a translation of the captions of the photographs of "Walcheren bevrijd"
by J. Tuynman and J.N. Houterman
This brochure is being presented to you by the Zeeuwse Bibliotheek (Zeeland Library) at Middelburg. This modern scientific and public library is the main institution of this kind in the province of Zeeland. It has a collectio n of around 900,000 book volumes, 2,000 periodical titles and a whole range of modern media, such as videos, compact discs, on-line databases etc. Special collections are a scientific technological collection, a music library and the Zeeland Documentation Centre. This last department has an interesting collection of war documentation, containing original documents and photocopies of books for as far not contained in the regular books collection. There is also a large photo archives with several hundreds of photographs dealing with the War of 1940-1945 in the province of Zeeland.
Page 2. Cover
At the top is one of the sketches presented by Lieutenant K.G. Wright, intelligence officer of No 4 Commando, for the instruction of the commando before the landing. After the battle Wright had a kind of 'scrap-book' of photographs, maps, diaries etc. made for him. The front and back of that book ("Operation Infatuate" and "A combined operation") are shown here. At the bottom is a photograph of the Westkapelle landings, 1 November 1944. The picture "Voor een bevrijd Europa een verdronken Walcheren" ("Walcheren was drowned for the liberation of Europe") is a poster stamp in aid of the Stichting "Nieuw Walcheren" (New Walcheren Foundation). The painting at the bottom on the back, named "A room in Flushing" was made by Major Vincent O. Cohen, MC, of 452nd Mountain Battery Royal Artillery. It shows the employment of one of the mountain guns which was manhandled in pieces to an upstairs bedroom of a house in Flushing to engage a German pillbox.
Page 3. Retreat German 15th Army
The German 15th Army, comprising more than 85.000 troops, was by the end of August 1944 trapped in northern France and Belgium and could only escape annihilation by crossing the Scheldt, after which the greater part was deployed again in northern Brabant. The ferrying of the whole of the German 15th Army across the Scheldt in the first 3 weeks of September was a gigantic operation which was executed successfully with German accuracy. Top. The German newsreel "Wochenschau" of 28 September 1944 shows the successful operation. Here a picture of a Flak-ship taken from another vessel. Middle. One of the two "Moerdijk" ferries (S.S. "Dordrecht"), from the 6th of September on employed by the Germans, arrives from Breskens in the Flushing outer harbour. On the quay German medical (Red Cross) vehicles and others, camouflaged with branches, and ready to take in the wounded soldiers. Bottom left. The busy ferry-traffic is an easy target for the allied air forces. To arm themselves against the raids a great number of escorting vehicles are used, such as this one, carrying a four-barreled Flak (anti-aircraft) gun. Bottom right. Vehicles disembarking from the ferry at Flushing.
Page 4. Air raids
Preceding direct military operations to open up the harbour of Antwerp by freeing the mouth of the Scheldt, the allied air fo rces carried out an intensive programme of 'softening-up' air raids on German strongpoints. Two of these actions in the vicinity of Flushing are shown here. Top. 27 Lancasters and 3 Mosquitoes attacked between 17.56 and 18.04 hrs (17 Sept.) with 191 tons high-explosive and 36 marker bombs. 13 people were killed. Bottom. 75 Lancasters dropped between 12.26 and 12.54 hrs 447 tons of high-explosives. One Lancaster crashed.
Page 5. Warning for air raids
In order to disorganize the German defence system on Walcheren, the Allied High Command decided to breach the sea dykes and flood the island. Preceding the first bombardment on 3 October, warning leaflets were dropped the day before. Top. The back of the warning leaflet dropped over Walcheren. Bottom left. In the flight plan Westkapelle, which is to be bombed first, is not included... Bottom right. The crew of "Any Time Anne", one of the two Flying Fortresses of the warning flight.
Page 6. Seawall Westkapelle bombed
The first bombardment of the Walcheren sea dykes took place between 11.56 and 15.05 hrs on 3 October at Westkapelle, and was executed by 247 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes. Australian wireless operator Frank Petch was member of the crew of the Lancaster that was later acknowlegded to have effected the first actual breach of the seawall. Fragments of his story are given. Top. The crew of the Lancaster "D for Dog" with F/O Gordon Markes and W/O Frank Petch. Bottom left. Seawater starts pouring onto the island. Bottom right. The cratered Westkapelle dyke gap area.
Page 7. Nolle dyke bombed
The Westkapelle dyke gap proved not to be sufficient, so other attacks on the Walcheren seawall followed, such as the bombardment of the Nolle dyke at Flushing at 7 October between 13.10 and 15.13 hrs by 58 Lancasters. Top. A Lancaster bomber flying towards its target. Bottom. Aerial photograph of the raid. Bombs exploding on the narrow seawall between the Scheldt and the Nolle pond. Top middle: target indicators on the so-called "West battery" of Marine-Flakabteilung 810 (Naval Anti-Aircraft Battalion 810).
Page 8. Sea dykes near Veere and Ritthem bombed
Further bombings took place on the 7th of October east of Flushing at Ritthem (63 Lancasters, 1 Mosquito, 384 tons of HE) and on the 11th of October NW of Veere at Oostwatering (60 Lancasters, 2 Mosquitoes, 374 tons HE). Westkapelle was attacked again at 17 October by 47 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitoes. Top. 7 Oct. 1944. The seawall between Fortress Rammekens and Fortress Zoutman, east of Flushing. Bottom. 11 Oct 1944. The seawall north of Veere, near Oostwatering.
Page 9. Flushing Nolle dyke/ harbour
Top. The Nolle gap on the 9th October 1944, two days after the British air raid. Bottom. Flushing harbour on that same day. The advancing water is clearly visible on the left and right.
Page 10. Walcheren from the air
Top right. "The support of the RAF during the operations on Walcheren island. German gun positions on the flooded island bombed by 'heavies' which are said to h ave 'sunk' most of them!" Drawing by Roland Davies. Top left. The Veere gap one day after the raid, 12 October 1944. Bottom left. Valkenisse, 13 October 1944. Clearly visible is the anti-tank ditch, dug by the Germans for the defence on the land side of "Verteidigungsbereich Vlissingen" (Flushing Defence Area). On the right the road to Middelburg, at the bottom the one to Flushing. Bottom right. South of Koudekerke, 13 October 1944.
Page 11. Aagtekerke
Top right. Summer 1944. A German military column mounted passing through Prelaatweg Aagtekerke on their way to Westkapelle. Bottom right. A column in opposite direction. German lorries which cannot go under their own 'steam' anymore are moved by horsepower. Middle. The inundations have also reached the village of Aagtekerke and so the cattle is being driven to dryer places. Bottom left. Because of the floods quite a number of cattle are killed or wounded, so perforced slaughters have to be carried out. They mean an extra meat ration for the civilian population. Here one of these slaughters in the centre of Aagtekerke, carried out by the local butcher Lou Hugense (centre, wearing a cap). On the left is the church, in the middle the vestry, on the right the town hall.
Page 12. Forced labour camp
Because of the flooding attempts were being made to stop the advance of the seawater over the island. The willingness of the Dutch population to assist in the German intitiatives was practically nill, so the Germans caught some 40 Dutch men in a raid and put them in a camp at Souburg (later Koudekerke) to carry out forced labour. Top. The small group of civilians picked up from the street, armed with spades, escorted by only a few German guards, on its way to the plot of land where they will have to carry out the forced labour. Middle. Most of the men, their hands in the trouser-pockets, are watching. Clearly visible are the many poles, so-called 'Rommel asparagus', erected in the fields to oppose possible airborne landings. Bottom. Here again there is little activity to be seen. The pillbox, situated northeast of Koudekerke, is one for a machine gun post type 630.
