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Canada's Black Watch (history - merged)

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dapaterson

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And, I should also add, a great guy and an asset to the Royal Highland Regiment of Canada (The Black Watch).


Even if he does drink Irish beer...
 

bwatch

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Going on a road trip to Montreal next year for the 150 Anniversary of the Black Watch. Anyone wishing to tag along who might be in the Lower Mainland, give me a shout.:salute:
 

bwatch

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Next your is our Regiments 150th Anniversary. Lots of stuff going on, like the Trooping of the Colors, Church Parade, ETC.  One one of the weekends, HRH will be there, not yet sure which weekend.  I will have a full months vacation and I was thinking about driving from Vancouver to Montreal for one of the major weekend's and would like if someone could come along for the ride. It's a long drive when your alone, I already did it once.  So if your in Vancouver or at least be living in places on my way, give me a shout and we can chat.
 

D Day Piper

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Concerning Campbell's and McDonald's, just read "Massacre of Glencoe".

The Black Watch tartan is in fact the governmental tartan , but was named after the Police force kilted like this. From far, blue and green seem black. And they watch .....
 

Ex-SHAD

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This comes from the now defunct "Regiments.org":


1862.01.31 5th Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles, Canada
formed with HQ and six coys at Montreal by regimentation of independent Vol. Militia Rifle Coys

No. 1 Company, raised 22 Jan. 1862
No. 2 Company, raised 22 Jan. 1862; disbanded 1865; re-formed 9 Jan. 1866 by redesignation No. 2 Coy, Montreal Light Infantry; transferred back Sep. 1866 to Montreal Light Infantry
No. 3 Company, raised 22 Jan. 1862
No. 4 Company, raised 22 Jan. 1862
No. 5 Company, raised 22 Jan. 1862; disbanded by 1869
No. 6 Company, raised 22 Jan. 1862
No. 7 Company at Montreal
No. 8 Company at Montreal
No. 9 (Highland) Company at Montreal, transferred 9 Oct. 1863 from 1st Bn; disbanded by 1869
1862.11.07 5th Battalion, The Royal Light Infantry of Montreal
186u 5th Battalion "The Royal Light Infantry"
1871.06.02 disbanded
1872.04.12 re-formed
1875.11.19 5th Battalion "Fusiliers"
1876.01.14 5th Battalion "Royal Fusiliers"
1880.02.27 5th Battalion "Royal Scots Fusiliers"
1884.02.29 5th Battalion "Royal Scots of Canada"
1900.05.08 5th Regiment "Royal Scots of Canada"
1904.05.02 5th Regiment "Royal Scots of Canada, Highlanders"
1906.08.15 reorganised in two bns at Montreal

1st Battalion
2nd Battalion
1906.10.01 5th Regiment "Royal Highlanders of Canada"
1914 5th Regiment (Royal Highlanders of Canada)
1914.08.06 volunteers formed 13th Battalion CEF
1914.12.15 reorganised in four-company establishment
1920.04.01 The Royal Highlanders of Canada
1920.12.01 reorganised to perpetuate CEF:

1st Battalion, perpetuating 13th Battalion CEF
2nd Battalion, perpetuating 42nd Battalion CEF
3rd (Reserve) Battalion, perpetuating 73rd Battalion CEF
4th (Reserve) Battalion
1930.01.01 The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders of Canada)
1935.07.01 The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
1940-1945 reorganised for war:

1st Battalion
2nd (Reserve) Battalion, redesignation 15 Aug. 1943 of 4th Bn
1946 reconstituted in Militia
1951.05.04 volunteers raised A Company (BWC), 1st Canadian Highland Battalion
1952.04.01 volunteers raised A Company (BWC), 2nd Canadian Highland Battalion
1953.10.16 Regular Force component added to establishment by redesignation of
1st and 2nd Canadian Highland Battalions

1st Battalion
2nd Battalion
3rd (Reserve) Battalion
1970.07.01 Regular Force battalions disbanded, and regiment reverted to Reserve
 

Chispa

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Hi, The Royal Highlanders of Canada were supposedly raised as "5th Bn. Volunteer Militia Rifles, Canada" Jan. 31 1862. However research clearly shows the Regiment, The Black Watch RHR origins can be traced to the 1837-38  Rebellion., 3rd Brigade, 1st Bn. "The Montreal Light Infantry" or MLI & 2nd Bn. "The Montreal Rifles or "The Rifles" from 1837-40-54. In 1849,  a new volunteer Force in Montréal were raised, from the city volunteer fire companies authorized into a volunteer Militia battalion under the command of the Hon. James Ferrier, then Mayor of Montréal, and John Fletcher being gazetted as Lieutenant and Adjutant.

