5th battalion

A sniper from “C” Company, 5th Battalion, The Black Watch, 51st (Highland) Division, in position in the loft space of a ruined building in Gennep, Holland, 14th February 1945.

The Reichswald and Gennep
After the winter campaign in the Ardennes, the 51st Highland Division returned to Holland. The Battle for the Rhineland started on 8th February 1945. There was a sudden thaw and everywhere roads turned to mud. The Allies entered the Reichswald just across the Germany Border. The 5th Battalion The Black Watch was on the southern edge of the forest.

On 11th February the 5th Battalion The Black Watch was ordered south to take the Dutch town of Gennep on the river Niers. B Company took the bridge, church and hospital. C Company then got into the main street and took the right hand side of the town. There was fierce fighting.

(Photo source - © IWM B 14628)

Canadian Red Ensign Flown at Vimy Ridge

This flag was flown during the First World War at Vimy Ridge, Lens, Hill 70, and Passchendaele, 1917. One other ‘Red Ensign’ with Vimy Ridge associations survives in the museum at Penticton, British Columbia, but that is a simple Red Ensign without the Provinces’ coats of arms. This version of the Red Ensign, with the arms of four provinces, was the national flag of Canada from 1868 to 1870. It is not clear why this 'old’ flag was carried by the Battalion - it may have simply been 'souvenired’ from the flag locker of the merchant ship that brought the battalion to Europe. The Imperial War Museum’s Red Ensign was donated to the Museum by Lieutenant Colonel Lorn Paulet Owen Tudor DSO and Bar, an Englishman who emigrated to Canada before the First World War and served in the Canadian Army : specifically the 5th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Western Cavalry), Canadian Expeditionary Force, raised in Saskatchewan. He commanded the battlaion from June 1917 to March 1918, and from April 1918 to demobilization in 1919. He was awarded the DSO and bar and mentioned in despatches. The Canadian experience at Vimy Ridge has come to be recognised as a pivotal event in the emergence of Canada’s national identity, and this flag is believed to be a unique survivor in this form. The Red Ensign, originally the British merchant flag, a red flag with the Union Flag in the upper left quarter, was adopted in this form as Canada’s national flag in 1868. It bears the coats of arms of Canada’s four founding provinces, and was superseded in 1870 when Manitoba was added, so is a very early example. The Canadian Red Ensign continued as the national flag until 1965.

Operation Jackstay is over. I guess now I’m a veteran. Nothing they could have done would have prepared us for this. We now know the training in Hawaii and the Philippines was a piece of cake. God doesn’t know about the Mekong Delta, He didn’t create that hellhole. I think when He rested, the devil slipped one in on him. They told us before we went in that we were the first American unit to operate that far south in the war. I think everyone else had more brains. Maybe when I’m out of the Marines I’ll be proud of this, I’m just too tired to feel anything.
          We lost some good guys. How do you explain this in a letter? One minute they were there, then dead. I have no idea why I’m still here.
— 

Cpl. Jon Johnson in a letter home to his parents and wife, dated 8 April 1966. Johnson served in Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. 

Source: Letters from Vietnam edited by Bill Adler

British soldiers of ’D’ Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, take cover from German shelling in a shallow, captured German communications trench during Operation Shingle as they attempt a breakout. May 22, 1944. (

This battle-damaged M16A1 rifle belonged to Captain Peter Williams, 161 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA). The rifle was damaged when Williams was hit and killed by a mine/booby-trap on 14 February 1967, while acting as Artillery Forward Observer with 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) in Vietnam.