Holandia / Historia

The courageous action of Captain Walker




During the battle of Delfzijl, observation officer Captain Walker volunteers to search for a missing company of the Irish Regiment of Canada around Heveskes (near Delfzijl). Walker takes off from Eelde airfield with his Auster V. reconnaissance aircraft. It is the start of a courageous action for which he eventually receives a medal.

When the rain fell from the sky, the Canadians of the Irish regiment managed to break through the German lines towards Heveskesklooster in the night of 27 to 28 April 1945. The next day the Canadians ran into a defense system consisting of three rows of barbed wire, trenches, bunkers, and mines. Under heavy German fire, Canadian pioneers forced a breach in the barbed wire barrier, allowing the Canadians to gain ground and eliminate the German positions. Although they had been noticed by the Germans, they were left undisturbed for strategic reasons. The Germans' plan succeeded. They surprised them by suddenly opening fire. And although the Canadians defended themselves fiercely, they couldn't get any further and couldn't move either. An additional difficulty that arose on this day was that the radio communications were extremely poor and made coordinated actions impossible.

In the course of the day, several attempts to establish radio contact with the leading company failed and the situation became serious. The alarm is sounded and Captain Walker, an artillery air sighting officer, immediately volunteers to track down the company and begin coordinating the artillery fire. The small and unarmed Auster V reconnaissance aircraft departs from Eelde and flies at a speed of approximately 200 kilometers per hour to the company's last specified location in the vicinity of Heveskes. At an altitude of only over 100 meters, Captain Walker looks with the naked eye from the cockpit at the missing unit.

Then, south of Heveskes, Captain Walker sees great activity of hundreds of Germans moving south through the fields. In combat position and from Heveskes. A German counterattack! Meanwhile, dozens of shells fly from the many barrels of the Flak guns in the area. Most Germans noticed the slow-flying aircraft. The nearby flak battery Fiemel starts firing 12.8 cm shells at the small aircraft. The German naval artillerymen continue to fire fanatically but cannot hit the small aircraft. The plane must have been rocked back and forth many times by the explosions. Nevertheless, the small plane continues to fly above Heveskes for half an hour to pass on the much-needed information about the unit to the Canadian artillery near Wagenborgen. This will resume artillery support. Salvos from the Canadian artillery, deployed near Wagenborgen, ended up between the Germans in positions around the company.

After half an hour the radio breaks down on board the aircraft. Captain Walker has meanwhile seen on the ground that a heavy German machine gun, well positioned and concealed, is firing at the company. The machine gun fire is so good that nobody can move, and one has to lie flat on the ground. The Auster then performs a mock attack against the well-placed machine gun nest. In a swooping descent, the slow aircraft flies straight towards the position of the Germans. The crew of the machine gun is so frightened by this that they briefly flee from the weapon, afraid of bombs. This is repeated one more time and meanwhile the Canadian soldiers advance to the position and take over the heavy machine gun before the Germans return. The Auster then flies back to Eelde airfield. Back at the airfield, Walker reports the positions of the Germans still attacking at that time. Walker is later awarded a high medal for this.

Heveskes 9936 TC Farmsum