About 40 people interested in war history including local cadets gathered at the Estevan Royal Canadian Legion Hall Saturday morning to learn about the Battle of the Scheldt that took place during World War II.
Craig Bird, the commanding officer of the army cadets, guided the public through the major events of the Second World War leading to the less-known, but very important Battle of the Scheldt that took place in the fall of 1944. Strategically important 50 kilometres of land in northern Belgium and the southwestern Netherlands were fully controlled by Germans. It took six weeks and over 6,300 Canadian and almost 13,000 total lives to clear it.
This year marks 75 years of the Battle of the Scheldt. On Oct. 2, 1944, the First Canadian Army, with Canadian, Polish and British units attached in tough battles opened up the route to Antwerp, so the port could be used to supply Allies in northwest Europe.
South Saskatchewan Regiment, along with the Regina Riffles and Royal Winnipeg Riffles were a part of this series of operations fighting to liberate Europe. Estevan’s Eugene Phaneuf who was enrolled with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles at that time lost his life on Oct. 12, 1944.
For more on the history of the battle and Saskatchewan’s part in it come back next week or check Wednesday’s edition of the Mercury.