Part IV: 2015 Update
LIBERATION OF HOLLAND
Update on the Staghound restorationAfter the Staghounds restoration, I concentrated on collecting photos and information from this armored car and from the regiments which used it in WWII. Countless hours were spent searching in Canadian, British and Dutch archives, corresponding with museums, veterans, Dutch historical societies etc. and collecting historical books and publications. The following article is a result from this search.
Most photos may be clicked to larger full-screen size
Around mid-1945, the demobilizing Canadian army brought its surplus vehicles to Demob Vehicle Parks in Holland located at Deelen, Stroe, Enschede and Soesterberg.
The XII Manitoba Dragoons (XIIMD) turned in all their AFVs to "a depot at Arnhem Airport" on 5th July 1945.
Photo from Deelen Demob Vehicle Park with XIIMD AFVs.
D-squadron vehicles on the left, C -squadron vehicles on the right.
Note scoutcar 144 from 14th Troop second in line on the right.
Source: Brandon Armoury, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.
The Dutch army had to be re-equipped which was mainly done by using vehicles from Canadian stock. All (around 72) XIIMD Staghounds went to the Dutch army. In total they got 108, the balance mainly coming from the Royal Canadian Dragoons.
On 18th June 1945 the Pantserschool (Armoured vehicle school) was formed under the leadership of Major (later Brig.Gen) J.J.G. Beelaerts van Blokland. Initially it was established in the Prinses Irene Barracks in Bergen op Zoom, but when the Pantserschool expanded, it moved to the Willem III Barracks in Amersfoort at the end of 1945. There it finally expanded to three squadrons “Huzaren van Boreel”.
Photo showing Dutch registration number “34909”.
Other confirmed Staghound registration numbers are
34910, 34945, 34948, 34958, 34964, 34971, 34974, 34976, 34980, 34986, 34993, 36605.
On May 10th 1946, the Pantserschool had two operational Staghounds, F235320, F235371 and one inoperational car with number F235342. In the following months, more vehicles were added and were renumbered using a 5-digit system. My Staghound was registered 34909, the number was found on the hull hidden underneath some layers of green paint. No photos from the car in that period have been found till now.
Around 1950, the Dutch army had two armored car squadrons, 1st and 2nd Eskadron Pantserwagens (Armored Car Squadron), so it could be it served in one of these or was held in reserve. In 1958, Dutch army vehicles got new registration numbers in the form of license plates. At that time, the number of operational Staghounds was down to 31 as many had been scrapped or converted for a static role as airfield "bunker" fortifications. The registration number range allocated to the Staghounds was KN-32-82 to KN-33-12.
In 1959, the 1st and 2nd Eskadron Pantserwagens were renamed to 440 and 441 Eskadron Pantserwagens (440 and 441 Squadron Armored Cars). Mine got registration number KN-32-84 and was allocated to "440 Eskadron Pantserwagens."
The wartime task for these squadrons was defending the Dutch military airfields in the southern part (441) and western (440) part of the country. Spare parts were always in short supply and as time went by, it got more difficult to keep the Staghounds operational and in 1964 both 440 and 441 Eskadron Pantserwagens were demobilized.
On the car, some wartime modifications were found indicating that 4-Ft. wading equipment and “12ft No9 trackways” had been installed.
Photo showing KN-32-84 around 1964 after demobilization.
"440X" marking from 440 Eskadron Pantserwagens on right fender.
Location Soesterberg, 573 Verzamelplaatscompagnie.
Courtesy S. Ruys.
Detail from previous photo for comparison with photo below.
Details from the wading equipment can be found in Chilwell Catalogue 72/533 titled “4-Ft wading instructions for the armoured car, Staghound, (T.17.E.1.).
4-Ft. wading equipment.
Staghound 4 Ft. wading instructions, Chilwell Catalogue 72/533.
Page 2 from wading instructions with foreword mentioning some of the preparations.
Installing the wading equipment was a major modification. It involved removing the jettison fuel tank system, work like flame cutting and welding various brackets to the hull and sealing every potential leaking point. The modification took a few weeks to carry out, therefore, only Staghounds actually assigned to a fighting unit were modified.
