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
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
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.