Holland, end of March, beginning April,1945. On 28th March the regimental advance party preceeded the guns to positions on the island which was situated between Nijmegen and Arnhem.
On arriving in this position we were pleased that there was plenty of houses around for shelter and command post set-ups. There was running water and electricity and we were told that the power generating plant was in Arnhem and under German control.
Never in our time in Italy had we experienced such a luxury. The guns moved in and a good deal of firing took place as our observation officers had a lot of targets on the Island and across the river to Arnhem. Ammunition seemed plentiful.
At the beginning of April our brigade was given the task of completing the clearing of the Island. This was called Quick Anger, and was carried out by the 11th Brigade in good style.
There was a lot of exploring and checking out houses. Some had a good supply of canned fruit in sealers, cherries, and berries that the Dutch folk had left in their haste. In one pig pen our fellows found a boar pig which immediately charged to get at our chaps. In the pen was the skeletal remains of a German soldier that the old pig had ate and likely did not have anything else for who knows how long. This pig was in much a poor state that our chaps shot him. No we did not eat him. Bill Copithorn carved up an ornate leather chair into revolver holsters and I was the recipient of one of these holsters and had in my possession until a couple of years ago. I sold my German revolvers then and the holster went with the Luger.
After the Island was cleared of German troops a smoke screen was laid down along the river. Not only did the screen block the view from the other side but it blocked our observation officers view of the far bank too.
We did not experience any shell fire in this area but did see a Canadian rocket battery fire their rockets into the area around Arnhem.This was quite a sight to see the mass of rockets leave their smoky trails as they arched toward the enemy. This was our first look at this type of artillery other than the German type called Nebelwefer.