Identifying the unit in a Dutch photo

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Chris C, Apr 14, 2020.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    A couple of days ago a new-to-me Dutch photo of Archers appeared on Twitter. I am creating this thread because I want to double check my work to identify which unit this was. If anyone has additional info or feels like double-checking me that would be great.

    First, the photo:

    This was accompanied by the following explanation:

    (April 9) "This day in 1945, my hometown was partly liberated by the Canadian army. At the loss of 1 Sherman and 10 Canadians, they liberated most of the town. A day later, the liberation was complete. Here we see Archers on the streets during the liberation."

    "The photo is from an unknown Dutch photographer. Taken the 9th of April 1945, near Nijverdal (Netherlands) on the road to Hellendoorn. I am not to sure of the unit, as many units came together here, but Fort Garry Horse or anti-tank elements of the Black Watch are possible."

    As you can see, it's from a distance and it's hard to make out any markings, except that on the front and side of the first Archer, it looks pretty definitely like C1.

    Roughly speaking I think there are four possibilities in descending order of likelihood
    (1) 2 Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment, 18 Battery, C Troop
    (2) 3 Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment, 4 Battery, C Troop
    (3) 1 Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment, 27 Battery, C Troop

    I think we can safely discard the possibility of it being a British unit within 1st Canadian Army - not even sure if there still were any at this stage, but if the Fort Garry Horse and Black Watch were in the town then this must have been a Canadian Corps operation.

    On to the evidence...
  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    I started saving 3 Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment war diary pages to disk last night so let me do that first.

    Screen Shot 2020-04-14 at 7.51.20 AM.png

    So from this we can see that 4 Battery was in Steenderen at this time and not on the move. According to google maps, that is about 53km away from Nijverdal.
  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    2 Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment, related to 18 Battery --

    Screen Shot 2020-04-14 at 8.00.50 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2020-04-14 at 8.02.01 AM.png
  4. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout


    For April 9, this is the Holten map with 105108 (regimental HQ) marked in green, and 105113 (18 Battery with all troops concentrated) if I haven't made any mistakes.

    This... isn't Nijverdal, but the photo might possibly have been taken on a different day? On to April 10.
  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    Huh, I think I'm actually stuck now, in terms of exact maps. Is there a digital version of 1:100k map "N 1" somewhere?

    It is encouraging that 10 April says the RHQ moved to "west of Nijverdal" and then moved on, though.

    edit: whoops, found it. Almelo
  6. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout


    And here (small green dots, second one being up at the top of the map) are the movements of the RHQ on 10 April. Unfortunately, 18 Battery's and 108 Battery's positions are given in another coordinate system.
  7. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Chris - Check out this link for a better map: Nijverdal

    ... and do you have name of the street name where the picture was taken?
  8. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    No, I don't have the street name, sorry.

    I still can't make sense of the 0516 grid reference - on neither map does it line up with Nijverdal. Maybe my reading of 'C' in the photo is actually wrong and it's 'G'? Or maybe I have to keep looking for a slightly later date in the WD.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  9. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Ask Mr Tijhuis ( I think) on twitter is he knows the street. I follow him there too.
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  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    I just assumed from what he wrote, that it was the main road north to Hellendoorn. stolpi, if you want to have a conversation with him, maybe I should try to get his email address or something - not sure... edit: I've asked him on twitter
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
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  11. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    Well I must have been frazzled when I was looking for map locations before, only this leaves me none the wiser about Nijverdal:

    For C troop, 18 battery - after being at 105113 (map 3704) north of Holten, the next day 18 Battery went northwest to the 0516 area (in the southwest of sheet 3604) and that day traveled with the infantry battalions to 0931 (which is on map 3504). It's hard to understand why they would have swung east a few km to go through Nijverdal which is in the 13 column of map 3604.

    Unless they were going by road and that was pretty much the only road worth using?
  12. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    Stolpi, do you know an "Isselberg" in this area? Honestly the writer of the war diary is not putting down all the names correctly.

    If we try to follow the path of G troop (20 Battery) rather than C, this is what I have:

    April 8: G troop crosses a canal with the Maissoneuves (behind Calgaries and Black Watch) and stop at 095096. Judging from the map position this would be in the LOCHEM map (3804) which McMaster does not seem to have.
    April 9: G troop with the Calgaries. At 1200 one company of R de Mais attacks "Isselberg" with a squadron of tanks and G troop. Poles attack town from east. Town captured, battle party regrouped and went north along div axis
    April 10: RHC (Black Watch) pass through Maissoneuve area and pick up G troop. Advance continues to "Hankai" (Hankate, in the Lemelerveld map?). Bridges blown, infantry cross on barges and push past "Lemeli" (Lemele)

    Honestly this looks more plausible for the troop in the photo because a unit traveling through Nijverdal would more plausibly end up at Hankate than where C troop went. Maybe I can get some more map coordinates from the Calgaries' war diary.

    edit: Calgaries in question are the Calgary Highlanders, I believe. Another 5 CIB unit.

    Tanks are mentioned as from "2 Army Tank Brigade" which I interpret as 2 Canadian Armoured Brigade, because that included the Fort Garry Horse. Fort Garry Horse and Black Watch were mentioned as liberating Nijverdal in the original Twitter thread.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  13. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    Regarding the address, Mr Tijhuis replied:

    "It is the Joncheerelaan towards the Ninaberlaan as far as I am aware."
  14. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
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  15. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    I know an Isselburg ... but that is in Germany (north of Rees) and not near Nijverdal.
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  16. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Jack Swaab's Diary of a Gunner Officer refers to an Isselberg which the 51st Highland Div reached on 1 April 1945 but this appears to be Stolpi's Isselburg although there are various other references to Isselberg in Germany in other accounts . I would think it wasn't uncommon for harassed officers making diary entries to get spellings etc wrong.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
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  17. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Hello Chris, re "Isselberg" (and may stolpi strike me down if this is completely wide of the mark!).

    There are quite a few "bergs" in the immediate area of the Hellendoorn/Nijverdal/Wierden/Raalte road(s). A berg in my understanding being a hillock (mound, bump) above the level of the immediate ground surrounding e.g. Haarlerberg, Holterberg are just two such in the area you're looking at.

    And, on the 1944 (civilian version) map of the Nederlands/Netherlands that I have there is, just to the north of the Nijverdal/wierden road an unnamed (on the map) "berg", and given that it's just a stones kick away from the Overijsselsch Kanaal this may be your "Isselberg".

    If this is complete balls with a capital 'B" do say!

    Also, wartime anglicised spelling of place names is often well wide of the mark (heck, I can murder spellings in at least four languages, and that doesn't include "Brummie"!)

    Best I can come up with up to now, but I will keep scouring the immediate area with magnifying glass in hand.

    Kind regards, always,

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  18. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Hi Jim, completely agree. It might be a hillock (berg) with that name, or even a farm ... unfortunately I could not find any indication on my maps, but then I do miss the Lochem area. A search on Google did not help either.

    Hopefully a resident from the area will 'pop up' with the answer.
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  19. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    Thanks Jim. From the context though, I suspect it to be to the south of Nijverdal.

    I will know more once I look at the three infantry war diaries. I was able to look at the "Calgaries" last night - not the Calgary armoured regiment, but the Calgary Highlanders. If the Maissoneuves' war diary has been digitized then it should have a corresponding reference to the attack on "Isselberg" but maybe it will have a correct name or a map reference for it.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  20. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Chris C, Stolpi.

    This is the "maybe" for me. Red triangle marks the spot.

    Kind regards, always,


    ChrisC puzzler.jpg

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