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Battle of Leopold Canal, Part 1

Heroes Remember

Battle of Leopold Canal, Part 1

It started out on the 6th of October, 1944. We had an O group which was at the RAP, the Regimental Aid Post and the colonel said, "Ok, we're taking flame throwers up to the canal." And the canal banks were on an incline and the whole canal was built with banks on each side on a 45 degree incline. So he said,"Cliff, I want you to take your company, Charlie Company and go with the carriers and the flame throwers, and I want you to get in close. Now I don't want you..." he told me, he said, "I don't want you to laugh but ..." he said, "the"... what did they call it, the not photographic... "the phonographic unit will be with you." And I said, "The what?" He said, "Yeah," he said, "we call them limey's and Brits." He said, "the Brits have got an idea." I said "What is it?" He said, "They're gonna bring up some phonographs and they're gonna play some records from behind the thing to make the Germans think there's hundreds of troops." Well I started to laugh you see and he said, "What are you laughing at?" And I said, "Only the limey's would come up with something like that! Does it work?" And he said, "I don't know." And he said, "But anyways they're gonna try it." So I said, "Ok." He said, "Now you're to take them up and put them in position, come back, get your carriers and bring your carriers up." So I'm coming up this road and I hear all these sounds and I said, "Oh I say matey throw me some ammunition over here." You know these limey voices are going on and I think jeez the first thing the Germans will say is, "The Brits are here." Anyway, we, we... I brought the carriers up and I said, "Now I want you to be very careful of how you, don't skid your tracks because they'll know that, where you are but they won't know exactly where you are." And the limey said, "Oh we got that beat." And I said, "Why?" and he said, "Oh we got all kinds of, we got all kinds of phonographs with, with tank tracks in them." The first thing I thought was Jesus, they're not so stupid. So instead of a few carriers climbing this thing you see, it sounds like, sounds like there's about four battalions of tanks on the other side. "Arrr, arrr," anyhow. At about 1100 hours, it started to get dark, we were on double daylight time. At 1100 hours it started to get dark and then I got word from the set, that I was to open up with the flamethrowers. And I did and that's the first time I realized that flamethrowers could be a double edged sword, some of it pointing our way. Because if there's one thing that, I've mentioned earlier people don't like the idea of being shot in action, they also don't like the idea of being burned alive. And I thought boy, those guys are gonna be just waiting for us, look out. Because they were screaming and yelling and it was God awful, just to hear it, you know. You realized that they were human beings there, so you know what I did? I got the padre. And I said to the padre, "Padre, are you busy?" He said, "No." I said, "I think if you can come up, come up." And he come up with me and he was with me when I got wounded. He was in the same slit trench. Now why did I want the padre? I wanted somebody to tell me this was okay. I mean, you don't burn people alive, I didn't join the army for that. But I brought the padre, Ed Horton up and he listened to these tanks and what not. Then he could hear the Germans screaming, he could see the flamesgoing over the canal.

Mr. Chadderton describes Allied tactics in preparation for crossing the Canal.

Clifford Chadderton

Clifford Chadderton, CC, O. Ont., OStJ, CLJ, CAE, DCL, LLD Mr. Chadderton was born May 9, 1919, in Fort William, Ontario, and was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His mother worked as an accountant. His father, an entrepreneur, was a veteran of the First World War who suffered complications from being gassed at Vimy Ridge. Under the tutelage of his parents Mr. Chadderton was brought up to believe in Canada and the importance of education. He became interested in social events, politics, military history and the process of debate. These interests led Mr. Chadderton to become a news editor for the Canadian Press and a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press while attending the University of Manitoba. Mr. Chadderton even found time for another interest - playing hockey for the Winnipeg Rangers, the farm team for the New York Rangers. On October 15, 1939, Mr. Chadderton enlisted in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, climbing the ranks quickly to become a company commander and an acting major by the end of the war. While serving in Europe he was wounded twice, once by a bullet at the Abbaye d'Ardenne in Normandy, and then by a grenade near the Leopold Canal in Belgium on October 10, 1944. There, he lost his right leg below the knee, and his military career came to an end. Mr. Chadderton never let the loss of his leg hinder him. In fact, it has made him a beacon of hope to many, and has given him the opportunity to work for the needs and benefits of Canadian amputees and veterans. He is the Chief Executive Officer of The War Amps, and Chairman of the National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada. A persistent, dedicated and devoted man, Mr. Chadderton is also known nationally and internationally as a documentary producer, creating The War Amps Never Again! series, which illustrates the realities of war. He has also written an inspirational memoir entitled, Excuse Us! Herr Schicklgruber, which is an insight into the personalities, feelings and hopes of the men who fought alongside Mr. Chadderton in the Second World War. Mr. Chadderton continues to challenge the world and enjoy life with no regrets, having made a home for himself in Ottawa, Ontario, and creating a legacy with his wife, two children, and four grandchildren.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Clifford Chadderton
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Winnipeg Rifles
Infantry Company Commander

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