Sergeant John Hatt WWII Veteran
7th anti-tank regiment of the First Canadian Army Corps /
sent to Sicily with the 104th anti-tank battery

Liberator of the Netherlands
and his wife, a Dutch girl named Willie Klein

May 7th, 2005, Canada Holland Remembers

You want my Dutch war story eh
Interview with Mr. John Hatt  - (21st March 2005)

You want my Dutch war story eh?
Well then you must know I'm married to a Dutch girl named Willie Klein, eh?
Yes, it's all still fresh in my mind, you never forget.

I had signed up in Fredericton with the Canadian army and in 1941 we went to Colchester, an army town in England. The 7th anti-tank regiment of the First Canadian Army Corps was formed that same year.  My rank was sergeant and I was sent to Sicily in Italy with the 104th anti-tank battery. Well, we had gone through two lines and after one and a half years in Italy we went by troop-ship from Naples to Marseille and then up through France, Belgium, and parts of Holland that had been liberated already. We were an anti-tank unit and had been using self-propelled weapons, much like a Sherman tank, only it had an open turret as opposed to a closed turret. When we left Italy they didn't come with us. As far as the fighting goes, it was much easier, because we were actually artillery troops, we weren't infantry troops, but we were used as infantry troops in Holland. Really, if you want somebody to talk about the Holland-push, the big push started in France, in Northwest Europe, through Belgium and up through Holland, we weren't there for that, we were fighting in Italy, where we had our own problems at the Monastery (of Monte Cassino). There are many men that did a lot more than I did in Holland... We reached the static line at Arnhem, and I spent time on the dykes near the famous bridge in Arnhem, "a bridge too far...." I remember one night they asked us to count the fires in the city that had been caused by the shells and one night I could see more than one hundred fires...that was in April. We took Arnhem and then continued through the country, until the war was over on May 5th, 1945. I hope I got my dates right, my memory is not all that it used to be.
I'm almost 89 years old

John Hatt, Fredericton, Ontario