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Christmas In Nijmegen

Heroes Remembers - Liberation of the Netherlands

Christmas In Nijmegen

See, Nijmegen and Mook were a connecting point. The people that were on duty were in Mook, facing a small group of Germans further down, and the others were on leave in Nijmegen, so to speak. They were so close together, twenty five miles or so between, maybe fifteen. My regimental aid post was in a house had been a telephone exchange for the town and also had a pump organ. This was the room I used as my operating room, if you like calling it an operating room. The house was in good shape. It had a roof. And, I remember it had a room off the main room which served as a bedroom. The Padre and I each used that room. We had a bed on each side. It was approaching Christmas and we were getting Christmas parcels with cake in them, and the mice were having a field day. The mice were running up and down the walls, under the, the paper was glued to burlap, which was in turn fastened to the wall and the mice were in behind the burlap running up and down, and we were using our boots... And so, we were preparing for Christmas and we held our Christmas celebrations in Nijmegen. The companies that were not on duty had their Christmas celebrations and then they went down and relieved the others and they came up, and it was a wonderful Christmas. Things were going well, obviously, we were winning the war.

Dr. Theal describes Christmas celebrations in Nijmegen, Holland

Dr. Gordon Irvine Theal

Dr. Theal was born in Grimsby, Ontario on April 2, 1916. His father, a farmer, operated a feed mill and later became a grocer, at which time Dr. Theal was old enough to help in the family business. At the insistence of some friends, he enrolled in Queens University’s medical school in Toronto. With the outbreak of war, he joined the Officer Training Corps. After graduating, Dr. Theal married and moved to British Columbia, where he went from camp to camp, encouraging enlistment in the regular forces. After shipping overseas and a couple postings in England, he was shipped to France during the D-Day invasion. His brigade accompanied the Allied advance from France to Holland. During this time, Dr. Theal and his team performed triage. This was the first contact the wounded had with a doctor and he would provide emergency medical treatment before the wounded moved back to the larger field hospitals. After completing his tour, Dr. Theal returned home to Ontario, to his wife and daughter, and took up private practice. He currently resides in Courtney, British Columbia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Dr. Gordon Irvine Theal
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Liberation of the Netherlands
Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps

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