilee (Dieppe), 45, 48; Operation Spring, 88, 94, 95, 97–100 passim, 103, 104, 107, 108, 110, 114, 116, 117, 119; No 18 set, 94, 104; No 38 Mk II (‘man-pack’), 94, 104; radio net, 98; transmitters (R/T), 104; Radio Message Logs, 117; German jamming at Dunkirk, 154; Operation Angus, 169; Walcheren Causeway, 179; Laren attack, 202 Rajah of Kolhapur Imperial Challenge Trophy (rifle competition), 144. See also Bisley Ralston, Hon Col JL, 127; appointment to cabinet, 10; visit to Reserve Army camp, 14; need for new reserve battalion, 19; 2 RHC disbandment, 21; Cape Bretoners, 32; investigation of RHC Fontenay-le-Marmio attack, 127 Ravenscrag (Allan Memorial Institute), 25, 259. See also McGill University Rawlings, Capt Ed C, 6, 248 Rawson, Lt William, 109, 118; quoted as epigraph, 108 Rea, Lt FT, 255 recruitment, 25; specific difficulties at start of War, 6, 10, 22, 23; BW prohibition from advertisement, 11; Montreal drives, 11; effect of Battle of Britain, 14; Reserve Army camp deployment, 14; restriction on further recruitment, 16; through McGill University COTC, 17–18; cancellation of recruitment drive, 18; BW success, 135; BW ‘originals’, 209. See also training Red Hackles, 10, 11, 21, 24, 31, 34, 58, 70, 135–36, 139, 149, 189, 209; regulation height, 30; Edinburgh military tailors, 43; cleanliness and placement, 54–55; removal, 59; Motzfeldt on stroll, 76, 77–78; false tales concerning, 200. See also balmorals, including blue balmorals; green coatees; specific photographs Reed, Lance Corporal Stewart, 181 regimental church. See Church of St Andrew and St Paul Regimental Museum. See Black Watch Regimental Museum Remembrance Day (11 November), 152 Reoch, H/Capt Rev Allan, 189, 204 Report 150 (Hunter Report), 96, 129 Reserve Army Camp (Quebec), 14 Reserve Veterans’ Company (BW): formation (1940), 11. See also 42nd Reserve Veterans’ Company; Veteran’s Company Retreat, played: 147, 180 reunions, including reunion dinners, 14, 21; 1939, 7; 1940, 11–12; 1941, 15

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Rhine River, 164; strategic location, 152, 165, 181, 192; Operation Market Garden, 165; German flooding, 190; Operation Veritable, 192, 193, 197–98 Ridley College (Ontario), 43 Ritchie, Lt Col Bruce R, 39, 138, 164, 165, 188, 203, 245, 248, 245, 255, 271; commander of Algonquins, 69, 137; 1944 BW reorganization, 137; appraisal of Carmichael, 153; relationship with Megill, 160; biographical description, including character, 160, 161, 162; training replacements, 162–63; appoints Slater as officer-in-command, 163; battle at St-Leonard, 166–67; battle at Bracht, 167; securement of Start Line, 168; Operation Angus, 168–69, 171, 172, 173; denial of training application, 175; funeral for Woensdrecht casualties, 176; Walcheren causeway bridgehead, 177; orders for withdrawal, 179; securement of passage for Calgary Highlanders, 179, 180; increase in 1 RHC morale, 181; rejection of BW nominations, 183; 1944 Christmas, 184; regimental casualties, 185; quoted as epigraph, 187; order for prisoner capture, 188; loss by 1945 of principal commanders, 188; appraisal of Pinkham, 189; reinstitution of ‘hardening training’, 190; shuffling of battalion positions, 190; lack of BW declarations, 191; Megill’s condemnation of approach and results, 191, 198–99; planning of Operation Veritable, 193, 196, 198; appraisal of MacDuff, 195; Operation Blockbuster 2, 197, 198; termination as CO, 198–99, 208 Roberts, Lt JG, 202 Roberts, Major Gen John Hamilton (‘Ham’), 42, 45 Robertson, Capt BD, 248 Robinson, Lt Alan Reginald Wynne, 106, 255 Robinson, Lt GS, 103 Robson, Private/Piper Allan D, 109, 112, 123 Rockingham, Lt Col/Maj Gen/Gen John (‘Rocky’), 110 Rodger, Brig Elliot, 140 Rogers, Norman, Liberal Minister of Defence 1939–40, 10 Rolland, John, 52 Rommel, Gen/Field Marshal Erwin (‘Desert Fox’), 41, 65, 71, 81, 111; defence tactics, 80 Rooney, Sgt JJ, 7 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, US President 1933–45, 23 Rosemount (Quebec), 106 Roslyn School (Quebec), 33 Rotterdam (Holland), 207 Routledge, Maj Jim C, 6, 248 RRoy, Reginald: quoted as epigraph, 143 Royal Air Force (RAF) (UK), 24, 36; Ferry Command, 15; Dieppe invasion, 49; Operation Goodwood, 71; Operation Spring, 125; Operation Tractable, 146; Battle of the Scheldt, 166 Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), 13, 23, 41, 117; funeral of John Buchan, 12; inspiration source, 23; Battle of Britain, 79

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Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP): funeral of John Buchan, 12 Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), 13; expansion, 23; use of special naval craft and guns, 43, 45; Dieppe invasion, 47, 48, 51; proposed use in Walcheren Causeway, 177; Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) (Ontario), graduates, 19, 24, 29, 33, 35, 39, 43, 66, 67, 69, 81, 137, 159, 162, 174; Sword of Honour (cadet achievement award), 66; Precision Squad, 67; BW gunner-engineers, 81; conflict within BW demarcation, 159, 160 Royal Naval Reserve (UK), 49. See also navy (UK) Royal Victoria Hospital (Quebec), 25 Royle, H/Capt Rev E Cecil, 146, 169, 180, 189 rugby, 118 Rushforth, Major Norman, 202 Russia (Soviet Union): fighting in 1941, 15; Russian front, 36–37, 84, 86; German offense, 41 Saltire (St Andrew’s Cross), 22 SAS (Special Air Service) (UK), 38 Saskatchewan, 155, 204 sayings. See maxims, mottos and sayings Schack, Lt Gen Friedrich-August, 85, 149, 262; biographical description, 84–85; panzer reserves prior to May-sur-Orne attack, 86; petition for additional forces, 87; tendency of troops to surrender, 99; release of 2nd Panzer Division, 111; counterattack against BW, 112, 115; reaction to battles for St-André and St Martin, 123; achievement of defensive victory, 126; destruction of formation, 140 Scharnhorst (battle cruiser), 20 Scotland (UK), 55. See also Imperial Black Watch Seals (US military), 38 2nd Canadian Corps Championship (hockey), 114 Selwyn House School (Quebec): graduates, 38, 42–43, 106, 113 Sharo, Private Patrick Joseph: quoted as epigraph, 82 Sharp, Lt Col John Wemyss (‘Jake’), 52 Shea, Lt William John, 149, 164, 173, 176 Sheppard, Lt William James, 194 Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, 36, 148: grouped with 2nd Armoured Brigades, 23 ships. See boats and ships Siam (Thailand), 17–18 Simms, Lt Kenneth, 154 Simonds, Lt Gen/Gen Guy Granville, 22, 139, 199, 261–62; character, 30, 83, 162; commitment to younger commanders, 30, 58; Tilly-la-Campagne attack, 37; unit inspections and terminations of COs, 56; termination of Worthington, 58; inspection of BW; 62; appraisal of Campbell Stuart, 67; command of 2nd Canadian Corps, 71; Operation Goodwood, 71, 74–75, 81; Operation Spring planning, 80–84 passim, 262; Operation Spring attack, 102, 110, 111, 122–25 passim; abandonment of attack, 123; quoted as epigraph,

