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Back To The Front Line

Heroes Remember

Back To The Front Line

Our next subject was to take out the Breskens Pocket, which was part of the Scheldt estuary to make Antwerp a usable port. Because the, they had pretty well captured Antwerp but they didn’t go the extra mileage to get over the causeway and that result is it cost a lot more lives of the British and Canadians because of wanting to go further into Germany rather than do what you’re supposed to do first. Planning wasn’t always the best as far as the soldier was concerned. But the strategists figured that they had it well planned. But, in effect, if they were, had to go into the Polders and fight in the Polders of the Scheldt pocket, and there’s no coverage. They were sitting high on the dyke where you're clawing through water. It was an unbelievable experience fighting the Scheldt pocket alone. Interviewer: And as long as, if I may Mr. Ross, as long as that area of the Scheldt was kept, or held by the Germans, Antwerp would be... (It was not... unusable.) Interviewer: And why was Antwerp important to the Allies at that point? Well, I must, the lines of supply were stretched from the Mulberry docks. Sherbrooke was not unusable, to any great extent, it was further away. They had to get more lines of supply closer to the fighting forces. They whole front was, suddenly stopped. Patton was looking for supplies. Montgomery was looking for supplies. They’re all wanting, they all figured they all had priorities, you know, if you look in history, they all thought they had priorities and, you know. Unbelievable, the only thing that did take place was commonsense through Eisenhower, I think, He’s still, when he used the broad approach on all fronts. Interviewer: So the orders were for the Canadians... The orders then for Canadians to take out the Beveland and Scheldt pocket and Scheldt estuary and the, there would be British forces involved with the Canadians. At that particular time, our Crerar was ill and General Simmons came into the picture and he was quite an aggressive individual and I think he got in the good books of Montgomery because he got a little more support when he was needed. But sometimes too late.

Back in France, Mr. Ross is re-assigned to a mortar platoon as it moves into Belgium and the battle for Antwerp

Joseph William Ross

Mr. Ross was born in Montreal on February 15, 1925. His father served during the First World War and was seriously wounded at the second battle at Ypres. When Canada declared war on Germany in September, 1939, Mr. Ross was only 14 years old, working as an office boy for six dollars a week. Later, he worked as an apprentice fitter in the aircraft division of Vickers, near Montreal. Mr. Ross enlisted in the Army on his 18th birthday in 1943. After training in Quebec and Nova Scotia, he was sent as part of the reinforcement troops to England where he was assigned to ‘C’ Company of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. His overseas action included landing at Juno Beach on D-Day, and serving throughout both Normandy and Northwest Europe (Belgium and Holland). During an encounter with German forces, Mr. Ross sustained injuries from flying shrapnel.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Joseph William Ross
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Battle of Normandy
Queen's Own Rifles of Canada

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