Welcome Home


November 1945



HOUR Station Welcome

Meeting of immediate relatives.
Combined Weyburn-Estevan band.

H + 30 March Past.

Station to Court House via 3rd St.
Saluting base at Legion Hall.
Return and form up at Legion Hall.

H + 50 Legion Hall.

"O Canada"

Welcome Speeches

Brig. G.A.H.Trudeau, C.B.E.
District Officer Commanding, M.D. 12.
Honourable T.C. Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan.
J.H. Warren, Mayor of Weyburn.
H. Nicholson, Mayor of Estevan.
Honorary Major W. Cole, E.D., Honorary Chaplain Provincial Command Canadian Legion.


Lt. Col. V. Stott, D.S.O.
"God Save The King."

H + 70 Documentation

Meeting of other relatives.
Accommodation Arrangements.

2100 hours Regimental Dance


Lt.-Col. Cecil C.I. Merritt

Canada's First V.C. Winner of World War II

South Saskatchewan Regiment

The South Saskatchewan Regiment as now constituted came into being on December 15th, 1936, as a result of the re-organization and re-formation of units dating successively from 1908. The new unit had its headquarters at Weyburn, with company headquarters at Estevan, Assiniboia and Oxbow, and it perpetuates the 20th Border Horse, the South Saskatchewan Regiment (1920-1924), the Saskatchewan Border Regiment, the Weyburn Regiment and the 152nd Battalion C.E.F. The last named was an active service battalion which served overseas in the First World War and won battle honours at Arras and Hill 70.

Upon the outbreak of war on September 1st, 1939, the regiment was ordered to mobilize to full war strength. Recruiting began immediately but was suspended in October, although training of the men already enlisted continued throughout the winter and spring. Recruiting was resumed at the end of May, 1940 and the regiment was up to strength by the end of the following August. After periods of training at Weyburn, Regina (for one detachment), at Camp Shilo and at Toronto, the regiment moved overseas and disembarked at a Scottish port on December 26th, 1940 - Boxing Day, as part of the Canadian Second Division. During the ensuing four and one-half years, except for two short intervals, its headquarters were in Southern England. One of those intervals was from January 2nd to 11th, 1944, when it was stationed in Scotland. The other was during the never-to-be forgotten raid on Dieppe on August 19th, 1942.


Among the pleasant associations inherited by the South Saskatchewan Regiment at its formation were affiliations which its predecessors had made with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and the Border Regiment, both of the British Army. There was therefore a special interest and significance in the official visit paid to the South Saskatchewan Regiment on February 21st, 1942, by Lieut. General (now Field Marshal) Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, as this famous soldier is a former Commanding Officer of the Warwickshires.

It is plain that this association was present to his mind. He addressed the regiment, and after expressing his pleasure in this visit, said that the fact that the regiment was affiliated with his own made him feel right at home with the South Saskatchewan. He said that he had never seen a more fit or tougher-looking or steadier body of men. He laid emphasis on the steadiness of the parade and said that he had found it to be invariably true that steadiness on parade meant steadiness in battle.

The regiment presented him with a silver napkin-ring, suitably engraved to be a memento of the occasion, and a facsimile, done in wood, was presented to each officer of the South Saskatchewan Regiment.


Much has been written and said about this notable operation and it is not out of place to say here that in its effect upon the subsequent course of the war, both in the west and in the Orient, it may well be compared to the much-discussed battle of Jutland in 1916. An official account of the part taken by the South Saskatchewan Regiment is found in the following excerpts from the book "Combined Operations"*:

"While the Royal Regiment of Canada were thus pinned down to the beach in from of Puits, the second inner flank attack to the West of Dieppe was being delivered by the South Saskatchewan Regiment. It was their task to land at the little watering-place of Pourville, capture it and, moving inland, take and hold a defensive position built round Les-Quatre-Vents Farm. They were also to seize the headland on their left flank overlooking Dieppe on the west. They left their infantry landing ships punctually and moved shoreward, "A warm wind laden with the smell of hayfields blowing upon them from the south." A successful landing was made at Pourville five minutes after zero hour and they encountered very little opposition until they were once ashore. "A" Company was to capture the height on the left flank and destroy a battery of A.A. guns and the R.D.F. Station at Caude Cote near it. "C" Company was to seize Pourville and hold the high ground to the west of the village, while "B" and "D" Companies were to cross the River Scie and attack the position at Les-Quatre-Vents Farm.

