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Beighton, W.

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Flying Potato-Mashers first indication that pill-box was occupied

Hail of lead surrounds unit he is with pinning dead and living alike in shell craters

Cpl. Wm. Beighton, whose wife resides at 71 St. Paul St. Lindsay, has figured in many close calls in battle on the continent, not the least of which is this recent episode coming through from Boyd Lewis, British United Press Correspondent, covering a section of the western front in which Canadians are engaged in some of the bitterest fighting of the war.

Before proceeding with the main story, The Post would like to give a brief resume of Cpl. Beighton’s war career.

In July on the 24th day, he was reported missing in action and not long after this, was reported safe – Sept. 7. He was reported wounded in action and confined to hospital. On all of these occasions this paper carried the story and carried it first.

The fact that he was in action again came as a great surprise to his wife and family here, as she still presumed him to be recovering from his wounds – another indication of the efficiency of the combined British and Canadian medical service at the front.

The story is recounted as follows:


Hail of Lead Surrounds Maritime Unit, Pinned in Shellholes then Smash Pillboxes

by Boyd Lewis
British United Press

In Old German Atlantic Wall, with Canadians, Oct. 26 (delayed)—The Germans are buying time with their lives in an effort to delay Allied use of the great port of Antwerp, and today I went to the front where the Nazis are putting up one of the most stubborn stands inside the concrete and steel pillboxes of Fort Frederick Hendrik outside captured Breskens.

(The German DNB Agency today said that Canadian troops had captured Fort Frederick Hendrik).

Twice platoons from a maritime regiment penetrated the moated fort, and the fought they [their] way out with losses after bitter struggles around and even on top of pillboxes, all the while under fire from strongpoints on the perimeter.

Crouching in the thick concrete fortifications built by the Germans to prevent a seaborne landing along the south side of the channel toward Antwerp, I head the story of the weird battle for the fort from the bronzed unshaven lads from an eastern regiment, just out of the line.

An uneasy calm pervaded the scene with only the occasional hiss of an enemy rifle bullet from the fort a few thougsand yards along the coast or the spasmodic burst if a shell from a German battery far behind.


The commander of the Maritime unit, Major Maurice Clennett of Halifax, called this fight tougher than Calais and Gris Nez.

Clennett stepped from a dugout to greet men and my guide, Jack Donohue of Vancouver. He suggested we mave [move] to an unexposed place and the faint hiss of a bullet emphasized the warning.

Twice the Canadians entered Fort Frederick Hendrik after the capture of Breskens. The first penetration was on Friday when a patrol entered along a dyke, deceived by its unfortified appearance.

But once in, the men were pinned down in bomb craters for two hours by the vicious fire of enemy 75’s, machine guns and ack-ack from high points on the perimeter. They crawled out at duck and were obliged to heave their dead behind in shell holes.

Yesterday Clennett tried again with two small detachments, one offering covering fire from the seaward side of the dyke which the other was assigned to smash the pillboxes, one by one. The latter group finally found itself in a crater, atop a sunken pillbox, dodging potato masher grenades.


For more than three hours Clennett’s men played a grim game of beanbag with the grenades. The crater lay against the concrete wall of an enemy strongpoint, and the Germans lobbed their explosive sticks from a steel-doored passage at the opposite side.

Until the Jerries began hurling potato mashers we didn’t know the pillbox below us was occupied said Corp. William Beighton, of Lindsay, who took part in both forays. Others in the crater were Ptes. [cut off].

Boyd Lewis
Media Type:
Genealogical Resource
Item Types:
W.J. Beighton of Lindsay was among the many veterans of this district who registered at the Reception and Reunion that was held in Lindsay on Saturday 19 January 1946.
Lindsay Post
Date of Publication:
Date Of Event:
2 Oct 1944
Personal Name(s):
William Beighton ; Maurice Clennett
World War II Service Files
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.35012 Longitude: -78.73286
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Beighton, W.

W.J. Beighton of Lindsay was among the many veterans of this district who registered at the Reception and Reunion that was held in Lindsay on Saturday 19 January 1946.