Pays-Bas / Champ de Bataille

The attack on Heveskes without radio contact




On April 24, 1945, the Canadian soldiers of the Irish Regiment of Canada had cleared the village of Wagenborgen of the last Germans. The regiment had liberated Schaapbulten the next day. Then the advance continued via the Kloosterlaan to Heveskes. At Heveskesklooster the regiment encountered heavy German resistance.

When the Irish Regiment of Canada reached Heveskesklooster on April 28, 1945, they encountered a barbed wire barrier where they came under heavy fire from the Germans. Nevertheless, at daybreak they managed to take the hamlet and take position there. Private Frank Walter Ridler had a position immediately south of Heveskesklooster. Private Ridler operated the wireless radio.

His company was in an exposed position, in flat open country about a thousand yards from a group of German guns, including four 9.4 cm anti-aircraft guns, two automatic 4 barrels guns and two 20-millimeter guns. All these guns opened fire and immediately scored several hits on the company headquarters building. Private Ridler's wireless device was knocked out by the explosion of the grenades and he himself was very shaken. The company commander ordered the group from Headquarters to go into the basement for protection from the shelling. Private Ridler tried to get his radio set working again and refused to take shelter, despite the fire intensifying and shells repeatedly hitting the building.

Realizing the dire situation if communications were not immediately restored, Private Ridler refused to leave and continued his task of repairing the wireless set. Working steadily for two and a half hours, this gallant officer managed to repair the set in time to call up artillery support against a strong German counter-attack that was developing at the time. During this long period, the number of shellings increased and about 30 direct hits were recorded on the building. Private Ridler's gallant devotion to duty in refusing to take shelter at a critical moment and his relentless efforts to establish radio communication under heavy fire were largely responsible for the failure of the German counterattack on the company position.

After a fierce battle, the Germans withdrew from Heveskes on April 30, 1945. On the Stadsweg near the Valg, two more Canadians were killed in a Carrier. Three residents of the village were also killed in the fighting. The rest of the Irish Regiment arrive at the village of Heveskes towards the evening and come under heavy artillery fire from Emden in Germany. During May 1, the entire area around Heveskes was combed and cleared of the enemy. The last actions around the Delfzijl-Pocket were imminent and took place in the early morning hours of 2 May.

Heveskes 9936 TC Farmsum