Page 13. Allied commanders
The operations to free the Scheldt estuary were carried out under the command of 1st Canadian Army. By the end of October 1944, after operations in Zeeland Flanders and on South Beveland, it was Walcheren's turn. The final blow on Walcheren island would be dealt in operations Infatuate I (Flushing) and Infatuate II (Westkapelle) mainly by the British 52nd Lowland Division and the 4th Special Service Brigade, with a whole range of supporting forces (Royal Navy, 79th Armoured Division etc.). Here some of their commanders. Top right. Lieutenant-General Guy G. Simonds, acting Commander-in-Chief 1st Canadian Army, whose plan it was to flood Walcheren. Right. Major-General Edmund Hakewill Smith, General Officer Commanding 52nd Lowland Division and overall ground commander for the Walcheren operations. Bottom left. Brigadier J.F.S. McLaren, Commander 155th Infantry Brigade. Bottom middle. Brigadier Bernard W. "Jumbo" Leicester, Commander 4th Special Service Brigade. Bottom right. Left Captain Anthony F. Pugsley, RN, Commander Naval Force "T". Right Commander Kenneth A. "Monkey" Sellar, RN, Commander Support Squadron Eastern Flank (SSEF).
Page 15. German order of battle
Right. 19 April 1944. Naval coastal battery Dishoek. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel inspecting the German defences along the Atlantic Wall. In front from left to right: Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshal) Erwin J.E. Rommel (Army Group B), General der Infanterie (General of the Infantry) Werner A. Freiherr (Baron) von und zu Gilsa (89th Army Corps), Generalmajor (Major-General) Wilhelm J. Daser (165th Reserve Division, later 70th Infantry Division), Oberst (Colonel) Franz A.M. Lex (5th Reserve Artillery Regiment, later 170th Artillery Regiment).
Page 16. Aerial photograph Flushing
A view of the Flushing harbour area on 28 October 1944, four days before the beginning of the battle. The locks area, bottom right, suffered badly from an Australian air raid. The quays and harbour installations are still intact. At the top right inundations can be seen. At the bottom "Ooster- of Dokhaven", named "Uncle Beach" by the Allies, the place where the landings in Flushing are to take place. Top left at the "De Schelde" shipyard lies construction number 214, which has dominated the Flushing skyline all through the years of occupation.
Page 17. Breskens embarkation
At Breskens, opposite Flushing on the south side of the Scheldt, allied forces gathered in the last days of October prior to the beginning of operation "Infatuate I" against Flushing. Top. In Landing Craft Assault (LCA), lying in Breskens harbour, last preparations are being made before the crossing of the Scheldt to Flushing. Middle. A close-up picture of a few landing craft with LCA 959 in the centre. Bottom. Gunners of 452nd Mountain Battery Royal Artillery are pushing one of their 3.7" guns along the pier, after which it is taken to parts and loaded into an LCA. [According to a report of the OC "A" Squadron
11th Royal Tank Regiment, providing supporting Buffaloes, the guns could have been driven as a whole in and out of the amphibious craft. So, the strenuous labour of taking apart and assembling the guns again could have been avoided.]
Page 18. Landings at Uncle Beach
Top left. At dawn on the 1st of November men aboard an LCA are watching the Flushing coast. Top right. Later on the troops, here aboard a row of LCAs, can see the clear Flushing skyline. Middle and bottom. The men of the 4th Battalion The King's Own Scottish Borderers, who are landing after the Commandos, are plodding with all sorts of equipment through the mud of Dokhaven ("Uncle Beach") to reach safer ground. The clearly visible shell craters do not make this job any easier.
Top. A handful of Landing Craft Assault (LCA) on Ucle Beach. Middle. A Buffalo (officially called Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT)), being an amphibious craft, can land on the beach under it's own power. Bottom. The unloading of stores from the LCAs is in full swing. In the background a few LCAs start for their return journey to Breskens.
Page 20. British commandos
The first troops to land in Flushing were men of No 4 Commando under Lt.Col. Robert W.P. Dawson (portrait). Top. Sketch on the back of a British map, showing the first objects of No 4 Commando. Firstly establishing a bridgehead, then sealing off the "Eiland" extremity and finally clearing the areas around the Arsenal barracks (Commando Headquarters). Middle. The pillboxes at the right of Uncle Beach that were cleared by No 2 Troop under command of Lieutenant John S. Hunter-Gray. Bottom. Men of No 4 Commando posing with a captured German naval flag.
Page 21. Orange Windmill
Top. The Orange Windmill, landmark for the landing troops, is cleared of Germans by French and Dutch commandos, attached to No 4 Commando. A few of the Frenchmen pose here at the foot of the windmill. The man on the right is wearing a captured German belt. Middle and bottom. Near the Orange Windmill two landing craft are sunk, of which LCA 817 is only partly submerged. Clearly visible are the beach obstacles; these so-called "Hemmbalken" (brake beams) have for the greater part mines on top of them to deny landing craft access to the beach.
Page 22. Streetfighting in Flushing
After the landings the greater part of No 4 Commando immediately advanced into the town, later that morning followed by the 4th King's Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB). Top. Scottish infantry advancing via Kogelpark to the town centre. Middle. One of the Jocks, with fixed bayonet, is passing a burning house in Gravestraat. Bottom. The advancing troops are supported by men of 452nd Mountain Battery RA, in action here with a 3.7 inch mountain gun. In the background the Orange Windmill.
The advance into town was a slow process, due to snipers and stiff enemy resistance, mainly at a strongpoint at the access to the boulevard from the Coosje Buskenstraat (codenamed "Dover"). Captain Alan G.S. Hill, medical officer of 4 KOSB (inset), went forward with the troops, and some of his reminiscences are given. Top. Bellamypark. Middle. Beursplein. Bottom. Molenstraat.
Page 24. Prisoners of war Uncle Beach
Top. Being the landmark for the landing troops, the Orange Mill was subsequently one of the first points where German soldiers were taken prisoner at the pillboxes below the windmill. Middle. The prisoners are assembled on Uncle Beach, awaiting transport across the Scheldt to Breskens. In the background the Orange Windmill. Bottom. The German prisoners are actively engaged in the unloading of supplies. Here a human chain of mainly prisoners. Their employment (only by daylight) was very valuable to the allied cause.
Page 25. Evacuation of wounded at Flushing
Top. The wounded are primarily taken to a dressing station. Here British stretcher bearers, assisted by a German medical orderly (wearing a "Stahlhelm") near Uncle Beach. Bottom. Serious cases are, whenever possible, immediately taken to Breskens. Here one of the wounded is carried aboard an LCA.
Wounded at Flushing were initially taken care of by the Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) and medical orderlies of the various units. 155th Field Ambulance (assisted by a section of 6th Canadian Field Dressing Station (FDS)) took care of the evacuation to Breskens, where they were redirected to 18th Field Dressing Station at Biervliet. This last unit treated 227 casualties (including PoWs & civilians). Top. Wounded soldiers are carried, with the help of German prisoners (here a medical orderly), in the direction of Uncle Beach.
Middle. On Uncle Beach a wounded civilian is carried aboard a landing craft (LCA 826) by two Dutchmen. Bottom. Canadian medical orderlies on Uncle Beach are taking a little Dutch boy aboard an LCA.
Page 27. Fight for Britannia
The 7th/9th Battalion The Royal Scots under command of Lt.Col. Mike E. Melvill had crossed the Scheldt on 2 November and got in the early hours of 3 November the task of occupying the area around the Grand Hotel Britannia, one of the last German strongpoints at Flushing. Top. A view of the still undamaged Britannia hotel from the obstacle-strewn beach. On this German photograph from April 1944 the so-called "Hemmbalk" with a mine on top is clearly visible. Bottom. An aerial picture dated 9 October 1944 plainly shows the hotel in the centre. On the left and in the background the inundated land.
Plan of battle area. Given scale no longer valid.
