Zondag hebben kranten het in het Canadese Ontario over het offer dat de Glens brachten in Vlaanderen in de Eerste Wereldoorlog. Dat gebeurde naar aanleiding van de onlangse release van de nieuwe Canadese film getiteld "Passchendaele". Het waren in 1944 eveneens de Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders die Knokke en Heist bevrijdden. Over de inzet van de Glens in de Eerste Wereldoorlog lees je hieronder meer.
35 Glens died at Passchendaele
By Michael Peeling, reporter for the Standard-Freeholder newspaper in Cornwall
Lt. Mark Gaillard of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders has something in common with famed Canadian actor Paul Gross. Neither one of them want the contributions of Canadians to the First World War Battle of Passchendaele to be forgotten. Gross stars in and directs the feature film "Passchendaele," which was inspired by stories his grandfather, a veteran, used to tell of his service in The Great War.
Gaillard learned a great deal about the battle in Passchendaele, Belgium (July to November 1917) and the part "the Glens" played when he visited the area in April 2007 for the 90th anniversary of the battle at Vimy Ridge.
As the film's Cornwall debut approached, Gaillard decided the soldiers of the regiment should see the movie as a learning opportunity about the heritage of "the Glens." "The movie shows the members of the battalion, young people much like themselves, fighting in a war often overshadowed by the Second World War," Gaillard said. "Unlike the Second World War, there are no more veterans left of the First World War. It's now just a matter of history, not personal experience." So with the help of the Galaxy Cinemas staff, 67 Glens turned their regular Thursday night training session into a movie night of special significance. "It's not simply a war movie to us," said Gaillard. "It's especially important to the Glens because our predecessors in this unit fought in that battle."
In 1917, the Glens didn't exist, but their predecessors were known as the 154th Overseas Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The battalion was raised in S, D & G in 1915. It's the reason the Glens have the number 154 on their collar badges. The battalion didn't fight together in Europe. Instead it was broken up into small units to reinforce other battalions weakened by casualties across Europe. Of the 146 Glens who died in the First World War, 35 were killed in battle at Passchendaele, which is officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres. There were 280 Glens who fought there from Oct 26 to Nov. 10, 1917, the length of the Canadian involvement in the five-month-long battle. "All of the battles in the First World War were bloody," Gaillard said, "but Passchendaele was particularly bloody."
In May of 1930,King George V awarded the 154th battalion battle honours for its part in the battle.
A total of 15,654 Canadian soldiers alone were killed or wounded at Passchendaele.
Skuce Lance Corporal James Milton Skuce, a civil servant living in Ottawa, enlisted with the 154th in April 1916. At the Battle of Passchendaele, he served with the 2nd (eastern Ontario) Battalion. He showed great courage and determination in leading troops against an enemy position. At one point during the attack, their advance was threatened by a German machine gun. Skuce and a small party of soldiers turned the flank, attacked the enemy, killed a large number of German troops and captured seven prisoners. As the Canadians made progress towards victory, Skuce covered his platoon with machine-gun fire and succeeded in dispersing a nest of enemy snipers threatening the front line. He was awarded the military medal for bravery in the field. He was later wounded during the war, but eventually made the rank of Company Sergeant Major.
Private William Guindon, a 32-year-old from Maxville, also enlisted in the 154th Battalion in April 1916. Once overseas, he was posted to the 58th (Central Ontario) Battalion. At an advanced position in the mud of Passchendaele, when all of his unit's ammunition had been expended, Guindon stood up and went through heavy fire for a fresh supply of ammunition. He returned with the ammo to his former position. According to the Regimental History, he did "splendid work" in the fight that followed.
Killed in action: Earl McDermid
Private Earl McDermid, a farm boy from Berwick, had served three years with the 59th Stormont and Glengarry Regiment when he joined the 154th in 1915 at the age of 22. Like Private Williams Guindon, he was one of 21 154th soldiers posted to the 58th (Central Ontario) Battalion. During the first Canadian offensive at Passchendaele Ridge on Oct. 26, 1917, he was part of "C" company. Fighting was difficult and the attack was hampered by mud, enemy machine guns and heavy rain. It often took individual acts of bravery at the lowest level to move individual units forward. Gains of less than 1,000 yards were made at great cost. Private McDermid fell that day. His remains were never found. His name is inscribed on the Menin Gate in nearby Ypres, Belgium, which lists the names of the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were missing and presumed dead in Flanders.