After Otterloo, we continued our advance towards the Ijsslemeer and either bypassing or going through towns on our way. Barneveld was one of the towns but we did not get in on any of the liberation celebrations as we were on the move.
Memory does not bring up any firing positions as the retreating Germans were trying to keep ahead of our armour. We did spend a night at Ermelo and had our guns set up in fields nearby.
After the posting of machine gun posts and being sure we had our rifles and other small arms handy, those not on duty went to bed. Shortly after getting our heads down a few volleys of machine gun fire broke the night air. Everyone started to get ready to have another Otterloo but it was a pocket of German troops that had stumbled on us in the darkness and were only too glad to keep running toward western Holland.
I was in a small shed with two other chaps, one being E troop Sgt major Paul Shkwarek, and I do not remember who the other fellow was. This is the way we had laid down to sleep. Paul and the other chap with their heads toward the door. I had my fart sack between them and my feet towards the door. Shortly after the machine gun fire, we were awakened with footsteps coming toward our small shed.
Paul said Gordie you are closest to the door [I have never figured that one out] so you take the person or persons coming across the gravel yard. I could in the darkness tell by the footsteps and visualize the hand reaching to open the door. The hand went on the door knob and I in one motion was sticking my revolver into the stomach of a very frightened Dutch farm worker as the door opened. I did not fire and saw that he was a mentally handicapped person who saw us go into the shed before dark. Probably he was frightened from the machine gun fire and knew we were there. I guess I had hollered at him and a Dutch farmer came and took the young man away.
The rest of the night went well, and the news that our forward troops had entered Harderwijk was related to us. This was our divisions point to stop and consolidate as the area east of us was not cleared but would be soon. On the 21st April we moved to Leeuwarden in a holding role along the coast . This area was called Freisland .