In order to approach the hotel from the back the Royal Scots had to wade through the floods, at times up till their chests. Once at the foot of the hotel, fierce German resistance was encountered from a whole range of strongpoints and entrenchments. The CO of the battalion, Lt.Col. Melvill, came up to the frontline and was hit by a sniper. This infuriated the Royals, and under their battle cry "On the Royals" (encouraged by their wounded CO), they attacked. 2 platoon commanders were killed, and now under the command of Major Hugh Rose, they eventually managed to get men of 2 platoons in the hotel. The hotel was set ablaze, and shortly after the HQ bunker next to Britannia was seized, capturing some 600 Germans, including the Flushing garrison commander Oberst Reinhardt and the harbour commander Captain Würdemann. Top. Oberst (Colonel) Eugen Reinhardt, commander of 1019th Grenadier Regiment, in the floods somewhere behind Britannia end October 1944. Through these same waters the 7/9 Royal Scots had to wade to reach Britannia. Bottom. The "white house" behind Britannia from which the fiercest German opposition is presented. According to the war diary of the 7th/9th Royal Scots the place was well-defended with everywhere around it strongpoints and trenches.
Top. Men of 13 Platoon, "C" Company, 7th/9th Royals Scots taking time for a 'cuppa' after the battle is over at about midday on 3 November 1944. Private Finn is wearing a captured German pullover. To his left Bowie. Directly behind Finn Fletcher, and to the right Sherlock. To the right in front L/Cpl. Macdonald. At the back right Sgt. Binnie. Middle. The Britannia Hotel after the battle, not much more than a skeleton... Bottom. Major Hugh Rose, commander of "B" Company 7th/9th Royal Scots, is decorated by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery with the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his part in the conquest of Britannia.
Page 31. French commandos
The French commandos of 1er Bataillon Fusiliers Marins Commandos were attached to No 4 Commando as No 5 & 6 Troops. Top. Four French officers amidst the rubble at the corner Gravestraat/ Kalkhokstraat. From left to right: Lt. Guy de Montlaur (section commander), Lt. Guy Hattu, Commandant Philippe Kieffer (commander) and Lt. J. Senée (section commander). Bottom left. German prisoners under British surveillance being led away in the Oranjestraat. Bottom right. The Flushing harbour commander Korvettenkapitän Otto Würdemann (middle), taken prisoner on November 3rd, is taken into captivity. He would have surrendered to Capt. Alex Lofi (commander No 5 Troop) by presenting his revolver. The weapon can be seen nowadays in the 'Mémorial de la Libération' at Paris.
Page 32. De Schelde shipyard
The "De Schelde" shipyard had initially been prepared by the Germans for demolition, but in the last days of October the main charges had been removed in order to enable the workmen to work on safely. When the allied attack came on the 1st of November, there was no time left to places the charges again. The shipyard was saved. Top. Jocks with their small arms, here under one of the gantries on the shipyard, try to shoot Germans snipers situated high up in the cranes. The announcement on the gantry reads : "Not allowed to pass under the gantry". Middle. The "Eiland" (Island) yard has been badly damaged, as can be seen in this aerial photograph. Bottom. The casco of construction number 214, later to become the passenger liner "Willem Ruys" (and still later the "Achille Lauro") has been saved from destruction.
Page 33. Prisoners of war
Top. German soldiers have been taken prisoner near the Nolle gap in Flushing and are marching, carrying their personal belongings, to the assembly area on and near Uncle Beach, before they are taken across to Breskens. Middle. German prisoners at Kogelparkstraat in Flushing. Bottom. A prisoner of war gets a registration card as soon as possilbe, usually only when he arrives at an organised camp. The card printed here is of a German belonging to the 89th Fortress Depot Regiment, who was taken prisoner at Walcheren on 7th November, but was registered only at November 11th. The stamps on the back show that L/Cpl (Obergefreiter) Hans Marker has been a prisoner till at least the 20th of May 1947.
Page 34. Spoils of war
The liberating troops seized their share of "spoils of war", such as the 7th/9th Royal Scots captured at Flushing a film projector and epidiascope, which they had to hand over to 155th Brigade, but would be getting back at the end of hostilities. Top. This group of the 4th Bn KOSB have captured a German's camera with a film inside. Middle. Three prints of the German's pictures. Bottom. An enlargement of one of the pictures. German soldiers are walking along the "Höckerhindernisse" (lump obstructions, also known as "dragon's teeth") near Valkenisse, just behind the dunes.
Page 35. Flushing badly damaged
Top. The Arsenal barracks after the fighter-bomber attack on 30th October 1944. Bottom. Nieuwendijk on 1st November 1944.
Page 36. Waterfront Flushing
Top. A view of Boulevard De Ruyter, looking in the direction of the Nolle gap. Middle. A picture of Boulevard Bankert with the "Gevangentoren" ("Martello Tower") on the right. Bottom. The "Bomvrije Kazerne" ("Bombproof Barracks"), just behind Boulevard De Ruyter, near the Martello Tower.
Top. The "Intime" pavilion, photographed during the German occupation. The Germans have a dance-hall here. On the outside of the building Dutch collaborators' propaganda bills have been stuck. Bottom. German prisoners of war are being taken in the direction of Uncle Beach via Boulevard Bankert. In the foreground a "Vierling Flak" (four-barreled anti-aircraft gun) can be seen.
Page 38. Beach hotel Flushing
Top. During the war the "Strandhotel" ("Beach hotel") is used as "Wehrmachtsheim" (serviceman's hostel) and offers the German soldiers a few moments of recreation. Bottom. During the liberation it has been badly damaged. A few Flushing civilians and members of the local resistance are posing for the camera together with three Jocks (Scottish soldiers).
Page 39. Flushing pillboxes
Top. In the foreground the observation post of the HQ bunker of the Seekommandant Südholland (Commander of sea defence of Southern Holland), Kapitän zur See (Naval Captain) Frank Aschmann (inset). On the 1st of November Aschmann, virtually isolated in his bunker, fled to Veere and further on, in the hope to of finding a better position to lead his units. The bunker was of the type Fl.241 and situated next to Hotel Britannia on Boulevard Evertsen. On 1 November a piece of shrapnel entered the bunker through the observation slot and killed Oberfähnrich Kurt Lüdemann and wounded 2 others. In the part under the observation post on 3 November Colonel Reinhardt and Captain Würdemann were captured. Middle. Picture of the entrance of a pillbox type 105 on Boulevard Bankert. In front of the entrance lies a so-called Panzerfaust, a portable anti-tank weapon. Bottom. A bunker of the type 631 next to the Breskens ferry terminal. In the background the heavily devastated railway station.
Page 40. Flushing harbours/locks
Just as the shipyard, the harbours and locks at Flushing were prepared for destruction in October 1944. Because there were German strongpoints in the harbour area ("Kernwerk"), the Allies executed several bombardments on this area (11, 21, 23 & 28 October). Mainly the locks were badly damaged, though these were not the target. Some 18 ships were sunk by the Germans to block the harbour entrance. Oberleutnant Weißman was in charge of placing the charges in the quays and harbour installations; Oberfähnrich Schulze executed the blasting, which commenced on 25 Oct. and culminated in the massive blowing up of quays and harbour installations in the night of 29 on 30 October. OUTER HARBOUR Top. German engineers prepare the former jetty of the "Maatschappij Zeeland" (Zeeland Company; the pre-war ferry service from Flushing to Harwich) for demolition. Transport over the bridge continues as usual. Here a requisitioned cart and horse with driver. Middle. Blockade ships sunk in the mouth of the Flushing outer harbour. Bottom. Clearly visible is the precision applied by the German demolition party when the quays were blown up.
Top. View of the outer harbour, looking in. LOCKS Middle. View of the lock complex, seen from the outer harbour. At the right a pillbox for a 4.7 cm antitank gun, type 631. Bottom. The locks photographed from the other side.
Top. View of the locks and the area lying behind. To the left the railway station, to the right the premises of the Provincial Steamboat Service. INNER HARBOURS Bottom. RAF aerial photograph of the destroyed inner harbours.
