Page 217: Balfour, Walter
- Full Text
October, 31, 1944
CPL. W. BALFOUR IN HEROIC DUTCH FACTORY STAND
Among Thirteen Others Resigned to Death but Fighting On; Survives
LDR. of Regiment Relates Tale of Harrowing Stand
GOD'S MERCY THAT HE IS SPARED, IS MOTHER'S COMMENT ON BOY'S ESCAPE.
The following article written by Boyd Lewis, BUP correspondent, will be of much interest in this district in view of the fact that one of those taking part in the epic engagement, is a Lindsay boy.
Pte. Walter Balfour, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Balfour, Wolfe St., town, is one of the boys serving with the Cana¬dian Army overseas, and was only recently reported wounded in action, but remaining on duty with his regi¬ment.
With the Canadians at Bergen op Zoom, Oct. 29 — Thirteen men who fought off swarms of Nazi paratroopers in a 16-hour battle in a deserted factory where deaths’ heads started down from every came out of the lines to-day with the amazing tale of how they established a Canadian bridgehead across the blood-steeped canal north of this city.
Thirteen men, we'll call them members of the "Pinks and Swells" Regiment for security reasons, led by Capt. Owen Lambert, were all that survived of the force that crossed the canal last night.
They survived because they were resigned to death and in that situation
you just don’t give a damn. Lambert said.
You fight all-out. To-night, relieved by Canadians in strength who crossed the canal and took over their slim strip on the north bank, they still could not see how they have lived through it.
It was a battle of madmen in a dark, cavernous stove factory, where vats filled with deadly acid stood about, their sides marked with the skull and crossbones to indicate the contents.
The original force had been told to wade or swim across the two channels of the canal and establish a bridgehead at all costs. They got across, not without losses, and reached the factory which Lambert said was
about the size of a football field.
DUCK NAZI GRENADES
Suddenly we realized we were surrounded in the dead of night, Lambert said.
Jerry was blasting holes in the walls with bazookas and throwing grenades in on top. It’s lucky for us Jerry’s grenades aren’t any damn good. They shatter in tinkling little pieces like he had thrown a Ming vase at you.
I had one burst between my boots.
I ordered the men to run all over the darkened building, shouting and yelling like hell, to make Jerry think we had a regiment, Lambert continued.
We never fired two bursts from the same spot. As a matter of fact we fired damn few bursts.
Our Sten guns and rifles had clogged with mud so badly in getting across the canal that most of the Stens wouldn’t fire at all, would just go ‘ping’ – not enough snap to detonate the cartridge.
We knew we had it. We’d been gone so long without reinforcements that I knew we had been crossed off as dead or captured.
But we fought on, calling the paratroopers every dirty thing we could think of. We would yell ‘Come in and get killed. We aren’t special troops – we’re pinks and swells. Come on in you riffraff, and taste Canadian knives.’ Whenever we’d say that he’d fire in a grenade and give a location and that meant one less Nazi.
Lambert finally sent Sgt. Charles Kipp of London, Ont., to try to slip back to the regiment for help.
Kipp walked out of the factory and down a wide street
like he owned the town, swam one branch of the canal and waded the second without being molested. Picking up a platoon under Maj. M. J. McCutcheon, Niagara Falls, Ont., Kipp led the way back to the factory where the reinforcements fought through the streets littered with dead paratrooper victims of the
lost patrol and brought relief.
When I saw Captain Lambert coming out of the building with the other dellows I thought, my God, they’re ghosts, Kipp said, picking up the story.
I just stood there and bawled ‘Captain Lambert, you so and so. IN HEROIC BAND Other members of the heroic patrol included Cpl. J.E. Erwin, St. Catherines; Cpl. E.P. Arnold, Huntsville; Pte. Harold Cadeu, Penetanguishene; Pte. R.J. Brow, Essex; Lance-Cpl. Walter Balfour, Lindsay; and Pte. J.E. Kitcher, New Toronto.
The colonel of a western regiment, in describing the capture of Bergen Op Zoom told of a platoon of 23 men who started running across the open 150 feet across a field to take the first houses in the town, only four reached their objective. Seven lay dead and 12 wounded in the field behind them. A Sergeant Thorne of a western regiment went beserk when a small bullet pierced his nose and he killed half a dozen German single-handed.
You know how it is when you get a punch on the snoot, the colonel said.
- Media Type:
- Item Types:
- This card is part of a larger collection of World War II personnel clippings. The project began in 1944 at the Lindsay Library. The intent was to gather together as much information as possible on the military record and the service of people from the Town of Lindsay and the County of Victoria (now Kawartha Lakes)who served in the war. To that end, during the years 1944, 1945, and 1946, members of the public donated photographs and updated information about their loved ones. Both library staff and the public saved and donated newspaper clippings. Some of the files contain great amounts of detail, while others have just a name.
- Date of Publication:
- 31 Oct 1944
- Personal Name(s):
- J.E. Erwin ; E.P. Arnold ; Harold Cadeu ; R.J. Brow ; Walter Balfour ; J.E. Kitcher
- World War II Service Files
- Language of Item:
- Copyright Statement:
- Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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