Just a word to remind the battalion that “B” Company is doing the same mad things as peace-time soldiers, as we did when we were “the cream of Canada’s fighting army.” We’ve had a lot of worries, a lot of sorrow, a lot of fun and lots of M&V1 in the past year, and needless to say, we are quite happy to be preparing for our trip home. We have been rather lucky as a Company in action, always having a swell gang of lads who were always ready to go anywhere, whether it be into a scrap or into town to buy cognac from the black market.
As is customary in the army, our biggest beef all the way from Canada to Varel, Germany, has been the food, especially that “Haricot Oxtail Stew” as served by our good old cook. Joe Felcel sure could boil those cans! Seriously though, our cooks have done a darn good job all the way through, in fact we have been ably supported by F-1 Echelon at all times. Guys like Kirkwood, Vert, Phelps, Wookey, Burrows, and Garrick have been slinging some pretty fair hash for some time – granted, they do slip once in a while. Then of course, our “Boots” have kept us walking on fairly good leather. Then there are our drivers; quite a few of them have returned home, among them, Ron Eyre – we still wonder what happens to Ron’s legs when rum or cognac is available. A well-run Company, like Baker Company, must always have a well-run office, run by a very capable clerk, which we have always had.
Now for the platoons – 10 – 11 – 12 – all we can say to the boys of the platoons is this: you have all done a grand job and we wish you all the success in the world, back home.
The platoons were always ably led in action by such men as CSM Baker, Sergeant Sterling, Clark, Coe, Hately, Hopkins, Deans, Morris, Jones, Wheeler and many others, and to top this list we could add hundreds of Corporals who carried us through to the top. What about Privates, you say? Well, you lads know yourselves that you did all the work, all the beefing and all the fighting, so what more can we say?
Some things to remember about “B” Company:
A raiding party in Malden which acquired many chickens – lovely chickens – nobody ever did pin that on us but now we admit it.
A fishing party in Ten Platoon in Malden – “Oh boy! ’36’ Grenades2 are the best to go fishing with.”
The shooting up of a Regiment de Maisonneuve patrol by Ten Platoon in December 1944.
The ball-game 12 Platoon had at Christmas time in the front lines.
The patrol by a certain platoon which ended up in a Belgian pub.
The two Jerries who did not get shot by a certain officer and Corporal in spite of their efforts and not to mention the proximity of the Jerries. Some marksmen! Maybe this is the same officer who tried in vain to shoot a Jerry who merely looked with a mixture of contempt and pity at his vain attempt to fire the gun, calmly walked right by him and surrendered to a man in the rear!
We could go on for some time with all kinds of stories but if we did that you lads would have nothing to tell your families when you get back home.
One other thing we must record for posterity is the day we made the Jerry officer dig that hole in Varel.
Having just come back from a bath parade, with clean clothes on it is fun to remember those twenty-eight days in the Reichwald, when you were ladylike if you had less than four days beard and looked any other color but black.
We may not have won the VC but we sure tried hard.
1. M&V = “Meat and Vegetable” – a component of the standard “Compo Ration” that Canadian soldiers were issued in the field. Consisting of canned food, veterans do not recall M&V very fondly, insisting that the cans held little in the way of edible samples of either meat or vegetables.
2. Also known inaccurately as the “Mills Bomb”, the Number 36 Grenade was the standard issue grenade during the Second World War.