126, 158; appraisal of BW attack performance, 127, 129–30, 262; possibility of German retreat from Ridge, 140; third Ridge attack, 142; Operation Totalize, 145–46; Operation Tractable, 146; approach to BW governance, 159; appraisal of Megill, 161; temporary command of 1st Canadian Army, 168, 181; Walcheren Causeway attack, 177; inspection of 5th Brigade, 206; Operation Atlantic, 284 Simpson, Gen William, 192 Singapore, 24 Sir George Williams University (Quebec), 137–38 Slater, Capt/Major Robert Gordon (‘Torchy’), 50, 168, 191, 248; biographical description, 163; capture and death, 169, 188 Smith, Capt FC, 195 Smith, Corporal Sydney, 142 Smith, Lt JG, 255 Smith, Private H, 44 Snider, Private Edward, 181 snipers, including sniper fire, 189; in Battle of Rome, 39; Scout Platoon, 63, 93, 103, 115; Stens and pistols as targets, 69–70; attacks on, 73; Hill 67, 76; near Factory, 87; Bren gun teams, 106; Verrières Ridge capital, 107, 109; and construction of perimeter defence, 120; throughout Verrières Ridge, 121, 122, 128, 139; enemy fire falsely accredited to, 125; D Company (BW) Operation Spring private, 131; charge on Bourgtheroulde, 149; Battle of Spycker, 157, 272; Hoogerheide, 168; near BHQs, 169, 205; during airstrike on Angus 2 and 3, 173; Operation Mac, 176; Walcheren Causeway, 178; march to Wilhelmshaven, 203 soccer, 40 softball. See baseball and softball Somerville, Major/Lt Col Robert Boyd, 31, 32, 34; DSO citation, 32–33; biographical description, 33; awarded OBE, 33; assumption of command, 251 Somme, the (France), 41. See also Battle of the Somme songs and tunes, 52, 200. trench song, including adapted version, 40; Luger Luggin Ludwig – Lay that Luger Down, 66; Brother Can You Spare a Dime?, 69; Retreat, 147, 180; Lydia Pinkham, 154; Lament, 169; Auld Lang Syne, 187, 188; Lights Out, 192. See also pipes and drums; poems Sorel, Private Reginald: quoted as epigraph, 46 Sorel, Private Robert: quoted as epigraph, 49 Soulanges Canal (Quebec), 4, 5 South Beveland (Holland), 264, 275 Southam, Brig William, 50 Spartan (exercise) (1943), 53 Sponheimer, Gen Otto, 165 sporrans. See hair sporrans sports. See specific sports Spry, MGen D, 261 St Andrew’s Cross (Saltire), 22 St Andrew’s Day, 34 St Laurent, Louis, Liberal Prime Minister 1948–57, 97

Index St Lawrence River (fleuve Saint-Laurent): sinking of German submarines, 17 Stacey, Col Charles P, 14, 101, 127; quoted as epigraph, 61, 93, 126, 169; Motzfeldt Report, 127– 28; Operation Spring investigation, 129; survival of Simonds memorandum, 130; BW casualities, 162; Woensdrecht attack, 175 Stacey, Corporal RE, 201 Stalin, Joseph, 41 Stanley Cup (hockey), 259 Stanley, Col GFC, 97, 127 Start Line (Operation Atlantic), 74, 75 Steinmüller, Lt Col (Generalleutnant) Walter, 166 Stenum (Germany): assault (1945), 205–06 Stephen, Lord Mount, 66 Sterz, Major KG, 111, 112, 117, 125 Stevens, Donald D, 253 Stevenson, Major Alan Guy, 255; biographical description, 69; 1 RHC attack at Caen, 72; wounded, 73, 79, 163, 175; recruit training, 175– 76; burial of BW soldiers, 176; quoted as epigraph, 137; 1944 Christmas, 184; replaced as second-incommand, 190; absence of BW citations, 191 St-Hubert Air Base (Quebec), 23 St-Jean Air Base (Quebec), 19, 23 St-Leonard (Belgium): attack (1944), 166–67, 195 Stott, Major Vern, 123 Strathy, Lt Col Stewart, 31 Stuart, Capt Campbell Lewis, 103, 163, 268; biographical description, 57, 67–68, 120; Operation Spring, 75, 85, 99, 102, 109, 119; rejection of rum ration, 78; quoted as epigraph, 79, 99, 117; monitor of radio (wireless) traffic, 94–95, 99, 128; wounded, 119, 120, 429; awarded MID and Croix de Guerre, 120, 332; contribution to Motzfeldt Report, 127, 128 Stuart, Okill, 67–68 submarines, including submarine warfare: German, general, 17; U-Boats, 15, 17, 19, 20, 41 Sucharov, Major Bert, 46, 51 Sudbury (Ontario), 164 Suez Canal (Egypt), 41 Sun Life Building (Quebec), 9 Sussex (UK), 15, 52, 253 Sutherland, Pipe-Sgt Donald, 52 Swailes, Corporal, 149 Switzerland, 24, 56 Sword of Honour (cadet achievement award): Royal Military College of Canada (Ontario), 66 Tactics School, 153, 158 Tank Landing Craft (TLC), 257; TLC2 (LCT 127), 46, 47, 49–51 passim, 256; TLC127, 257. See also boats and ships; tanks Taylor, Capt/Major John PW, 52, 89, 92, 103, 127, 147, 188, 194, 248, 255; quoted as epigraph, 74; assumption of C Company command, 79, 191; wounded in Operation Spring, 104–05, 118, 190; wounded in Hochwald, 197

