At one point during my time in Holland
I sent home approx 24 tulip bulbs

Interview  by Don Phillips April 2005

 with Martin Schlinker - WWII Veteran
Calgary Highlanders
Liberator of the Netherlands

 


My name is Martin Schlinker and I entered the European campaign with the Calgary Highlanders.  I landed in Calais in late 1944.  From there we moved to Ghent Belgium where we first experienced the reality that is war.  Slowly we moved from Belgium into Holland making our way to Doetinchem via Nijmegen.  It all seems like a blur now and I remember that most of our movements through the countryside were made at night with little contact with the local population.  At Doetinchem we met a great deal of resistance and we as a unit paid the toll that only war can bring.. From here we entered Germany and a short time after I was wounded and sent behind the lines to Brugge Belgium to convalesce. I then took 14 days leave prior to returning to duty. During this period the war ended.  Upon my return to my unit I was dispatched back to Holland and after about 3 months I was given the choice of returning home, going to the Pacific war or remaining with the occupation force in Holland.  I chose the latter, transferred from the Calgary Highlanders to the Stormont  Dundas and Glengarry  Highlanders and stayed in Holland  until August 1946.  As an occupation force our duties were many and varied.  I, being of farm stock, was given the opportunity in the fall of 1945 to stay with and help a family by the name of Stouffer near the town of Vierhouten in order to bring in the fall harvest. The appreciation shown me by them has been unforgettable and will remain with me always.
At one point during my time in Holland I sent home approx 24 tulip bulbs and unknown to me my father dug a square out of the front lawn and in the spring after my return to Canada our front yard was ablaze with the color of Dutch Tulips. To this day there are still tulips in my garden. The vivid memories of the people and the hospitality of a country called Holland have never left me and have helped overshadow the horrors of war. I have been touched deeply and I shall never forget.

Photo: June 22nd, 2005 - Mr. Martin Schlinker standing next to
His Worship Mr. Garth Vallely, Mayor of Medicine Hat.