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A Delivery to Montgomery

Heroes Remember

A Delivery to Montgomery

Well I first went to No. 2 Provost Company. In ’42 we were selected to go to the Isle of Wight for training for the Dieppe Raid and forty of us were handpicked to go on that raid out of a company, there’s one hundred and fifteen, three officers and one hundred and twelve men in a Provost Company which was very small in an eighteen thousand man division. We trained for the Dieppe Raid there and we actually started for Dieppe in July about a month before the real raid and we were four or five days on the ships waiting to go. On that raid we were going to use paratroopers but every night it was a go. We went from the Isle of Wight up to Newhaven and got aboard a tank landing craft with the Calgary tanks. We slept right on the steel deck underneath the tanks and every night it was a go and then it was a no go sort of thing because the wind was too hard for the paratroopers. So after about five days of this they called the whole thing off and we went back to the Isle of Wight and I remember I was sent for to go down to a Simmer Force Headquarters, we were known as Simmer Force. And General Roberts, Ham Roberts was our GOC and the Churchill Man was the GSO1. I went in and reported to them and they said, “You are to take this dispatch to General Montgomery.” And so they gave me a great big envelope which I stuffed in my riding suit and the navy took me over to the mainland near Portsmouth on a tank landing craft and I rode all the way to Reigate where General Montgomery was stationed. He was commander of Southeast Command. It rained all the way, I was soaking wet when I got there and I hadn’t shaved for a week because I had been on these ships all this time. And I remember it was a Sunday and I hammered on the front door of this big house he was living in and I got no answer and I went around to the back and a sergeant in the ATS, that was the Women’s Territorial Service, she was the cook. She came out and said, “What do you want?” I said, “I have a dispatch for the general.” She looked at me, I guess I looked like a half drowned rat, she said, “You better come in and dry off.” So I sat by the fire and she fed me some hot chocolate. Finally his ADC came in and said, “I understand you have a message for the general?” I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Give it to me.” I said, “I have to deliver it to the general in person and get a receipt.” So he marched me in and the general was sitting there and I gave it to him and he said, “Sit down over there,” while he read this thing. He must have read it for about half an hour. Then he asked me a lot of questions about what had happened, transpired and I filled him in as best I could and finally he dismissed me and I rode back to the regiment. Years later, I was appointed as his escort officer after the war when he came to bid farewell to the Canadian Army.

Mr. Wilkinson tells of his journey to deliver a letter to General Montgomery after being held up for five days at the Isle of Wight.

George Wilkinson

Mr. Wilkinson was born in England in 1918. Both his parents were from England. At the age of 16, Mr. Wilkinson was asked to join the infantry and at the age of 17 joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Division B Company. In 1939 he went overseas as a Lance Corporal in Transport Platoon of HQ Company. Having been wounded during training, Mr. Wilkinson found himself in a holding unit and with great anxiety for action, accepted an opportunity to become part of Provost Corps. Mr. Wilkinson joined No 2 Provost Company and served as a lieutenant landing in Normandy with No. 8 Company of Canadian Provost Company of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division. Mr. Wilkinson was repatriated to Canada in May 1945 surrendering his wartime commission and enlisting with the Canadian Army as Regimental Sergeant-Major. After holding subsequent positions in the Army he retired in 1967 as lieutenant-colonel.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 2, 2012
Person Interviewed:
George Wilkinson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War

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