"The 1st Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Montreal" 1855-56. " The Lyman's "Rifles", under the command of Hon. Lt.-Col. C.S. De Bleury in which is the name of the street the Regiments armoury main entrance. The Montreal No.3 Fire Brigade "PROTECTOR" on Notre Dame Street, being Fletcher's, "Old" Montreal Light Infantry was authorized on 2th Sept. 1855, as the "2nd Volunteer Militia Company of Montreal. " Fletcher's " Fire Brigade Militia Battalion of Montreal in Dec. 1861 was disbanded. Fletcher left 2nd Coy., in 1858  returning to Montreal to raise 5th BATT., after spending Few years with the 100th Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment.   

Their Nickname is "The Ladies From Hell" also know as "The Ladies" of Montreal, and "The Royals".

Their Motto is  NEMO ME INPUNE LACESSITE, meaning..... I  Will Not be provoked without impunity.

They have an other Motto which is the Biggest Myth, since many today in the Regiment still believe. "The Black Watch Never Retreats", which is Utter Nonsence, in hindsight that miss information and arrogance got many killed in the SWW. If the Officers and Sergeants would of read the War Diaries and books, archives written concerning the 42nd and the Infamous 13 BATT., instead of believing all that drunken patting on the back glorification, in the Officers and Sergeants Mess of Past Victories & Exploits. In Op.... Spring, Major Griffin would of known The Black Watch has Retreated manytimes in True Regimental form, indeed. The expression is when heavily outnumbered and gunned he who fights and runs away can Retreat, reorganise, Rally and fight with heroic Gallantry the very next day. The Black Watch of Canada 13th BATT., as our beloved, Sir Frederick Fisher VC., is a fined example of Retreating, Reorganizing & Perseverance, against all odds.

The Word "Retreat" or "Withdraw". Definition; Retreat=The forced or strategic withdrawal of an army or an armed force before an enemy, or the withdrawing of a naval force from action.



 

57Chevy

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My father served with The Blackwatch during WWII

Chispa said:
Their Motto is  NEMO ME INPUNE LACESSITE, meaning..... I  Will Not be provoked without impunity.

Not quite right;
It is often translated as "No one attacks me with impunity" and,
is alternatively translated as "No one can harm me unpunished".

Chispa said:
They have an other Motto which is the Biggest Myth, since many today in the Regiment still believe. "The Black Watch Never Retreats", which is Utter Nonsence,

Actually it is not so much nonsence, it refers to the last words of Alaster Mackenzie in the late 1760s, " Stand by your colours, comrades, till death ! "

Which means to never retreat.  But I could be wrong.
 

Chispa

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Hi I also served with them. Yes I know, that's true often translated as "no one attacks me with impunity."


Also  translated as "No one (Harms, wounds, hurts, provokes) me with impunity."




The Black Watch never retreats ....
Those words were uttered by Major Griffin as he was going to attack V Ridge in Op. Spring, when many complained, attacking the Ridge was madness, or as Copp's stated "Ill considered."

In the seven year war, In 1759, at the Battle of Fort Carillon, out of all the British regiments, that the Black Watch were “the first at the front, the last to retreat”.


Was your father in Op Spring or Black Friday the 13th., did he serve with RSM Finney in Germany after the War. Do U have his hackel, just asking with good reason.

 

57Chevy

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Chispa said:
Was your father in Op Spring or Black Friday the 13th., did he serve with RSM Finney in Germany after the War. Do U have his hackel, just asking with good reason.

I have a limited file concerning my fathers' service due to the surviving spouse protocol.

I can tell you that he served in the UK and was wounded while serving in Northwest Europe.

Over the years he shared a number of stories, mostly the good times he had, but now and again

he would mention some that were hard, and sometimes some others that were even harder.



 

GR66

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My uncle was also with the Black Watch in WWII.  He landed with them in Normandy as a Lance Sergeant in the support company and thus was not with the forward companies when they attacked V Ridge.  He was sent back to England and rec'd his commission at Sandhurst while the regiment was being reformed and rejoined them in NE Europe in time for the Sheldt.  At the end of the fighting in Europe he volunteered for service in the Pacific and as a result managed to get home earlier than most when the A-bombs ended the fighting on that front. 

Interestingly my father (only 16 at the end of the war) knew very little about his brother's war service until I saw "The Valour and the Horror" documentary about V Ridge, put a couple of pieces together and began to ask some questions.  My uncle was quite close friends with Phil Griffin and my dad remembers him coming to the house many times before the war.

I also understand that my uncle (along with another officer) initially helped set up the Black Watch cadet corps after the war but I don't know any details of that.

