Veteran Stories:
Sam Doggart

Army

  • The Irish Regiment of Canada B Coy on tank roadblock in Otterlo after the liberation of the town April 16, 1945.

  • Skeleton in German uniform at Zetten on Nijmegan Island in the Netherlands as passed by many Canadian troops as they headed north, 1945.

  • The Canadian Armoured Corps in Newmarket, Ontario when Sam Doggart enlisted at 17 years old in December of 1943.

  • This military copy of the New Testament was issued to Sam Doggart's father in 1940 and given to Sam before he left for overseas service. Sam carried it throughout the war.

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"They claim that when I got wounded and my buddy got killed, that this was the last shots fired in the liberation of Holland."

Transcript

My name is Sam Doggart. And I served in the Canadian Army and I served in Italy and in Holland.

I enlisted in 1943 at the age of 17. First of all I joined the engineers and they released me for being too young. And then I went in and joined again at another depot in Toronto and then got in the Armoured Corps.

Took my training in the camp at Newmarket. That's just north of Toronto. And after that I did my advance training in Camp Borden near the town of Barrie. And then from there I got shipped overseas. Got sent down to Italy in September, '43 and that was with the Armoured Corps. And then my older brother who was in the Irish Regiment claimed me to his regiment and then I became an infantryman with the Irish Regiment of Canada.

Well the most important battle I was in, it sticks in my mind for ever and ever, was the Battle of Otterloo, which is just north of Arnhem. We were heading north of Arnhem to go to the Zuiderzee and liberate the north end of Holland when we had a counter attack of about one thousand Germans coming in. I was with B Company and they came right through where we were and there was only about 35 of us there. And we fought all night and then our plane force come down about 4 o'clock in the morning and saved our skin, more or less. And it was all over about 5 o'clock in the morning and there was 200 enemy dead and we only had lost 7. That was pretty good for that one fight. We had liberated the town at about 11 o'clock in the morning. Sent out a patrol because some civilian said there was some enemy down in one of the farm houses, patrol went out and run into an ambush. Two of the guys got killed and then two come back. Then all of us went down, took the whole company, cleared the brush where the attack took place and ended up taking another 58 prisoners there. And that counter attack came in about 11 o'clock at night and it came in because the first division which had taken Apeldoorn were squeezing the enemy and they were facing towards us without us knowing it. After we had taken the town and we were getting rid of some of the obstacles that were in it, somebody took a picture of the group of us, B Company 11 Platoon and we all decided we would sit up and stand around the tank for... and get our pictures taken that way.

All the time I was in Holland we were clearing town after town after town until I got shot by a machine gun. And then they just shipped me to England and I was in the hospital there until August.

They claim that when I got wounded and my buddy got killed, that this was the last shots fired in the liberation of Holland.

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