Epic Artillery Action By Canadians Breaks German Attack at Otterloo.
(1945 05 07).
Lethbridge, Alberta:. p. 18.
The article below reproduces the exact wording of the original in the
Lethbridge Herald including the ellipses in the last
sentence of the fourth paragraph.
This note deals with several problems in the article.
Two of the place names below did not exist and are corrected in tool tips.
The enemy objective, as reported by a captured German regimental
commanding officer to the divisional interrogator,
was the village of Ede.
Gunner Currie's hometown was River Hebert, Nova Scotia.
The original Boss typescript does not give the enemy objective and
correctly spells Currie's hometown.
The second paragraph under “A Glorious Stand” lists five
gun sergeants but a troop contained only four guns and four gun sergeants
to command these.
The actual gun sergeants, known from other sources, were the first four
in the list.
Upon inquiring of Gordie Bannerman, the troop
sergeant-major, I learned that Bill Velestuk was the
second-in-command of Sergeant Barkwell's gun.
Epic Artillery Action By Canadians Breaks German Attack at Otterloo
By WILLIAM BOSS
Canadian Press War Correspondent
WITH THE 1ST CANADIAN ARMY, May 7 — (CP) —
At Otterloo, western Holland, about 15 miles south of the Zuider Zee, on the night of
gunners of the 17th Canadian Field Regiment, R.C.A.,
broke an enemy counterattack in an action that will stand out in the story
of Canadian artillery at war.
Bottled by twin thrusts by the 1st and 5th Canadian divisions, between 700
and 1,000 Germans started at midnight in an attempt to break out to
By the time
Lieut. A.M. Ross
of Embro, Ont., and his gun crew were frying
their bacon and eggs next morning, the enemy had suffered 240 killed,
438 prisoners, uncounted wounded and lost much equipment.
Although Canadian positions were overrun and some guns and vehicles were
casualties, the enemy did not take one prisoner or capture one gun from
these veterans of the Italian campaign recently shifted to the western front.
Further, the gunners had broken his momentum.
When he infiltrated the area behind — headquarters of the 5th Division
— his attack had lost much of its verve and soon wilted under the
terrific firepower such a headquarters commands
· · ·
which doesn't minimize the killing accomplished
by Maj. Gen. B.M. Hoffmeister's staff.
A GLORIOUS STAND
The Germans never were able to determine exactly where Ross' men
Even when the ammunition trailers were set afire behind them,
burning all their personal kit with them, or when phosphorus shells
went off near the guns, damaging them, their locality wasn't
entirely given away.
It was a glorious stand.
Leaders of Ross' gun crews were Sgt. Humble, Sgt. D.R. Spencer,
Kenora, Ont.; Sgt. R.H. Barkwell, Lindsay, Ont.; Sgt. R.A. Johnson,
Bulyea, Sask.; and Sgt.
Bill Velestuk, Broadview, Sask., who killed three of the enemy.
sergeant-major is Gordon Bannerman, Neville, Sask.
Inside the building Gnr. R.V. Bennett, Vancouver, wasn't deterred
from tending a dying man even when a German thrust his
through the window and opened fire.
Miraculously the bullets missed them both.
Ross' flanks were protected by a Bren crew comprising Gnrs, Howard Currie,
N.S., and Frank Sternat, Lockport, Man.
They held a spot 50 yards from the main position, harassing enemy manning
a mortar, until their own ammunition was exhausted, then returned
to the guns.
Drivers of the vehicles belonging to Ross' troop, parked 500 yards back,
stood as stoutly.
The bombardier in charge, Bdr. J.D. Wells, led them in a defence which ended
only at dawn, when though nine of the eleven had been wounded, all were
still holding firm.