July 9-16, 1945: Member of the British Empire

July 9 – At 1 P.M. we loaded on board a Channel steamer and sailed at 2 P.M. – landing at Dover at 7:30 P.M.  Had supper and were driven out to the barracks for the night.

July 10 – Breakfast at 6:45 A.M. and pulled out in trucks at 7:30 A.M. and drove to Dover Priory, where we caught a train for London at 9 A.M. CMHQ ordered that we all would proceed to Basingstoke to sign in, but we all protested, so on arrival at Victoria Station where we were met by an Officer from CMHQ who released us. No hotels were available but fortunately we got a room in the Legion Club – good room, good meals and cheap.

July 11 – Went to Worthing and spent the day with Spofforths. Mrs. Spofforth pressed my serge and sewed ribbons on for me. At 9 P.M. I left again for London. She and Michael will be my guests at Buckingham Palace tomorrow, after which we will go to lunch somewhere.


Mrs. Spofforth, Doc Alexander and Michael Spofforth at Buckingham Palace during Alex’s investiture ceremony July 11, 1945.

July 12 – Just usual routine around London. In the evening Ken Clarke and I went to the Palace Theatre to see “Gay Rosalinda”.

July 13 – Arrived at Buckingham Palace at 10 A.M. and met several of the old boys. After the Investiture, Freddie Jenner, Timmy Cameron, Ken Clarke and I, all from Alberta, were photographed in a group. I had been able to get a ticket for Stephens from Calgary Post Office, who is just over from Canada and whom I had run across at the Club the day before. Mrs. Spofforth and Michael were there as my guests, but of course I did not see them until it was all over. We went to the Grosvenor for lunch – after which Michael went back to work and I went around shopping with Mona until she caught the train home at 4:25 P.M.  I then came home had a sleep, and now we are all packed , waiting to catch a train for Dover at 7:20 P.M.  We should be back in Holland at our Units on Sunday night.  Hope the trip back will be better than the trip over was.

July 14 – Ken Clarke and I went to Dover last night and stayed at a barracks there. This morning we got up at 5 A.M. and caught a Channel boat at 7 A.M.  Arrived in Calais at 8:30 and marched to a Reception Camp where we spent the day and caught a train at 6:05 P.M.  Passed through St. Omer, Hazebrouck,  Armentieres, Brussels, Tilburg, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and arrived at Nijmegen on Sunday July 15 at 7 A.M.

July 15 – saw Dan Ellingson here today, played a few games of crib with him. My car arrived at 4 P.M. and I was back at 21 FDS in Enschede at 6:30 P.M. No further word of draft. We have admitting patients and are now told that we break up around Aug. 1. – very hot here now.

July 16 – Gordie, Rudie, Addie and drove down to Lochen and borrowed a jeep from Freddie Jenner for a few days. Saw Archie Hardyment while there.

July 17 – Gordie, Rudie and I drove to Utrecht to try and find Ed Brown. Could find no trace of him so went on down to Doorn and visited Doorn Castle where the Kaiser spent his time after the last war. It is very beautiful around there but the castle is not imposing. He may have chopped a lot of wood, but there is a lot standing yet. On arrival home we learn we are to move day after tomorrow to Appeldoorn.


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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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