Page 43. No 4 Commando
The stubborn resistance of the Germans at "Dover" took up all of No 4 Commando's attention on the 2nd of November. By 'mouseholing' (making holes in walls in order to be able to advance) they slowly proceeded, and some time after a Typhoon attack on the strongpoint that afternoon the Germans eventually surrendered. Top. Fighting is over and the 6 troops of No 4 Commando are marching via Coosje Buskenstraat onto Boulevard Bankert. The tough German resistance that was experienced here caused the commandos a lot of annoyance earlier on. Middle. After their task in Flushing has been accomplished, No 4 Commando assembles in the Kenau Hasselaarstraat for embarkation in LVTs in order to cross the Nolle gap. Bottom. Commandos inspecting the southern shoulder of the Nolle gap in Flushing before crossing it in Buffaloes.
Page 44. From Ostend to Westkapelle
Operation "Infatuate II" was the landing of 4th Special Service Brigade on both shoulders of the gap in the Westkapelle seawall. Top. Embarkation in Ostend. On the right in the foreground a Buffalo bearing the divisional sign of the 79th Armoured Division (buffalo head). Middle. The fleet of landing craft on its way to Westkapelle. Bottom left. As soon as the coastline is approached, the men are climbing aboard the Buffaloes. Bottom right. In the Buffaloes the men are tensely awaiting the moment when the craft will head straight for the beach. Here on Landing Craft Tank (LCT) 789, the Belgian (and some Norwegian) commandos smoke a last cigarette. On the right in the foreground is the Belgian padre Elie Corbisier (wearing his white collar).
Page 45. Off Westkapelle
Top. The landing craft are setting sail for the coast. This LCT is loaded to the brim with Buffaloes in the middle and the smaller Weasels on the sides. In the foreground a medical orderly wearing a red cross armband. Middle. While the vessels are nearing the coast the coastal batteries are under fire from the heavy guns of the supporting bombardment ships, comprising the battleship HMS Warspite and the monitors HMS Roberts and HMS Erebus. Bottom. The guns have hit a target. Of this LCT the bow parts have already been lowered to disembark men and vehicles presently.
Page 46. Support Squadron Eastern Flank (SSEF)
Essential support for the landings at Westkapelle was given by the Support Squadron Eastern Flank under Commander Kenneth A. "Monkey" Sellar. This flotilla consisted of 27 ships with mostly guns and rockets firing devices and engaged the German coastal batteries while the landing craft were running in to the shore. They paid a high price: 172 men were killed, 9 ships were sunk and 10 others knocked out. Top. Ships of the Support Squadron under heavy fire, as seen by war artist William McDowell. Middle. A Landing Craft Tank (Rocket) in action off the Westkapelle coast. Bottom. Landing Craft Gun (Medium) 101 off Westkapelle.
LCG(M) 101 has been hit and is sinking.
Page 48. Landings Westkapelle
Top. Sketch of the landings on White Beach, just south of the dyke gap. To enlarge the heroic character of the event, the ruined windmill has been situated on an extremely high piece of dyke. Bottom. This photograph shows the above scene in reality. In the background the devastated windmill (wrecked by the bombardment of 3 October). The vehicles are busy getting off the LCT. The last Buffalo is crossing the ramp after which the waiting Weasels will follow.
Top. In the background a Buffalo is emerging from an LCT. A "Crab" flail tank has come out of LCT 737. This Sherman tank was equipped with a flail in front that detonated with its metal chains mines in front of the tank. Middle. Another Crab tank disembarks from the LCT. Behind it still aboard an Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE) with a mounted bridge (called 'Small Box Girder'). Bottom. A group of Buffaloes is getting out of an LCT. In the foreground an armoured D8 bulldozer to clear away obstacles.
Top. Buffalo No 3C still on board an LCT. On the right a light anti-aircraft gun. Middle. The Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT), as the Buffalo is officially named, has landed together with men of 47 (Royal Marines) Commando. Bottom. North of the dyke gap disembarkation is also in full swing. One AVRE has got stuck, with in front of it a Weasel. An LCT is busy unloading. Another LCT with a bridge-laying AVRE on board is turning away.
Page 51. Westkapelle beach parties
To get any order out of the chaos on the landing beaches so-called 'beach parties' were organized under the command of Commander Redvers M. Prior, the Principal Beach Master. White Beach was the dyke gap and its immediate surroundings. North of it was Red Beach and south Green Beach. Especially Green Beach attracted heavy enemy fire. Top. A few Buffaloes plodding along. The sign refers to the Beach Dressing Station.
Middle. A few men belonging to the beach party posing near their camp in front of a Buffalo. Bottom. The beach parties put up camps on the beach. In front of the tent are jerrycans. In the background an LCT. On the left in the background are German prisoners of war.
Top. The prisoner of war cage on Red Beach is situated near the beach party's camp. When on 2 November a few Buffaloes loaded with ammunition exploded after well-directed German fire, the prisoners spontaneously started singing: "Deutschland über alles". Bottom. A bird's-eye view of the camp from the seaside. Also visible are two stranded LCTs, one of which is LCT 469. To the left on the seawall are rows of wooden poles, being an obstacle for landing vehicles. On the beach some beach defence obstacles.
Page 53. Westkapelle evacuation of casualties
The Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps was in charge of medical services for Infatuate II. They had attached to 4th Special Service Brigade the following units: 17th Light Field Ambulance, 8th & 9th Field Surgical Units, 5th Field Transfusion Unit and 10th Field Dressing Station. Casualties were evacuated a.s.a.p. to Ostend in LCTs. From 2 to 6 November, due to the bad weather, no casualties could be evacuated, and the surgical teams in this period really performed miracles. At Ostend some 512 wounded were received on 1 & 2 November and still another 220 from the 6th of November on. Top and middle. Casualties are taken aboard an LCT and treated as well as possible. Bottom. All of the casualties have got a registration card (Field Medical Card) in an envelope. The shown card was issued to a civilian wounded being evacuated to Belgium.
Page 54. Westkapelle liberated
41 Royal Marine Commando under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Eric C.E. Palmer landed north of the dyke gap and had the task of clearing Westkapelle village. Stubborn resistance by snipers came especially from the lighthouse at the other side of the village, which was dealt with by "A" Troop of Captain T.M.P. "Paddy" Stevens. Top. Men of "A" Troop 41 RM Commando advancing via Zuidstraat towards the lighthouse. Middle. Prisoners of war are escorted in the direction of the beach. Bottom. Also in the Zuidstraat some principal officers (group at the right) discuss the situation (while having a sandwich). From left to right: Lt.Col. Morris W. Hope (GSO1 4th Special Service Brigade), Lt.Col. Eric C.E. Palmer (CO 41 RM Commando), Maj. Godfrey R. Franks (2 i/c 10 IA Commando), Brig. Bernard W. "Jumbo" Leicester (Comd 4th Special Service Brigade), Maj. Peter N. Peter Wood (2 i/c 41 RM Commando). The men on the left are still wearing their lifebelts.
Not only 41 RM Commando landed at Westkapelle, but also the greater part of No 10 (Inter Allied) Commando, consisting of mainly Norwegian and Belgian Troops. The French were attached to No 4 Commando at Flushing and a small group of Dutchmen operated both at Flushing and south of the Westkapelle gap (with 47 RM Cdo). Top. The pillboxes of the Naval Coastal Battery Westkapelle (W.15), manned by men of the 6. Batterie/Marine-Artillerie-Abteilung 202 (6th Battery Naval Coastal Artillery Battalion 202). The battery had opened fire on the allied ships at 08.09 hrs (1 Nov), and was heavily fired on herself from 09.37 hrs onwards. By 11.42 hrs all her guns were knocked out and some 45 minutes later the battery was taken by "Y" Troop of 41 Cdo. Middle. Photograph of a Buffalo for casualty transport, in front of the ruined windmill on the dyke. Bottom. The Headquarters of No 10 (IA) Commando on the beach. Cigarette in hand is Commanding Officer Lt.Col. Peter Laycock. On his left behind his wireless operator, the Second-in-Command Maj. Godfrey R. Franks.
