2011 Editor's Introduction
History of 17th Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery
(2011 05 03)
I refer to myself here as the 2011 editor to distinguish myself from those anonymous
persons who acted as writers and editors of the printed version in 1945 and 1946.
My role was simply to make the history of the 17th Field Regiment available
to a wider audience by putting the book on the world wide web.
The original book, History of the 17th Field Regiment . . .,
has to be considered rare.
The world-wide library catalog, WorldCat, shows only five
copies in the world.
The Amicus Canadian library catalogue records five copies, three of which duplicate
the WorldCat results for Canada.
The other two are held by Government of Canada agencies in Ottawa.
Certainly, a significant number would be held in private collections,
particularly those of former members of the regiment and their heirs.
This book was written and published in the Netherlands after the end of the
war in Europe but before the regiment was sent home.
It was done in a hurry while the regiment was still intact and was done under
difficult circumstances in a war-torn country where English was not
the national language.
The letter to members of the regiment that accompanied the book explains that
it was regarded as a preliminary to a more detailed and carefully written
book to be published in the future.
This second book never appeared.
The letter points out that the book was compiled from the war diary and was
written in the form of an intelligence summary.
It was intended for members of the regiment rather than the general public.
The book contains neither an index nor a table of contents.
Punctuation, capitalization, and paragraph numbering, are ususual and inconsistent.
Large numbers of esoteric acronyms slow down and confuse the casual reader.
The book contains no named authors or editors and no copyright symbol or other indication
Under Canadian law it would have been copyright in the name of the Crown in the right
of Canada but, given the date of publication, the copyright has expired.
No attempt was made to amend the book or related materials
Words, sentences, and paragraphs were reproduced faithfully without any
corrections or other changes, except in tool tips as described below.
Punctuation has been left unchanged except that the right
double quotation marks used consistently in the book have been replaced with
left double quotation marks where appropriate.
We have tried to optimize the readability of the web version and so have
not attempted to duplicate the line lengths of the original.
This decision reflects, among other considerations, the variety of displays
on which the book is likely to be viewed and the need to avoid right
and left scrolling.
The web pages are right justified as was the original.
One consequence of these final conventions is that a page may end with a
line that is not right justified even though the containing paragraph
is continued on the next page.
This, of course, does not happen in the printed version.
The web version was prepared by scanning the printed version into JPG files
and then converting them to HTML files using the optical character recognition
program, ReadIris Pro version 12.
Graphics were dealt with separately from the text using version 2 of the GIMP.
These preliminary web pages required extensive manual editing before being
suitable for posting on the Internet.
Although no attempt has been made to second guess the decisions
of the original editors, pure printing problems have been corrected where
their nature was obvious.
The reproduction of the book and related materials can be subdivided
into six parts, each treated somewhat differently than the others.
Each part is examined below.
The first part contains introductory material provided by the 2011 editor,
including this page.
These pages, in part, are designed to make the book easier to understand.
The second part contains the materials related to the book that were inserted
into the copy that we used but that are not contained in the copies of
the book held by libraries.
This includes the two-page two-topic covering letter given to members of the regiment.
Also inserted was the map of the battle of Otterloo (spelled “Otterlo”
in modern Dutch) from the war diary but this appears on this site in the separate directory
of material on that battle.
Graphic images have been used to convey the flavour of the original.
The third part consists of preliminary materials in the book including the title page,
the honour roll, and some photographs.
These are reproduced to give the flavour of the original, in some cases with
There are two exceptions.
In the original two-page “Roll of Honour”, the graphic at the top
of the page and the sentence at the bottom appear straddled
between the two pages but in the web version they appear separately on
The royal photograph split across pages 8 and 9 appears on one page
in the web version.
Page 10 in the printed book is blank and has been omitted from these web pages.
Otherwise, the original paging has been adhered to strictly.
The fourth part, the bulk of the material, consists of the three
chapters giving the actual chronological history of the regiment.
The original paging has been adhered to except that if an
original page ends in the middle of a word or sentence, the page has
been continued to the end of the sentence.
The original page end for each chapter page has been marked with an
HTML comment that can be viewed in the page source.
The photograph that straddles pages 24 and 25 in the printed version
appears on both pages in this version.
The graphic images on page 84 and page 91, viewable from the right in the book,
have been rotated 90 degrees clockwise to appear normally on a
The fifth part consists of the appendices.
These have been treated in much the same way as the preliminary materials.
The original paging has been adhered to strictly and an attempt has been made
to reproduce the flavour of the original.
The sixth part contains added material supplementing that in the book.
This includes a list of award citations for members of the 17th Field Regiment
who received military awards and a link to the related directory of documents
on the battle of Otterloo.
Tool tips consist of text that appears in a small window when the cursor is
placed over some of the main text for a second or two.
Advanced web browsers display a greyed-out line below text for which tool tips
exist but other browsers may not give any hint of tool tips.
In the web edition of this book, tool tips have been used for two purposes.
Firstly they appear to show corrections for a small number of the
mistakes in the printed version.
This avoids the use of the “[sic]” convention found in some printed
Secondly, and far more important and numerous, are tool tips to define obscure
expressions and acronyms in context.
For example, “BC” is used for “battery commander”
and “battle casualty”, not to mention “British Columbia”.
These tips should make the book much more accessible to the lay reader.
On a page, an acronym will be defined in a tool tip only on its first
appearance, but may be defined on multiple pages.
The quoted expression “tool tip” in this
sentence contains a tool tip.
All information on these pages comes from documentary sources, the important ones of which
have been cited.
None of it is based on first-hand experience.
I would therefore appreciate any help that experienced readers can offer me.
Please let me know at the email address below of any mistakes in these materials that are
The pages would benefit from a better more complete description of the organization and
staffing of the regiment.
I have used multiple reliable sources to obtain definitions of the acronyms but mistakes
are still possible.
Other comments and suggestions would be welcome, especially from the remaining members of