Lieutenant Colonel William Dalton “Dalt” Heyland, DSO

William Dalton Heyland was born on 31 October 1906 in Claresholm, Alberta. He joined the 2nd Alberta Mounted Rifles in May 1930 and was promoted to Captain in 1935. In 1936, the name of the regiment was changed to the 15th Alberta Light Horse. During this time “Dalt” attended training at Sarcee Camp in Calgary every summer. On 24 May 1940, he joined the Calgary Highlanders and reverted to the rank of lieutenant. He attended Infantry School for six months at Currie Barracks in Calgary before joining the Highlanders stationed at Aldershot, England in November. Upon Dalt’s arrival, he was posted to “D” Company as Platoon Commander of 16 Platoon and he was soon promoted to Captain in charge of all unit transport. After about one year in charge of transport, Heyland attended Battle Drill Training and Senior Officer’s Battle School. While in England, he married Margaret Anne. He then proceeded to France where he took control of “C” Company with the rank of Major. On 15 December 1944, Heyland was promoted to Second in Command of the regiment when Major Bruce McKenzie left for an indefinite posting at the divisional NCO school. Shortly after crossing the Rhine River, the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ross Laird Ellis, fell ill and was taken to hospital. Heyland was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and commanded the Highlanders for the remainder of the war and the battalion’s return to Calgary in November 1945. Heyland was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), the 1939-45 Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defense of England Medal, the Voluntary Medal, the Victory Medal and the Efficiency Decoration (ED). He received his discharge from the army on 10 January 1946 and went into business with Ross Ellis, forming Ellis-Heyland Motors in High River. From 1958 until 1970, Heyland was the appointed Magistrate for High River and District and spent six years as a Justice of the Peace and then another six years as Chairman of the Development Appeal Board for High River.

The citation for his DSO reads as follows:

HEYLAND, William Dalton, Major – Distinguished Service Order – Infantry – awarded as per Canada Gazette dated 10 November 1945 and CARO/6193 dated 12 November 1945.

Major Heyland joined the Calgary Highlanders in Normandy early in August 1944 as second-in-command of a rifle company, soon being given command of the company which he led with distinction through France, Belgium and into Holland. On many occasions the success of the battalion was due to the skilful handling of Major Heyland’s company. Although wounded on one occasion he refused to be evacuated and carried on after attention by the unit Medical Officer. Major Heyland was appointed second-in-command of the battalion at the beginning of December 1944 and continued in that appointment until early in April 1945. Responsible for the administration of his battalion, this officer worked tirelessly, determined that there should be no need unfilled, whether for supplies, recreation or such comforts as conditions would permit. The high standard of morale and discipline and the excellent unit spirit which exists within the Calgary Highlanders is in no small degree directly due to his sound administration. Major Heyland was detailed to command the battalion on 2 April 1945 during the absence of the Commanding Officer through illness, and served in that capacity until the cessation of hostilities in western Europe. His outstanding leadership and sound tactics were reflected in the continued successes of his battalion in battle. Major Heyland by his devotion to duty, vigorous enthusiasm and fearless bearing has earned for himself the admiration and respect of his entire unit and by his efforts has contributed very materially to the efficiency and the fine record of the Calgary Highlanders.

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