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THE STORMONT DUNDAS & GLENGARRY HIGHLANDERS

 


Cap Badge and Collar Badges of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders
(Credit for photographs of the badges goes to Clifford Weirmeir, with his splendid website about the Irish regiment of Canada)


the shoulder title of the S.D.G.


The MacDonnell of Glengarry tartan of the S.D.G.


THE STORMONT, DUNDAS and GLENGARRY HIGHLANDERS 1783 - 1951
The S,D.G. Regimental History written by Lt.Col. W. Boss in 1952

From the regimental history:”Up the Glens”:

This is more than a Regimental History. It is also a story, going back nearly two centuries, of families who settled in, and animated, the Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The original settlers were, largely, of military background and of Highland stock. In these circumstances it was inevitable that their descendants inherited characteristics which produced successful citizens in peace and outstanding soldiers in war.

From Chapter I of :”Up the Glens”:

Upon the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War in 1783 the officers and men of the 1st Battalion, King's Royal Regiment of New York, together with many of the 1 st Battalion, 84th Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment, settled with their wives and families in the Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The personnel of these regiments had been drawn from two large groups of people who had emigrated to America under dramatic circumstances from the Palatinate on the banks of the German Rhine in 1710, and from the Highlands of Scotland in 1773.


Provincial Plaque in front of the Cornwall Armory

The original settlers had been joined by a party of five hundred Highland emigrants who arrived under the leadership of the Reverend Alexander Macdonell (Scotus), founder of the Parish of St. Raphaels. (He died on the 24th of May 1803, at Lachine, on his way to Montreal, where he was bound for medical treatment, and the Reverend Fitzsimmons took over the pioneer parish.) Other small detachments arrived in 1792 (Macdonell of Greenfield) and in the spring of 1794. Then, in 1804, a large body of Highlanders arrived, with their families, under the guidance of the Reverend Alexander Macdonell who became the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Canada. These were disbanded soldiers of the Glengarry Fencibles, a corps that had been formed in Scotland in 1794, served through the Irish Rebellion and had been disbanded in 1802. The spoons that were used in the Officers' Mess of the Glengarry Fencibles are now part of the silver of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders.



summer dress of the S.D.G. pipe band in Canada,
with the new
(bigger) hat badge

From Ch. IX, CANADA-Mobilization: 18 Jun 1940 - 29 Jul 1941

Mobilization of Battalion - Kingston - Ottawa - Debert - Departure from Canada.

On the 18th of June 1940, the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders were ordered to mobilize as an infantry unit of the 3rd Canadian Division, to be commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel W.J. Franklin, MC, VD, with Major R.T.E. HicksLyne, MC, as second-in-command. It was decided that other Reserve Army regiments in Military District No.3 should share in the organization of the battalion and companies were assigned as follows:

H.Q. Company To be provided by the Prince of Wales Rangers (Peterborough Regiment) (MG) and to mobilize at Peterborough.

No. I Company To be provided by The Princess of Wales' Own Regiment, (MG) and to mobilize at Kingston.

No. 2 Company To be provided by The Brockville Rifles and to mobilize at Brockville.

Nos. 3 and 4 Companies and Band. To be provided by The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders and to mobilize at Cornwall.

The Pipe Band reported at Peterborough on the 12th of July and made such an instantaneous hit in the community that a tag-day was held on the 31 st of August to raise funds for the band. Companies remained at their local headquarters until the 4th of September, when the battalion concentrated at Kingston, going under canvas at the Fair Grounds.

On the 6th of November the battalion left Kingston for Ottawa, where it took up quarters at Lansdowne Park, and commenced Bren gun training at Connaught Ranges, an activity that continued throughout the cold months of December and January.

On the 16th of January 1941, officers of the 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalion met and approved a new badge for the regiment, which symbolized in its design the military history of the area, such as the ancient title of Glengarry Fencibles and the Macdonell crest of the Raven on the Rock. In Europe, the Pipe Band would keep wearing the previous version of the badge.


In Europe, the pipe band wore the “Foy pour Devoir” badge on their Glengarry.

The 3rd Canadian Division began concentrating at Debert Military Camp, Nova Scotia, in January 1941, and on the 29th of January the battalion left Ottawa to join its sister units of the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade. These were the North Nova Scotia Highlanders and the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, the three thus making a Highland Brigade. A farewell march through the streets of Ottawa, - Bank -Catherine -Elgin - Wellington - Kent - Gladstone - Bank - Lansdowne Park, took place in the morning; the pipe band was silent for the cold weather had frozen the pipes. Major Stanley Lewis took the salute, and in the afternoon the troops entrained at Isabella Siding for their journey to the Maritimes.

