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.
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
Liberator of the Netherlands