We are bonded for life

I, Dick D. Sawatsky, being of Dutch (Friesland) origin count it a great honor and privilege to have been part of the Liberation of Holland. I was a D.R. – Dispatch Rider.

In November 1944 I was stationed at the airport in Antwerp, Belgium where one of the fieriest battles of World War ll took place for the capture of the shipping harbour and airport from the Germans. We were bombarded nonstop by V1’s & V2’s. Many of our boys were killed, including my three buddies who I had trained with. One night we heard a doodle-bug coming directly at us. If the motor kept running we knew it would keep going, but this one shut off and dropped. I hit the dirt and swear I was flatter than the four inches sidewalk I lay behind. The concussion caused me total deafness for two days and left me hearing-impaired. All through the Scheldt fighting was fierce. I was with the 21st Army, B. Montgomery was in command. My job with Intelligence was to carry memorized messages between Units from Officer to Officer. All coded ones were intercepted by the enemy. Only one time at night did I find myself behind enemy lines, but by the Grace of God and my faithful Harley Davidson I did make it back alive. Food was scarce, troops and civilians alike were starving. I dropped from 175lbs to 125lbs. One day I caught a chicken and later a small pig. Was our cook ever happy to add that to our rice diet. I watched Operation Market Garden, the Germans had been alerted and picked off our Paratroopers before they landed. The Rhine crossing took its toll. Holland was liberated by inches not feet. Shortly after Emmerich I was wounded and flown to Gent hospital. Having slept in a pup tent in muddy fields and always on the go I had not had my clothes off in three months, the nurses couldn’t believe my skin sores. Would I do it all over again? “You bet in a heart beat!” The Dutch and Canadian will always be there for one another, we are bonded for life.



Dick D. Sawatsky, D.R. -
Dispatch Rider, 21st Army
WWII Veteran
Liberator of the Netherlands
        photo: August 7th, 2005
Station Arts Centre
701 Railway Ave, Rosthern