|It is a remarkable coincidence, subsequently discovered, that the route taken by myself and the Brigade L.O. as we waded our way back from Koudekerke to Flushing, was the same route taken by the 3rd Battalion The Royal Scots when they were part of an expedition force under Lord Chatham. In 1809 when Napoleon was seeking to bring the Austrians to a decisive battle on the Danube, the Austrians urged Britain to try and prevent the French from moving reinforcements to the Danube. The British Government decided the best way to help was to send an expedition force to hold down the considerable French forces in the Scheldt Estuary. The 3rd RS landed at Domburg on Walcheren on 30 July 1809, advanced to Koudekerke and became involved in the siege of Flushing.
|On the River Maas
|We then moved on to 'hold the line' on the lower reaches of the River Maas, centred on s'Hertogenbosch. Not 'in the line' as our fathers experienced in 1914-18, occupying rows and rows of trenches behind barbed wire and in conditions that can only be described as 'hell-like'. We occupied slit trenches sited to defend important and commanding features on the ground deemed necessary to secure the area from enemy penetration. We actively patrolled between these points and towards the enemy's positions. A notable event occurred when one of our patrols to the River Maas detained two civilians they suspected of having just crossed the river. We had a reasonably fluent German linguist in the Intelligence Section and after a preliminary interrogation we alerted Division HQ that they appeared to be more than 'just two civilian refugees' and handed them over for more expert questioning. Subsequently I was told that they were identified as members of the Brandenburg Sabotage Division, an elite German formation, and these three men were the first to be captured on our front. As they were to be picked up by boat near to where they had been captured, we prepared a reception party at the spot but were obviously misled about the response signal to be made and the Germans opened fire which we returned and the next day an upturned boat was seen floating further down the river.
|We had a Polish infantry unit on the left of our brigade position and they frequently started up their own battles. They were understandably impatient to
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