Otterloo Holland, 17th Apri,l 1945. THE RUM.
I must say Orme and I were very glad that we had survived last night's attack. His invitation to share a drink of SRD known to all as issue rum was taken up right now. Where did you get this great gallon of rum? was my query. Orme replied as the battle was getting pretty hot and the command house on fire they were ordered to retreat to E troop gun position. Just before Orme left the position he thought of the gallon of rum in that truck, so dashed out, rescued the rum and hurriedly buried it in a slit trench. He knew we would be back and someone would need a good belt of rum. Just as Orme buried the rum, out of the darkness came some Germans. He said he fired half a magazine from a sten gun and retreated to E troop.
Arriving at E troop he gave the correct password but Sgt Peter Powless kept shoving a rifle in his face until Orme said he lost patience and said get that damn rifle out of my face or you will wear it. So Peter cooled down and Orme joined him at his position. You will note that I have jumped from meeting Orme and the rum to some of the happenings the night before. But that is the way I explain things.
After having a few belts of the rum I went back to Fox troop where we gathered up all the German weapons and kit lying about and buried them in a slit trench at Pop Barkwell's gun. I had mentioned the Germans towing the Maxim machine gun. They had towed within five or six feet of Barkwell's gun all loaded with a belt of ammunition, but they were so close and Barkwell's crew such good shots they were unable to use it. Into the slit trench it went and was buried with the rest. I wonder if the Dutch farmer dug up this arsenal in later years.
Sgt Spencer's gun was toast so he and some of his crew limbered up and went to the light aid detachment and from there would be directed where to get another gun and limber. Other happenings during the battle was a British medium battery trying to lower their elevation low enough to give us some help inadvertently knocked the steeple off the church. I was there in 1984 and the steeple was replaced but you could see where the repair was made. Stories coming out of this night still arise from fellows that were there but you had not spoken too.
Sgt Eddy Knight of 60th Battery was awarded the DCM for his effort this night. A very large German came upon Eddy and his crew and this big man singled Eddy out and tried to kill him. But Eddy, a stocky ex coalminer, proceeded to attempt to strangle this big chap. The fight raged all around the gun position until Gunner Jim Cathcart placed his rifle under Eddies arm and shot the German.