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Taylor, Don, 29 Taylor, Lt DH, 248 Taylor, Lt Col DH, 74, 147 Tees, Brig P, 40 Terborg (Holland): attack (1945), 201 Tessier, Lt Rowland E, 103, 150, 155–56 Tessier, Trevor, 155–56 Thailand (Siam), 17–18 Therrien, Private M, 275 Thompson, Sir John, Conservative Prime Minister 1892–94, 138 Thomson, Lt Col/Brig Sydney Wilford (‘Syd’), 160, 204, 206–07, 208, 245; biographical description, 202–03; acting brigadier, 206 Tirpitz (battleship), 20. See also boats and ships Topp, Brig CP Beresford, 20, 56 Toronto (Ontario), 189, 201, 253; Soulanges Canal, 4; 1st Battalion ordered to, 7. See also specific institutions training, Provisional Officers Training School of the Regiment, 8–9, 11, 13, 14, 48, 78, 144, 153, 246– 47; Brockville Officers Training School, 9, 11, 25, 31; Canadian Officers’ Training Corps (COTC), 9, 11, 17, 98, 119, 144, 145, 147, 163, 168; District Headquarters (District 1 HQ) BW recruitment and training, 9, 15–16, 22; Bren LMG, 10, 158, 175; Bishop’s University, 11, 189; musketry, 11; 1st Canadian Infantry Division 1941 training, 15; French 2 RHC, 16; Huntingdon training base, 19; Royal Military College of Canada, 19, 24, 29, 33, 35, 39, 43, 66, 67, 69, 81, 137, 159, 160, 162, 174; Camp Farnham, 22, 38; British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (‘Aerodrome of Democracy’), 23; Cartierville air training field, 23; Dorval air training field, 23; 3rd Canadian Infantry Training Unit (Regiment) (3 CITR), 33, 39, 203; Dalhousie University, 35; Operation Jubilee (Dieppe) effect on training, 51–52; infantry in France, 85, 162; 8th Canadian Infantry Training Unit (8 CITR) (Regiment), 136, 251; B–D Companies (BW rifle companies), 175; First World War, 209–10; grenades, 249; Second World War gun training, general, 249–50. See also exercises; manoeuvres; recruitment Traversy, Capt/Lt Col Valmore Eric (‘Val’), 201, 203, 208, 245, 255; biographical description, 68; wounded, 79, 188, 193; replacement by Ronald Bennett, 89; German attacks on A Company, 194, 197; A Company withdrawal, 201; assumption of command, 202; appointment as second-incommand, 203; confirmation as A Company OC, 204–05, appointment as acting CO and lieutenant colonel, 206; BW return to Montreal, 207 Treaty of Versailles (1919), 3 Trinity College School (Ontario), 48 Trooping the Colour: 1943 (Quebec), 21. See also parades; tattoos trophies. See awards and honours Turnbull, RSM WO Alan F, 103, 178, 195, 207

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Tweedsmuir, Lord (John Buchan), Governor General 1935–40, 11–12; quoted as epigraph, 11 Twente Canal (Holland), 201 U-Boats (German submarines), 15, 17, 20, 41. See also submarines UNITS AND FORMATIONS THE BLACK WATCH (ROYAL HIGHLAND REGIMENT) OF CANADA: 1939 exclusion from 1st Infantry Division, 4; 1 RHC mobilization, 5; Paul Hutchison appointment as regimental commander, 6; composition of militia section, 5; composition, 6; recruitment, 6; early Second World War combat training, 6, 16, 21–22; pressure on resources, 7; 1st and 2nd Divisions’ departure for Europe, 7–8; opening of Provisional Officers Training School (POTS), 8; headquarters’ attitude towards POTS, 8–9; two-month probationary period, 9; No.2 Holding Unit request, 9; 2 RHC mobilization failure, 12; restricted use of BW battalions, 12–13; UK training, 15; BW home front, 15–16; threats to BW customs, 16–17; 1942 mobilization failure, 18; 2nd and 3rd Battalions’ reorganization, 18, 19; 2nd Battalion joins 17th Infantry Brigade, 20; 2 RHC disbandment, 20–21; Operation Spring casualties, including wounded, and fatalities percentage, 24, 104, 105, 108–10 passim, 113–123 passim, 126, 129, 132–33, 137, 138, 142, 144, 147, 168, 173, 175, 189, 190, 193, 201, 264, 268, 270, 307–08; Montreal Home Front prior to BW combat, 25–26; failure to remobilize 2 RHC, 26; Highland Cadet Corps proposed assumption, 26; in Aldershot (UK), 27–28; officer composition prior to Operation Jubilee (Dieppe), 28–31; Operation Jubilee specific mission, 42–43; accidental grenade fatalities, 43–44; Edward Force, 44–46, 48, 377; BW mortar platoon on Red Beach, 46–49; landing craft tank (LCT 127) attack, 49–51 passim; Operation Jubilee awards and recommendations, 50–51; post-Operation Jubilee training, 51–52; officer performance evaluations and shifts, 52–55; personnel set for Operation Overlord (Normandy), 57–58; pre-Operation Overlord reaction to Second World War, 58–59; BW Second World War general description, 61–62; Operation Overlord organizational structure, 62–64; Operation Totalize, 62, 140, 145–46; Operation Overlord start, 64; Allied and German tactical situation, 65–66; preOperation Atlantic causalities, 66; Operation Atlantic officer and organizational structure, 66–70; Operation Goodwood, 70, 71, 74, 79–82 passim; Verrières Ridge as strategic objective, 71, 79–80; Operation Atlantic Order

of Battle and counterattack plan, 72, 74–75; Operation Atlantic battle, 76–79; Operation Atlantic casualties, 76, 77–79 passim, 84–85; Operation Spring contributors and organizational structure, including number of participants, 81, 102–03; preparations, 81–84 passim, 86, 88–89, 97–99 passim, 104, 262; Calgary Highlanders’ securement failure, 88–92 passim, 95; Monty’s Moonlight (Leichenlicht), 88–89, 263; St-Martin clearing, 92, 95, 124, 127; Duffield’s patrol, 93–94, 268; German attack at Start Line, 93–94; Philip Griffin’s attack plan, 95–96; B Squadron (1st Hussars) as BW support, 97, 98, 103, 108–09; Operation Spring attack and immediate counterattack, 103–10; German counterattack and success, 110–15; final German counterattack and BW failure, 115– 16; rearguard, 117–20; ‘Shell Alley’, 120–21; Régiment de Maisonneuve counterattack, 122–23; final attempt at victory, 123; summation and analysis of first Operation Spring defeat, including Motzfeldt Report, 124–33, 309; Quebec reaction to failure, 125, 151–52; Philip Griffin Victoria Cross rejection, 130–31; replacements, 135–39; relationships between officers, 139–40; Third Battle of Verrières Ridge (second Operation Spring), 140–42; summation and analysis of first Operation Spring defeat, 142–43; BW rebuilding, 143–45; Operation Tractable, 146; Battle of Bourgtheroulde, 148–50, 159, 191; summation of Normandy Campaign, including casualties, 150–51; Dieppe return, including parade, 152–53; Battle of Spycker, 153, 155–57 passim, 159, 167, 272; ‘Black Friday’ Hoogerheide–Woensdrecht attack, 162, 165, 169–76, 273, 275; St-Leonard attack, 166–67, 195; Operation Angus, 168– 69, 171–75; Goes (Operation Mac), 176–77; Battle of Walcheren Causeway, 177–80, 696; settlement into Lierre, 180; deployment in Groesbeek, 181, 184; Grafwegen raid, 181–183; on Maas River, 181, 185, 190; redeployment in Groesbeek, 200; settlement into Hogmanay, 187–88; Operation Veritable, 192, 194–98, 275; Operations Blockbuster 1 and 2, 197–98, 275, 293; Terborg attack, 201; Battle of Groningen, 203–04; Stenum assault, 205–06; analysis of Second World War contribution, 207–10. See also armoury (BW); awards and honours; Black Watch Cadet Corps; Black Watch Regimental Museum; Canadian Officers’ Training Corps; Centennial (Canada); Church of St Andrew and St Paul; exercises; 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division; parades; pipes and drums; Presentation of Colours; Psychological Operations;