At Pourville, as at Puits, a sea-wall divides the beaches. "A" Company soon scaled it by the use of ladders and moved off to attack the high ground, after disposing of a couple of pillboxes. They were held up for some time by a patch of swamp but presently got round this and moved forward under cover of a smoke screen, until at about 6 o'clock they were held up more seriously by a road block which they were unable to outflank. In the heavy fighting that ensued, Private Sawden rushed a pillbox single-handed and killed its garrison of six. While "A" Company were thus striving to reach their objectives, "C" Company had reached the village of Pourville, captured La Maison Blanche and taken a number of prisoners. One of their platoons then established itself on the spur already mentioned to the west of the village.

"B" and "D" Companies went through Pourville until they reached the bridge over the River Scie. Here they were held up by heavy mortar and machine-gun fire, but some crossed the bridge and others swam the river or got over it on rafts. The conduct of the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt, was an example and inspiration to them all. The bridge across the river was a most unhealthy spot. It was under intermittent but often heavy fire. This did not deter Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt. "See," he exlaimed, "there is no danger here," and taking off his steel helmet, he walked over the bridge swinging it in his hand and subsequently crossed and re-crossed four times. "B" and "D" Companies pressed on, fighting with great tenacity. They delivered a number of attacks on the pillboxes covering Les-Quatre-Vents Farm. Some of these were organized by Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt and one was led by Major McTavish. The pillboxes were eventually captured, largely owing to the action of Private Fenner who walked straight for the enemy's position, firing a Bren gun from the hip.

Progress, however, had been slow and enemy resistance heavy. The morning passed and by the time the signal to withdraw was received, the farm itself was uncaptured and its garrison still active. Throughout the seven hours during which they were heavily engaged, the South Saskatchewan Regiment accounted for very many of the enemy."

"About half-past eleven, Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt and Major Orme collected some men and attacked some machine guns to the west of the beach, silencing their fire. By noon, most of the troops had been re-embarked and only a few remained. These were formed into a rear guard and held a perimeter under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt, aided by Lieutenant-Commander Prior. They held it until their ammunition was exhausted and they were forced to surrender about three o'clock, but their action had enabled many men to be taken off who would have otherwise remained behind. Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt was awarded the Victoria Cross."


On July 16th, 1943, Their Majesties The King and Queen paid the regiment the signal honour of a visit at Witley, Surrey, at which time His Majesty presented colours to the First Battalion, Royal Regiment of Canada and to the South Saskatchewan Regiment. His Majesty spoke as follows:

"I am very proud to have this opportunity of presenting Colours to two such dinstinguished regiments of my Canadian Army. You of the Regiment of Canada and you of The South Saskatchewan Regiment have well earned them, for both regiments served with great distinction in the last war and established a tradition which I know well will be worthily upheld by you all.

"In the olden days regimental Colours were carried into action. They used to form the rallying point round which the battle raged, and they were more precious to all ranks than life itself. Today, Colours are no longer carried on the battlefield, but they still remain the emblem and the inspiration of courage, self-sacrifice and devotion to duty, and they are guarded no less jealously and no less reverently than of old. I give you these Colours, therefore, for your safe keeping with every confidence that in your hands their care and custody are assured. To one and all of you I offer my best wishes for the future."


The regiment, as part of the Second Canadian Division, landed in France on July 7th, 1944. It would require much more space than is available here to give a rounded account of the happenings and activities of the months which followed. For the present it is possible only to give them in bare outline, leaving it to the individual reader who took part, to fill in the picture from his personal recollection.


Rots - 11Jul44 - Assembly area. German planes flew over dropping a gas tank in passing.

