July 2–8, 1945

July 2 – Gordie and I drove down to Army Troops for a meeting with Col. Wood. After this we drove on down Hoevlaken and had dinner with Hans, Paul, and Pang. Ronnie is in No. 1 Gen. Hosp. – an unfortunate affair with Mac. Mac and Major Barr were in Germany on a Recce. At dinner we heard of a very primitive Dutch island, so Tony, Hans, Paul, S/Sgt. Howell and I drove to Amsterdam, cross the Ferry Bridge and headed north through very beautiful country to Volendam on the west coast of the Zuider Zee. All fisherman folk here wore the old Dutch costume. For one hundred and fifty cigarettes we hired a fishing smack – a sail boat and sailed out on the Zuider Zee to the island of Marken about four or five miles away. Everything is here as it has been for the past two hundred years – all wear very quaint costumes, wooden shoes and live in very peculiar little houses. No islander ever marries anyone but another islander. We spent about an hour there, sailed back to the mainland, had dinner in Amsterdam and then home.

July 3 – Everybody busy getting ready for an inspection. Paul Laird from Sigs dropped in and spent the afternoon and evening with me. We went to the Canadian show in the evening and afterwards to the Officer’s Club. No word of repat yet – but soon I hope.

July 6 – Was called to Army today and informed that I would probably not go on draft for another month. Was also warned to catch the train at 8 P.M. at Njmegan on Sunday, July 8th and proceed to London for the Investiture on the 13th. I dread the trip. Will start back on the 14th and arrive in Nijmegan the night of the 15th. Will not have very much time in England only to get my clothes ready for the affair and then start back. On the way back from Army I arranged with 2 CCS to keep Fred until I leave for Canada. I then went to 3 VSTU and arranged to keep Gordie until I leave. So if I have to stay here one month – I will still have both my batman and my driver.

July 8 – My jeep was stolen last night – so I had to get the Unit HUP to drive me down to the train. Arrived at Nijmegen at 4 p.m. and met Ken Clarke from Calgary, and we will be going together. At 8:20 P.M. we pulled out on a horrible train. Two Officers whom I personally knew the in the Ontario’s and an Officer from the Sask. L.I. shared a compartment with us. We went through ‘s-Hertogenbasch, and Breda, Ghent, Antwerp, Brugge and arrived at Ostend at 3:30 A.M., to a transient Camp opposite our old stand.


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About Rob Alexander

I am a writer, photographer and historian and the author of The History of Canmore, published by Summerthought Publishing of Banff, AB.

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