Limbering-up exercises were held on the station platform at Mont Joli and there was a route march through the streets of Campbellton, N.B. The detraining point at Belmont, N. S. was reached in a snowstorm at seven o'clock in the morning of 30th January. Trucks conveyed the men to within about a twenty minute march of the battalion area, from where they marched into their lines. The personnel of the first train marched to the strains of the regimental pipe band; the second train was met by the pipers of the Canadian Scottish Regiment.

The first anniversary of mobilization occurred on the 18th June 1941, at Debert; it was celebrated on the 20th with regimental sports. These included a pie-eating contest, won by Private W.N. Gilroy (who later died of wounds received at Caen) and the catching of a 200-lb. greased pig by Private R.W.C. Hutt. In the evening a concert troupe from Halifax and the battalion pipe band entertained the men in the K. of C. Hut, after which they returned to the Mess Halls for liquid refreshments and hot dogs. The Sergeants held a stag party in their Mess and the Officers were hosts at an informal dance. The Regimental Women's Auxiliary at Cornwall sent a cheque for $75.00 to ensure that the historic date was properly observed.

On the 16th of July the pipe band went to Antigonish, N.S. to participate in the Highland Games and was successful in winning first prize in the open competition for pipe bands. Piper Wishart and Corporal Marshall won the further distinction of being awarded first and second prizes respectively for individual piping. Both of these pipers later served as Pipe Major of the battalion.

Then, in the early morning of the 19th of July, the battalion left Debert Military Camp for Halifax, embarking on H.M.T. (Her Majesty’s Troopship) E216 at half past nine o'clock in the morning. This vessel was the R.M.S. Orion of the famous P. & O. Line.
 

R.M.S. Orion (later the SS Orion) is still considered to be one of the most famous ships on the Australian immigrant run, as she introduced a new standard in ocean travel.
Orion was the first British liner with air conditioning in all her public rooms. Built by Vickers-Armstrong in Barrow, Furness, England, she was launched on December 7,
1934 and completed in August 1935.
Specifications:
Tonnage: 23,371 GRT (gross registered tonnes)
Length: 665ft (202.7m)
Beam: 82ft (25.6m)
Draught: 30ft (9.1m)
Engines: Six Parsons SRG Steam Turbines (24,100 SHP)
Screws: Two
Service speed: 21 knots.
Passenger Decks: Seven
Passengers: 708 Cabin Class, 700 Tourist Class. Later 1,691 One Class (Tourist)
Crew: 466, later 565
Orion was the first Orient liner to be painted in that much loved Orient Line livery with a corn coloured hull. She was acquired by the British government as a trooper seeing her sail to Egypt and Wellington, New Zealand where she took on troops for Europe.
In October 1942 she was one of many acquired liners which participated in “Operation Torch” and made two trips to North Africa carrying over 5,000 troops each time. In 1943 her troop carrying capacity was increased to 7,000 which,
along with other vessels such as USS West Point (SS America) played a huge role in the positioning of the Western Allied Forces. Her role as a troop carrier tapered off in the Pacific there after, but she continued moving troops some 5,000 per voyage.
When she was finally released from active duties, Orion had carried over 175,000 soldiers and civilians and according to her log, she steamed over 380,000 miles.

Other units in the vessel were Headquarters, 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade, The North Nova Scotia Highlanders and the 22nd Field Ambulance. The ship sailed from Halifax at noon on the 21st of July, taking a northerly route just south of Iceland, steering north of Ireland and then, the escorting warships except for one Anti-Aircraft vessel having left the convoy, making a quick run down the Irish Sea.

The vessel docked at Avonmouth on the 30th of July and the troops were welcomed by the Lord Mayor. The battalion proceeded from the ship to Aldershot, G.B. in two groups and took up quarters in Barrosa Barracks. The General Officer Commanding the 3rd Canadian Division took the salute at the Government Siding at Aldershot.

Ch.X ENGLAND (30 Jul 1941- 4 Jun 1944):

Aldershot - Camberly - Middleton - Selsey - Denne Park -West Chiltington -Scotland - Angmering - Muntham Court - Rustington - Wemyss Bay - Barton Stacey - Hursley Camp - Hilsea Barracks - Roche Court - Rookesbury Camp - Inspection by H.M. The King - Creech Walk - Stokes Bay.

The battalion stayed at Aldershot, G.B. less than three months. The King and Queen inspected the 3rd Canadian Division on 16th September. The event brought happy memories to the Glens of the visit of Their Majesties to Canada in the summer of 1939.