Edited to Add:  My dad's cousin was also in the Black Watch and served as a CANLOAN officer with the 1st Battalion, Black Watch in the 51st (Highland) Division.  He was wounded in action and died of wounds 23-Aug-1944.  I'm also understand that his father (my dad's uncle) was a Black Watch officer before the war and served as a staff officer (with the brigade?) rather than with the regiment throughout the european campaign.
 

Chispa

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Hi, "57Chevy" & GR66 I'm at work, Lunch , Lol I will reply later tonight or in a few days very busy, Thank U for the info u have provided, I can assure U it's appreciated.

"Who or what was Black Watch?" First I should of asked Canadian or Scottish Black Watch.

I've been research the Black Watch of Canada for over 3 decades, been privileged to interview many Second World War vets from the Regiment.



Just in case this is a link to the Black Watch of Canada  SWW O.R. War diaries. If U know kindly disregard.

http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/laird.niven/public_html/index.htm


Now for that Motto, check this from DND www.forces.gc.ca

MOTTO

NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT (No one shall touch me with impunity)
http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/ol-lo/vol-tom-3/par2/bwc-eng.asp

That Motto can be quite confusing at times, however no big deal on the translation,lol.


I have the list of all the heroes aka KIA by date and added 4 more that I found by Family members that contacted me.
For Verrières Ridge for the 25th still missing 10+ names, or Copp, OO'Keefe, ect, ect got the numbers wrong.


Thank you for your time, and any bread crumbs on my Regimental Brothers in the SWW, will be greatly appreciated.

 

Old Sweat

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As someone who has been a student of the Canadian operations south of Caen for a considerable time, let me make a couple of comments.

The first one may seem to fly against the conventional wisdom, but in my opinion Phil Griffin has got a bad rap over the ill-fated attack. Cantlie was killed before he really could have appreciated that the FUP and start line (line of departure) were not secure and Griffin found himself in a very confused situation with, all at once, no one to turn to for advice. Maybe he should have called off the attack, but there is no indication the brigade commander would have concurred. He had, as have we all, developed in a culture where "don't just stand there. Do something" was a mantra and the only course of action as he saw it was to march up the hill.

To build on my first comment, when I was a junior officer in 3 CIBG in Gagetown in the early sixties we studied Operation Spring at one of the monthly officer study sessions. This included a first hand account by a warrant officer serving in 1 RCHA who was member of a FOO party with the RHC and who crawled back to our own lines that night. Based on the information imparted that day, and on my own study, I have concluded that the real culprits were the division commander and the commander of 5 Brigade, whose command skills and staff work was second rate at best. Their collective miscarriages put a Canadian battalion in a situation where once launched into battle, the conclusion was disaster. Neither officer was a tactical genius, but they both were permanent force officers who managed to avoid serious censure throughout their service in action.
 

daftandbarmy

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Interestingly enough, a pal of mine (COS with a UK based Divsion) used the Canadian Operations in the Scheldt as a learning tool for the development of a higher standard of combined operational skills with his staff.

Following this activity, he decided to go back on his own with some friends. He's an avid Historian in his own right with family ties in Holland and, along with his buddies from Cambridge (i.e., all friggin' brilliant) they led one of the most interesting battlefield tours I've ever been part of, entirely for their own interest. I was completely humbled to see how much detailed knowledge these British guys (only one of whom was a soldier) had accumulated about a Canadian operation.

We each had to sign up for a 'stand' and I picked Operation Angus, Oct 13th 1944: The attack by the Black Watch onto the elevated railway line at the entrance to Walcheren. Terry Copp does an excellent job explaining it here:

http://legionmagazine.com/en/index.php/2001/09/the-battle-north-of-antwerp/

We walked the ground from the start line to the objective on Oct 13th 2004: 60 years to the day - but at a slightly more respectable hour - after the actual battle. The only thing I could compare it to would be trying to attack the rim of a saucer from the centre. It was dead flat, and the only high ground was occupied by well entranched Germans. I was astonished that anyone could have survived that.

Later in the trip, we were mooching around the Walcheren Causeway (which is now all reclaimed land and no longer a causeway of course) and heard a 'beep beep'. We turned around and a WW2 era Canadian Army jeep, full of immaculately dressed Canadian 2nd Division Dutch re-enactors, sped by flying a huge Canadian Flag (post-1964 version) and waving like idiots. 

All in all I felt very fortunate to have been part of that experience.  :salute:
 

Chispa

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I'm having problems posting or inserting info from my PDF, ect




Old Sweat said:
As someone who has been a student of the Canadian operations south of Caen for a considerable time

Old Sweat; just asking are you a historian? Do You have CHMQ report 150? No not appendix A.

