The Netherlands / Monument
William Thomas Buddell (1920) was one of at least thirteen Canadians who were killed or who died during or as a result of their deployment in Friesland.
William Buddell entered military service on 25 July 1941. And soon he volunteered for deployment to Europe like thousands of his compatriots. William was trained as an officer and assigned to the Canadian Armoured Corps (armoured units). On 23 March 1942, he left the troop ship and set foot on British soil. Many of the Allied forces gathered in Britain to be deployed somewhere in Europe at a suitable time.
Buddell was assigned to the 1st Armoured Car Regiment Royal Canadian Dragoons. This was a reconnaissance unit with armoured vehicles. Their baptism by fire followed in early November 1943. The regiment was transferred by ship to Sicily, Italy, where the Allies had landed in July. Until mid-January 1945, the regiment made itself useful here and in southern Italy.
Among other things, the Canadian units from Italy were transferred to the front in Northwest Europe to force a decision there. Among them were the Dragoons. When Buddell returned to the Dragoons after a short leave in England, his unit was active in the Netherlands. It was April at this point, and the Dragoons were deployed for the first time to their full potential as a true armoured car regiment.
Buddell experienced all this from up close. His Squadron gained a spectacular lot of ground in Friesland. The highlight was 14 April. On that day, B Squadron left Oosterwolde and in the evening liberated Dokkum and reached the Wadden Sea. Throughout the day, the unit, commanded by Buddell, had been at the forefront each time. B Squadron had advanced no less than 91 kilometres in a single day.
Now that the Canadians had reached the Wadden Sea, the German troops in Friesland and Groningen were separated. But 15 April also showed that this success had a downside. Buddell and his men were sent to Birdaard in the afternoon. Groups of Germans were still there, and shooting broke out between them and the NBS The Dragoons joined in the fight at the request of the NBS The Canadian contribution soon proved decisive. But Buddell, of all people, was hit in his right shoulder by a sniper at the end of the battle.
The Dragoons gave first aid to Buddell, who was bleeding heavily. The regimental doctor noted that he could barely feel a pulse and specialist help was needed. For that, he had to be transferred to the Field Dressing Station in Overijssel.
Along the way, every effort was made to keep Buddell alive. Extra blood plasma was administered in the ambulance. But on arrival at 04:00, it turned out that William Buddell had died.
Between 12 and 15 April, the Dragoons had penetrated deep into Friesland, well ahead of the rest of the troops. The downside of this success was that they were very far from specialist medical help. A risk that reconnaissance units sometimes had to take. As was the case here. Unfortunately, this proved fatal for Buddell.
Buddell is honoured in Birdaard with a plaque on the war memorial.