This photograph of the SDG Pipeband was taken at Aldershot in 1941 - 1st Battalion Pipe Band, Barrossa Barracks, Aldershot, England, 1941.

Back Row, left to right - Art Parnell, S. McCappin, Bill Atterbury, Gordon (Spots) Bergeron, Doug Taylor, Joe Sommerville, Gerry Dawson, Len (Big Spots) Bergeron, Don Fowler, Scott Silmser, Tommy Marshall, Mac Cameron.
Front Row, - Bill Kennedy, Martin Heroy, Gordon Blair, Bob Wishart , P/M. Lawrence McGillivary
(senior P/M, he would be replaced by Tommy Marshall before the regiment went into action in Normandy, until Bob Wishart  was appointed),
Willie Munro, Fred MacDonald, Hugh Munro, Bob Webdale.
The Trophy was won at the Antigonish Highland Society pipe band competition in Nova Scotia in 1941

It was about this time that, on a lovely afternoon, in an equally lovely garden, before an even lovelier Queen, two of the battalion Pipers played for Her Majesty's pleasure. That they played marvellously - well goes without saying, for Corporal Marshall and Piper Wishart were of championship calibre. Queen Elizabeth was most gracious in her remarks and her appreciation. She spoke to the pipers at length and at one time, noticing the brass shoulder badge Glengarrians, inquired, "That is short for what?" Corporal Marshall replied, "It is short, Your Majesty, for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry." "My, that is awfully long, isn't it," said the Queen. "I am glad you use the word 'Glengarrians." Corporal Tommy Marshall became Pipe Major of the battalion and later, Piper Wishart was appointed Pipe Major.

Christmas Day, 1941 was spent in Middleton, a long distance from Eastern Ontario, and for many of the younger soldiers it was their first Christmas away from home. Divine service was conducted by the Padre and the civil population attended it with the troops. The usual Christmas dinner was served to the men at twelve Messes by the officers and nco's. Each Mess had a piper and a drummer in attendance.

On the 14th of September 1942,LieutenantColonel M.S. Dunn arrived to take command of the battalion, with Major Christiansen as second in-command.

On the 2nd of October the unit supplied a large working party to assist a neighbouring farmer harvest his potato crops. "D" Company, busily tuning up to represent the battalion in a Brigade Drill Competition, was excused from farm chores. This competition was won by the North Novas, who did some tricky arms drill to the music of their pipe band without words of command. In the evening a Brigade Dance was held at Horsham Drill Hall. Major-General R.F.L. Keller attended the event, one of the features of which was a reel in which Brigadier Haldenby and Colonel Rutherford took part, to the music of the SD&G pipers.

Early in December 1942, the battalion went to Southampton by train, where they boarded H.M.S. Prince Albert, Prince Charles and Prince Leopold for exercises in landing operations. Christmas and New Year celebrations passed quietly; it was a "green" Christmas, but snow fell for the first time on the night of 4th/5th January and some of the platoons who were out on night training had a cold time.

In the middle of January the Highlanders left Denne Park Camp for West Chiltington, near Steyning, a hutted camp. They remained there but a few days and on 26th January 1943, proceeded from Pulborough Station for some advanced training in Scotland. After having been in Scotland for about two weeks, during which time it rained steadily or turned into what is called a "Scotch Mist", a Glengarrian asked a local inhabitant, "Does it rain here all the time?" The Scot replied, "Weel, we'll no be seeing much sun till long aboot August." The battalion left Scotland on the 16th of February, reaching West Chiltington Camp on the following day. On the 28th of February the battalion moved off to take part in Exercise Spartan, the most ambitious of the many exercises carried out in Britain. The troops returned to West Chiltington in the evening of the 13th of March and settled down once more to camp routine.

Regimental funds showed a healthy credit balance, so the surplus was devoted to providing new Glengarries for every member of the unit. This had the nature of a birthday gift for the third mobilization anniversary which occurred on the 19th of June and which was crowded with activities all members of the battalion will recall with joy.

The third anniversary Church Parade was held on the following day, when the Corps Senior Chaplain, Lieutenant-Colonel C.G. Hepburn, MC, ED, preached the sermon. Colonel Christiansen spoke to the troops before the service with regard to the feelings of happiness, gratitude and comradeship that should animate a service of thus nature. Colonel Hepburn spoke of "Tradition and Remembrance". The service closed with the National Anthem and the pipers playing Bonnie Dundee. The anniversary celebration over, the battalion turned once more to the task of fitting itself to beat the enemy. But the hope may have been expressed that the 19th June will always be observed by the Reserve Army units whose ties with The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders have been cemented in blood.