Page 56. German coastal batteries at Walcheren
Top. One of the four 22 cm guns (K.532(f)) of Marineküstenbatterie Domburg (Naval Coastal Battery Domburg; W.17). Middle. Marineküstenbatterie Westkapelle (Naval Coastal Battery Westkapelle; W.15) has four 9.4 cm guns of British origin (3.7" Vickers), of which one is seen here. Underneath the effect of a direct hit on one of the bunkers, which killed the gun crew. Amongst the rubble three dead Germans can be seen. Bottom. Marineküstenbatterie Zoutelande (Naval Coastal Battery Zoutelande; W.13) has a primary armament of four 15 cm guns (Tbt.K. C/36), placed in bunkers. This picture (showing some ceremony) was taken in the period that the gun had not yet been put under concrete. When Vic Edwards, 48 RM Commando, was taking prisoners from Zoutelande to the dyke gap at Westkapelle, one of the Germans, speaking good English, started a conversation. He was glad that the war was over for him. Approaching the gap, the German gave Edwards a photograph (printed here) and said: "You helped to take this one. You can show it to your friends at home."
Page 57. Zoutelande liberated
South of the Westkapelle dyke gap landed 48 Royal Marine Commando under Lt.Col. James L. "Jim" Moulton. The first big target was the coastal battery Zoutelande (W.13); a first attack was beaten off, but a later one (prepared this time) in the afternoon of the 1st November succeeded. "A" Troop continued the advance into Zoutelande next morning (2 Nov) and liberated the village. Beyond Zoutelande 47 Commando took over. Top. Panorama of the village, with the church in the centre. In the dunes on the left are German concrete pyramid-shaped antitank obstacles. The photograph was taken before early 1944, because no beach obstacles have yet been built. Middle. The Dutch Reformed Church has been hit in the roof by the last 15 inch shell fired by HMS Erebus on Zoutelande. Captain Daniel J. "Dan" Flunder (inset), commander of "A" Troop 48 RM Commando, remembered: "While searching the concrete fortifications we found the civilian population huddled in a big bunker which had b een a store. I found an interpreter... I said pompously, "Would you please tell the
Burgemeester you are now safe from the guns of the British Navy?" The pleased acknowledgement of this romantic statement was interrupted by a noise like a train, while everything shook and filled with dust as another salvo from Erebus arrived." Bottom. The De Visser family (father and daughters) posing at Zoutelande with some of their liberators with a Buffalo of the 79th Armoured Division.
Page 58. Dishoek/Zwanenburg
47 Royal Marine Commando, under Lt.Col. C. Farndale Phillips, had landed after 48 RM Cdo on the 1st of November and was held in reserve that day. The 2nd November it took over the advance southwards from 48 Cdo beyond Zoutelande. Coastal battery Dishoek (W.11) proved to be a difficult nut to crack, and it was not before next morning (11.30 hrs) that the battery was captured. Next the command post of the Marineflakabteilung 810 (Naval Anti-Aircraft Battalion 810; W.4) was taken, after which later that afternoon (3 Nov) contact was made with No 4 Commando on the other side of the Nolle Gap at Flushing. Top. One of the four bunkers of Marineküstenbatterie Dishoek (Naval Coastal Battery Dishoek; W.11), type M.170 suited for a 15 cm gun. Middle. One of these bunkers after the battle. Bottom left. Lieutenant-Colonel C. Farndale Phillips, CO of 47 (Royal Marines) Commando. Bottom right. Korvettenkapitän Hans Köll, CO of the Marineflakabteilung 810 (Naval Anti-Aircraft Battalion 810). Captain Köll surrendered to Phillips on the 3rd of November, handing over his Luger pistol and saying, "You will shoot me if you think I have not done my duty." Phillips: "I was so relieved and delighted that I could have embraced him."
Page 59. Domburg liberated
The first liberators (41 Commando) arrived at Domburg in the late afternoon of the 1st November, and were relieved next day by the Belgian and Norwegian Troops of 10 (IA) Commando. Nasty sniper fire and other small arms resistance continued until next day. The 3rd of November all German resistance (especially at the water tower) was eliminated with the support of some tanks. Top. A Sherman tank in front of the Badpaviljoen (Bath Pavilion) is firing at the water tower where snipers have taken up positions. Middle. Commandos advancing in the Noordstraat at Domburg, supported by a Churchill tank. Bottom left. Commandos firing their small arms at the water tower. Bottom right. The villa "Woestduin" situated in the dunes is set ablaze, after which the Germans here surrender rather quickly. A few Norwegian commandos can be seen advancing.
Page 60. Norwegian commandos
No 5 Troop of No 10 (Inter Allied) Commando consisted of 97 Norwegians under the command of Captain Rolv Hauge (portrait). They had to protect the northwestern flank at Westkapelle and to give supporting fire at the attack on battery W.15. 2 November they went to Domburg and cleared the town there next day (attack on the water tower). Thereafter they cleared the dunes area up till battery W.18 (here they took some 175 prisoners). A day in reserve, then participating in the attack on W.18 (5 Nov), after which together with the Belgians the wooded area at Oostkapelle was cleared. Top. Westkapelle, 1 November 1944. The LCT carrying the Norwegian commandos has got bogged down, so that the men have to wade ashore. In the background a Buffalo. Middle. Commando Sverre Stigum standing in a German mortar position, next to the Westkapelle coastal battery. Because commandos are trained to use enemy weapons, Stigum will shortly afterwards (together with Willy Larsen) man the German mortar. Bottom. Domburg, Zuidstraat, 3 November. Maintenance of weapons, taking in new hand grenades: the attack on the water tower is being prepared. In front of the barn where they have spent the night can be seen from left to right: Johan Klinge, Alfar Christensen, Johansen, Peder Fjermedal, Petter Eriksen, H. Jensen, Olsen, Odd Arntsen and Kåre Robertsen.
Top. That one always should be cautious experienced Ove Moe-Johansen. Machine gun fire shaved his head when he rose from his cover to localize enemy positions. From left to right: medical orderly Mikal Mikkelsen (who has just applied the dressing), Rolf Per Solem (looking for a cigarette) and at the right Hermann Skutle (seen on the back). Middle. A commando should always be ready for anything out of the ordinary: here it is the supply of milk. Under Norman Kristiansen's watchful eye Andreas Tveitsul is milking a Walcheren cow. Bottom. After the Norwegians have passed Domburg and spent a night in trenches in the dunes area, they search captured Germans the next (grey) morn ing. The Norwegian with the Colt in his hand is probably Sven Lode, the man with his face in profile Kåre Robertsen and watching in the background is Alfar Christensen (or P. Hansen).
Page 62. Belgian commandos
90 Belgian commandos formed No 4 Troop of No 10 (Inter Allied) Commando under the leadership of Captain Georges M. Danloy (portrait). They advanced together with the Norwegian troop from Westkapelle to Domburg and further on to Oostkapelle. Their main feat of arms was the clearing of the wooded area between Domburg and Oostkapelle on the 6th of November; on that day the Belgians earned 2 Military Crosses and 8 Croix de Guerre. Top. During a pause at Walcheren we see from left to right: Sgt. Raymond Declercq, Sgt. Delo, Sgt. Olivier Uydebroeck, Cpl. Jan Claessens. Middle. Belgian commandos advancing near Domburg. Bottom. Some time after the liberation Belgian commandos are posing with a few Walcheren girls. From left to right: Cpl. George Vandenbossche, Cpl. Lambert Jacobs, Sgt. Raymond Declercq, Lt. Pierre Roman, Sgt. Jef Guevorst, Pte. Streulens and Cpl. Charley Legrand. Lt. Roman and Cpl. Legrand both won an MC on Walcheren.
Page 63. Wooded area Oostkapelle
Fragments of reminiscences of some Belgian commandos about the battle in the wooded area are given here.
Top. Dug in commandos in the wooded area near Oostkapelle. Two men are having a machine gun at the ready. Belgians are arriving to take over from the Norwegians. Middle. Commandos in action near forester Luitwieler's house. Bottom. Captured Schnapps used to take Dutch courage.