Index reunions; specific associations, battles, camps, countries, individuals, institutions, locations, memorials, military units, operations, sports, and wars A CompAny (BW rifle company), 70, 197; Philip Griffin as commander, 68–69; Operation Atlantic Order of Battle, 72; success in Operation Atlantic, 72; kapok bridge establishment, 73; advancement with remaining rifle companies, 90; consequences of Cameron Highlanders of Canada’s and Calgary Highlanders’ failure to secure St-Martin, 90; early casualty rate, 102–03; Operation Spring organizational structure, 102–03; attack formation, 102–03; death of No. 7 Platoon leader, 106; description of advance, 106; death of No. 8 Platoon leader, 112; Anyon’s assumption of command, 137; one half designated Left Out of Battle (LOB), 141; Panther (tank) attack, 141; Third Battle of Verrières Ridge diamond formation, 141; overrun, 142; William Ewing’s assumption of command, 144; St-Leonard attack, 167; attack to secure Angus 1, 173; extent of Operation Spring attack casualties, 173, 175; training, 175, 404; failure at Walcheren Causeway, 177, 178; development of attack strategy, 179; MacLaren’s assumption and continuation of command, 189, 191; Nijmegen parade, 192; Valmore Traversy’s assumption of command, 193; Hochwald attack, 194; waylaid through German assault guns, 201; Duffield’s assumption of command, 203; Groningen counterattack, 204; Duffield’s confirmation as commander, 204–05; Stenum assault, 205–06. See also Spring (Operation) B CompAny (BW rifle company), 271; Motzfeldt as commander, 69; Operation Atlantic Order of Battle, 72; casualties, 73; assault description, 73; advancement with remaining rifle companies, 90; consequences of Cameron Highlanders of Canada’s and Calgary Highlanders’ failure to secure St-Martin, 90; Operation Spring organizational structure, 102–03; attack formation, 103; Victor Foam’s assumption of command, 105, 268; deaths of McCaw and McLennan, 105–06; Operation Spring description, 109; Edwin Bennett’s assumption of command, 137; Third Battle of Verrières Ridge diamond formation, 141; Carmichael’s assumption of command, 143, 153; Bourgtheroulde deployment, 148; Battle of Spycker, 155, 156, 158; Slater’s assumption of command, 163; Brecht attack, 167; Hoogerheide, 168; Operation Angus, including attack at Angus 1, 171–73 passim; extent of Operation Spring attack casualties, 172, 173, 175; training, 175; MacDuff’s assumption of command, 176,

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191; withdraw to previous night’s positions, 179; failed attempt to take German prisoner, 188; Hochwald attack, 194, 196; Davey’s assumption of command, 202; Battle of Groningen, 204 C CompAny (BW rifle company), 96; description, 42; Mortar Platoon compared, 43; C Company (1 RHC) grenade incident, 43–44; 15 Platoon attack, 44; Operation Jubilee (Dieppe) Edward Force, 44–46, 48; casualties, 46, 258; planned attack on 88 battery, 36; Stevenson as commander, 69, Operation Atlantic Order of Battle, 72; advancement past Start Line, 75; John Taylor as commander, 79, 89, 103, 191; Operation Spring organizational structure, 102–03; approach to May-surOrne, 104–05; elimination of officers and soldiers, 105; wounded men, 105, 121; Cowans’s membership, 138; Pinkham appointed commanding officer, 138; Third Battle of Verrières Ridge diamond formation, 141; Battle of Bourgtheroulde, 148, 149; Lydia Pinkham (pub song), 154; Battle of Spycker, 155, 156; Pinkham as commander, 163; St-Leonard attack, 167; Hoogerheide, 168; Operation Angus, including attack at Angus 1, 170–73 passim, 175; training, 175; Walcheren Causeway, 178, 179; placement in Germany and Holland, 190; Hochwald attack, 194; Ciceri’s assumption of command, 195–96; Baillie’s assumption of command, 197; dance organization, 200; Laren attack, including casualties, 202; Battle of Groningen, 204 D CompAny (BW rifle company), 57, 82, 91; George Climie Fraser as commander, 69, 78; Operation Atlantic Order of Battle, 72; planned provision of supporting fire, 72; advancement past Start Line, 75; start of Operation Spring, 89; as advance guard, 90; Operation Spring organizational structure, 102–03; Jack description of Operation Spring, 131; Pinkham and Cowans as commanding officers, 138; headquarters group, 141; Panther (tank) attack, 141; Third Battle of Verrières Ridge diamond formation, 141; withdrawal, 142; Fox’s assumption of command, 143; Bourgtheroulde deployment, 148; German Spycker attack, 154; McKinnel awarded MM for attempted rescues, 157; Popham as commander, 163; St-Leonard attack, 167; Hoogerheide, 168; Operation Angus, including attack at Angus 1; 172, 173; training, 175; withdraw to previous night’s positions, 179; dance organization, 200 Support CompAny (BW), 72, 95, 117, 182; Normandy Campaign structure, 62, 63; Mortar Platoon, 42–49 passim, 63, 72, 89–90, 94, 103, 148, 149, 155, 166, 168, 171–72, 182, 183, 257–58, 273; Anti-Tank Platoon, 63, 173;