At the end of the month orders were received for the transfer of the Glens to Rustington. The battalion arrived at Rustington on the 4th of August 1943, and Headquarters was established in an evacuated Convalescent Home.

Toward the end of the month, information was received that another trip to Scotland was in store for the Highlanders; on the 3rd of September they entrained at Worthing Central Station for Wemyss Bay to take part in combined operations training. (Unknown to the men at that time, the 3rd Canadian Division had been selected as an "attack" division to strike at Fortress Europe). During a halt at Leicester the civilians around the station called upon the pipers for martial music and they willingly complied. Wemyss Bay was reached at four o'clock in the morning, where hot tea and cookies were served by the YMCA as soon as the men detrained. Embarking at 8:30am, the battalion landed at Rothesay at 10:30am and proceeded to billets.

After a relatively quiet three weeks at Boscombe, during which Exercise Pirate was commenced and cancelled, due to rain, the battalion moved to Barton-Stacey, a sprawling camp near Andover. The next day the unit shifted over from Barton-Stacey to Hursley Camp in the same area. Part of the battalion moved off on the 26th of November and embarked on landing craft. Then bad weather set in and held up the operation until the 2nd December; those already on board had a rough time of it in Southampton Water. On the 8th of December the unit moved to Hilsea Barracks, Portsmouth.

Preparations began for the Christmas season. There was to be a dance in the gymnasium and a Christmas party for the children of the community. The soldiers bought candy and Canadian chocolate bars and contributed them for the Kiddies' Party. The Children's Party was held on the following day. Colonel Christiansen was present, the Pipe Band provided the music and Santa Claus (Corporal Harwood) made a spectacular entrance and distributed his packages to the children.

On 30th December the battalion left Hilsea Barracks for Roche Court, Fareham, where the New Year - the year of invasion - was quietly observed in glorious weather. On the 6th of January 1944, the battalion was reviewed for the first time by the new Brigade Commander, Brigadier Cunningham, who was destined to command the Brigade during the Normandy fighting.

On the 27th, 28th and 29th April 1944, exercise Fabius tested the marshalling and loading of troops and vehicles on the assault craft allotted to the battalion. It was the last exercise before D-Day. On the 30th of May all troops except those marked for "D plus 5" (vehicles and personnel) moved by troop-carrying vehicles to the marshalling areas at Creech Walk and thence in due course to Stokes Bay.

CH. XI: THE BAPTISM OF FIRE: 4 Jun 1944 - 14 Jul 1944

Southampton Roads - Bernieres-sur-Mer - "Hell's Corners" - "Up the Glens" - Gruchy and Chateau St. Louet - Caen - Reinforcements.

By Sunday, 4th June, the battalion was aboard the seven landing craft that would convey them to the Normandy beaches. The landing craft pulled out of Southampton Waters on the 3rd of June, but together with the invasion fleet, they were delayed until the evening of the 5th of June because of bad weather. All ranks were issued leather jerkins, leather jump boots instead of gaiters, canvas assault jackets with many pockets which, for some, held two Bren gun magazines, two No. 36 grenades, a No.75 anti-tank grenade, and a No. 69 smoke grenade. All wore special assault helmets and anti-vermin and anti-gas treated battledress. All carried 1st field dressings and some carried vials of morphine. Then there was camouflage and emergency rations. All carried weapons including: rifles and bayonets with three bandoliers of ammunition, PIATs (Projectors Infantry AntiTank), 2-inch mortars, Bren light machine guns, Stens, and commando or folding knives. Last but not least, all ranks had Mae West life preservers, blankets, mess tins, mugs, extra socks, and gas capes. In addition, some carried compasses, map cases, binoculars, and portable radios. Nothing had been overlooked in the months of planning and exercises. Private Danny Darling of "A" Company weighed his equipment in England and found it tipped the scales at seventy-eight pounds without the steel helmet, bicycle or the ration packs.


Stormont Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders debarking from landing craft at Bernières-sur-Mer.

By 06.00 hours on the morning of the 6th of June the landing craft containing the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders were about sixteen miles from the coast of France. Touch down was made around noon. As the vessel containing personnel of "D" Company touched the beach a mine blew a hole in it, but no one was hurt. The skipper told the ship behind him that he would not be able to get it afloat again. The 7th Infantry Brigade had already landed and moved forward. The 8th Brigade was still there when the Glens landed so both infantry brigades were jammed in the village for some hours. Villons-lesBuissons was reached by 10.00 hours. The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders then became the spearhead of the Brigade with the battle-scarred North Novas, while the 27th Armoured Regiment continued gallantly to hold off the German armour.

