Kawartha Lakes Public Library - Digital Collections
Page 215: Balfour, Walter

Full Text
Fall 1944

  Lance Corporal Walter Balfour, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Balfour, Wolfe St., Lindsay, is one of the latest "war heroes" to figure in an amazing story of courage and daring, and to have his name appear on the front page and practically every British and Canadian newspaper during the past few days.
  L.Cpl. Balfour was one of thirteen Canadians who fought off swarms of Nazi paratroopers in a 16-hour battle in a deserted factory where death's heads stared down from every side. They told an amazing story of how they established a bridgehead across the blood-steeped canal north of the city.
  Boyd Lewis, staff writer for the British United Press, sent a despatch from Bergen on Zoom, Holland, which continues to read as follows. -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.

Resigned to Death

  They survived because they were resigned to death and in that situation "you just don’t give a d---" Lambert said. "You fight all-out." Tonight, 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."
  "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 good. They shatter in tinkling little pieces like he had thrown a Ming vase at you. I had one burst between my boots."

Mud Clogs Rifles

  "I ordered the men to run all over the darkened building, shouting and yelling like h---, 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 d--- 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 ‘pink’ – not enough snap to detonate the cartridge."
  "We knew we had it. We had 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."

Swim Across Channel

  Lambert finally sent Sgt. Charles Kipp of Albert St., Toronto, 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 fellows I thought they were ghosts," Kipp said, picking up the story. "I just stood there and bawled: ‘Captain Lambert, you so and so!"
  Other members of the heroic patrol included Cpl. J. E. Irwin, St. Catherines; Cpl. E. P. Arnold, Huntsville; Ptes. Harold Cadeu, Penetanguishene; R. J. Brow, Essex; Lance-Cpl. Walter Balfour, Lindsay; and Pte. J. E. Kitcher, New Toronto.

Media Type:
Genealogical Resource
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:
Personal Name(s):
Walter Balfour ; J. E. Irwin ; E. P. Arnold ; Harold Cadeu ; R. J. Brow ; J. E. Kitcher ; Charles Kipp ; Owen Lambert
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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Page 215: Balfour, Walter