Marcelet - 12Jul44 - Third line defence. Lt.-Col. Clift took over command, 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade.

Caen - 19Jul44 - Assembly area.

Ifs - 20Jul44 - Battalions first battle. Casualties 8 officers and 56 other ranks killed, 5 officers and 121 other ranks wounded, 4 missing and 27 prisoners of war.

Lavillenures - 21Jul44 - Re-organized

Ifs - 23Jul44 - Defensive position. Moaning Minnies. Lt. Col. Clift returned. 2 officers 19 other ranks killed, 7 officers and 77 other ranks wounded.


Verriers - 4Aug44 - Defensive position. (Hell's Corner) 3 officers and 11 other ranks killed, 2 officers and 25 other ranks wounded.

Rocquancourt - 7Aug44 - S.S.R. attacked at 2330 hours. Consolidated 8 Aug. Put in attack to relieve Cam of C and took over 400 prisoners. Found many bodies of personnel missing on 20 July, 44. 1 officer 14 other ranks killed, 3 officers and 39 other ranks wounded.

Urville - 12Aug44 - Took over defensive position from S. and D.Gs.

LeMesral - 13Aug44 - Took up position while 5 Brigade consolidated. 3 other ranks wounded.

Clair Tiyon - 14AUG44 - Attacked and took German hospital. Counter attacked. 1 officer and 25 other ranks killed, 3 officers and 37 other ranks wounded, 2 officers and 1 other rank missing.

Ussy - 15Aug44 - Went through and cleared.

Villers Canivent - 15Aug44 - Taken by S.S.R. 4th Brigade and Tanks went through in evening.

Falaise - 16Aug44 - S.S.R. attacked and cleared. Tanks in support. Cam of C. on right flank. 16 other ranks killed, 5 officers and 21 other ranks wounded.

Causy - 19Aug44 - Took over from S.D.Gs. 4 other ranks wounded.

Orbec - 23Aug44 - Taken by S.S.R. Lt. Col. F.A. Clift promoted to Brigadier in command of 6th Brigade. Major F.B. Courtney took over command of S.S.R. F.F.I. caves. 2 other ranks killed, 1 officer and 22 other ranks wounded.


Brionne - 24Aug44 - Taken by S.S.R. Bombed by Jerry during night. Blew in windows of Chateau where Battalion Headquarters was located. Dropped D.A. bomb which exploded at 0630 hours 25 Aug. 44. Made hole 60 feet wide and 20 feet deep. 1 officer and 1 other rank killed, 2 other ranks wounded.

Fort De La Londe - 27Aug44 - Attacked through forest. Platoon C Company cut off. Hard battle. Company strengths very low. Major E.W. Thomas Commanding Officer. 8 officers and 35 other ranks killed; 10 officers and 133 other ranks wounded; 1 officer and 4 other ranks taken prisoner of war and 1 officer and 5 other ranks escaped from their German captors.

A first-hand account of this action, written by a member of the regiment, is as follows: "The chase went beautifully until the regiment neared the Seine River where they ran into a stone wall. The Brigade was detailed to clear out a pocket of resistance, "small" I believe was the report. It was here that the regiment suffered one of its worst, if not its worst, kickings around. Everything went well until the main body crossed the railroad embankment and then to use a stock expression, "all hell broke loose." And it was hell. The fight was man for man, raged all day with extremely heavy casualties on both sides. Attack, counter-attack, counter-counter attack, followed each other on and on through the day, and after the battalion had finally captured and held its objective there were only three officers and less than one hundred men left in the four rifle companies. We had lost in the fight approximately twenty officers and one hundred and ninety other ranks, killed, wounded and prisoners of war, but we had inflicted just as many if not more casualties upon the enemy."

Rouen - 31Aug44 - Moved in behind Recce. First good break for S.S.R. Companies all travelled on F. Echelon vehicles. No Germans.

Dieppe - 1Sep44 - S.S.R. returned after 2 years, 13 days. Memorial parade. March past. Major G.B. Buchanan Commanding Officer.