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Assault Pioneer Platoon, 63; Carrier Platoon, 63, 89, 90, 92, 101–02, 118, 119, 121, 182; Valmore Traversy as commander, 68, 193; A and B Companies support, 72; headquarters destruction, 79; Ronald Bennett as commander, 89, 193; St-Martin deployment locations, 90, 94; Operation Spring organizational structure, 102–03; rearguard defence, 118, 119; casualties, 175; Menzies as commander, 191, 193; Laren attack, 202 CArrier plAtoon, 63, 92; start of Operation Spring, 89; in St-Martin, 101–02; rearguard defence, 118, 119; Blake as second-incommand, 121; vanguard, 148; Hoogerheide, 169; Grafwegen raid, 182; WoensdrechtHoogerheide, 273 mortAr plAtoon (BW), 42, 72; selection for Operation Jubilee (Dieppe), 42; Operation Jubilee composition, 43; third wave assault, 44, 257, 258; Operation Jubilee task and performance, 46–49; part of Operations Atlantic and Spring Support Company, 63, 103; at start of Spring, 89–90; baseplates location, 94; Battle of Bourgtheroulde, 148, 149; Battle of Spycker, 155; supplies, 166; Hoogerheide, 168; Operation Angus, 171–72; Grafwegen raid, 182, 183; Groesbeek, 273 5th royAl SCotS (later BW), 31; proposed assumption of Highland Cadet Corps, 26 42nD BAttAlion CEF, 31; veterans, 14, 25, 163; parading, 15; Veterans’ Company, 15, 20; Topp as Battalion historian, 20 73rD BAttAlion CEF, veterans, 30, 106, 201; Third Battle of Ypres, including 1971 memorial service, 106 CANADIAN INFANTRY DIVISIONS 1St CAnADiAn infAntry DiviSion: failure to include BW, 4; McNaughton as General Officer Commanding, 6; 1940 convoy to Europe, 7; 1940 European escape, 13; 1941 training, 15; reinforcements arrival in Italy, 21; ‘The Brooding Soldier’ memorial, 164 2nD CAnADiAn infAntry DiviSion, 28; 1 RHC mobilization, 5; composition, 6; 1939 1 RHC convoy to Europe, 7, 14; Operation Jubilee (Dieppe), 40, 42, 45, 152, 153; Edward Force, 45; Sucharov at headquarters, 51; Alan MacKay as senior padre, 53; Foulkes’s assumption of command, 56; ordered into France (Operation Overlord) (Normandy), 59; Operation Atlantic, 72–74 passim; Operation Spring, 76, 81, 84, 95; movement towards Rouen, 147; Dieppe return, 152, 153; repeated need for replacement troops, 165; Battle of the Scheldt, 166; Walcheren Island capture, 167; Royle as senior chaplain, 189; Hochwald captures of Germans, 196 3rD CAnADiAn infAntry DiviSion: 17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars becomes 7th

Reconnaissance Regiment, 12; Blackader transfer, 30; Operation Overlord (Normandy), 30, 59; Operation Atlantic, 72; Operation Spring, 81, 84; artillery, 98; Keller as General Officer Commanding, 124; Blackader as General Officer Commanding, 146; Seine reached, 149; clearing of lower Scheldt, 166 4th CAnADiAn ArmoureD DiviSion, 58, 136, 145, 149; formation, 12; creation of 22nd Armoured Regiment, 12–13. See also 22nd Armoured Regiment 7th CAnADiAn infAntry DiviSion, 18 8th CAnADiAn infAntry DiviSion, 18 CANADIAN INFANTRY BRIGADES (CDN INF BDE GPS) 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade, 195. 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade, 4, 43 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 6, 42, 85–86, 148 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 6, 7, 28, 56, 72, 81–84 passim, 86, 89, 95, 116, 119, 127, 131– 32, 136, 147–48, 160, 161, 166–68 passim, 177, 191, 197, 204–07 passim 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 6, 7, 42, 50, 74, 75, 82, 88, 122, 177, 204–05, 257 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division (7 CIB), 4. See also Lorne Scots; Regina Rifle Regiment 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 146. CANADIAN ARMOURED REGIMENTS 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards (4 Recce Regiment), 37–38, 252 6th Duke of Connaught’s Royal Canadian Hussars, 23 17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars, 12, 23, 25, 468; armoury, 249 Calgary Regiment (14th Armoured Regiment), 46 Fort Garry Horse (army reserve), 173, 200, 201–02; Shermans, 273 Grenadier Guards (22nd Armoured Regiment), 23; CGG exclusion from 1st Infantry Division, 4; becomes 22nd Armoured Regiment, 12–13; as First World War regiment, 22 Royal Canadian Hussars; 17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars, 12, 23, 25; 6th Duke of Connaught’s Royal Canadian Hussars, 23 Three Rivers (Tank) Regiment, grouped with 1st Armoured Brigade, 23 CANADIAN INFANTRY REGIMENTS Algonquin Regiment, 56, 69, 137, 161, 198 Fusiliers Mont-Royal replacement, 7; shift from 6th to 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 7; Hill 67, 74; Megill as commander, 82; Operation Spring attack plan 82–83; planned Start Line securement, 84, 88–89, 90; Grenadier Regiments block of march, 86; A Company, 90, 91, 190; B Company St-Martin securement failure, 90, 95, 101; loss of A and B Company commanders, 90; St-Martin

Index securement failure, 90, 93, 97; BW encounter with two Highlander companies, 91; ‘friendly fire’, 91, 95; BW need to locate, 92; D Company, 93; failure of Highlanders make contact with BW, 94; false success report, 95; 2nd Division and 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade belief Highlanders in or near Maysur-Orne, 95, 99; BW ordered to assist in May-sur-Orne, 97; Highlanders located, 97; Operation Spring number of participants, 102; house location between May-sur-Orne and St-Martin, 109; retirement to green line, 109; May-sur-Orne as original objective, and subsequent attack, 111, 124; Ellis’s assumption of leadership, 120, 123; fallback to crossroads, 120; need to create defensive perimeter, 120; ‘Shell Alley’ liaison with Muncie, 121; withdrawal to Fleury-sur-Orne, 123; failure to take May-sur-Orne, 128–29; fatalities percentage, 132; Hoogerheide– Woensdrecht, 171; Walcheren Causeway, 179–80 evacuation; Lierre pipes and drums performance, 180; Mortar Platoon Grafwegen raid, 182, 183; Mortar Platoon officer O Group recruitment, 182; Hochwald attack, 196, 275; Megill’s relationship with, 199, 275 Cameron Highlanders of Canada, 66; StAndré-sur-Orne occupation, 74, 76, 82, 125; shifted to Megill’s command, 82; assigned to secure and clear Start Line, 82; cast out of St-Martin-de-Fontenay, 84; St-André securement failure, 84, 88, 125; against Kampfgruppen, 86–87; Start Line securement failure, 88; St-Martin bypassing, 90; consequences of St-Martin securement failure, 90; Kemp assigned to contact, 92; location in St-André-sur-Orne, 92; disappointing BW liaison, 101; movement to wedge from North, 121; withdrawal to Fleury-sur-Orne, 123 Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, 118, 143 Cape Breton Highlanders (CBH) (formerly 85th Battalion), 31, 251; First World War, 32; membership in 5th Canadian Armoured Division, 32, 251; and Somerville, 33, 251; augmentation by 1944, 59; James Weir as commander, 299, 251 Carleton and York Regiment, 21 Edmonton Regiment, 4 Essex Scottish Regiment, 48, 74, 76 Fusiliers Mont-Royal: brigaded with BW and Régiment de Maisonneuve, 6; military lineage, 6; becomes part of 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, 7; guarding of Iceland, 7; as French Canadian battalion, 23; in 14th Armoured Regiment; platoon in Calgary Regiment, 46, 48; Operation Jubilee (Dieppe), 48; Operation Goodwind, 75; Dog Company, 150; part of St-