On the 10th of June there was a brief respite; weapons and equipment were cleaned. The Commanding Officer's carrier was a total wreck and the office truck had been struck through the radiator by a piece of shrapnel. The Regimental Sergeant-Major's 3-ton lorry with ammunition of all kinds, explosives, anti-tank mines, etc., received a hit and caught fire. RSM Lockhart fought the blaze almost single-handed and unloaded and dispersed the dangerous cargo. It was on this occasion that some of the pipers lost their instruments.


Pipe major Bob Wishart, the C.O.’s Piper, playing beside his slit trench to celebrate the 20 June,1944 anniversary.

On the 20th of June 1944, the battalion celebrated its fourth mobilization anniversary at Les Buissons. The men took turns and attended the festivities in groups. 


At Vieux Cairon , Normandy, 20 June, 1944, the fourth year of the mobilization of the regiment was celebrated.

On the 11th of July, the 3rd Canadian Division, with 2nd Canadian Division and 2nd Armoured Brigade were organized to form the 2nd Canadian Corps under Lieutenant-General Simonds. The tactical policy of the corps for the moment was to hold Caen with the 3rd Canadian Division in line, two Brigades forward; while holding to continue active patrolling with patrols at fighting strength in order to destroy any enemy patrols that might penetrate across the River Orne.


Glengarrians of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders in the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division take a meal on the banks of the Caen train station on July 19.


CH XII THE ADVANCE THROUGH NORMANDY: 15 Jul 1944 - 29 Sep 1944

Anisey - Benouville - 18th-19th July at Orne Crossing - Hubert Folie - Bouanville - Urville - Bretteville - The fight against the tanks - Epancy - Beaumais - Trun - "B" Company bares its fangs - The dash towards Rouen - Blosseville - Eu, Abbeville and Montreuil -Acheux-en-Vimeau - The reduction at Boulonge -A rest at Beuvrequen.

The battalion went to Anisey for a brief respite on the 14th July. Shortly after midnight on the 18th of July the battalion left Anisey for the assembly area at Benouville. The Glens moved from Cormelles in the early morning of the 20th of July and after passing Bras reached Hubert Folie the same day.

Lieutenant-Colonel Rowley inspected his new battalion for the first time on the 6th of August. Instructions were received to attack and occupy Urville, while the Highland Light Infantry of Canada moved to Hautmesnil and the North Nova Scotia Highlanders to Gouvix. It was then decided that the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade would relieve the 10th Canadian Brigade for a brief period and the SD&G Highlanders took over the line of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada in the vicinity of MensilTouffrey (Hill 190), which was exposed to enemy fire from three sides. It was in this area that Piper Hughie Munro and Private Issie Elias were killed in action on the 12th of August. Piper Munro had always been a part of the Commanding Officer's command group. He was good with a Bren gun and was never far from his Commanding Officer. He was in fact following closely behind the CO's carrier when hit.

CH XIII THE CLEARING OF THE SCHELDT ESTUARY: 30 Sep 1944 - 8 Nov 1944

The problem of Supply - Clearing the Scheldt Estuary - Hoogeweg and Roodenhoek - Nommer Een and Sasput - Breskens - Knocke and Heydst - The Glens at Ghent.

A battalion church parade was held at Beuvrequen on the 1st of October, the Protestant service taking place in the village square where the pipe band lent colour to the occasion, while the Roman Catholics proceeded to the village church. Later in the day "B" Company organized a trip to Vimy Ridge to see the Canadian War memorial. 

 
Private R.W. Sisson of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders talking with Belgian children, Knokke, Belgium, 3 November 1944.

The 3rd of November was spent in cleaning up; the barbers were busy, for it was twenty-five days since the men had been able to have their hair trimmed. Also, news had been received that the troops of the 3rd Canadian Division were to be the guests of the citizens of Ghent, and the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders were to move at ten o'clock on the following morning, magnificently turned out in new uniforms for the Belgian city. War, with all its horrors, was to be forgotten for a while.


This Battle Flag was presented to the Regiment by the
Belgian town of Knokke
after the war, in 1946


XIV THE WINTER FIGHTING: 9 Nov 1944 - 23 Mar 1945

Nijmegen - Hotel Glen - Rindern and Cleve - Udem - The Hochwald - Regrouping in the Reichswald.

