The Netherlands / Battlefield
The Allies spearheaded the invasion of Walcheren with Operation Infatuate II: a landing near the bombarded ‘Zeedijk’ near Westkapelle. In the early morning of November 1, the British battleship HMS Warspite, two monitors and a large landing fleet approached Westkapelle from Ostend. At 08.20 the Warspite and one of the monitors opened fire on the coastal batteries, including the battery W17 at Domburg.
When Warspite opened fire on the German W17 battery, in error, the village of Domburg was also struck. The grenades, intended for the coastal batteries in the dunes, fell on the village itself. Later, it it became clear that the British did not choose the Domburg church tower, but the water tower to the north of the village as a reference. The Allied air force, which could have seen this error, was grounded due to poor weather. Because of this gross error, the grenades would claim forty-four deaths and destroy a large part of the village.
As night fell, units of the 10 (Inter Allied) Commando finally reached the destroyed village. There, the Allied advance would stop for a few days, because Zoutelande required reinforcements. Many of the inhabitants of Domburg had fled the violent shelling. They looked for safety in, for example, the surrounding estates. The severely damaged city of Domburg was finally liberated on November 4.
Visit the Zeeuwse Ankers website (Zeeland Anchors) for comprehensive information, personal stories and videos about the Battle of the Scheldt.
Boulevard van Schagen, Domburg