Wailly Beaumont - 5Sep44 - Assembly area.

Louches - 6Sep44 - Arrived after travelling a day and a night. Rained hard. Vehicles lost and in ditch. Went up winding hill. Rested.

Hondschoote - 8Sep44 - F. & A. Echelon separated. F going to Neuport.


Neuport - 8Sep44 - Taken night 8/9, Sept., 1944 by S.S.R. with help of Belgium White Brigade. Good welcome. 5 other ranks killed; 2 officers and 17 other ranks wounded.

Neuport Bains Fort - 13Sep44 - Fort surrendered officially at 0830 hours. Total prisoners of war 8 officers and 270 other ranks.

Bray Dunes Plage - 13Sep44 - Helped Cam. of C. Hard fighting. Lots of mines. Lt. Col. Ritchie took over as Commanding Officer. 3 officers and 17 other ranks killed; 60 other ranks wounded.

Contich - 19Sep44 - Rest area. The Best! 19-22, Sept. 1944. New Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. V. Stott.

St. Job Int Goor - 23Sep44 - Cross canal from Lochtenberg. Canal crossing and withdrawal. Moved to assembly area south of canal south of Brecht. 5 officers and 12 other ranks killed; 1 officer and 36 other ranks killed; 1 officer and 36 other ranks wounded; 1 other rank missing; 5 other ranks prisoners of war.

Opening of Antwerp

Lochtenber - 2Oct44 - Taken by S.S.R. 1 other rank killed. 3 officers and 16 other ranks wounded.

Brasschaet - 3Oct44 - Taken by S.S.R. at 1800 hours. Town put up posters. 3 other ranks killed and 4 wounded.

Brecht - 4Oct44 - Took over defensive position from Black Watch, 1 officer and 1 other rank killed. 10 other ranks wounded.


Groot Meer - 9Oct44 - Came under command 4th Brigade. Took up defensive position on right flank 10 Oct. 1944. A Company surrounded and relieved. 8 other ranks killed; 1 officer and 44 other ranks wounded.

Hoogerhyde - 14Oct44 - Defensive position. 17 other ranks killed. 3 officers and 34 other ranks wounded; 9 prisoners of war.

- 23Oct44 - Attacked north from Hoogerhyde. Jerries moved out night 23/24 Oct. 44. 24 Oct. moved back to Hoogerhyde. Rested. 1 officer and 4 other ranks killed; 1 officer and 25 other ranks wounded; 1 other rank missing.

Zuid Beveland - 25Oct44 - Battalion moved to Peninsula.

- 26Oct44 - Battalion relieved Essex Scottish. 5 other ranks killed; 1 officer and 7 other ranks wounded.

Zuid Beveland Canal - 27Oct44 - Battalion reached canal during morning. During night 27/28, Oct. 44 battalion crossed canal and established first bridgehead.

Schore - 28Oct44 - Taken by S.S.R. during early morning. F. Echelon vehicles moved over canal and 4th Brigade went through. 27 and 28 Oct. 4 other ranks killed and 13 other ranks wounded.

Oostdijk - 28Oct44 -

Biezelinge - 29Oct44 - Battalion Headquarters and F1 crossed over the canal.

Gravenpolder - 29Oct44 - Relieved 5th Brigade who pushed on.

Nisse - 30Oct44 - Rested. A Echelon moved up to Battalion. Received word peninsula clear. 1 other rank wounded.

Belgium Willebroek - 1Nov44 - Rested. Left 8Nov44.


Antwerp - 8Nov44 - Passed through.

Turnhout - 8Nov44 - Passed through.


Tilburg - 9Nov44 - Passed through.

Shertogenbosch - 9Nov44 - Passed through.

Mook - 9Nov44 - Reichwald. 6th Brigade relieved 214 Br. Infantry Brigade. Interchanged with Fusiliers Mount Royale and Cams of C on front line duty. Front line approximately 1400 yards from Germany. 7 other ranks killed; 33 other ranks wounded; 2 other ranks missing and 4 prisoners of war.