Nijmegen, November 15, 1944: Pt. Dewar of Glen Nevis, Ont., shows these Dutch kiddies the working of a bagpipe.,
while Pte. J.A. MacKenzie of Toronto demonstrates what happens when you blow into the pipes
 


Piper W.D. Dewar playing, while the kids enjoy the candy they just got from piper J.A. Mackenzie,
at Nijmegen, 15 November 1944.

In the middle of January the battalion had a short rest at Driehuizen and then took over from the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada; Battalion Headquarters was established at Huize Rhatia, a large building in the Swiss chalet style. The famous Hotel Glen was still being maintained as a 24-hour rest centre. Comfortable, homelike, with a canteen, a nightly showing of films, and a supply of periodicals, it was an invaluable asset to the unit. A certain amount of 48-hour leaves were also being granted to Brussels, Ghent and Paris.


Glengarrians aboard a Buffalo, Mehr, Germany, 11 February 1945.

On the 11th of March the battalion moved on troop-carrying vehicles to the Reichswald for regrouping. It was not long before a large sign at the entrance to the camp bore the legend "CAMP GLEN" in blue letters. The canteen moved into the camp with its store of chocolates, cigarettes and toilet articles. A recreational marquee was erected in the Brigade area for the showing of movies; it became known as "Highland Hut". In the SD&G lines a building of some pretention was erected under the aegis of Corporal Walton for the Officers' Mess. The lumber for this building was scrounged from a still undisclosed source. Trucks took parties of men to Nijmegen where urban delights relieved the monotony of rustic life in the Reichswald forest.

3rd. Canadian Infantry Division massed pipes & drums, on 17-03-1945 at Matterborn, Germany. Only the H.L.I. of Canada is missing.
Walking in front are, left to right: P/M. A. MacMillan
(CanScots), P/M. Ross Stone (NorthNova's), P/M. Robert Wishart (Glengarrians) and last but not least: P/M. Sam Scott (Ottawa Cams).


Another photograph of the 3rd. Canadian Infantry Division massed pipes & drums (taken half-way during countering).
Pipe Majors facing the photographer, left to right:
P/M Sam Scott
(Ottawa Cams) a piper wearing CanScots tartan kilt can be seen walking behind him, P/M Robert Wishart (Glengarrians) and P/M. Ross Stone (NorthNova's)

CH XV ON TO VICTORY: 24 Mar 1945 -15 Jun 1945

Across the Rhine - Grietherbusch - Bienen - Emmerich - Back into Holland - Zeddam - Zutphen - Lettele - The dash for the Overijsselch Kanaal - Heine - Across the Kanaal - Into Leeuwarden - Veenwouden - Winschoten - Into Germany again - The crossing of the Ems at Leer - "Cease Fire" - Emden - Apeldoorn - Hilversum - Homeward Bound.


Stretcherbearer-pipers carrying away a casualty during the crossing of the Rhine

At 05.00 hours on the 24th of March the rifle companies, Support Company and Command Post embussed for the crossing of the German Rhine, and proceeded to the marshalling area east of Calcar, the Rhine was crossed without incident on Buffaloes (manned by British soldiers, imperturbable and reassuring) at 11.00 hours. On the morning of the 25th of March the Glens moved northwards to Grietherbusch to secure the left flank of the Brigade after the crossing of the Rhine.

A couple of hours later the battalion crossed the German boundary into Holland again and it was pleasant to be once more back on friendly soil. In Germany the people were naturally cold and apathetic, but in Holland the civilians were vociferous in their welcome of the Canadians. The Glens passed through S'Heerenberg at 11.00 hours on the morning of the 1 st of April and went forward to Zeddam, where Tactical HQ was established.

On the 3rd of April troop-carrying vehicles conveyed the men forward to concentrate in the area of Laagkeppel, where they started the assault toward Zutphen. Some stiff fighting was experienced as the battalion pressed forward through Toldijk, Vieraller, and Leesten near Zutphen. By the 6th of April the Glens were in front of Zutphen, but orders arrived to move to the west and take up a position south of the town. The battalion went into Zutphen on the following day by three footbridges, the original structures having been destroyed by the enemy.


Private H.A. Woodruff of The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders distributing candy to Dutch civilians,
Bathmen, Netherlands, 9 April 1945.