Page 64. Aerial photograph Middelburg
A British aerial picture of Middelburg, end of October 1944. The inundations have reached the Middelburg canals, but the centre of the town is still dry. Clearly recognisable is the empty space around the market square, where in May 1940 so many buildings were lost by bombardments and fire. The station bridge is still intact, but is to be blown up on November 5th.
Page 65. Middelburg liberated
With Flushing taking, the 4th and 5th Battalions King's Own Scottish Borderers now advanced along the Walcheren Canal on to Middelburg. Progress was slow, however, and even halted beyond Souburg due to mines and German small arms fire from pillboxes in the canal embankment, directed by a German officer known as the "Mad Major". An alternative route was reconnoitred by Buffaloes on the 5th of November. In the meantime through civilian and resistance channels it had become clear that Festungskommandant (Fortress Commander) General Daser was willing to surrender to a superior force (preferably tanks). So next day a Buffalo party was organized to effect a German surrender. The force consisted of "A" Company 7th/9th Royal Scots (under Major Hugh Johnston) as infantry, "A" Squadron 11th Royal Tank Regiment (under Major T.R. Newton-Dunn) providing the Buffaloes, supporting machine gunners from the Manchesters and a small engineer detachment. Some 140 men in 11 Buffaloes started off to Middelburg on 6th November, 12.45 hrs. After having had some minor troubles Koudekerke was reached safely, and it was only at Ter Hooge/Toorenvliedt that they experienced some German resistance. Trying an outflanking movement, one Buffalo struck a mine and blew up; 6 men were killed and several others wounded. The remaining Buffaloes, however, safely reached Middelburg (8 in number; 1 blew up, 1 got stuck and 1 went back to Flushing with wounded). Top. The Buffaloes climb out of the water in Middelburg Zandstraat, turn left and then right into Langeviele, across the characteristic Langeviele Bridge. Here a picture of the bridge during the war. Middle. Having passed Langeviele, the market square is reached. While one Buffalo is going towards Lange Delft the Middelburg population it turning out to welcome its liberators. Bottom. A Buffalo passing through Lange Delft in the direction of Damplein (Dam Square). People are watching with great interest. Before "De Gruyter" an armed resistance fighter.
One Buffalo, the "Spider", was separated from the column and had come in the lead. Once in the streets of Middelburg they were welcomed by the enthusiastic population, and almost immediately the first groups of Germans came forward to surrender; this willingness to give themselves up continued and culminated in massive surrenderings o f whole platoons. Under the guidance of a Dutch policeman and later a German officer they reached the German HQ at the Dam square. Here Captain D. Walwin Jones (portrait) together with the Norwegian interpreter Lt. "Johnny" Goldfarb (also known under the name of "Pedro") negotiated the surrender. Daser, however, did not wish to capitulate to a subaltern officer, so Major Johnston (as force commander) was verbally promoted to Colonel. On arrival of Johnston at the Dam he was directly informed about the situation, and played his part as "colonel" with success. Daser and his staff officers handed over their revolvers; the official surrender, however, took place next day in the presence of General Hakewill Smith. Top. The Buffalo "Spider" in front of the German commander's HQ. Generalleutnant (Lt.Gen.) Wilhelm Daser resided at Dam 6-8. Middle. British troops on a Buffalo at Damplein, surrounded by enthusiast Middelburg inhabitants. Bottom. German prisoners of war at Damplein. On the left Lange Delft, German staff car and a Red Cross car. On the right is a Buffalo.
The just over a hundred British soldiers had no easy time to keep the literally thousands of surrendering Germans under control. They fortunately were assisted by some 80 armed resistance fighters who proved useful in bringing the Germans in and guarding them. There were a few awkward moments with some small skirmishes and later on with the general dissatisfaction amongst the German POWs when they were not fed with their usual white bread (most of them were stomach sufferers; the 70th Infantry Division was nicknamed "Whitebread Division"). By getting some of their own bakers at work, this problem was solved. It was not before 03.00 hrs at 7 November that the first reinforcements arrived. These were men of the 5th Highland Light Infantry, closely followed by the 4th King's Own Scottish Borderers (who had been transported by Buffaloes through the Walcheren Canal). The "Mad Major" south of Middelburg had meantime also surrendered to the 6th HLI. Middelburg was free. Top. German prisoners in front of the chemist's at the market suqare. Middle. At the Market the Germans are assembled, guarded by Jocks and by armed members of the resistance. Elated civilians are watching. Bottom. German prisoners passing "Geschenkenhuis De Boer" (De Boer Gift Shop) at the market square.
Top. 7th November. German prisoners assembled in front of the "Korenbeurs" (Corn Exchange) at the Dam square. Middle. View of the interior of the Corn Exchange, where booty - arms and equipment - are being collected. Bottom. A Buffalo is leading a column of prisoners, taken to Havendijk (7th November).
Top. A few British soldiers are watching German prisoners being marched away (7th November). Middle. The Buffaloes especially attract the attention of the Middelburg youngsters. Buffalo "Socrates" in front of the (temporary) Nederlandsch Koffiehuis (Dutch Coffee House) at the Dam square. Next door is a Red Cross post. Bottom. With great public interest Buffalo "Sable" is driving from Rotterdamse Kaai (Rotterdam Quay) into the Prins Hendrikdok (Dock of Prince Henry).
Top. An artistic view of the prisoners in the Market square who are being guarded by some 120 Scotsmen, desperately waiting for reinforcements. Bottom. The Market square in the morning of 7th November 1944. The prisoners are being taken away, a housewife is doing her shopping, while others are watching what is going on.
Top. In the morning of 7th November General Daser is led away, accompanied by Major Hugh Johnston, commander of the Buffalo party. The picture is taken at Havendijk. Bottom. German prisoners are assembled at Havendijk to be taken across the Walcheren Canal.
Page 72. The Causeway
From the east the attack had been opened on South Beveland by the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division on the 24th of October (Operation Vitality I). When at 26 Oct. in addition 156th & 157th Infantry Brigades (of 52nd Lowland Division) crossed the Scheldt and landed on the south coast of Beveland around Baarland and Hoedekenskerke (Operation Vitality II) the German resistance soon collapsed. The only way to get to Walcheren over land was by crossing the Sloedam ("the (bloody) Causeway"). 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade (Brig. William J. Megill) got the task of forming a bridgehead on the Walcheren side of the causeway. The first frontal attack across the long and bare causeway was made by the Black Watch of Canada (31 Oct.) that got pinned down before reaching Walcheren. They were relieved next morning (1 Nov.) by the Calgary Highlanders, that did not come very much farther either. The third battalion of the brigade, Le Régiment de Maisonneuve, however, managed to form a small bridgehead on the 2nd of November. Top. The Causeway during the years of occupation; a single railway track, a road and cycle track next to it. At the time of the liberation most of the trees have been cut down and turned into 'Rommel asparagus', poles erected in the fields against airborne landings. Middle. An artistic impression of the advance of "D" Company Régiment de Maisonneuve across the Causeway. This oil painting was made by Lieut. Charles Forbes, a platoon commander in 1944, who was knighted for his part in the battle of the Causeway with the (Dutch) "Militaire Willemsorde" (The Military Order of King William). Bottom. Another artistic, less realistic impression of the Causeway in the memorial book of the 1st Glasgow Highlanders (HLI).
Part of a story is given as told by Roger Mathen, a Belgian volunteer who served with the Maisonneuves. He sketches the grim and harsh circumstances on the Causeway with murderous fire and comrades falling all around. The French Canadians were eventually relieved by the 1st Bn. The Glasgow Highlanders that consolidated. General Hakewill Smith, who wished not to sacrifice his battalions as the Canadians had done, had meantime searched for other ways to enter Walcheren. An alternative was found in a crossing of the Sloe channel. In the night of 2 on 3 November "Operation Mallard" was executed by 6th Bn. The Cameronians that crossed the water in assault boats and waded through the sticky substances of the mud flats. A small bridgehead was formed, which was initially subjected to great enemy pressure, but with reinforcement of the 5th Bn. The Highland Light Infantry the bridgehead could be expanded, and eventually contact was made with the Glasgow Highlanders at the causeway. Walcheren was now lying open from the east. Top. The Sloe is crossed from the Nieuwdorp harbour. The first part is done in assault boats, and then the men have to plod on for about one kilometre through miry bogland, before the dyke in the Bijleveldpolder can be taken. Here a few boats with the Bijleveldpolder and Middelburg in the background. Bottom. On th South Beveland side casualties and prisoners are being led away.
