|The S.O. told me that immediately after I had left on my mission to report to the Brigade Commander, the C.O. had gone forward to try and visit one of the rifle companies and the one forward wireless set working to Battalion HQ reported the C.O. appeared to have been severely wounded and was lying in the flood water, his signaller and runner beside him. If he had not sent me to Brigade HQ to report on the battle situation, I would have been by his side. He was at first feared dead but later established he had been wounded with several bullets in the chest, his life-jacket saving him from drowning. His runner was also severely wounded, and to the sorrow of S.O. and myself, the signaller had been killed: he was one of the best, that was why he was the 'C.O.'s Signaller'.
|Later we were to learn that as the C.O. lay in the flood water within the sight of the enemy and despite his wounds had raised himself up to shout "Up the Royals!" to his men in the near-by rifle company. The men were so angered when they saw and heard their C.O. had been wounded, some had believed him to be killed, they reacted and made a ferocious surge forward . . . and that did it! The objective was overrun and the Germans came pouring out with their hands held high above their heads in surrender. It was a moment as proud as any I have ever read about in the annals of our ancient history.
|Twenty of our lads lay dead on the battlefield, including two company commanders; twice as many officers and men were wounded. It was bitter news for me that five men of my former platoon were amongst the dead; their keen, young faces and distinctive personalities remain in my memory.
|On patrol to Middelburg
|On the evening of November 4, our newly-appointed C.O. (he was previously Second-in-Command of the Battalion), was ordered by the Brigade Commander to stand-by to lead a white-flag party to negotiate the surrender of the German garrison in Middelburg. The next morning I went with him to join the Brigadier to observe 4 KOSB advancing up both banks of the canal towards Middelburg, the capital of Walcheren. Although the approaches to Middelburg were being shelled, the advance was extremely difficult with a large number of concrete positions to be overcome.
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