The Glens did not waste time in Zutphen. Leaving on the 9th they passed through the Highland Light Infantry of Canada at Bathmen, secured a bridge south of Lettele and took possession of the town without opposition. Without a halt they proceeded toward the Zijkanaal which was crossed near Zandbelter at 18.00 hours on the 10th of April, and on the 11 th there was a long move to the vicinity of Raalte. At 09.00 hours on the 12th of April the SD&G moved forward from Raalte as the Division advance guard. The troops were mounted on the tanks of the 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Sherbrooke Fusiliers). The task was to seize and hold a bridgehead across the Overijsselsch Kanaal. This also involved the liberation of Heino.

The battalion was on the move again on the 14th of April, passing Dalfsen in the early morning. South of Meppel the Highlanders were fascinated by groups of girls and women wearing the native costume peculiar to the province of Friesland. They, and the men dressed in blue jeans and jackets, represented the attire the troops had expected to see in Holland; nevertheless, in the wake of battle the sight seemed somewhat incongruous.
One of the men remarked that it resembled "groups of Hollywood extras relaxing from work in a period film".

Just past Steenwijk there was a good example of the efficient work of the Holland Underground movement. Two civilians turned up at Battalion Headquarters to speak with Colonel Gemmell. They were representatives of local underground and they had received a telephone call over a secret line from the leader of the underground movement in Leeuwarden, who wished to speak as soon as possible with the first British officer to arrive in the area. Colonel Gemmell went in his jeep to a power station, directly opposite "D" Company headquarters, where the secret line was located. The Leeuwarden underground furnished much valuable information regarding the condition of roads and bridges and the disposition of German troops remaining in Leeuwarden, that was extremely useful in connection with the attack of the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade on the city.

   
Crowd welcoming The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders of Canada to Leeuwarden, Netherlands, 16 April 1945.

The battalion pushed toward Leeuwarden on the 15th of April but was delayed by blown-up bridges over the many canals and streams, necessitating detours from time to time. The city was entered on the 16th of April; the Holland Underground had done highly commendable work in this area and the city was free of enemy by the time the Highlanders arrived. Personnel of the Mortar Platoon commandeered a boat and enjoyed a scenic tour of the Leeuwarden canals that evening. As elsewhere, the Glens received a remarkable welcome from the heroic Hollanders. The efficiency of the Canadian Auxiliary Services may be gauged from the fact that a moving picture show was held in Leeuwarden in the evening of the day that the city was entered.

On the 18th of April the battalion advanced to Veenwouden, where company areas were allotted around the village. Church parade was held on Sunday (20th April) the Protestants going to the village church and the Roman Catholics holding an outdoor service. Then, on the 27th of April the Glens once more moved into Germany for the last big operation of the war, Tactical HQ being set up at Bingum, just across the River Ems from the city of Leer which was strongly in German hands. On the 6th of May the Glens moved into the city of Emden, where they took over a very fine German barracks. There were German guards with loaded rifles at the gates and they saluted smartly. The enemy was soon moved from their sumptuous quarters and the Glens acquired their lavish supply of champagne, liqueurs, brandy and gin.

Church parades were held on Sunday, the 13th of May, when the Commanding Officer spoke to the men at both Protestant and Roman Catholic parades. At 13.30 hours there was a battalion parade at which the salute was taken by Brigadier Rockingham. He spoke to the troops and explained the different projects then occupying their attention; the Canadian Far East Force, The Canadian Occupation Force and Demobilization in Canada. The Corps Commander, 2nd Canadian Corps, spoke in similar terms at an inspection on the 14th of May.


In the City of Emden, May 1945 when the Glens moved into the city. Outside the Command Post.
Top: Sergeant More (Brigade Signaller). Center: Lieutenant Colonel N.M. Gemmell, Lieutenant J.C.Kirby, Major J.G. Stothart. Front: M.D. Benton, E.A. Northcott, M.E. Walsh.

The battalion moved from Emden on the 16th of May for Apeldoorn, by way of Groningen and Deventer. Another move on the 19th took the Glens to Hilversum, where, with the pipe Band leading, the battalion marched into the town led by Lieutenant-Colonel Gemmell. A victory parade at The Hague, voting for the Federal Elections, presentation of medals at Maple Leaf Stadium, and lectures on rehabilitation relieved the routine duties. The Salvation Army had moving picture shows frequently and a good E.N.S.A. show played at the Grand Theatre. On the 27th of May the Roman Catholics attended mass at the St. Clemens Kerk while the Protestants went to the Diependaalse Kerk (see post card pictures below here).
Captain J.P. Donihee was chosen for the important appointment of Unit Sports Officer.

    


The 3rd Canadian Division Victory Parade Utrecht, Netherlands, 6 June 1945, one year after D Day.
General H.D.G. Crerar takes the salute as the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders march by.