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Martin, 263. See also 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade; 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, 21 North Nova Scotia Highlanders (North Novas) (NNS), 52, 104; Kampfgruppe with 27th Armoured Regiment, 36; Op Spring, 37, 85– 86; Tilly-la-Campagne, 37; Normandy, 252 Prince of Wales Rifles, 59 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, 4, 141; founding, 29 Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada. See Cameron Highlanders of Canada Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, 53 Régiment de la Chaudière, Le, 6; mobilization, 23 Régiment de Maisonneuve, Le, brigaded with BW and Fusiliers Mont-Royal, 6; French Canadian battalion mobilization, 23; temporary attachment to 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, 82; requested for Operation Spring, 88; ambulance bearer section, 120; Operation Atlantic, 122; Panther assault (tank), 122; May-sur-Orne counterattack, 122–23; St-André-sur-Orne abandonment, 123; casualty rate within 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, 132; incorrectly identified at BrettevillesurLaize (Bretteville) cemetery, 132–33; B and D Companies’ attachment to 1 RHC, 139; establishment of Factory defensive position, 142; Operation Blockbuster 2, 197; Laren attack and Start Line securement, 201; guarding of Verrières Ridge air shaft, 267 Regina Rifle Regiment (Regina Rifles), 169 Royal 22nd Regiment (Royal 22e Régiment), included in 1st Infantry Division, 4; mobilization, 23 Royal Canadian Regiment, formerly part of 7th Brigade (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry), 4 Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, 85–86, 110; Verrières village capture, 95 Royal Montreal Regiment, 40; part of 1st Infantry Division and 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade, 4; conversion to reconnaissance regiment, 22; disbandment and strength reduction, 22 Royal Regiment of Canada, 47; 1 RHC platoons seconded, 42; Operation Jubilee (Dieppe) casualty rate, 45; Puys Beach (Blue Beach) in Operation Jubilee, 45, 258; sea wall as initial objective, 45; absence of radio contact, 48; Operation Angus Start Line, 171; temporary truce, 172–73 Royal Rifles of Canada, 17, 23, 59 Seaforth Highlanders, 69, 202–03 South Saskatchewan Regiment, 74, 193 Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders, 37, 112

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Toronto Scottish Regiment: Dieppe invasion, 47–49 passim, 51; Operation Spring, 90; Grafwegsche Straat attack, 182; machinegunners positions, 257 Victoria Rifles of Canada, 93, 135, 144, 193; 1st Infantry Division exclusion, 4; disbandment, 22; resuscitation through BW, 59; BW training, 302 CANADIAN – OTHER 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion, 38. See also parachutes and parachuting 2nd Field Artillery Regiment (Lacombe Armoury), 23 3rd Canadian Infantry Training Unit (Regiment), 33, 39, 203 5th Field Regiment, 269; Nighswander as gunner and commanding officer, 94, 99, 260; Operation Spring artillery, 98; Spring Planning, 83, 98, 99, 104; Battle of Bourgtheroulde, 148; Battle of Spycker, 155; Laren attack, 202 8th Canadian Infantry Training Unit, 136, 251 18 Field Ambulance, 148, 172–73 25th Field Regiment, 98, 104 439 Combat Support Squadron (Royal Canadian Air Force), 117 AGRA (Army Group Royal Artillery), 75, 98, 193 Canadian General Reinforcement Unit, 201 First Special Service Force (‘The Devil’s Brigade), 29, 38–39, 252; disbandment, 39 Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, 121 Royal Canadian Engineers: detachment in 14th Armoured (Calgary) Regiment, 46; Operation Jubilee (Dieppe), 46, 48; Operation Atlantic planning, 72; Operation Spring planning, 95–96; Battle of Bourgtheroulde, 148 OTHER – BRITISH 4th County of London Yeomanry, 120 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 79 British Expeditionary Force (BEF), 13 Imperial Black Watch (Allied Regiment) (Black Watch of Scotland) (1 BW) (3 SCOTS), 21–22 Second Army, 79 Special Air Service (SAS), 38 OTHER – GERMAN 1st Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Panzer Division, 36–37, 80, 174; defence of Tilly-la-Campagne, 37, 124; Operation Atlantic counterattacks, 74, 75, 284; Operation Spring preparations, 76, 84; against 4th Canadian Brigade in Operation Spring, 85–86, 126; Spring tactical success, 110–12; May-sur-Orne defences, 140; becomes 5th Panzer Army, 262; in Normandy, 270 2nd SS Panzer Division, 174; grouped with SSPanzergrenadier-Regiment, 36; Operation Atlantic counterattack, 74; Kampfgruppen attacks, 77; part of Wehrmacht formations, 81, 86; as reserve behind 272nd, 85;

Operation Spring counterattack, 111–12, 119; May-sur-Orne defences, 140 5th Panzer Army (Pz Armee Kriegstagebuch), 123 9th SS Hohenstaufen, 74, 80; immediately following Operation Atlantic, 77; postAtlantic skirmishes, 86; Battle Group Sterz, 106; Operation Spring counterattacks, 110, 111, 115, 116, 119–20, 122; taking of Hill 67, 125 10th SS Frundsberg Panzer Division, 87, 140, 262, 270; Hill 112, 76; Caen battleground, 80; Operation Spring reinforcements, 87 12th SS Hitler Jugend Panzer Division, 36, 37, 80, 146 21st Panzer Division, 81 302nd Infantry Division, 41 272nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division, 262; Canadian Intelligence, 72, 86–87, 140; Operation Atlantic counterattacks, 72–75 passim, 84–87; Caen battleground, 80–81; description, 84–87; Factory, 87, 99; Operation Spring counterattack, 111, 123, 126, 140, 284 559th Heavy Tank Hunter Battalion (schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 559), 170 Afrika Korps, 81 Fallschirmjägers (German paratroopers), 154; Gustav Line, 32; Grand-Mille Brugghe, 154; Operation Angus, 170–74; Hochwald attack, 196.See also paratroopers Kampfgruppen (armoured battlegroups), 77, 307, 86; 1st SS, 74; Sterz (3rd Panzer Regiment), 111 panzer battalions, 80; 503rd Heavy Tank Hunter Battalion (schwere Panzer-Abteilungen) (schPzAbt), 80, 86; 101st and 102nd SS (schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilungen), 80; 559th Heavy Tank Hunter Battalion (schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 559), 170 panzer divisions, 13, 59, 80, 84; 2nd Grenadier Regiment (SS Oberst Sandig) (Vienna), 36, 74, 77, 81, 85, 86, 110–12 passim, 119, 140, 174; 12th (12SS) SS Hitler Jugend, 36, 37, 80, 146; 1st Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (LAH) (Pz Korps), 36–37, 74–76 passim, 80, 84–86 passim, 110–12, 126, 140, 174, 262, 270, 284, 297; 272nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division, 72–75 passim, 80–81, 84–87, 99, 111, 123, 126, 140, 262, 284, 307–08; 9th SS (9SS) Hohenstaufen, 77, 80, 86, 110, 111, 115, 116, 119–20, 122, 125, 174; 10th SS (10SS) Frundsberg, 76, 80, 87, 140, 262, 270; 21st, 81 panzer-grenadiers, 99, 112 OTHER – US First Army, 79 United Kingdom (UK) (Great Britain), 7–8, 15, 190. See also England; Northern Ireland; Scotland; specific battles, competitions, institutions, locations, and operations

