Hertogenbosch Holland, March 1945. This was our first glimpse of Holland and we found this area not nearly as prosperous as Wervik in Belgium. The flat landscape was broken with the spires of church steeples. Very large grand churches that seemed to spell wealth but it was not evident in the surrounding populace, as the people seemed poor and their houses were nothing compared to the Belgium homes.
I found out that First CDN Army HQ was located at Grave, a town not too distant so I decided, along with Orme Payne, to look up my brother George who was stationed at Grave. George was captain with the chemical warfare branch off HQ, mainly flame warfare.
Orme and I, and Steve Gaylie our driver, drove up to Grave one evening only to find out George was out so we left a note saying where we were stationed and left. On the winding dark road back Steve appeared to fall asleep and, either Orme or I or both woke him up. This awakening caused him to lose control of the jeep so within a few seconds we experienced a wild ride of over steering and near disaster. Jeeps were notorious for rolling over and killing the occupants but Steve regained control much to our relief. I do not remember if Orme drove the rest of the way back or not. Steve survived the war, married a Scotch girl, and spent the rest of their days in Vancouver where Steve became a millionaire. Steve has passed away. I only saw him once after the war at a reunion in 1977. RIP jeep driver, may you still be building high rises.
George, along with his crew, a staff sergeant, and a wo2, arrived to visit Orme and I and Johnny Wiebe a day or so after we tried to locate him. George and I were very glad to see each other. We had not been together since 1941 and I had never seen him as an officer. George was to give us good advice, saying the houses in Holland were not the stout shell resistant buildings like we had in Italy. The houses here are two ply brick and small arms fire would go in and out the other side while a mortar would knock a wall down on you.
We knew that it would not be too long before we were back in action. Yes we did get some new equipment and also word came down from Army Head Quarters that all ranks were to be properly dressed at all times . In other words we were supposedly the new boys on the block. But I assure you we felt that the rest were the new boys and when we got into action our artillery and infantry would be as good or better than any one.