George then said it looks like it should be clear sailing for you. Just then we had fire orders come in from the flying observation officer calling for fire on a given coordinate. George said looks like you will be busy and left saying he had to fly to a flame warfare lecture in London that night. Bombadier Andrews from E troop and Gnr Don Bulloch from F troop were the chaps manning the artillery boards and plotting the air officers target. Bdr Bob Andrews said we cannot fire on that target as that is where our advance party gave as their destination. I then did not give any orders to the guns as Bob Andrew would be correct backed by Don Bulloch. We had stalled a moment or so and reported to the air observer that should be our advance party in that area. We were ordered to cancel the target.
Very shortly we had orders to cease firing and limber up as we were to move up. Soon Sgt Major Shkwarek came back and Fox troop followed Easy troop up the road to the Village of Otterloo. Here I was met on the side of the road by Lt Alex Ross who pointed out the field where he had positioned the flags for each gun site.
I then directed Sgt Darcy Spencer to the far site. Sgt Roy Johnson next and then Sgt Pop Barkwell, followed by the last gun in and that was Sgt Nels Humble.
Lt Ross said that orders had come from the battery command post not to dig gun pits. Guns were unlimbered and positioned and placed on line by Lt Ross. While he was doing this I took all our gun tractors and extra vehicles back to an area along side the Otterloo cemetery.This particular gun position was in a way sort of front to back as normally our troop command post would be in the rear of the guns. But this was the only house on the position and it was within a few yards of a small wooded area to our front. Hind sight it was not an ideal spot but at the time with the reports we had coming in it looked like it should be a quiet evening. Our Battery Headquarters was out in front of E troop gun position and in front of our guns to our right flank and across the road.
Again hindsight is always great but the selection of the battery command post was a very poor choice as the day and evening would prove but no use pointing fingersas that is what happened and whether Lt Jim Stone or Battery Capt Les Hand picked the spot who cares? Both are long gone and it would settle nothing if we knew. As we were getting settled into the position and by this time likely had a meal or maybe we had just hard rations for the evening meal. Along came a couple of Dutch civilians who told us there was a couple of hundred Germans in a village not far away and they informed us all they had was revolvers.
That seemed strange and as far as we knew our tanks were miles up the road. This group must have been bypassed. I thought I would take a ride up the road toward Hoenderloo on my motor bike. As I turned onto the road a sentry from the Irish Regiment attempted to flag me down. I ignored him and sped up the road probably a couple of miles. I came to a cross road and thought I would stop and see if I could hear or see anything. Here is where I had that real scary chilly feeling that I was being watched. My hair went right up and a chill swept over me. I kicked the bike starter bringing the motor on with a roar and in my excitement and hurry to turn around and get out of there I STALLED the motor. Now in a near panic I had to restart the motor which seemed to take more than the normal kicks on the starter. Eventually it started so I turned around and hunched over the handle bars I roared back down the road coming to where the Irish sentry had tried to stop me on my way up the road. This time he stopped me with his rifle pointing at me asking why in Hell and who did I think I was to go up that road when he had been told not to let anyone go up past his post. I lied and said I did not hear him the first time. Well Sergeant major next time stop!!