::  Middelburg Liberated  ::

Once the 21st Army Group under command of B.L. Montgomery captured Antwerp it was obvious, yet for some time not to him, that the Antwerp Docks were useless as long as both banks of the river Scheldt stayed in German hands. After an agonisingly long back and forth, operations 'Switch Back' (clearance of the South bank) and 'Vitality 1 and 2' (partial clearance of the North bank) finally started. 

The final hurdle was the Dutch Island of Walcheren, which essentially locked the river Scheldt. To clear that job operations 'Infatuate-1, Flushing' and Operation 'Infatuate-2, Westkapelle' started on November 1st 1944. It turned out to be the last sea-borne landings in North-West Europe!

Operation Infatuate-1 started at Flushing in the early morning of the 1st of November 1944. A heavy battle raged through the partly inundated town, culminating on November 3rd in the battle for the German HQ in and under the former Hotel Britannia on the Flushing seawall. The next important target was the provincial capital Middelburg. That town was surrounded by seawater as a result of the bombing of the dikes in October 1944 by the RAF.

A first attempt to reach and liberate Middelburg was made on November 4th and 5th along the canal banks but was cancelled due to strong German defences and heavy mined banks. The 7/9th Royal Scots did a reconnaissance tour from Flushing via Koudekerke towards Middelburg by Landing Vehicle Tracks, better known as 'Buffalos'. That route seemed the most promising and the decision was made to start another push on November 6th. As the War Diary of the 155 Infantry Brigade notes: "The big show for the day" was to be by 'A company 7/9 Royal Scots'. They left Flushing at 12.40 hrs and followed the designated route.

Middelburg had been under heavy shelling from November 1st till November the 6th. The Scots reached it at about 16.00 hrs. where they had to wait for reinforcements. Finally, at 03.00 hrs at night the 5th Highland Light Infantry was able to enter Middelburg from Nieuwland.  First hand, detailed information on the course of events are presented here through the War Diary of the HQ 155th Infantry Brigade:









Participating forces ::

52nd Lowland Infantry Division (Territorial Army)

155th Brigade (Commander: Brigadier J. F. S. McLaren)

4th Bn The King's Own Scottish Borderers

5th Bn The King's Own Scottish Borderers

7/9th Bn The Royal Scots