WAR DIARY

The Brigade Commander was concerned at the strength of the opposition 4KOSB were encountering during their advance on Middelburg. The War Diary records the Brigade Commander then decided to order a reconnaisance patrol consisting of three officers (Senior Brigade Liaison Officer, 7/9th Battalion Intelligence Officer and the commander of the Buffalo Troop attached to Brigade) to determine whether it was possible for a battalion transported in Buffalos to get in position on the road north of Middelburg to launch an attack on Middelburg.

The patrol had to negotiate its way forward through heavy flood water, minefields and an extensive network of explosive devices positioned 5 to 6 feet above the ground erected to deter airborne landings.

Having decided that it would be possible with good navigation in day light hours for a force to get into a position north of Middelburg to launch an attack, the patrol began making its way back to report to the Brigade Commander. However, the Buffalo manoeuvring to avoid overhead explosive charges got marooned on a concrete bridge that could not be seen under the dark, murky flood water. Efforts to dislodge the Buffalo having failed, the Brigade Liasion Officer and the 7/9th Battalion Intelligence Officer were rescued by the Resistance and taken by rowing boat to Koudekirke where they were advised they would have to wait until the tide was favourable before a crossing of the gap in the sea wall could be attempted. Before first light they began wading their way through the flood waters back to Brigade Headquarters, being guided and helped by the Resistance as they undertook the hazardous crossing over the substantial breach made by the RAF in the sea wall, encountering fast flowing tidal water which precariously swept around them as it made its way back into the Schedlt Estuary.

The Brigade Commander ordered "A" Company of the 7/9th Battalion the Royal Scots to undertake the task to liberate Middelburg. It became known as 'Task Force Johnston' being named after Major Hugh Johnston, OC "A" Company. He had under his command 11th Machine Gun Platoon 7th Battalion The Manchester Regiment and ‘A’ Squadron 11th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment.

 
They moved through the flood water in Buffalos and overcoming mines and overhead explosive charges and advanced on the western flank of Middleburg. This unexpected approach of amphibious track vehicles filled with Jocks forced the surrender of General Daser, Commander 70th German Infantry Division and Fortress Walcheren, with 2000 of his men. One Royal Scot was killed in the battle.

 

 

 

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