Wednesday, June 23News That Matters

Nick Lees: 2d World Battle damaged-down remembers liberation of Netherlands at Edmonton’s Kipnes Centre

“What he did within the battle truly mattered to him. He turns into emotional and is at cases unable to complete a tale”

Creator of the article:

Nick Lees  •  Edmonton Journal

Ray Lewis, now 96, in the uniform he wore after joining the Canadian army aged 17 to fight in the Second World War. He was sent to fight in Italy in 1944 as the driver of a vehicle carrying a Bren-gun and an anti-tank weapon. He went on to join Canadian troops who liberated Holland on May 4, 1945.
Ray Lewis, now 96, within the uniform he wore after joining the Canadian military archaic 17 to fight within the 2d World Battle. He became as soon as despatched to fight in Italy in 1944 as the motive force of a vehicle carrying a Bren-gun and an anti-tank weapon. He went on to hitch Canadian troops who liberated Holland on Would possibly possibly perchance unbiased 4, 1945. Photo by Supplied photo

The German Navy had its encourage to the ocean and Canadian fifth Division Bren-gun truck driver and mechanic Ray Lewis thought the 2d World Battle in Europe became as soon as winding down.

“My unbiased correct friend and I were within the Netherlands in direction of the tip of the battle in 1945 and had signed up to head on to action within the Pacific,” said Lewis, who grew up on a farm shut to Athabasca.

“One day we went up to this elevated railroad song and seemed correct down to gaze a German tank presumably 500 yards away. We seen a puff of smoke and ducked today, nearly at the the same time as a shell hit presumably 20 feet away.

“We went encourage to our depraved within the diminutive northern town of Delfzijl and took our names off the Pacific record.”

Wonderful week, 96-year-outmoded Lewis told his tale at the Kipnes Centre for Veterans after being honoured with other 2d World Battle veterans for their service in helping liberate the Netherlands from Nazi rule. Wonderful year’s 75th-anniversary liberation events were postponed because of this of the continued pandemic.

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With a diminutive bit support from his daughter Daybreak Miller, Lewis told his tale about an incident that would have made any individual cautious.

At 17, and with his mother’s resignation, he had been in a location to hitch the Canadian military on his third below-age strive. His utilizing and mechanical talents seen him head in a foreign country at the age of 18 to hitch B.C’s Westminster Regiment in Would possibly possibly perchance unbiased 1944.

“I had on no story had a rifle in my hands, but I realized to pressure a Bren-gun carrier,” he says. “We had a 30-calibre machine gun mounted on the front and a PIAT, a projector, infantry, anti-tank weapon.

Ray Lewis, now 96, is pictured here in 2015 when he visited the Netherlands to take part in a parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Canadian troops liberating the country from Nazi rule. “People were so grateful, they rushed out to touch the hand of a man who had fought to free them,” says his daughter Dawn Miller, who had travelled with her dad.
Ray Lewis, now 96, is pictured right here in 2015 when he visited the Netherlands to take share in a parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Canadian troops freeing the country from Nazi rule. “Folks were so grateful, they rushed out to the touch the hand of a one who had fought to free them,” says his daughter Daybreak Miller, who had travelled with her dad. Photo by Supplied photo

“In Italy, I changed a man who had been killed in action. I became as soon as wounded by shrapnel and the fellow who took my spot became as soon as killed. One other fellow who took his spot became as soon as moreover killed.”

Returning to the regiment with his wounds peaceable seeping, and altering the bandages himself, he became as soon as later posted to northern Holland with many of the Canadian Navy.

Transferring forward in some unspecified time in the future checking to be definite that a house supplied no possibility, a German with a Luger pistol seemed from a room.

“He called us comrades and seemed fancy a nice man,” said Lewis. “Love the relaxation of us, he correct desired to head house.”

Miller said her father joined the Canadian ranks later within the battle and subsequently became as soon as real looking among the final to be repatriated from Holland.

“He tells of his unit giving a discarded uniform to a lady who remade it for her boy and today time, he peaceable relishes speaking about how adorable the teen seemed,” she said.

“What he did within the battle truly mattered to him. He turns into emotional and is at cases unable to complete a tale.”

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Lewis returned to Canada sooner than he became as soon as 21 and notes he legally could well perchance perchance no longer vote or recall liquor.

Kids’s thanks

Dutch schoolchildren had final week despatched a letter of thanks to every of the 23 Canadian 2d World Battle veterans residing at the Kipnes Centre for their share in freeing their country from Nazi brutality in early Would possibly possibly perchance unbiased 1945.

At a ceremony at the centre, Honorary Lt. Col. Ralph Young of the South Alberta Light Horse Regiment (SAR) saluted every recipient, whereas Jerry Bouma, the Netherlands honourary consul in Edmonton, shook hands and congratulated every damaged-down.

“More than 7,600 Canadians misplaced their lives to free the Netherlands,” said Bouma. “The Canadians fought in fierce battles whereas many Dutch folks died of starvation when isolated German troops had their meals affords carve off and brutally grew to turn out to be on the folk of the country they occupied.”

South Alberta Light Horse Regiment Honourary Lt. Col. Ralph Young salutes on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, during a commemorative event at the Dianne and Irving Kipnes Centre for Veterans for 21 Canadian soldiers who helped liberate the Netherlands in 1945. Each of the veterans were presented with a personal handwritten letter from a Dutch student and one from the Dutch Embassy.
South Alberta Light Horse Regiment Honourary Lt. Col. Ralph Young salutes on Wednesday, Would possibly possibly perchance unbiased 5, 2021, in some unspecified time in the future of a commemorative occasion at the Dianne and Irving Kipnes Centre for Veterans for 21 Canadian squaddies who helped liberate the Netherlands in 1945. Each of the veterans were presented with a deepest handwritten letter from a Dutch student and one from the Dutch Embassy. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

Young retraced the well-known unbiased squaddies conducted in freeing the Netherlands after the pressure had landed at Normandy’s Juno Seaside on D-Day June 6, 1944.

“(South Alberta Light Horse Regiment), with its roots relationship encourage to 1885, is regarded as Alberta’s regiment for its lengthy and well-liked ancient past and areas in Edmonton, Treatment and Lethbridge,” he said.

“It efficiently cleared the closely-guarded Scheldt Estuaries shut to Antwerp to permit Allied ships to achieve the well-known shipping port to offer extreme affords to reinforce the advancing Allied armies.

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“Further actions led it to the border of Germany and WW VE Day victory on Would possibly possibly perchance unbiased 8, 1945.”

The Canadian RCAF had sought to alleviate the densely populated spot of Randstad, where some 18,000 Dutch civilians died of starvation and malnutrition when the Germans commandeered meals affords.

“It is due to this of Canada’s action in some unspecified time in the future of the battle, which moreover incorporated web spot hosting the Dutch Royal Family in exile, that led our international locations to the actual relationship we accumulate pleasure from today time,” said Bouma.

It’s no accident the ceremony right here became as soon as on Would possibly possibly perchance unbiased 5. That is Liberation Day within the Netherlands and, in 2019, Canada proclaimed it as Dutch Heritage Day.

nlees@postmedia.com

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