Lets see if I can fill your plate and make you ponder, as for O'keefe's assessment in this matter is Very Black Watch Indeed.
I wont let my pride get in the way of the Truth.


Quote O’keefe; “320 Men of the Black Watch attacked the Ridge, only 20 made roll call that night.”

Terry Copp’s Op Spring a historians View, states The Black Watch suffered 307 casualties on 25 July. Five officers and 118 other ranks were killed or died of wounds, 101 were wounded and of the 83 taken prisoner, 21 were wounded.

Zuehlke, p. 168. Bercuson, p. 225. Of the 325 men that left the assembly area, 315 of them were either killed, wounded, or captured. Only 10?

Mckenna aka the Mckenna Brothers; Out of 325 men, 123 are killed, and 183 wounded or captured, some 16 soldiers stager back to the Start-Line.
Your Math = 322?


The first page States; CHMQ 150

THE BLACK WATCH (ROYAL HIGHLAND REGIMENT)
0F.' CANADA IN OPERATION "SPRING", 25 JULY
1944.

10 Apr 46..
CANADIAN. MILITARY HEADQUARTERS.

MEM0RANDUM

On instructions from the Chief of Staff,
the paper prepared by Lt.-Gen. G.G. Simonds to
which reference is made in paragraph 4 and 5 of Report
No. 150, Historical Section, C.M.H.Q., and appended
thereto as Appendix "C" , was extracted and destroyed
on 9 Apr. 46.




Based on the information imparted that day, and on my own study, I have concluded that the real culprits were the division commander and the commander of 5 Brigade, whose command skills and staff work was second rate at best.
Old Sweet I agree foolhardily with you. Your talking about the 3 wise men, Simonds, Foulkes, and Bloody Megill. Second rate is an understatement.

It's true Maj. Fredrick Philip Griffin and the Regiment took the blunt of blame for their " Detailed Execution "
However Griffin is still to blame for the death of his men and the casualties they endured that day, according to my research, and I can assure you I have recived a Regimental Flogging for that assessment, and Black listed, per-say. However the Doors of the Regiment are always open to me.

En passant, Cantlie's Father in the First World War, gave Birth to the 42nd.


Nobody till this date has mentioned or Explored the "Psychological Factor,"  PTSD. Was Maj.Griffin firing on all cylinders? Conclusive evidence shows No. By Griffin’s "ill-considered. reckless actions" later on the Jump of Point as through the battle, has reviled he was suffering from "Deep Depression" "Battle Exhaustion" & "Shock" as the pressure of acting C.O. It’s clear Griffin was manipulated by the General's taking advantage of the injuries to his personal friends and the death of Lt.-Col. Cantlie, his "young age and inexperience." Remember the Battle for Verrières Ridge, was the first battle 2 division participated in, since the landing on D-Day. Griffin was Green with only 6 days off Battle experience, even though he participated leading to Caen in house to house clearing Operation. While his grief only 2 hours old, for the lost of C.O. Lt. Col. Cantlie a Father Figure, which a personal bond excited, weighted heavily on Maj. Griffin. The death of Lt. -Col. Cantlie as the serious injuries of both close friends, Major Eric Modzfeldt, the senior second in command, and I.O. Lt. Duffield.

The Meeting with Griffin and Magill.

Brigadier Megill and Griffin debated as how the attack should proceed. The two men stood on a porch over looking May as Griffin explained his intentions of this new plan to bypass May. According to Megill, Griffin insisted that they had “patrols into May” he doubted that it was not held on “a continuous basis.” Megill went on record; recalling he suggested it might be better to stick to the original plan and move first to May, but Griffin insisted “they had patrols into May, as little activity was seen.” Once the Black Watch attack went in, he argued, the Calgary’s “would fill in behind” once they passed their start-line {not "Jump of Point."} At this point some Black Watch overheard Megill tell Griffin, “I'm giving the orders here.” since Griffin was being persistent. Griffin replied; bypassing May would save a considerable amount of time reaching their objectives. Insuring the Regimental Honour would be at stake if his objectives weren’t met or carried out. As The Black Watch would not disappoint The General an attack would be carried out with no further delays on the Word & Honour of The Regiment, The Black Watch never retreats! The Documents show a new artillery fire plan was agreed upon and tank support arranged with Major Walter Harris, the commander of 1st Hussars B SQN, which was not part of the original plan. 1st Hussars were originally intended to advance on the open left flank, would be switched to the right assisting the Calgarian’s in May then advance “ would fill in behind” at the Black Watch start-line on the reverse side of the ridge, supporting the attack of The Black Watch on the Back gentle sloped side of the ridge to the Top Crest.