Early in June the battalion paraded to Maple Leaf Stadium where a group picture was taken. On the 6th, the anniversary of D-Day, when Hilversum was en fete and a flag was on every house, the Glens marched in the parade at Utrecht. Many members of the battalion volunteered for service with the Canadian Far East Force and for the Canadian Occupation Force. There was no training syllabus for the companies and training now consisted mainly of sports, lectures and route marching. On the 14th of June the unit moved to a camp at Elspeet, between Apeldoorn and Utrecht, and the men were genuinely sorry to leave the friendly town of Hilversum.


Before the Glens left, this group photograph was made of them in front of the “Ruysdaalschool”
(Ruysdaallaan 6, Hilversum) in the area where most of them had been billeted.

At Elspeet the men were cross-posted for repatriation. The officers will remember the mess dinner at Elspeet when there was a bottle of champagne at every plate. This was the day when "Curly" Walton traded a German trailer for a pig. After being billeted at Zeist and Nijmegen they finally left for Calais, France on the 7th of November, arriving in the United Kingdom on the 10th of November.

They were billeted at No.9 Repatriation Depot between Portsmouth and Southampton while in England and sailed for Canada on the SS Queen Elizabeth, on the 22nd of December, arriving at New York, USA, on the 28th and in Cornwall the following day.


RMS Queen Elizabeth

Details on the R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth
Gross Tonnage - 83,673 tons - Dimensions - 300.94 x 36.14m (987.4 x 118.6ft)
Number of funnels - 2 - Number of masts - 2 - Construction - Steel
Propulsion - Quadruple screw - Engines - Single reduction steam turbines
Service speed - 29 knots - Builder - John Brown & Co Ltd, Glasgow
Launch date - 27 September 1938
Passenger accommodation - 823 1st class, 662 cabin class, 798 tourist class
In 1942 the Admiralty drew up plans to convert the two Queens into aircraft carriers but these were later abandoned as it was considered that their troop carrying role was too important.
In April 1942 the Queen Elizabeth relocated from Sydney to New York. Here the troop accommodation was altered to make its capacity 10,000. In June 1942 it began to make voyages from New York to Gourock and then to Suez, via Cape Town. In August it began a shuttle service between New York and Gourock. Despite the ever present threat of U-boats the ship continued its service unscathed, although the German press stated that a U-boat had hit the vessel with a torpedo on 11 November. By the end of the war in Europe the Queens had brought over a million troops to the war zone. The ship's next duty was to repatriate these troops and redeploy troops for the war against Japan. The repatriation of American troops continued until October 1945 when the Queen Elizabeth was released from US service and allocated to the repatriation of Canadian troops. On 6 March 1946 it arrived back in Southampton and was released from Government service as the need for troop movements had diminished. During the war it had carried over 750,000 troops and travelled 500,000 miles.

The Queen Elizabeth arrived at New York in the evening of the 28th of December, following a rough voyage caused by violent storms that swept the Atlantic and delayed the crossing by two days. A welcoming party from Cornwall greeted the troops at New York; it included the Honourable Lionel Chevrier, KC, MP, Mayor Horovitz of Cornwall, Colonel M. S. Dunn and LieutenantColonel D.R. Dick, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Reserve Battalion.

On the 29th of December, the soldiers arrived in Cornwall to receive the acclaim of the citizens, who lined the streets to applaud the Highlanders who had fought so ably on the battlefields of Europe.

They were met at the station by the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion and a detachment of men of the 1st Battalion who had returned due to wounds in the preceding years. Veterans of Legion Branches of the United Counties and the pipe band of No.9 District Depot also turned out with the troops.


Cornwall Armoury on Fourth Street East. The cornerstone for this building was laid on Sept. 15, 1939 by local M.P. Lionel Chevrier and Lt.-Col. G.D. Gillie.
In 1940, a 35-acre basic training camp opened to the north of the armoury, and in the next four years, roughly 15,000 soldiers went through a basic military training course at the site.
The armoury is home to the Stormont,Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders, one of the most distinguished and historic military units in the country.

The Armoury was decked out as never before; the vast hall was a mass of flags and bunting. Thrilled with anticipation, many of the relatives and friends of the returning soldiers sought places of vantage and waited impatiently for the unit's arrival. When the first skirl of the pipes and the shouted orders of the officers were heard, the crowd swept to its feet and as the first man came through the doors they were greeted with continuous storms of applause. "The Counties' Own" had come home at last!


The new S.D.G. regimental badge, that was approved on the 16th of January 1941
as depicted since then on the frontispiece of the Cornwall Armory