For the purpose of this souvenir issue of
the "Glen" let us first turn the calendar back to the first days of July, 1944,
when "C" Company as a part of the Calgary Highlanders first came to grips with
the "Hun" in World War II. A large size book could be written on the
exploits of "C" Company, and individuals who have helped to make this company
second to none on the field of battle. However, here space does not permit this,
therefore in mentioning some names and places we hope to stir up memories for many an
"old" soldier of "C" Company.
Normandy - what hundred memories that
name stirs up! Remember the crowded busy beaches; the rolling grain fields that
reminded you of the farm back home; every orchard and field crammed with supplies and
equipment; and the DUST. Remember the narrow cobblestone streets and high stone
walls of what was left of the towns of Var-sur-Mer, Coursuelles, Cussy, and St. Germaine.
Then of course there were the "Mademoiselles", the wine cellars, the
Calvados, and the kids asking you for a "cigarette pour papa" and
"chocolate pour mamma."
Perhaps the fiercest battle that old men
of "C" Company will remember when Normandy is mentioned is that of "Hill
67" when "C" Company battered their way up those barren slopes to the
summit under withering enemy fire. The company had its first heavy casualties in
From Hill 67 "C" Company pushed
on to battle the Hun at such places as St. Andre sur Orne, St. Martin de Fontenay and
Tilly la Campagne. Back those days too "Jerry" was making use of what
remained of his Luftwaffe, and the Normandy skies at night reminded one of the 24th of May
fireworks celebration back home.
Clair Tizon, St. Germaine la Campagne,
Totes and Orbec are a few more names of places where "C" Company came to grips
with the Hun, and sent him reeling back.
At Dieppe the men of "C"
Company brushed off the dust of battle and polished up for what was to be their first
victory parade. They accepted the cheers and gratitude of a liberated people with
humble pride, and moved on to new battles and victories. At Loon Plage the company
got mixed up with Jerry's 20mm shells and "Balls of Fire" in a heavy battle.
The months September and October of 1944
found "C" Company crossing canals and charging dykes across flat, flooded
country under some of the worst fighting conditions of the whole European campaign.
Such names as the Albert Canal, Turnhout Canal, St. Leonards, Hoogerheide, Ossendrecht and
the Schelde Estuary will ever remain etched in the minds of all men who took part in these
battles. In Hoogerheide and on Beveland we first met the Dutch people and at once
became their friends. Men from Canada began actually to see for themselves, what
they had only read about in books - wooden shoes, windmills, and dykes.
After a well-earned rest which was spent
at Lierre getting more acquainted with our Belgian friends, the unit moved on up to
Nijmegen where the men of "C" Company spent the winter in dugouts in the Malden
and Groesbeek areas. The order of the day at this time was patrols and more patrols,
and long hours of cold, shivering guard duty, when many a fellow dreamed longingly of
home-warm firesides and soft clean beds. Remember that Christmas dinner in the
Then came the famous 8th of February that
heralded the beginning of the last lap of the long journey. At Wyler, "C"
Company fought its first battle on German soil. The Hochwald forest will ever be
remembered as one of our bloodiest battles in the war.
Across the Rhine and up into Northern
Holland swept the victorious Canadian Army. After a scuffle with the Hun at a place
called Groningen the unit pushed on into Northern Germany and arrived at the German town
of Oldenburg, where on May 5th the "Cease Fire" order was given.
This was what all fighting men from
Normandy on had dreamed of and hoped for - it was over - all the dirt, the sweat, the
blood and the hell of ten long terrible months had ended. But our job was not over;
the unit was called to perform occupational duty in Germany, and were stationed at the
town of Varel. During the time of occupation "C" Company lived up to the
high standard it had earned as a fighting Company, in its occupational role. The men
maintained the strict non-fraternization order, despite the pretty little German
The War in Europe is over but there are
still the Japs to finish up. In this regard "C" Company is proud of the
fact that a large number (33) of the volunteers from the unit are "C" Company
men. To these men we all wish "Bon Voyage" and "the very best of
We are sorry to lose Lieutenant
Rosentrater who informs us he is the last officer to finish up with Fighting Charlie.
He came to the company at the Hochwald, and did a fine job in the last round
"C" Company has also held its
own with the best in the field of honours and awards. Those who have won honour for
gallantry in battle and have served with "C" Company are:
Major Alex Keller, Military Cross,
Captain "Bill" Lyster, Mentioned in Despatches
Lieutenant Vernon Kilpatrick, Mentioned in Despatches
Company Sergeant Major "Swede" Larson, Military Cross
Acting Company Sergeant Major Michael Melnychanko, Military Medal
Sergeant Roland William Williams, Military Medal
Sergeant "Ken" Crockett, Distinguished Conduct Medal
Private Raymond Austin, Military Medal
Private N. Brudy, Commander in Chief's Certificate
Corporal Ferdinand Kublick, Mentioned in Despatches
It has been impossible to name all the
"Johnny Canucks" who added to the fine battle record of "Charlie"
Company, however, two men who have been members of "C" Company from away back
should be mentioned, namely Private Bob Kelly and Private Charlie Potvin. Their job,
perhaps one of the most thankless in the army, carries no parades, medals or awards.
Through thick and thin they kept the men of "C" Company fed, and that in
itself is no easy task. We take our hats off to the cooks.
Most of all, we, the living, honour those
of our comrades who fell in battle, for theirs, after all, was the greatest price paid; to
them we owe the greatest debt. Our deepest sympathy goes to their loved ones back in
Canada. When we are anxious about getting back home and are worried about points,
and getting fed-up, etc., give a thought to those thousands of our "White Cross
Comrades" who will never go back.
Under the fine leadership of men like
Major Baker, Major McQueen, Major Heyland, Major Campbell, Captain Lyster, Captain
Kerfoot, Captain Powell, and all the platoon commanders, and company CSMs Roberts, Eden,
Larson, Morris, and Melnychanko, we the present men of "C" Company, speaking on
behalf of all the men who have fought with the company, can say, with heads high, in the
years to come, "We have fought a good fight and are proud that we once belonged to
"C" Company, of the Calgary Highlanders."