Index United States (US), German declaration of war, 17; BW membership, 70, 209. See also specific competitions, exercises, institutions, locations, operations, tattoos, and wars United Theological College (Quebec), 25 Université de Montréal (Quebec), 68 University of British Columbia, 68 University of Copenhagen (Denmark), 69 University of Geneva (Switzerland), 180 University of Ottawa (Ontario), 112 University of Saskatchewan, 169 University of Toronto (Ontario), 35, 48, 119, 164; Trinity College, 163 Upper Canada College (Ontario), 105, 138, 180 Valour and the Horror, The (television documentary series): In Desperate Battle (episode), 130 (unnamed) Van Vliet, Lt GA, 104 Vancouver (British Columbia), 68, 202 Vankleek Hill (Ontario), 144 Varel (Germany): NATO deployment, 276 Verdun (Quebec), 32, 136, 254; parade (1943), 22; as source of BW soldiers, 40; Operation Spring reaction, 151 Veritable (Operation) (1945), 192, 194–98, 275 Vernichtungsschlacht. See Blitzkrieg Vernon (British Columbia), 106 Ver-sur-Mer (regimental camp) (France), 62 Veules-les-Roses (France), 41 Victoria Cross (VC): Gregg, 11; Dinesen, 17–18, 69, 377–78; Philip Griffin proposed for, 130–31. See also awards and honours Vimy School of Signals (Ontario), 119. See also Canadian Forces Base Kingston Vokes, Major-Gen Chris, 161, 261; quoted as epigraph, 160 Wakehurst Place (UK), 54, 253 Walker, 253 Wallis, Col/Hon Lt Col Hugh M, 18; regimental officers school, 8; permanent force recommendation, 10; relationship with Hutchison, 19 Walwyn, Vice Admiral Sir Humphry, 250 War Diary (BW): 1 RHC 1939 mobilization (September 1939 entry), 5; third anniversary of start of War, 51–52; replacement of Alan MacKay, 53; shift in tone, 54; Start Line (25 July 1944 entry), 88; Church Parade prior to Operation Tractable (13 August 1944 entry), 146; prior to Battle of Bourgtheroulde (17 August 1944 entry), 147; prior to Battle of Spycker (9 September 1944 entry), 154; at start of Battle of the Scheldt (4 October 1944 entry), 164; BW heroism (14 October 1944 entry), 173–74; liberation of Goes (28 October 1944 entry), 176; (31 October 1944 entry), 179; rarity of Leitch in Diary, 184; breakthrough to

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Falaise (February 1945 entry), 192; end of War in Europe (5 May 1945 entry), 207 warships: Duke of Wellington, 44. See boats and ships Watch Word, The (newspaper), 20, 52 water containers, German, 65 Watson, Corporal, 73 Watson, Major JM, 148, 149, 155 Wavell, Field Marshal Lord, Viceroy of India 1943–47, 54, 255 WEAPONS aircraft; Focke-Wulf 190 (aircraft fighter), 41; Hurricane, Hawker, 14, 79, 117; Messerschmitt (aircraft), 3–4, 8, 14; Spitfire, Supermarine, 14, 110, 125, 172; Stuka (aircraft), 3–4; Typhoon, Hawker, 110, 117, 125, 172 artillery, anti-aircraft, field and anti-tank, antiaircraft guns, general, 10–11; anti-tank guns, general, 85, 86 3-inch (3”) howitzer (gun), 256 17-pounder (17-pdr) (anti-tank gun), 76, 90, 116, 167 40 mm Bofor Gun, 41, 47, 49, 51, 179 5-pounder gun, 256 5.5-inch medium (gun), 98 six-pounder (6 x 6-pounder) (57mm) (anti-tank gun), 63, 64, 256 25-pounder (87.6mm) (howitzer) (gun), 269; description, 64–65; Operation Spring, 98, 141; Grafwegen raid, 183 57 mm (six-pounder) (6 x 6-pounder) (anti-tank gun), 63, 64, 256 75 mm (L70 Pak) (tank gun), 64, 156, 263 76 mm (Russian) (gun), 165 88 mm Kampfwagenkanone 43 L/71 (88s): Dieppe invasion, 44, 46; description, 65; Operation Atlantic, 77, 78; Operation Spring, 86, 99, 104, 105, 115, 118, 120, 121, 128; at Fusiliers de Mont Royal, 139; Third Battle of Verrières Ridge, 141; Battle of Spycker, 154, 156; as part of KG, 170; Walcheren Causeway, 178; Hochwald attack, 194 122 mm (Russian) (gun-howitzer), 165 Bazooka (rocket launcher), 64 Bren Gun Carrier (Universal Carrier), 10; description, 63; capacity to attract SS fire, 121; Wasp flame throwers, 167, 173; Woensdrecht-Hoogerheide, 273 Buffalo LVT-4, 190 Dingo, 94 flamethrowers, 167, 256 gas masks, 11 grenades: C Company (1 RHC) grenade incident, 43–44; Operation Jubilee (Dieppe), 45, 46; Operation Spring, 92, 105; scout patrols, 145; Battle of Bourgtheroulde, 148; Battle of Groningen, 204; training exercise including smoke grenades, 249

