Otterloo Holland the night of 16th 17th April 1945. I stated in my last writing that this was just beginning to be a long very violent night. Here in the cramped command post Don Bulloch and I had five or six prisoners who on seeing our shoulder patches were excited and started talking to us in Italian and saying they had just came from Italy. We denied that we were in Italy but our sun tanned faces gave that lie away. In the next few minutes one of Sgt Humbles crew came in with another prisoner.
The prisoners we had were overjoyed to see this chap who was a German corporal. This corporal said he could talk French so I said I could parle petit peu. Now here is where I thought I could get some assistance from this corporal in talking to his fellows attacking us into surrendering. I had this short corporal by grasping the back of his collar and taking him out the door and around into the other room of the house where a few of our fellows were. Just as we entered this room a German ran by and sprayed a magazine of small arms fire through the wall and some coming through the window. At that moment my mind went blank to anything in French. I was lying on the floor holding the corporal down and the thought was get out of this room and get him back into the room with Don Bulloch who I had left with the rest of the prisoners. Back with Don one of the prisoners wanted to relieve himself and either Don or I said go ahead but we were not going out with him. With a rumble of bowels the poor chap crapped himself. It seemed in an instant another splatter of small arms crashed over our heads and into the other room.I reached for the wires and shut off our battery operated light. Don and I had the prisoners lying on the floor with us on top of them. I remember shaking my revolver at them and saying lie still you son of B's. Some where in this shooting Tom Coll and Ken Nicolson were both hit. Tom Coll in the buttocks and Ken Nicolson in the abdomen. Vic Bennet a signaler and a very cool competent chap immediately took charge of seeing to the dressing of Tom and Ken's wounds.
I leave this for a moment to relate that a year to the day after this Vic Bennet and I were at Tom Coll's wedding in Vancouver. After the service at the reception which looked to be a dry affair, Mrs Bennet pulled a bottle of rye from her purse. We cornered Tom Coll and after a few belts we all started relating the Otterloo battle. Tom's version was one statement on his being wounded and that " I was standing in the shit house and got shot in the ass".
Now back to the events of the night, Lt Ross had returned without any help at this time and had us move the prisoners from the house outside to a where my slit trench was. Lt Ross had Sgt Humble and another chap guard them. Lt Ross told Don Bulloch and I to gather up any codes from the command post which Don did. Lt Ross then went back into the village to demand some help in the way of at least a tank. Don Bulloch joined the other fellows in the house so I remained outside watching for anyone approaching. While outside the house Ken Nicolson called out to me Sgt Major can you get me out to an aid post. My reply was hold on Ken, Lt Ross should be back with help soon and we will get you out.
Time seemed to stand still with the battery command post going up in flames, small arm fire pretty well around to our right front and some to our rear. I spoke to I think Fred Lockhart in the room with the others and asked how Ken Nicolson was. His answer was Ken is dead.
Fred Lockhart came out of the house to join me guarding that side of the house.
We were crouched at the open door of the vacated command post room listening and watching when we heard the crunch of footsteps coming along side the house. We both whispered Tedeski to each other and out of the darkness came this German soldier. Fred and I leaped up and I shoved my revolver and Fred his rifle to his body the German said, Nix shuuten nix pistola camardie or kamerad and the words Canadesi. I went through this prisoner's pockets while Fred watched him. All I found was some revolver ammunition which I threw to the ground and said Nix pistola?? We took this chap to join the others guarded by Sgt Humble. Soon it seemed Lt Ross arrived with some tank troopers from GGHG"s who took our prisoners away back into Otterloo.