Malden - 1Dec44 - The 6th Brigade moved to Div. reserve. S.S.R. in Malden.

Groesbeek - 8Dec44 - Defensive position. Relived Calgary Highlanders. D Company put in an attack on German positions. 1 officer and 10 other ranks killed and 3 officers and 27 other ranks wounded.

Cuijk - 23Dec44 - 6th Brigade on Div. reserve. Battalion's 5th Christmas overseas.

Driehuizen - 29Dec44 - S.S.R. in Corps Reserve. Held Battalion dance. Spent New Year's Eve here. Battalions casualties since landing in Europe 101 officers and 1554 other ranks. Total 1655 all ranks.

Nijmegan - 6Jan45 - Consolidation area.

Mook - 11Jan45 - Relieved Calgary Highlanders in front of Reichwald Forest. Lots of rain and mud. 11 other ranks killed; 1 officer and 27 other ranks wounded; 2 other ranks missing.


- 8Feb45 - Assault on Siegfried Line launched by 30 Br. Corps.

Nijmegan - 14Feb45 - Consolidation area.


Bedburg - 17Feb45 - Battalion crossed German border at 1355 hours.

Honigsberg - 18Feb45 - Assembly area.

Calcar Heights - 26Feb45 - The Pimple taken by S.S.R. with use of Kangaroos. 1 officer and 7 other ranks killed; 17 other ranks wounded.

Kirsel - 27Feb45 - Rest area. Lt. Col. Stott became A/Commander 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade. Major Buchanan A/Commander S.S.R. 1 officer and 1 other rank wounded.

Hochwald Forest - 3Mar45 - 6th Brigade had task of clearing forest. S.S.R. took first bite. 1 officer and 11 other ranks killed; 1 officer and 31 other ranks wounded.

Near Xanten - 5Mar45 - Took up defensive position 1 mile from Xanten. 2 other ranks killed and 4 other ranks wounded.

- 8Mar45 - Battle for Xanten started. S.S.R. came under command of 5th Brigade. 5 other ranks wounded.

- 9Mar45 - Major Buchanan wounded. Major F. Lee took over command of the battalion. 1 officer and 5 other ranks killed. 3 officers and 11 other ranks wounded.

- 10Mar45 - S.S.R. relieved Calgary Highlanders. Lt. Col. Stott returned to Battalion.


Rhine River - 28Mar45 - Battalion crossed over on "Black Friars" bridge at 2140 hours.

Bienen - 29Mar45 - Arrived 0010 hours. Concentration area.


Megchelen - 29Mar45 - Assembly area.

Gendringen - 31Mar45 - Short battles. 2 other ranks killed; 1 officer and 22 other ranks wounded.

Terborg - 2Apr45 - Short battles.

Schipbeek Canal - 7Apr45 - Crossed at 0320 hours. 1 officer and 8 other ranks killed; 2 officers and 25 other ranks wounded - 7 to 11Apr45.

Oranje Canal - 12Apr45 - Crossed 0730 hours. Jewish Concentration Camp. 1 other rank killed; 1 officer and 4 other ranks wounded.

Groningen - 15Apr45 - S.S.R. cleared S.W. corner. 1 other rank wounded.

Zuidwolde - 17Apr45 - Rest area. Battalion dance.


Wildeshausen - 21Apr45 - Concentration area.

Sandhatten - 23Apr45 - S.S.R. took and consolidated. A Echelon Ammunition dump hit by shell, blew up. Fire followed. 2 officers and 2 other ranks killed. 11 officers and 23 other ranks wounded.

Oldenburg Forest - 2 May45 - Cleared by 6th Brigade. 1 officer and 1 other rank wounded;

Oldenburg - 3May45 -Burgomaster surrended city. Largest German city taken by First Canadian Army.


In Memoriam

The night-dew that falls, though in silence it weeps
Shall brighten with verdure the grave where he sleeps.
And the tear that we shed, though in secret it rolls
Shall long keep his memory green in our souls.

(Thomas Moore)