Diary of Private W.T. Booth Intelligence H.Q., 1st Batt. Black Watch states; we assumed that the rifle companies began their advance about mid-morning, though we had no communication with them. The Watch had been strung out along the walls and hedgerows on the eastern side of St. Martin and were to advance to their “start line, a road running out of May” and up to the crest of the ridge, where they were to follow a creeping barrage onto their objective, Fontenay-le-Marmion.

That Road is called "Le Chemin des Mineur"  which is on the back side of the ridge connecting May and Fontenay.



The Start Line, you mean the Jump-off point to the Start Line, mistake many have made. O'keefe, Copp ect. That was Not the start line according to ALL first hand accounts  ect., ect.


Do you have the Aerial Photo's ? I have 10.



Darn with this page going wako on me,  Ill add more later.
 

Old Sweat

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Keep the info coming, and I don't think we are too far apart in our thinking. There was more to Spring than the RHC attack. It essentially was a two division attack which saw only one battalion - the RHLI of 4 Bde commanded by LCol John Rockingham - capture and hold its objective. Spring also featured something very close to a mutiny as the commander of 9 Brigade and two of his battalion commanders refused to follow the order to attack. They all were sacked, and Rockingham got command of 9 Brigade.

The plan was ill-conceived, especially as it was conceived as a holding attack to keep the German panzer divisions south of Caen in place while the US First Army launched Operation Cobra. Bad as the plan was, its execution by the divisions and brigades was worse, and that was a failure in command by people a few pay grades above Griffin. As an aside, reflect upon Stacey's oft-quoted comment in the official history about Canadian command in Normandy, where he was most critical of the battalion and regimental commanders, but complimentary on those higher up the chain. There are those, myself included, that suspect he was parroting the party line.

I digress, however, and the RHC role is the part that gets all the attention for a number of reasons which I suspect you understand. Should Griffin have attacked? The smart answer is no, but he was unlikely to do so and it cost him and his men a terrible price.
 

Chispa

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Still having problem posting, must be the severe is slow?

You got that right, that attack did not solely revolve around the RHC or Griffin for that matter.

Many have stated for his actions he should of been Gazzeted the V.C., I think Not.

During the whole four days the infantry battalions of the 3rd Division suffered a total of 386 casualties, of which 89 were fatal. For the 2nd Division the comparable figures were 1149 casualties, with 254 men losing their lives. The units suffering most were, the Essex Scottish, with 244 casualties 37 dead. The South Saskatchewan, with 215 casualties, 62 dead. The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders had 81 casualties, 29 dead. The 3rd Division the heaviest toll had fallen upon The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada 77 casualties 23 dead. And Le Régiment de la Chaudière 72 wounded 20 dead. almost all suffered on 18 July-21st in Op. Atlantic. They all fought with Gallantry and heroics against incredible odds IMHO.

Awarding the “Victoria Cross” for Heroic Gallantry and great leadership to just one individual, for the Battle for Verrières Ridge. Would be like handing out a speeding ticket, just to one driver at the Daytona 500!  All Infantry Regiments fought with determination Heroic Gallantry and great leadership above and beyond the call of Duty, with the odds numerously stacked against them.



As for Cobra don't get me started ::)

Got To Go, emergency call.

After years of DND404 error fixed the problem last year, go to CMHQ reports you should be able to download Report 150, if Not I'll send to you plus the Aerial pictures
 

Chispa

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Old Sweat said:
Keep the info coming, and I don't think we are too far apart in our thinking. There was more to Spring than the RHC attack. It essentially was a two division attack which saw only one battalion - the RHLI of 4 Bde commanded by LCol John Rockingham - capture and hold its objective. Spring also featured something very close to a mutiny as the commander of 9 Brigade and two of his battalion commanders refused to follow the order to attack. They all were sacked, and Rockingham got command of 9 Brigade.

The plan was ill-conceived, especially as it was conceived as a holding attack to keep the German panzer divisions south of Caen in place while the US First Army launched Operation Cobra. Bad as the plan was, its execution by the divisions and brigades was worse, and that was a failure in command by people a few pay grades above Griffin. As an aside, reflect upon Stacey's oft-quoted comment in the official history about Canadian command in Normandy, where he was most critical of the battalion and regimental commanders, but complimentary on those higher up the chain. There are those, myself included, that suspect he was parroting the party line.

I digress, however, and the RHC role is the part that gets all the attention for a number of reasons which I suspect you understand. Should Griffin have attacked? The smart answer is no, but he was unlikely to do so and it cost him and his men a terrible price.



