August 9, 1920 - September 15th, 2016
Letter from Jennifer Zentner granddaughter of William “Bill” Batt. 
[I would like to] contribute a picture and school letter my grandfather wrote to a school child in 2012.  My grandfather William “Bill” Charles Batt passed away September 15th , 2016 at the age of 96. We heard many war stories of his time overseas and know how dedicated and proud he was of being a Dragoon. 

He wrote a school child a letter in 2012 , giving a summary of his time he spent before and overseas.  He is sadly missed by family and friends and I especially miss knowing that the phone call to him each November 11th, will not happen again. I was so proud of him and each year I send a memo out to my staff of a reminder of what Remembrance Day really means and usually include a picture of Grandpa. 

I have noticed that there is a film being released  about the Dragoons. I am looking forward to seeing it and was so excited when I found it that I called the whole family. 

Jennifer Zentner
Wildfire Operations Officer
Fort McMurray Forest Area

Letter Written by William Batt – November, 2012
See the scan of the actual handwritten letter below the typed trancript

Bill Batt ~ 308-1339 9th Street ~ Estevan SK ~ S4A 2H3
Dear . . . 

Thanks so much for your letter of appreciation. It’s nice to know that there is still young people who are still interested in freedom. Herman Stegeman a Dutchman who we visited with in Holland and who with his wife came to Canada in 1996 and visited with us said, “we lost our freedom once but we can’t afford to do it again”. Herman and Gerda (his wife) also attended our reunion at Virden (Manitoba)

 I joined the South Saskatchewan Regiment (reinforcement) Unit in January 1941. I took my basic training and advanced training at Fort Claiborne in Winnipeg. Attended the School of Instruction when the 12th Manitoba Dragoon mobilized. I and a number of others were sent to instruct at Minto Barracks. Some including myself later transferred to the Dragoons.

 While in Canada we were stationed at Winnipeg, Shilo, Camp Borden, Work Point BC, Sooke Harbor, Otter Point BC and finally Debert NS. From here we were embarked at Halifax, NS and sailed for Glasgow, Scotland. On disembarking we went by rail to Aldershot.

 In Britain we were stationed at Aldershot (The HALLAMS) a big estate near Guilford, Preston Park a suburb of Brighton, Waterton Hall another large estate near Harwich, Warcop Artillery Ranges in Yorkshire, back to Preston Park and finally tents near Tonbridge Wells waiting to go to France.

While in England I attended Bisley Small Arms School, Dorking Mine and Demolition School, also the Battle School at Woking. We were also stationed at Mountfield Court, another large estate. This was between The Hallams and Preston Park and just North of Battle.

 We Sailed for France on July 09, 1944 and landed on Juno Beach. Our first action was on the Orne River at Caen where we went in as infantry.  We were an Armoured Car Regiment and our main task was to recce ahead of other units, be it brigade or division as we were 2nd corp. troops. The 12th Manitoba Dragoons were the 1st Corp Reconnaissance Regiment.

While in France we took part in the advance to Falaise Gap and the Seine River as we were the first Canadian Troops to reach the Seine. From here we advanced through France to Belgium where we took Ostende.

 We now advanced onto Holland doing reconnaissance work mostly for the 4th division. During the Battle of the Bulge we were in a defensive position at the Moerdijk Bridge on the Waal River.

 We crossed the Rhine River at Emmerich on a platoon bridge. From here we went thru Germany to Holland. On April 05, 1945 we took Vriezenveen, also Hardenberg and later in the day Coevorden. We were recalled back to harbour with the rest of the Squadron. Here I was wounded and sent back to the hospital at Nymegan then to Bruge which was a British Hospital. Here I slept 30 days and then went to a convalescent camp at Knocke, Holland. I returned to the Regiment after a 9-day leave in Britain. 

As I had volunteered for the Pacific Unit at Knocke, my draft came up in July to return to Canada. After a 9-day leave in Britain we sailed from Liverpool to Quebec City. Here we boarded a train. The war in the pacific ended when we were in Smith Falls on our way home. The atomic bomb dropped in Nagasaki was on my birthday, August 09. 

 I went as far as Regina where I was met by my sister. Took off for Carlyle the next morning where I was met by dad, mom, brother Jim, and sister Jean. I had 2 30-day leaves while there and helped with the harvest.

 Our armoured car weighed 14 tons. Was powered with 2 Buick 8 synchronized motors. It had electric steering, a Hydromatic Transmission (automatic). Was equipped with a 37mm gun, high powered as it had a rifled barrel. 3-30mm Browning Machine Guns. It could travel up to 80 miles per hour. A wonderful machine designed by our own colonel.

 I was discharged in Regina on November 25, 1945. I started work in Regina on December 01, 1945.

 This is a short history and it really is brief. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did your letter of appreciation. The best of luck to you and may you have a bright and happy future.

Your Veteran Friend Forever,
Bill Batt

. . .


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