An Edinburgh Battalion at War
The Dandy Ninth
"As part of the preparations for D Day,
the Signal Platoon was involved in fooling the Germans into thinking that
the Allies were about to invade Norway. They spent weeks transmitting
bogus messages to keep them guessing. Then, in the middle of
September, the Dandy Ninth (Royal Scots 9th Battalion)
were sent to Lincolnshire, to take part in the second wave of airborne
landings at Arnhem.
Sadly, the first landings were a
disaster, and the further operations were cancelled. The 7/9th Royal
Scots were posted to Belgium, to take part in the battles to take Antwerp
and the Scheld Estuary, in order to open up the port as the main supply
line for the Allies. On November 1 1944 they took part in the Battle of
Flushing. Wading through the flooded town - the dykes had been breached -
waist deep and more in the North Sea, their task was to capture the Hotel
Britannia. In single file, holding on to the man in front¹s webbing they
fought their way across the rapidly-flowing waters.
Their CO, Colonel Melvill, was wounded, but was propped up on a raised
dyke, and urged his men onwards The men were enraged that their Colonel
had been shot, and charged forward to the hotel building, lobbing grenades
into pill-boxes and windows. Bursting into a big concrete bunker outside
the hotel, the Royals found that the bunker was packed with Germans,
including the Commander of the Flushing garrison and all his staff. He
immediately surrendered to the senior Dandy Ninth officer. In all more
than 500 Germans surrendered.
Dad was in charge of the only working radio during the battle. The others
had packed up due to the wet conditions. For his efforts, Dad was
mentioned in despatches 'for gallant conduct¹. Walcheren was finally
liberated on 6 November. Antwerp followed. They were rested on 28
December, before rejoining the fight.
In January the 7/9th continued to fight their way across Belgium, Holland
and Germany. On 10 March they reached the Rhine. They crossed it under
Their unit then became part of the 8th Army and moved on to Barnstorf,
Osnabruck, and then to Soltau, where they met stiff resistance, but
captured the town on 18 April. They were then sent towards the city of
Bremen, but came under attack along the way. They were reunited into the
52nd (Lowland) Division for the Assault on Bremen on 20 April. Bremen was
captured, and on May 1 it was announced that Hitler was dead. On the 5th
of May 1945, Germany surrendered. The pictures show the 7/9th Signal
platoon in Germany, and Dave Cairns guarding a jeep in Bremen.
Although the war was over, the Royal Scots were still needed to occupy
Bremen. Dad was not demobbed until 13 July 1946!"
"I'd be delighted to hear
from any of his surviving comrades, or their families."
Jim Cairns, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland: November 10,