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Katusha (rocket launcher), 77 LAV III, 636 mortar fire, German, 76, 81, 90, 102, 168, 197; effectiveness in Northwest Europe, 65; Operation Atlantic, 72–74; general description, 77, 78; positioning, 85; Operation Spring, 88, 90, 104–07 passim, 112, 115, 119, 122, 128, 139, 141, 142; Vernon Blake as rescuer, 121; Hill 122, 138; Battle of Bourgtheroulde, 149; Battle of Spycker, 155–57 passim; German Infanterie Division 346, 165; wounding and death of Slater, 169; Operation Angus, 171–72, 173; Walcheren Causeway, 178, 179; Hogmanay, 187–88; Operation Veritable, including German mortar strategy, 193, 194, 197; Laren, 202; Groningen, 204; Stenum, 205 Nebelwerfer (‘Moaning Minnie’) (rocket launcher), 65, 77, 81, 197 Panzerfaust (rocket launcher), 64 Panzershreck (rocket launcher), 64 PIAT (Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank) (antitank weapon), 175, 188; Rifle Platoon, 64; description, 157, 170 rifles and machine guns, 49, 69–70, 157, 182, 254; availability at start of Second World War, 10–11; Bisley rifle competition, 144; Kolhapur Cup (rifle competition), 144; Rajah of Kolhapur Imperial Challenge Trophy (rifle competition), 144; Lord Dewar International Match (rifle competition), 144; Wimbledon Trophy (rifle competition), 144; Second World War training, general, 249–50 Bren LMG (light machine gun), 92, 115, 120, 158; training, 10, 158, 175; description, 63, 107; gun teams, 106, 107, 112; inclusion of MG 42s, 119; Battle of Spycker, 157; Grafwegen raid, 183; Hogmanay, 188; Hochwald attack, 194; Battle of Groningen, 204 Lee Enfield (.303) rifle, 11, 63, 311 Lewis gun, 63 MG42 (machine gun): firing rate, 65; 272nd Wehrmacht Infantry Division, 85, 86; May-sur-Orne, 93–94; and Factory, 99, 118; strategic placement, 106; Verrières Ridge rearguard defence, 119; German Infanterie Division 346, 165, 166; Walcheren Causeway, 179; Hogmanay, 188 Ross rifle, 5 Schmeiser (machine gun), 69 Sten (submachine gun), 69–70, 92, 157 rocket launchers, 65; Panzerfaust, 64; Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG), 64; Bazooka, 64; Panzershreck, 64; Nebelwerfer (‘Moaning Minnie’), 65, 77, 81, 197; Katusha, 77

Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) (rocket launcher), 64 tanks, 12–13, 39, 42, 43, 47–49 passim, 64, 65, 71–77 passim, 80–82 passim, 86–87, 92, 97, 102, 104, 105, 108–10, 112, 113, 115–18 passim, 120, 125, 128–29, 141, 145, 148, 149, 158, 166, 167, 170–73 passim, 178, 200–02 passim, 263, 270; German, general description, 64 Churchill, 42, 46, 48, 64, 256–57; Mark (Mk) I and II, 256; Mark (Mk) IIIs, including ‘Cougar’, 42, 46, 48, 49, 256–57 JagdPanther, 76; description, 170; attack, 170–71. Jagdpanzer Mk IV L/70, 86, 112, 117, 120 M4 Sherman, 64, 74, 97, 105, 109, 116, 120, 197, 273; A1, 36; III, 75; III–M4A2, 263 Panther, 97; threat to BW tanks, 64; PzMk V, 64, 270; 2nd Panzer Division, 86; cross of Start Line, 75; Panthers knocked-out, 90, 263; and destruction of B Squadron (1st Hussars) tanks, 97, 109; German counterattack, 112, 115, 120; and Régiment de Maisonneuve assault, 122; Hill 67 assault, 125; attack on A Company, 141; relationship to JagdPanther 170 Panzer, 3–4, 13, 14, 58, 74, 75, 86, 116 Panzer Mk IV, 3–4, 13, 14, 36, 58, 74, 75, 86, 111–12, 116; formations, 86 Ram, 197 StuG III, 167, 178 Tiger I, 59, 64, 76, 80, 328; VI, 80–81; II (‘King Tiger’), 81, 86, 87, 115, 170 Weir, RSM/Major/Col/Brig James G Buchanan (‘Jim’), 39, 201, 248, 251; appointment as company commander, 6; biographical description, 32–33; awarded OBE, 33; promotion to colonel, 33; appointment as 8 CITR acting brigadier, 136; command of Thomson, 203 Weser (river) (Germany), 205 West Indies, 144 Westmount (Quebec), 40, 43, 68, 70; Roslyn School, 33; Operation Spring reaction, 151 Westmount Academy (Westmount High School) (Quebec): graduates, 30, 32, 38, 67, 119, 153, 168, 189 Westmount High School. See Westmount Academy Westwood, Lt Walter Allan, 204, 205 whisky, ration, 34 Whitaker, Brig Gen Denis W, 174–75, 179; quoted as epigraph 169 White, Col, 347 Whitehead, Brig G Victor, 40, 52, 207–08 Whittingstall, 253 Wilhelmshaven naval base (Germany), 203 Wilkinson, Corporal William James, 104, 181, 264

Index Williams, Private Arthur, 106–07 Williamson, Lt/Capt Ted E, 102, 109, 118, 270; quoted as epigraph, 97 Wilson, Sgt Drum Major Calvin C (‘Cal’), 147 Wimbledon Trophy (rifle competition), 144. See also Bisley Winnipeg (Manitoba), 66, 82, 155 Winter Educational Program (UK), 52 wireless. See radios Wise, Sydney, 126 Woensdrecht–Hoogerheide. See Hoogerheide– Woensdrecht women in BW: Women’s Division, 7, 15 Women’s Division, 7, 15 Wood, Lt William McKenzie, 103; biographical description, 105, 147; imprisoned, 167

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Wood, Lt/Col William Archibald, Jr (‘Billy’), 248 Worthington, Major Gen Frederick Franklin (‘Fearless Frank’) (‘Worthy’), 12–13, 208; biographical description, 58 Wray, Lance Sgt Edward, 47 wrestling: Commonwealth Games silver medal (1938), 121 Wright, Maj A Weir, 6, 248 Wyman, Brig RA (‘Bob’), 75, 76, 110 Young, CSM JP, 103, 182, 183 Young, WO/Brig HA, 78, 88, 150 Ypres (Belgium), 164 Yuile, Lt RD, 255 Yukon (exercise) (1942), 256 Yukon, 70, 160

(1945–2017) was a decorated Canadian soldier–scholar, military historian, mentor and educator. An acclaimed expert on the historical evolution of the operational art, throughout his long career he was a prolific author of many well-received publications, among them, Cavalry from Hoof to Track, The Royal Montreal Regiment: 1945–1989, and Tank Tactics from Normandy to Lorraine, for which he received the United States Army History Foundation Award for distinguished writing and research. During his lifetime he was a frequent and passionate contributor to CBC documentaries helping Canadians understand their military history. An eminent graduate of Montreal’s Loyola College and McGill University, the author often lectured at the Royal Military College of Canada. He ended his military career as the Dean of the Canadian Army’s Militia Staff Course in Kingston, Ontario. A highly respected former commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Hussars in Montreal, he lived his regiment’s motto: Non nobis sed patriae (not for ourselves, but for our country). It is indeed unfortunate that the author did not live to see the publication of this history which he considered his best work.

ROMAN JOHANN JARYMOWYCZ

omm, CD, phD