“D” Company – Sketch History and List of Battle Commanders
“D” Company, sometimes referred to phonetically as “Don” Company, or in the last years of the war by the new phonetic “Dog” Company, was organized as a standard rifle company.
The following two articles are taken from the July 1945 issue of the regimental newsletter “The Glen”. Some historians may be inclined to dismiss these “souvenir” articles as a simple form of high school yearbook for soldiers, and therefore unsuitable for reproducing on a website. The webmaster feels it is fitting that the officers and men who comprised these companies in action should have their voice preserved in this manner – and that while some hyperbole should be taken with a grain of salt, the significance of certain events are revealed in no uncertain terms as the important and noteworthy events they were to these men. Each company had its own character, generated by the personalities of the men on its rolls.
In fairness to the original authors of these pieces, they were probably requested by the highest level to put together some words regarding their companies for this souvenir edition. Fighting men – especially those who have seen 11 months of continuous operational service – are not necessarily the best ones to expect literary genius from. In traditional yearbook style, some of what is written below may indeed include in-jokes or other observations indecipherable to the modern reader. But for what they are worth, below are reprinted the articles, in the words of those who were there, with slight editing of abbreviations.
Dog Company in Review by Major G.V. Stott
“France at Last” the reward of four years of hard training and preparation. The wishes of “D” Company men had been fulfilled as they landed near Corseulles on a hot and dusty day 6 July 1944. It is impossible to explain the train of thoughts which the minds of men will adopt when going into battle. While in action there is always the natural desire to live, but in “D” Company there was also the hope of every man to do well for himself and the Company.
The 18th of July 1944 started “D” Company off on its long and magnificent record. We can’t forget Hill 67, nor the bitter resistance the German SS troops offered in order that they might contain our troops in the Caen bridgehead.
These initial battles were followed by months of tough, and miserable encounters with the Bosche, from the Caen bridgehead, through the Falaise Gap to partake in the race across Northern France.
At this point it appeared as though all stiff opposition had ceased, but north of Antwerp and in the area of the Albert Canal, St. Leonard and Hoogerheide, once again “D” Company proved itself to be a compact hard hitting unit. It is stated that this phase of fighting was as tough as any experienced in the European War.
Then came the “dyke” warfare and “D” Company again distinguished themselves, never once permitting the enemy to gain any ground.
The long and miserable winter months consisted of a holding role in the area of Nijmegen.
On 8 February 1945 the Canadian Army once again took the offensive; “D” Company was outstanding in all it’s moves and battles for the Rhine, which ultimately ended in VE Day in Oldenburg, Germany.
Many hundreds of men have fought with “D” Company and have shared that strong espirit de corps and friendship which prevails in the Company. Many men have paid the supreme sacrifice and to them it is said; “We will never forget you, nor your sacrifice for a better world.”
In spite of the ever changing personnel, the company spirit never did change and for this reason, it is the best Company in the Battalion and even in the Canadian Army.
-Major G.V. Stott
Combat Commanders – “D” Company
|Captain Del Harrison||6 Jul 1944||Column 3 Value||Column 4 Value|
|No Image||Captain C.A. Wilkes||Column 2 Value||8 Aug 1944||Wounded|
|Major Del Harrison||Column 2 Value||Column 3 Value||Column 4 Value|
|Major Bruce Mackenziee||Column 2 Value||9 Oct 1944||Wounded|
|No Image||Captain R.O. Porter||Oct 1944||Column 3 Value||Column 4 Value|
|Captain H.J. “Sandy” Pearson||mid Oct 44||Column 3 Value||Column 4 Value|
|No Image||Major Alex Keller||Feb 1945||Column 3 Value||Promoted Major Feb 45?|
|Major George V. Stott||Feb 1945||Column 3 Value||Column 4 Value|
|Captain Mark Tennant||mid Mar 1945||Column 3 Value||Column 4 Value|
|Major George V. Stott||Mar 1945||Column 3 Value||VE Day|
Sixteen Platoon, better known as the “Fighting Cowboys”, earned this coveted title by the utmost exertion of each man in the platoon. From the day the Calgarys landed on Normandy beaches, through many vicissitudes of fortune they carried the torch to Victory. “In fact we’re given to understand they won the war single handed.”
Space will permit us to recount only a few of our activities in action. Most of us still remember the time we were held up in Doetinchem on Easter Sunday and Monday. We came out with only 16 men left in the platoon – but victorious. Or the time when 16 Platoon had the sole honor of plowing through six canals between Hoogkerk and Groningen mopping up the enemy in our advance. It was there that Number Three section lay on the bank for two solid hours freezing to death. Finally, when the most patient of us gave out and began to voice his righteous indignation too loudly, Mr. Swick upbraided us for being uncivilized. Were we? Number Two Section under the able leadership of Corporal Jake Malkinson went through thick and thin capturing mortar kids, paymasters with thousands of guilders, burghers etc. as if there were nothing to it. As for Number One Section, Scotchman says it’s the fightingest section in the platoon. Need more be said about it?
