Paesi Bassi / Campo di battaglia
In addition to a landing at Westkapelle, the Allies also planned for a landing in Flushing during the invasion of Walcheren. Following overnight attacks with fighter-bombers, landing craft with British Commando’s approached the city from Breskens in the early morning of November 1. Without too much effort, a bridgehead was created in the city. The landing seemed successful. However, what began as a positive start of Operation Infatuate I, would, in the course of the following three days, turn into a war in the city centre and on the boulevards.
On November 2 the battle for Flushing started its second day. The allied goal was to conquer the rest of the city. The initial advance was successful, although several commando units were involved in fierce street battles with German units. By the end of the afternoon, the Allies had control over most of the old town. Scottish units also managed to free the newer districts of Flushing, while French troops engaged with the heavy bunker at the junction of the Coosje Buskenstraat, Boulevard Evertsen and Boulevard De Ruyter. After lengthy shelling, the German troops surrendered.
Because of the violent fighting and shelling, many of the city’s population had taken refuge in the basement of shipping company ‘De Schelde’ and in the Sint Josephziekenhuis (Saint Joseph hospital), which was located near the shipyard. They eventually managed to get in touch with the Allied command via the Air Ward Service telephone. It was agreed that there would be no shelling for half an hour. As a result, about 400 people could safely flee to the already liberated parts of Flushing. A large number of them were then evacuated to Breskens by means of landing craft. The road was now free to get to the German headquarters, the Hotel Britannia on Boulevard Bankert, just down the road.
On November 3, a violent final battle ignited. Units of the King’s own Scottish Borderers fought their way through the streets and to the northern part of the city, while No. 4 Commando and the 7th and 9th Royal Scots cleared the German resistance along the boulevards to the west and toward Hotel Britannia. Large parts of the landside of the hotel were flooded, making it difficult for the commandos to approach the hotel. With a final attack, the Royal Scots managed to take the hotel. At the battle of Hotel Britannia, eighteen Scots and fifty Germans lost their lives. Of the hotel, only ruins remained.
Flushing was liberated, but suffered heavily in the fighting. Of the 6200 homes, more than 2000 were destroyed or severely damaged. More than 2000 houses were flooded. Only 2150 houses remained suitable for living. In the Walstraat, the main shopping street of Flushing, only one building survived the war undamaged.
'Wind organ', Nollehoofd, Vlissingen