I'm very rusty, since it's been a longtime I've discussed this.

I remember Gen. Keller aka yeller got his Arse fragged by USAF Carpet bombing his sector in Op. Tantalize, around Aug 8th however other sources say it was in Operation Tractable ;D. At the end of Aug. Simonds fired 3-4 CF. Gen. ect. If I remember correctly.

.
Many high ranking Canadian officers complained to high command concerning Simonds incompetence since he entered the battle filed.


Montgomery wrote the following opinion: General Crerar was to have difficulties and has started off his career as an Army Commander, by thoroughly upsetting everyone...he had a row with Crocker the first day and asked me to remove Crocker. I have spent two days trying to restore peace...As always there are faults on both sides, but the basic cause was Harry; I fear he thinks he is a great soldier...I now hope I can get on with fighting the Germans -- instead of stopping the generals fighting amongst themselves. The more I think of Harry Crerar, the more I am convinced that he is quite unfit to command an army in the field at present. He has much to learn and he will have many shocks before he has learnt it properly. He has already started to have rows with Canadian generals under me.””

  Bernd “Monty’ was not pleased when his Canadian Division Commander fired Brigadier Howard Graham, commander of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade. Montgomery wrote to Corps Commander Oliver Leese: “This is a great pity. Graham is an excellent fellow and much beloved in his brigade. I expect Simonds lost his temper. Simonds is a young and very inexperienced divisional general and has much to learn about command. In my highest opinion of Simonds...[although he] tried to go off the rails once or twice when he first went into action with his Div. Simonds must therefore be handled carefully and trained on.



The plan was presented to BIMBO as a Holdout Attack by Simonds, and Lucky approved it. Then Simonds changed the plan without telling Lt.-Gen. Dempsey, all reasch by O'keefe, Copp's, ect ect cleary shows it was not, by original documentation. Simonds in a 1946 reports writes, declaring that Operation Spring was designed not as a breakout battle. But merrily a “Holding Attack” to distract the Germans, allowing the US to breakout. {Sounds like a bunch of Hogwash to me.}


The heroic gallantry of the Black Watch has been chiseled deeply in granite, and by King`s proclamation the Regiments reputation will never be at stake, due to unsurvivable circumstances, or by any General`s order.

All the Regiments in Support of the Watch in Op. Spring failed to hold on a continuous bases or never reached their objectives, leaving the Black Watch  to attack the Ridge by themselves.

And I`m not aware that Harris 1st Hassarse and B SQN.  The Calgarians, Camerons and Simonds infamous artillery when they all dropped the ball and retreated out of May ect.. No one paid the price and the blunt of blame went to Griffin and the Black Watch for their ``Detailed Execution, according to Simonds`Accounts
 

Old Sweat

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Chispa said:
There is a lot of material here, but I'll try to address it.

I'm very rusty, since it's been a longtime I've discussed this.

I remember Gen. Keller aka yeller got his Arse fragged by USAF Carpet bombing his sector in Op. Tantalize, around Aug 8th however other sources say it was in Operation Tractable ;D. At the end of Aug. Simonds fired 3-4 CF. Gen. ect. If I remember correctly.

Keller was wounded by the USAAF on 8 August in the Phase 2 bombing in Operation Totalize. I am not sure what that has to do with Simonds firing generals after the end of the Normandy Campaign, but he relieved the Commander of 4th Canadian Armoured Division at that time. The Commander of 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade was promoted and sent home to take up a staff job in army headquarters. It is thought by some that he was kick upstairs. In all two division commanders (Keller wounded and Kitching fired) and seven brigade commanders (Cunninghasm fired, Blackader to temporary command of 3 Div, Lett and Wyman wounded, Foster promoted to replace Kitching, Young promoted and posted and Booth killed) were changed as a result of the operations south of Caen. That is hardly wide scale firing.

.
Many high ranking Canadian officers complained to high command concerning Simonds incompetence since he entered the battle filed.

That is the first I have heard of it. Please provide names, dates and primary sources.


Montgomery wrote the following opinion: General Crerar was to have difficulties and has started off his career as an Army Commander, by thoroughly upsetting everyone...he had a row with Crocker the first day and asked me to remove Crocker. I have spent two days trying to restore peace...As always there are faults on both sides, but the basic cause was Harry; I fear he thinks he is a great soldier...I now hope I can get on with fighting the Germans -- instead of stopping the generals fighting amongst themselves. The more I think of Harry Crerar, the more I am convinced that he is quite unfit to command an army in the field at present. He has much to learn and he will have many shocks before he has learnt it properly. He has already started to have rows with Canadian generals under me.””

