November 3, 2021. Recently, Cheryl Topping of Nova Scotia wrote to Pieter about a WW2 soldier on the photo wish list from the Canadian War Cemetery in Bergen Op Zoom, saying that she was “…a descendant of Ronald Sidney Waterhouse. He was my grandmother’s brother….” Cheryl followed up with photos and contacted Ronald Sidney’s daughter, Merrilyn O’Brien.
Ronald Sidney WATERHOUSE was born March 21, 1913 in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Harold Victor and Ellen Elizabeth (nee Payne) Waterhouse.
…A young father enlists….
When he enlisted with the No. 6 District on August 24, 1942 in Sydney, Nova Scotia, he was already married, to Nina Meredith MacLeod, and the father of Merrilyn Ronalda, who was born July 18, 1942 in Sydney.
His enlistment record indicated that he played softball and rugby, and had been a travelling salesman. Both his father and brother Harold Henry were in the police force in Toronto, with his father identified as a detective.
In September 1942 Ronald was sent to #61 Canadian Army Basic Training Centre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, and then in November 1942 to the Canadian Armoured Corps Advanced Training Centre (CACATC) in Borden, Ontario.
In a January 29, 1943 interview, it was noted that Ronald had completed Basic and Advanced CAC training and that he wished to apply to the Canadian Provost Corps. He was described as having “...good appearance, straight forward manner...” It noted that he was a “…strong, healthy normal man in all respects...” with a “…sound practical education…” and a “…good position in civilian life…”
In March 1943 he was transferred to #3 CACRU (Canadian Armoured Corps Reinforcement Unit) to go overseas, arriving in the United Kingdom on March 17. Over a year later, on August 11, 1944, he was transferred to the Canadian Fusiliers Regiment. On September 18, 1944, he was in France with the Regiment, part of the Canadian Infantry Corps.
…The Lincoln and Welland Regiment was in the Battle of the Scheldt….
On September 29, 1944, Ronald was transferred to the Lincoln and Welland Regiment. Unfortunately, on November 2, 1944 he was killed in action during the Battle of the Scheldt. This was a series of military operations that took place between October 2 and November 8, 1944, to open up the port of Antwerp, Belgium and fought in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands. (See https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/second-world-war/scheldt)
The war diary for the Lincoln and Welland Regiment for November 2, 1944 indicates the Regiment was in Bergen Op Zoom, The Netherlands, and that it was a bright and warm day….
“… 17:00 …final orders were issued. The general plan being that the Lincoln & Welland Regiment on the left and the Algonquin Regiment on the right would attack and hold positions along the road…” This was to provide protective cover for troops advancing towards Steenbergen.
“…20:05… A Company reached their objective… and were under semi-automatic and shell fire. They suffered heavy casualties...” One of the casualties was Ronald Sidney Waterhouse.
A short video featuring old newsreel coverage of the Battle of the Scheldt can be seen here:
Ronald Sidney was initially buried in Bergen Op Zoom, and later received a permanent headstone at the Canadian War Cemetery there.
…A daughter’s reflections….
His daughter Merrilyn wrote to explain that “…I was only 2 years old when my Dad died so I never really knew him…. My Mother said that my Dad was a great guy and he seemed to be happy (always smiling) in a lot of old pictures that I have. He worked for Lever Brothers….”
Merrilyn went on to explain what happened after her father left to go overseas. “…My Mother and I lived for the first 8 years of my life with my maternal grandparents in Sydney. When I was 8 years old my Mother married Herman F. Slade. My half-brother, Barry James, was born in 1955. We moved to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 1955. Barry presently lives in Guelph, Ontario. My Mother and Barry moved to Guelph to be closer to her brother, Rev. Merrill MacLeod….”
Nina died in 1982. Merrilyn now lives in Massachusetts, USA.
Thank you to Merrilyn O’Brien and Cheryl Topping for sharing photos of Ronald Sidney Waterhouse. If you have photos and information to share about Canadian soldiers buried in The Netherlands, please contact Pieter at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.
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