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Original battledress tunic to a Sergeant of the British Columbia Dragoons - 5th Canadian Armoured Division. The battledress is in good condition with normal wear and one damage rightside underneath the collar. Maker marked and dated 1943 with size 8. The tunic bears embroidered shoulder insignia with Sergeant rank chevrons, woundstripe (Sgt. was wounded) and service chevrons. Tunic shows medal ribbons and its original coloured lanyard.
Very nice original tunic of the British Columbia Dragoons!
The British Columbia Dragoons landed in Marseilles, a Mediterranean seaport on the south coast of France on the morning of February 20th, 1945. Six hundred miles north, between the border of Germany and the Netherlands, the Allied forces were preparing to launch Operation Blockbuster: an offensive that was to drive the enemy out of the territory west of the Rhine River. By February 24th, the BCD’s were traveling north with their tanks, covering an average of 100 to 150 miles each day, arriving in Belgium less than a week later. By April, they were on their way to the Netherlands.
On April 11th, the B.C. Dragoons crossed the Rhine River just east of the town of Nijmegen in preparation for an advance on Arnhem and regions to the Northwest. The regiment encountered heavy resistance as they advanced and local civilians assisted in reporting the whereabouts of enemy troops who were, for the most part, disorganized. One account of the event written later by Lt. Col. H.H. Angle states.
“Prisoners began to give themselves up in ever increasing numbers, and it soon became apparent that the BCD’s were some miles behind the German main position which was facing the other Canadian forces around (the town of) Apeldoorn…The BCD’s were fighting Germans in all directions and the Germans obviously became confused as the day progressed.”
The speed by which the BCD’s advanced also meant exhaustion for the men themselves. Being well ahead of the infantry meant tank crews had the additional work of having to carry out patrol duties, rounding up prisoners, re-stocking ammunition, etc; work that was usually carried out by infantry personnel. For the B.C. Dragoons, the end of the war came on May 2nd as they attacked and seized one of the enemy’s last organized defenses: the town of Delfzijl; a town located in the northeast corner of the Netherlands bordering on Germany.
The same day Delfzijl was captured, all German forces on the Italian front had surrendered and the City of Berlin fell to the Russians.
During the course of the war, the B.C. Dragoons suffered 289 casualties. From this number, four officers and 78 other ranks had been killed while 27 officers and 180 other ranks had been wounded. The average strength of the unit while in battle had been approximately 33 officers and 600 other ranks. That means that the percentage of officer casualties was almost 100 percent, while other ranks was slightly over 40 percent.