Now that it’s all over we’re anxious to return to civvy street but the experience we have gained will never be forgotten. In later days when we pass the torch to younger men, we’ll have more time to meet old comrades and reminisce over a glass of beer. The oft-repeated phrase then will be “Remember when…”
Remember when we were pinned down to the ground in Hochwald forest, or when our own twenty-five pounders gave us a terrific lacing. Each individual too, will be remembered by some trait of character, by his attributes or foibles. Three of our oldest men in the platoon, Weaver, Frederick and Ray are still going strong. Weaver being the boldest – he’s getting married. Taylor, our genuine western Cowboy will be remembered by his unlimited capacity for beer, gin, or what have you. Lance Corporal Green by his oft-demonstrated debating ability. Scotchman is our talented artist, poet and violinist. Spilak who first makes sure that the verges are clear before exploring any anatomy. Ranostay who is always running down NCO’s regardless of rank, color or creed. Lance Corporal Lonsdale who can teach you a few things about contour lines (strictly map reading). Shier, whose theme song is “Drinking Beer in a Cabaret.” Yes, every man will be remembered in some way.
In conclusion permit us to remind you to keep up the fighting spirit because when we enter civvy life, we’ll have a hard fight re-adjusting ourselves. However, with faith, determination and perseverance we’ll carry on the torch in days of peace as we did in days of war
Seventeen Platoon knew on the 6th of July 1944 that they would soon battle the enemy whom they had trained to fight for so long.
On July 18 they witnessed their baptism of fire. On July 19 they made their attack on Hill 67. May-sur-Orne was a tough go coming out with eight men, knowing it to be worse as they went on through Tilly, Bretteville, Orbec and St. Germaine where enemy vehicles were destroyed by the score.
From here advancing easily to Orbec and St. Germaine where they were bombed. Next main battle was the Seine River. Crossing it, on to Dieppe, remembering the battle of 1942. Moving on to Bourbourgville and Loon Plage for still another battle. Into Belgium, to Antwerp, the Leopold and Albert Canal and numerous other battles.
The first attack on Dutch soil – Hoogerheide, remembered by all, The Dykes, the bloody Causeway on Hallowe’en night.
A new type of warfare for the next three months at Nijmegen, Groesbeek, Reichswald Forest and Berg en Dal which was a defensive role. Twenty-eight days including Christmas and New Year’s without a breather was no winter holiday.
February 8, the spring offensive on the left flank of the Siegfried Line where the Master Race discovered that with months of preparing, laying mines, tank ditches, mud and weather in their favour, we were superior to him, through the Hochwald Forest, Xanten and up to the Rhine.
After crossing, it was a different type of warfare. Advancing in vehicles after the retreating enemy to Doetinchem, Hengelo, Rijssen and Nijverdal, meeting slight resistance. Next clearing Groningen to have a few glorious days there.
Frome here on, it was a game of chasing the enemy until May 5. While waiting to move on from Oldenburg, the Regiment received word that their next move would be to act as occupational troops.
What a change to drive through hundreds of enemy troops, eagle eyes watching for a false move.
On arriving in France on the 6th of July 1944, 18 Platoon of “D” Company has held high her small but important part of the big job that the Calgary Highlanders set out to do. From Hill 67, the first battle with the enemy til the Cease Fire order on May 8th 1945, 18 Platoon has been right in there pitching. Up to the Causeway in Holland, one of the many battles which the platoon distinguished itself. Against heavy opposition the platoon completed its task and held its position until further orders were received. Sergeant “Blackie” LaLoge for his outstanding leadership and daring feats was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
After a somewhat miserable winter spent in holding positions, and rest periods the platoon was ready and raring to go when the new offensive opened on February 8, 1945.
The town of Wyler in Germany was the battalion’s first objective. Under a first class artillery barrage 18 Platoon fought along with the other platoons to carry out “D” Company’s job which they did 100% In this battle Sergeant “Blackie” LaLoge, 18 Platoon Commander (webmaster’s note: Sergeant Emil Laloge, DCM, MM, is seen in the photo at right), again distinguished himself with his outstanding bravery and was awarded the Military Medal. Without the teamwork and co-operation of each and every man in the platoon our job would have never been completed in the manner it was.
During our rest period in Berg-en-Dal, Holland, our Platoon Sergeant was sent to Canada. The responsibility of the platoon was then put in the capable hands of tall, dark, and gruesome, easy going Sergeant Ferguson, who is still with us, along with a few other old timers.
Leading the platoon into Doetinchem on Easter Sunday, Big Ferg set a great example to his men and led them to gain their objective, without a casualty, against snipers and mortar fire.
Now that the fighting is over there are not many old timers left, but our thoughts go out to our fighting comrades and their loved ones who paid the supreme sacrifice in this war.