1945

The New Year literally opened with a bang for the Black Watch as the Germans as their guns opened up on the stroke of midnight providing a “very fine pyrotechnic display”. The Battalion was dug in near Groesbeek in northern Holland and was spending much on the time sending out patrols. On February 14 the Battalion moved into Barracks in Nijmegen for some well-deserved rest. The Black Watch passed through the German border on February 18, passing through the Reichswald and stopping in Bedburg. On February 27 they entered the well-defended Hochwald Forest and, after three days of fighting they had lost eight officers and one hundred and eights OR’s (Hutchinson, p.233). On March 10 the Battalion began the move to a rest area near Nijmegen, for three weeks of “refitting, sports and training” (Ibid, 234). The push to liberate Holland continued with the Black Watch involved in liberating towns like Terborg, Langerak, Hummelo, Laren, Holten, Rijssen, and, Ommen, among others (Ibid, pp.235-236). After helping with the liberation of Groningen, the Battalion moved back to Germany and saw its last real action in the area of Hude (Copp, p.193).

On May 4, with officers gathered to discuss some upcoming action, they decided to listen to the BBC news. The War Diary describes what happened next:

The broadcast brought us the news we have awaited so long, and for which we have travelled so far; “All German Armies in North Germany, Holland, Denmark, Heligoland and the Frisian Islands have surrendered unconditionally”. There was a moment of silence while the enormity of it all was comprehended, then followed a round of mutual congratulations… There was some celebration throughout the Bn., but largely the feeling was one of relief rather than jubilation.

With that, the Black Watch turned from invaders to occupiers. The Battalion remained in Germany until July 7, when they returned to Holland and encamped at Appeldorn (Hutchinson, p.238).  The Black Watch returned to England on September 27 and departed for Canada aboard the Queen Elizabeth on November 15, arriving in Halifax on November 20 (Ibid, p.242). The Battalion marched for the last time on January 6, when it returned it’s Colours from the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul to the Regimental Armoury (Ibid, p.243).

The 1st Battalion of The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders of Canada) is believed to have suffered the most casualties of any unit of the 21st Army Group, with total casualties of one hundred and fifty officers over two thousand other ranks, of which four hundred and sixty-two were killed, died of wounds, or were missing. The Battle Honours for the 1st RHC are:

  • BOURGEBUS RIDGE
  • FAUBOURG DE VAUCELLES
  • Falaise
  • Clair Tizon
  • FORÊT DE LA LONDE
  • Dunkirk 1944
  • VERRIERES RIDGE TILLY-LA-CAMPAGNE
  • Antwerp-Turnhout Canal
  • THE SCHELDT
  • Woensdrecht
  • South Beveland
  • WALCHEREN CAUSEWAY
  • THE RHINELAND
  • THE HOCHWALD
  • Xanten
  • The Rhine
  • Groningen
  • OLDENBURG
  • NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45

Jan 1945 Diary

Feb 1945 Diary

March 1945 Diary

April 1945 Diary

May 1945 Diary

June 1945 Diary

July 1945 Diary

Aug 1945 Diary

Sept 1945 Diary

Oct 1945 Diary

Nov 1945 to Jan 1946 Diary

1945 War Diary Appendices

To the Casualty Database