Pays-Bas / Histoire

We won’t give up, make a break for it!




The Cape Breton Highlanders regiment was moved into position for the final attack on the German 10.5 cm coastal guns north of the Dutch city of Delfzijl on the night of April 30 to May 1, 1945. By morning, they got within 100 yards of the guns at Delfzijl, before being pinned down and short of ammunition.

As daylight approached, enemy defenses were clearly stronger than expected. The German strong point and coastal guns were positioned on the top of a dyke 30 feet high, and its guns covered all approaches across the flat open ground. Some of the German infantry were firing from concrete pillboxes at the foot of the dyke. Sergeant Mac Donald had fought its way into the center of the German position and had cleared and occupied a trench within 50 yards of the gun positions. The German soldiers were then firing at his platoon from all sides, with every weapon that could be brought to bear on the trench.

Sergeant MacDonald, with five of his comrades, disregarding the intense German fire dashed forward a further 25 yards and occupied another German trench. Here they were subjected to the direct fire of a German bazooka and two machineguns fifty yards away. The Germans on the top of the dyke threw grenades down into the trench. Two of Sergeant Mac Donald’s comrades in the trench were killed and a third was mortally wounded. In the confusion of the exploding grenades and machinegun fire two Germans crept unnoticed and reaching the edge of the trench demanded surrender. Sergeant MacDonald and his two remaining comrades with their ammunition exhausted and covered by the German weapons appeared to have no alternative but to surrender. As they climbed out of the trench Sergeant MacDonald said to his comrades “While the rest of the Company is still fighting, we won’t give up, make a break for it”, upon which Sergeant MacDonald knocked down the nearest German soldier with his fist seized his rifle and killed the second German.

As a result of this act the Germans in the pillboxes again opened fire and Sergeant MacDonald fell, seriously wounded in both legs. With great fortitude he crawled back to the trench in which his two comrades had already taken up positions and stayed with them for seven hours. Sergeant MacDonald’s daring attack, unarmed, on his armed captor allowed his comrades to reach safety. His supreme courage and cheerfulness during the long hours when he lay wounded in the trench encourage his comrades to hold their well unsustainable position until they were relieved seven hours later. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his action.

Zeedijk Delfzijl