A couple of us took the German flag off the city hall in Assen.  We took it down, and I took it home, and kept it for a number of years, but then my wife had me get rid of it.

Interview – April 2005.
Private Allan Ted Lancefield 
WWII Veteran
2nd division, The Essex Scottish

Liberator of the Netherlands

From one end to the other, from the Scheldt to Groningen and then down the Rhineland.  I was with the 2nd Division, the Essex Scottish Regiment. 1945 we were in Germany. We entered Holland in September of 1944, at Putten. There’s many stories back in my head. I can’t think of anything outstanding at the moment. I went back there a few years ago, we were invited , the regiment was invited to , I can’t think of the names… That’s a long time ago! It was the infantry, it was nothing but fighting, I drove a small tank.  We towed an anti-tank gun, there were 4 in my carrier, and then there were 3 in the ammunition, so there were 7 in our section.  They were open carriers. We went right out the, oh dear, I’ll have to look them up on the map and get the names. We went right out the Scheldt, to Walcheren, then we came back for a rest and regrouping, we ran out of gas, didn’t have any ammunition.  We had to tow one another. When we got back, halfway between Brussels and Antwerp to regroup and then we went up a long overnight drive to Groesbeek.  Then we spent the winter there, all around Groesbeek at Mook, it was cold.  That’s a funny story; someday we had our gasoline in jerry cans and the water, our drinking water was also in jerry cans, but they were brown in colour We had to move unexpectedly and in the dark I picked up the gas cans to fill the gas tanks and someone had stolen the gas and replaced them with water.  So I dumped 5 gallons of water between the 2 tanks.  The temperature was way down below zero that night and everything froze up and here I am, molten with fear in a bush, in woodland, somebody had made a shack, and I had to take the gas tanks out, the gas lines, the carburator, everything out, I wouldn’t do it under ordinary circumstance, but there was a big wooden cook stove in the kitchen, fired with wood.


I took the tanks and everything, and set them on the stove, and I ‘cooked ‘em, it could have also blown me to pieces, there was  lots of gas in there, but nothing happened.  The ice melted, I had to pour it out, but working out in under zero weather, it was rather cold.  We were in a bush out someplace of, I don’t know where, it was in the woods.  They had boxes of shells and shell casings and made a shack out of that.  Somebody had put that stove in there and we took it over from them!  And then we put everything back into the carrier and we went on. It was in December.  Well, I don’t know, things just happened and you went along with them. It happened somewhere in Antwerp, they had pipelines under the channel, that’s how they brought the gasoline across, from England into Normandy.  They had 2 of them. That was done immediately after D-day.  They had big tractor trailers, with gas tanks, they held 20,000 liters in the trucks.  And they just ran them night and day, bring them up close to the front, and put them in tanks there for the trucks and tanks and the pumped the tank to fill the small jerry cans from the underground tanks.
The heaviest fighting was in the “Reichswald” and the “Hochswald”, heavy, heavy fighting. This was after I was in Holland.  Then we came back to Arnhem and then went north. We went right through from Arnhem, right up to Assen, Groningen.  A couple of us took the German flag off the city hall in Assen.  We took it down and I took it home and kept it for a number of years, but then my wife had me get rid of it.
We took it down from city hall, there were a couple of  Dutchmen there and we took it down.  I have a picture of me and my carrier in Assen. There will little spouts, not heavy fighting at all, just a nuisance rather than….half a dozen here, half a dozen some place else, just with rifles, no artillery or anything like that.  I have quite a number of pictures.
We had an anti-tank gun, about 35 mm. Fired about a 35 mm. Shell. We shot at the tanks.  We shot whatever they were saying we should shoot at.  Not necessarily…if it was a truck, or, we usually didn’t stick around to find out if we’d hit anything, we’d just keep moving.  Oh, I met a girl in Groningen, I spent time with her and her family, we nearly got married, everything was against it.  We met in April, before we went into Germany.
I don’t know…it was so difficult, I mean, being in the infantry, we were never in one place for very long, always on the move.  In December we were called out to go south into Aachen, the Battle of the Bulge.  We didn’t get in the fighting, we were just a few miles from there when the weather cleared and then we went back into Groesbeek.


My kilt is now in the museum in Groesbeek. I have talked to many of the Canadian kids at schools and boy scouts, I couldn’t tell them anything, I answered their questions, that’s the way I’d done it. Stay the hell out of it!  (upon asked what advice he would give about the war) As the old saying goes, war is hell. There is hunger, disease, everything bad.  I don’t know, we had our bad times, a lot of them, and conditions were….I never was…. for nearly something like a year, over a year, I never slept in a heated house with heated water, toilets and so on, we never had it.  We were out, living on our own.  It was awfully difficult at times where….we were hungry and we wanted to eat, but you didn’t dare get the food out, because of the starving people there.  We had little to share, we did what we could, we were only … we got out rations in the boxes and so on and they …that was it, they just, I mean there were times, for a day, a day and a half when we wouldn’t be able to eat.  We could…, in our rations there were special chocolate bars, they were full of vitamins and everything.  To us they wouldn’t taste too good, but we would get that.  There was everything, my father, who was well known in Burlington and Hamilton and he would go to the chocolate store.  They weren’t rationed, but everything was in short supply.  When he could he would buy me a box of chocolates and send them over to me.  Strange as it may seem, every time I would get a box of chocolates, very shortly after that, we would be in a heavy battle.  When we were going down the Rhineland and the Hochwald and the Reichswald, that’s when I had gotten 2 boxes of chocolates! 
I’ll look up, see if I can think of any, you can call me back.  I’m home nearly every evening at this time.  Burlington

  photo: July 24th, 2005
Burlington Jazz and Blues Festival
a rainy afternoon