Page 74. Eastern Walcheren
In charge of the defence of eastern Walcheren was Oberst (Colonel) Otto Gajer, CO of the 89th Fortress Depot Regiment. At his disposal he had parts of the 2nd Battalion of 1019th Grenadier Regiment, remnants of 2 battalions Fortress Depot Troops, some engineers and parts of the 170th Fusilier Battalion. The artillery numbered 3 heavy batteries east of Nieuwland and 2 light batteries north of Arnemuiden. Commander of the dramatically reduced Artillery Regiment 170, that once comprised 56 pieces of artillery, was Oberst (Colonel) Franz A.M. Lex (portrait). A notable fact is that the British thought the Germans had self-propelled guns. Col. Lex was interrogated on this subject by Brigadier Lionel B.D. Burns, CRA 52nd Division and commander of Burnsforce (156 & 157 Brigades with supporting arms) on South Beveland & Walcheren. Lex: "I of course could not give away that my 'self-propelled' guns had consisted only of 2 tractors and some Dutch heavy horses." Top. One of the heavy guns (15 cm schwere Feldhaubitze 18 = 15 cm heavy field howitzer 18) of the German divisional artillery, around Buttinge. Bottom. A German gun which has been firing at the Causeway has been put out of action and left behind near the village of Nieuw- en Sint Joosland. In the background the Veerdam.
The units of Burnsforce advanced slowly but steadily on the eastern part of Walcheren once the Causeway was open. 7th Bn The Cameronians cleared Kleverskerke and Veere (5 & 7 Nov. respectively). 4th/5th Bn. The Royal Scots Fusiliers provided porterage for the troops crossing the Sloe, eventually went on behind 7th Cameronians and crossed the Walcheren Canal northeast of Middelburg on 6 Nov. The Glasgow Highlanders still secured the Causeway. 5th Bn The Highland Light Infantry (HLI) advanced to Oudedorp and Fort Rammekens. The 6th HLI cleared Nieuwland on 5 Nov. and got the task on 6 Nov. to take Middelburg. In due course this was changed and now 5 HLI went to Middelburg and 6 HLI contacted the 155th Brigade south of Middelburg. This all had been accomplished by the 7th of November. NIEUWLAND, EARLY NOVEMBER 1944. Top. British army vehicles, with in the background the tower of the Dutch Reformed Church. Middle. A column of soldiers of the 4th/5th Royal Scots Fusiliers is marching through the village. Bottom. Pipers are leading a parade; the church is in the background (Kerkstraat).
Page 76. Souburg
Top left. Aerial view (29 October 1944) of the village of East Souburg surrounded by floods. At low tide the centre is dry for a few hours. Clearly visible on the right is the old road to Middelburg. Top right. Souburg Kanaalstraat (Canal Street) at high tide, seen from the mill. Bottom. Men of the Souburg resistance posing at the Kanaaldijk (Canal Dyke) with men of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, some of whom have blackened their faces. Far left (probably) C. Roelse, 4th on the left H. Smit, next to him police sergeant Babijn. Third on the right is A. van Beveren.
Page 77. Souburg/Ritthem
Top left. Piramidehoeve (Pyramid Farm) at Nieuwe Vlissingseweg (New Flushing Road) near Abeele. Top right. Another pillbox at Nieuwe Vlissingseweg. Clearly visible is that the bunker has been camouflaged as a dwelling house. Middle left. Two gun turrets of the destroyed Ostbatterie (Eastern Flak Battery) are still visible. The battery is situated between Flushing and Ritthem. Middle right. The slightly damaged church tower at the village of Ritthem. Bottom left. A gun turret has been blown off its concrete floor and has landed upside down. Bottom right. The inundated Dorpsstraat (Village Street) at Ritthem.
Page 78. Arnemuiden open (Red Cross) town Casualty clearing post at Nieuwdorp
The main dressing station of the Germans was situated in Arnemuiden under the command of Oberstabsarzt (Medical Colonel) Dr. Kern. Because of this the town was declared an open town, and respected as such. The 1st Battalion The Glasgow Highlanders liberated the place on the 5th of November. War correspondent R.W. Thompson visited the town soon after, and gives some of his impressions. Top. The wounded have been put up in large buildings such as schools, churches etc., all clearly showing red crosses. Middle. A German prisoner is transporting a wounded comrade in a wheelbarrow, with a Scottish soldier watching. Bottom. German wounded who have been taken prisoner at the Causeway are being treated in the 18th Canadian Field Ambulance Casualty Clearing Post in the village of Nieuwdorp on November 1st.
Page 79. Veere liberated
Veere was for the Germans the last connection over sea with the rest of Holland, and so an important place to hold. The Rheinflottille (Rhine Flotilla) was stationed here; a mood-picture by its CO (Fregattenkapitän Alexander Stein) is given. The air defence of the area was considerably reinforced in the September and October days of 1944. The 7th Battalion The Cameronians got the task to occupy Veere. On the 6th of November the battalion had reached the outskirts of Veere and the Norwegian liaison officer, Lt. T. Wííg, saved the locks for total destruction by quick action (he got an MC for that). A captured German was sent into the garrison with an ultimatum, getting no reply, however. The town was shelled during the night and just before the Cameronians intended to attack next morning (7 Nov.) the Germans surrendered. Some 686 Germans were captured. Jan Verton, a 15-year old local lad, gives his own reminiscences of the liberation. Top. This British aerial photograph of October 1944 shows the inundated area northwest of Veere. In the foreground the town with its harbour. Bottom. In Veere, just like everywhere else in the area, the floods have driven people to higher places. Here a nice picture of two Walcheren women wearing their traditional costumes, continuing their domestic activities in the attic (December 1944).
Top. This panorama gives a clear picture of the dyke gap. Middle. Three Buffaloes of the 79th Armoured Division near the Grote Kerk (Main Church) in Veere (December 1944). Bottom. In the Grote Kerk (Main Church) in Veere cattle that had to flee for the floods are housed. A picture taken in December 1944.
Page 81. Serooskerke liberated
In the morning of 8 November Captain Dan Flunder's "A" Troop of 48 (RM) Commando got the order to take a patrol in Buffaloes to Veere to contact the British troops on the eastern side of the island. Via Oostkapelle the patrol safely reached the village of Serooskerke. Being the first allied troops there, they 'liberated' the place. On leaving Serooskerke again, however, the second Buffalo of the column struck a shell and blew up. 20 men were killed in this tragic incident. The patrol thereupon returned to Domburg. Top. The Serooskerke population have turned out in great numbers to welcome their liberators. One Buffalo is right in front of the photography shop of K.P.A. Broerse. The men wearing armbands are local resistance people belonging to the "Nederlandse Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten (N.B.S.)" (Dutch Forces of the Interior). Middle. The second Buffalo ("Conqueror") runs near the pub "Café Veldzicht" onto a submerged shell. By the force of the explosion the bow, engine and occupants are flung away. Bottom. In Noordweg, partly flooded, the wounded are put in one of the three remaining Buffaloes. Great dismay is prevailing everywhere.
Page 82. The end at Vrouwenpolder
Early on the 8th of November No 4 Commando approached Vrouwenpolder. After putting up some last resistance, the Germans indicated that they wanted to negotiate the surrender. Lt.Col. Dawson and Lt. Wright went to the German regimental HQ at Vrouwenpolder and negotiated the surrender successfully. By 13.00 hrs some 900 Germans were taken prisoner. The main characters of the surrender at the village of Vrouwenpolder. Top. Oberstleutnant (Lt.Col.) Wilhelm E.R.E. Veigele, CO of Grenadier Regiment 1020 (here on a pre-war photograph). Middle. Lieutenant Kenneth G. Wright, Intelligence Officer No 4 Commando. Bottom. Pictures taken in the centre of Vrouwenpolder, where German prisoners are taken away guarded by British soldiers and by the local policeman J.J. Franse.
