The Netherlands / Story

Clearing mines under artillery fire




On the night of ½ May 1945, Private Wilson Lewis Lemmon of the Pioneer Platoon was attached to the D Company of the Irish Regiment of Canada. The Company was leading an attack upon the village of Farmsum near Delfzijl.

The leading Platoon encountered an unknown German anti-personal minefield. The Platoon Commander and Platoon Sergeant were killed and the entire Pioneer Section (Engineers) attached to the Platoon were either killed, wounded of knocked out by the exploding mines. Private Lemmon suffering from shock was being evacuated by stretcher bearers when he learned that the Commander of another Platoon was about to try and clear a path through the minefield.

Realizing that he was the omly person remaining who was experienced in mine-lifting, Private Lemmon although badly shaken and suffering from shock volunteered to return and assist in clearing a lane through the minefield.

Returning to the minefield, which was now under heavy machine gun and mortar fire, Lemmon worked upon the task of lifting mines. This task proved to be a most hazardous one as the field contained a high proportion of the so-called Riegel mine 43 which would explode at the slightest shock. Private Lemmon’s Pioneer training and skill were invaluable and undoubtedly saved the lives of inexperienced men who were assisting in the task. According to his recommendation report for a Military Medal, his great courage and devotion to duty, contributed to the success of his Company's attack. On 2 May 1945 the German Korvettenkapitän Wolter in Farmsum would surrender to the Irish Regiment of Canada, after which the battle for the Delfzijl-Pocket was over. During this surrender 1,386 Germans were taken prisoner. Private Lemmon received his Military Medal in July 1945.