You have parroted Montgomery's version of events and are not alone in doing so. I suggest you consult my No Holding Back: Operation Totalize, Nomandy, August 1944 pp 49-51 for a discussion of the matter based on both Montgomery's and Crerar's version of the events.

  Bernd “Monty’ was not pleased when his Canadian Division Commander fired Brigadier Howard Graham, commander of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade. Montgomery wrote to Corps Commander Oliver Leese: “This is a great pity. Graham is an excellent fellow and much beloved in his brigade. I expect Simonds lost his temper. Simonds is a young and very inexperienced divisional general and has much to learn about command. In my highest opinion of Simonds...[although he] tried to go off the rails once or twice when he first went into action with his Div. Simonds must therefore be handled carefully and trained on.

Irrelevant as it happened over a year before and in a different theatre.



The plan was presented to BIMBO as a Holdout Attack by Simonds, and Lucky approved it. Then Simonds changed the plan without telling Lt.-Gen. Dempsey, all reasch by O'keefe, Copp's, ect ect cleary shows it was not, by original documentation. Simonds in a 1946 reports writes, declaring that Operation Spring was designed not as a breakout battle. But merrily a “Holding Attack” to distract the Germans, allowing the US to breakout. {Sounds like a bunch of Hogwash to me.}

Did Simonds change his plan or did he plan for exploitation in case success had been achieved? This is an open question that is subject to interpretation.

The heroic gallantry of the Black Watch has been chiseled deeply in granite, and by King`s proclamation the Regiments reputation will never be at stake, due to unsurvivable circumstances, or by any General`s order.

All the Regiments in Support of the Watch in Op. Spring failed to hold on a continuous bases or never reached their objectives, leaving the Black Watch  to attack the Ridge by themselves.

And I`m not aware that Harris 1st Hassarse and B SQN.  The Calgarians, Camerons and Simonds infamous artillery when they all dropped the ball and retreated out of May ect.. No one paid the price and the blunt of blame went to Griffin and the Black Watch for their ``Detailed Execution, according to Simonds`Accounts

I have no idea what you are trying to say here.
 

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“Spring also featured something very close to a mutiny”

The Mutiny was with Foulkes & Simonds, which goes back many moons before Op. Spring and continued postwar. Rockingham got
command of 9 Brigade Aug. 8 same time Keller got bombed in Op. Totalize.  Keller is part of the picture, and that’s how I make the
connect for those dates when Rockinghan got command of 9th Brigade. However for the Sacking,  and his participation in the Operation,
according to Accounts. Cunningham of 9th infantry Brigade was sacked by Simonds and awarded the Distinguished Service Order for
gallantry and distinguished services in the field of battle.



Brigadier D.G.B. Cunningham and the commanding officers of two of his Ninth Brigade battalions were fired for refusing to press the attack against Tilly.1 Major-General Keller, whom the British had suggested replacing in early July,2  retained command, since he was on Simmonds side in Op.Spring  and demanded, Cunningham mount a new attack.

1. "Interview Brig. D.G. Cunningham," 1983.
2. Letter Dempsey to Montgomery, 6 July 1944, Crerar Papers, vol. 3.



After the failure of the attack and consultation among divisional command staff, The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders were warned to reinforce the North Novas, but the order was never given "presumably because it was felt that they would accomplish little" according to the official Army history. The battalion's war diarist confided relief and confessed the need for a rest after long periods in the line since D-Day. Both the North Novas and the SDG, along with the 9th Brigade, had their commanders replaced following the attack.

Source ; Stacey, C.P. Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War: Volume III: The Victory Campaign: The Operations in North-west Europe 1944-45



Accounts of Maj-General George Kitching. Concerning Simonds and Op Spring.

In Operation Spring Simonds wanted desperately to get rid of Foulkes after Spring. ``On at least three occasions Kitching wrote. Guy Simonds  confided in me that he was going to get rid of Charles Foulkes. I can only assume that General Crerar must have intervened and insisted that Charles remain because nothing happened. Foulkes was not the only division commander to be in Simonds dog house after Spring. The other Canadian divisional commander Maj.-General RF.L. Keller whose 3rd Division had been fighting continually since it hit the beaches on June 6 th., was under review for dismissal Simonds at the request of 2nd British Army- commander General Miles Dempsey.

