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Holding the Nijmegen bridge

Heroes Remember

Holding the Nijmegen bridge

We always figured this will be the last day; this will be the last day. And we fought all the way through France, all the way through Belgium and Holland. And then in December ’44, the Americans captured that bridge, you probably seen it, Nijmegen. And they were having trouble; the paratroop division landed there, the American Paratroop Division captured that bridge because that was important. That’s a bridge that goes into Germany. They run into a lot of trouble with casualties and so on so they sent the North Shore Regiment up there to relieve the American Paratroop Division, 17th of December in 1944, we went up there at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. And we hung around the streets of Nijmegen until after it got dark. We couldn’t go in there due to the shelling. So we went in there after dark and relieved the American Paratroop Division. And we held that front for the winter because all the supplies were coming all the way from Normandy, it’s eight to ten hours drive from Normandy to Nijmegen and we had fought all along that coastal area, captured that and then they wanted to capture the Port of Ostenne in Belgium because that is only thirty miles across the channel so the Canadians captured the Port of Ostenne and they brought all of the supplies in there for the big drive in the spring. So we spent the winter there.

Mr. Chiasson explains how his regiment was called in to hold the Nijmegen bridge for the winter to allow supplies to be built up for the anticipated spring drive.

Havelyn Chiasson

Mr. Chiasson was born May 14, 1921 in Misquamicut Island, New Brunswick. He attended an English and French school while his father worked as a fisherman. When war was declared in 1939, Mr. Chiasson was recruited to the Carleton York Regiment in Bathurst and later with the North Shore Regiment, a regiment he would remain with until end of wartime. Mr. Chiasson held the position of wireless operator and found himself travelling overseas which would become a 5 ½ year experience. Mr. Chiasson was part of the D-Day and Battle of Normandy landings where he reached the beaches in St. Aubin-sur-Mer, Normandy. He carried on through to Holland. Mr. Chiasson remains very active about his service years, speaking to our youth about the importance of service to our country.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
March 20, 2014
Person Interviewed:
Havelyn Chiasson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
North Shore Regiment
Wireless Operator

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