Top. German prisoners passing the Vrouwenpolder smithy. Arms have already been handed in, personal belongings are taken along. Civilians are staying indoors, in order to avoid possible disturbances with the Germans. Bottom. German prisoners are assembled in the water-collection area near Oranjezon.
Top. Four Dutch commandos in front of the buildings of the water pumping-station at Oranjezon. From left to right: Sgt. W.G. (Wim) van Gelderen, Cpl. J.C. van Woerden, Cpl. L. (Leo) Persoon, S/Lt. C. (Cees) de Ruiter. Middle. A French commando inspecting one of the bunkers on the beach near Vrouwenpolder. Bottom. French commandos of the 1er Bataillon Fusiliers Marins Commandos on their way to North Beveland, late November 1944.
Page 85. Sweeping the Scheldt
Top. After the capture of the last batteries on the southwest coast of Walcheren, the clearing of the approach to Antwerp - the river Scheldt - can begin. British Yard Minesweepers in action here. Bottom. Dutch minesweepers at the Scheldt. Painting by J.M. Wanders, Royal Dutch Navy. The vessels belong to Minesweeping Force A under command of Captain H.G. Hopper, RN. Till 26th November 1944 267 mines are swept and on 28th November the first convoy can sail into Antwerp.
Page 86. Civil Guard Troops/war volunteers
Top. The Flushing Company of the 'Bewakingstroepen' (Civil Guard Troops), originating from the local resistance, on parade in Flushing on 14 February 1945. Photograph taken at Bellamypark. Middle. At Bellamypark the company is officially disbanded that day in the presence of the British commander Major R.E. Carey, RA. Bottom. The Flushing volunteers of (Dutch) 2nd Battalion 14th Infantry Regiment (2-14 R.I.), partly the same men as in the 'Bewakingstroepen', have assembled in Badhuisstraat on 13 March 1945 for departure elsewhere to receive proper training. Later on this 'Bataljon Zeeland' will serve in the Dutch East Indies (till 1948).
Page 87. Red Cross Relief Action
Top and middle. At the beginning of February 1945 the Red Cross are handing out American relief goods to the Walcheren population. At the distribution in the Chr. Kweekschool (Christian Teacher Training College) at the Herengracht (Middelburg), an American officer (Clark Gable-type) is present. The room has been ornamented with a mural decoration saying "America" and the presence of a chap wearing an 'Uncle Sam' hat must enliven the occasion. Especially clothing and (mainly) tins of food are distributed. Bottom. The Red Cross Relief Post at Nieuwendijk, Flushing, where goods (especially food) can be handed in, to be transported to the people that have survived the "hunger winter" in the still occupied parts of the country, as soon as the Germans will have surrendered.
Page 88. Queen Wilhelmina at Walcheren
On 15 and 16 March 1945 Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands visited the island of Walcheren. Top. Domburg, 15th March 1945. The queen has difficulty in finding her way through the throngs of enthusiastic civilians who are trying to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty. At the right in front of the queen burgomaster P.J. Elout. In front of the burgomaster Commander Christiaan W. Slot, Military Commisioner of Zeeland. At the right of the queen (with broad-brimmed hat) the Queen's Commissioner for Zeeland, jhr.mr. Johan W. Quarles van Ufford. Behind him (with flat cap) the queen's adjutant Captain Gerard M. Rutten. To his left (talking to some civilians) jhr.mr. Auguste F.C. de Casembroot, advisor to the "Militair Gezag" (Dutch Civil Affairs). Middle. The queen in Domburg, amidst officers of the Royal Dutch Brigade 'Princess Irene', that formed the greater part of the occupying forces on Walcheren in the period November 1944-April 1945. To the left of the queen Lt.Col. Albert C. de Ruyter van Steveninck, CO of the 'Irene Brigade'. Next to him commissioner Quarles van Ufford. Bottom. Her Majesty visiting the village of Oostkapelle. Next to the queen burgomaster K. Fabius. Behind them a.o. Quarles van Ufford, De Casembroot and Rutten. In front Her Majesty's dog.
Page 89. Liberation festivities in Flushing
Top. On the last day of festivities, 8th May 1945 the Flushing population is still celebrating the liberation of the whole of the Netherlands in a great style. The band "Ons Genoegen" (Our Pleasure) followed by a mass of enthusiastic people is marching along the Boulevard De Ruyter towards Keizersbolwerk (Emperor's Bastion). In the foreground a light anti-aircraft gun of the Royal Artillery. Bottom. At Keizersbolwerk the commanders of the troops that are still present in Flushing (Dutch Navy and British Royal Engineers) receive a replica of the Flushing colours from burgomaster C.A. van Woelderen, as a token of gratitude towards the liberators of the town.
Page 90. Princess Juliana at Walcheren
Top. 15th May 1945. Princess Juliana on her way to Westkapelle. Her Royal Highness has boarded a Dukw in Middelburg to cross flooded Walcheren in order to reach the terribly stricken village of Westkapelle on the western coast of the island, to present the local children with toys. Middle. Westkapelle. The princess busy handing out toys to local children. She insisted on handing a toy to each child personally. On the remark that this could take quite some time, she answered, "Then we'll stay a bit longer!" Bottom. H.R.H. is leaving and saying goodbye to the cheering population. Behind the princess is the Queen's Commissioner, jhr.mr. J.W. Quarles van Ufford, and his wife. On the far right is Major jhr.mr. A.F.C. de
Page 91. Piper parade
Top. The band of 52nd Lowland Division, consisting of 150 pipers and drums, in action on the Market square in Middelburg. Pipers were also present during the fighting in November 1944. Middle and bottom. The Scottish band parading in Flushing, Paul Krugerstraat, 11 August 1945.
Page 92. Dyke gaps closed
In order to get the flooded island dry again the 'Dienst Droogmaking Walcheren (DDW)' (Walcheren Reclamation Service) was founded. With the help of the Allies the dyke gaps were finally closed: Nolle gap 2 Oct. 1945, Westkapelle gap 12 Oct. 1945, Veere gap 23 Oct. 1945 and Rammekens gap 22 Febr. 1946. Top. 'Phoenix' caissons before the Westkapelle dyke gap. Middle. Through big pipelines sand is pumped into the island near Rammekens, which will be used to form the new dyke. Bottom left. The Nolle gap in Flushing. The town is in the background. Bottom right. On and around a caisson which has been sunk at Westkapelle thousands of sandbags are placed.
Page 93. Walcheren Day, 1 November 1945
On the 1st of November a large-scale commemoration ceremony was held in the German town of Erchenswick, at which (representatives) of the units involved in the Walcheren operations were present. Here the leaflet printed for that day.
Page 94. Walcheren Day, 1 November 1945
Top. Admiral Sir Harold M. Burrough, Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief Expeditionary Force (and successor of the untimely killed Admiral Bertram H. Ramsay, who was so closely involved in the Walcheren operations) is handing out replicas of the Flushing town colours to officers representing the units that took part in the battle for Walcheren. On the right James L. "Jim" Moulton, by now a Brigadier, commanding 4th Commando Brigade. At Walcheren he commanded 48 RM Commando. The name of the 4th Special Service Brigade was changed early December 1944 into 4th Commando Brigade, possible because the abbreviation 'SS Bde' evoked unpleasant associations. Middle. Admiral Burrough inspecting men of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. The 4th/5th Battalion The Royal Scots Fusiliers was employed at South Beveland and in the eastern part of Walcheren. On the left Brigadier Moulton. Bottom. In the November days of 1945 more ceremonies are held, such as a commemoration service at St. Andrews Church in Detmold, Germany.