Source; Stacey, Date with Kistorv: The Memoirs of Canadian Historian.
(Onaua: 1982) P. 147.. J.A Englisb., Failwe in Hi& Command: The Canadian Army and the Normandy& Cariulaim. (Toronto: 1991) P. 132
9 NAC, RG24 Vol. 13,712.2nd Canadian


For Simonds. the fact that Maj. Gen Charles Foulkes's 2nd Canadian Infantry Division was new to the Normandy battlefield spared its commanders from becoming the scapegoat for Springs failures. Instead, the axe fell on the long-suffering 3rd Canadian Infantry Division as a result of their actions at Tilîy-la-Campagne. After meeting with Second British Army Commander General Miles Dempsey., and later with 3rd Canadian Infantry Division  Commander Maj.-GeneraI Rod Keller. Simonds convened a court of inquiry removing the commanders of the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade and the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. As an indirect result of this inquiry. The commander of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders was also removed from command. Simonds also gave serious consideration to ending the careers of both his divisional commanders but refrained for morale Considerations.



In Operation Spring. Stacey historical investigation, conducted over the next eighteen months, reviled a controversy between Simonds and Foulkes over the conduct of the operation  an operation that Stacey would later refer to as ``the costliest in a single-day operation for the Canadian Army in the Second World War.''

According to Stacey the costly and meagre results of Spring led to a heated debate in the immediate postwar years between the two commanders most associated with the operation ,,Simonds & Foulkes.

Source;
Stacey, The Victory Campaign P.194
D Hist. "AHQ Report No.95: Historical Activities Within the Canadian Army "



Did Simonds change his plan or did he plan for exploitation in case success had been achieved? This is an open question that is subject to interpretation

Spring, was planned and presented by Simonds to Dempsey as a “holding attack”  Simonds in a 1946 reports writes, declaring that Operation Spring was designed not as a breakout battle. But merrily a “Holding Attack” to distract the Germans, allowing the US to break out.  I’ll give you this angle.

However on 22 July Montgomery changed his plans. He explained a new scheme to Eisenhower in a letter which stated that he was not going to "hold back or wait" for the Americans. Instead, II Canadian Corps, reinforced with two British armoured divisions, was to attack on 25 July, capturing Verrieres Ridge and advancing south to secure the next high ground at Point 122 near Cranmesnil. Two days later XII British Corps, west of the Orne, would once again try to capture Pt. 112. (Something that should have been done before Op Atlantic was launched IMO.)


Source;
The directive and the letter to Eisenhower are in C.P. Stacey, 181-83 The Victory Campaign. The letter to Eisenhower is dated 23 July but Lieut.-General Miles Dempsey discussed the operation with Simonds on the morning of the 22nd. Dempsey Papers PRO WO 285/9.




That is hardly wide scale firing & Irrelevant as it happened over a year before and in a different theatre.


Yes that was not from Op. Spring, and irrelevant, showing a pattern with the sacking of Graham and Montys comments . Simonds called them his “Insubordinates” and fired many. Simonds In January 1944 was made GOC II Corps and made numerous personnel changes: The Chief Engineer, Chief Medical Officer and the Commander  CCRA were sacked, and F. F. Worthington was replaced as commander of 4th Canadian Armoured Division {Granatstein (2005) p.163}

Many ranking officers sent letters and vigorously complained concerning Lt.-Gen Guy Granville Simonds,  arrogance stature, hot tempered and ignorant incompetence, far worse, his zealous reckless carelessness with complete utter disregard, for the lives of the men under his command, and own personal gains in reputation and career.

It’s my understanding H. Crerar received many complaints, concerning Simonds…. Megill and especially Foulkes included.
 

Old Sweat

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The Keller-Cunningham affair is interesting. Brigadier PAS Todd, who was the artillery commander of the 3rd Division at the time, told Simond's biographer that on his death bed, Simonds told him that he still agonized over the matter, as he felt he should have sacked Keller, and not Cunningham.

The British had wanted Keller relieved much earlier in the campaign, but for whatever reason, Simonds demurred. It may have been that he wanted to observe him before making a decision. By the time Spring had concluded, Simonds probably had decided that Keller was the lesser of two evils. Foulkes probably should have gone, to be replaced by whoever - Spry from Italy or Foster from 7 Brigade or Blackader from 8 Brigade.

Leaving the Graham affair aside, although Simonds was wrong here, there is little other than gossip to indicate that (many, if any) senior officers complained to Crerar about Simonds. Foulkes got the last laugh here, as he became the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) after the war, while Simonds commanded the UK Imperial Defence College. Simonds replaced Foulkes circa 1951 and was a highly effective CGS.

In any case, the Black Watch affair has been treated rather unfairly over the years, perhaps because of the militia regiment's influence and status in Montreal's Anglo society, which was very powerful in what was Canada's largest and most important city at the time. By that I mean, people tried to find a way out of the mess, and coulld not find one. The bottom line was that Griffin was not the only officer to make mistakes that day, but he was unable to defend himself.
 
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