The work was done by the XIIMD themselves with the assistance from specialist welders and fitters from 40 Light Aid Detachment. The job started on May 19th 1944 and finished in June whereafter the equipment was submerged and checked in special test basins in Maresfield, U.K..
Drawing from Chilwell Catalogue 72/533 showing air ducts.
Photo (9th September 1944, Blankenberge)
from XIIMD B-squadron HQ rear link Staghound No 3 showing air exit duct.
Source: Library and Archives Canada PA-144147.
Modifications still visible on the car are the 90 degree bent rear steps, the cut air intake cowl, the chiseled-off crowbar bracket and the welds that attached the air exit duct to the rear of the car. Also, sealing compound was found in a few places.
As I have never seen a RCD Staghound with the 4 ft wading equipment, things started to point in the direction from XIIMD.
The "12ft No9 trackways" were developed by XIIMD when they trained in the U.K. and were also used by other Canadian and British regiments for crossing small streams. In XIIMD, every fighting troop (2 Staghounds, 2 Ford Lynx Scoutcars) and every heavy troop (2 Staghounds, 1 Ford Lynx Scoutcar) had one set of these aluminium trackways. They could have been used in squadron headquarters also but I have no information confirming this.
Photo from the lower rear armor plate showing the 90 degree bent steps and
the remains of the welds from the air exit duct mounting bracket.
Photo showing flame cut edge from cover over air inlet.
The location of the now missing crowbar bracket was at the center bottom from the photo.
12ft No9 trackways
There were 20 fighting troops and 4 heavy troops, so there were at least 24 sets of trackways. The trackways were carried by the 2nd car, also known as "Sergeants Car." For mounting the trackways on the car, a support was welded on the hull sides. Later, in some cases, a cross-bar was welded on top of the armor plate above the drivers and co-drivers heads for the same purpose. Other crews just strapped the trackways on their car with chains and/or leather/canvas straps.
Photo (14th February 1944, U.K.) showing trackways installed (without crossbar) on XIIMD
D-squadron Staghound. Source: Library and Archives Canada.
Photo (27th July 1944, Normandy) from XIIMD, 5th troop ( A-squadron) "Sergeants Car"
showing crossbar without the trackways installed. Source: IWM catalogue number B8114
Photo (8 September 1944, Oostende) from XIIMD, 7th Troop ( B-squadron) "Sergeants Car"
showing crossbar with the trackways installed. Source: Regimental Scrapbook XII Manitoba Dragoons.
On the roof plate above the driver and co-driver, two rows of welds about 50mm apart were found. Initially no attention was paid to this, thinking it was a Dutch modification, but with the later knowledge about the trackways, it was clear that the welds were once holding the crossbar supporting these trackways.
IdentificationAlthough the direction in which to search was clear, finding a good wartime photo from my Staghound would be very fortunate. But the time spent researching finally paid off. The Dutch National Archives in The Hague has a large collection of wartime photos. In this archive there are some photos from the Canadian army parade held in Amsterdam on June 28th 1945 when Queen Wilhelmina visited the city. XIIMD participated with all their 72 Staghounds and 20 Ford Lynx Scoutcars. One of these photos is shown below.
Photo (28th June 1945, around 12.25hrs, Amsterdam)
showing XIIMD, 12th Troop “Lieutenants Car” (121) on the left
and “Sergeants Car” (122) on the right.
Source: Nationaal Archief, photo number 900-4688
The two welds on top of the roof plate immediately draw my attention.
The original photo is very detailed and it is possible to compare welding details, casting irregularities and other details with the details on my car. This gave at least 15 exact matches (and no mismatches) and the car could be identified as a XII Manitoba Dragoons vehicle serving as “Sergeants Car” No 122 with 12th Troop (C-squadron). The War Department Census number was F215633.
It turned out there are more photos (shown below) from this Staghound.
In September 1944 the XII Manitoba Dragoons started a Regimental Scrapbook which grew to a 500 page document at war's end. 12th Troop also wrote a short summary on their experiences and it is obvious that they had a rough start losing their Lieutenant Peter R. Page (wounded on August 12th 1944, died August 13th 1944). The sergeant on the car was Sgt C.N. Schaldemose who was also wounded on the 12th but returned to the unit around October 1944. The new troop leader was Lt. W.G. McCulloch. Other names from 12th Troop are gunners Tpr. Martin Siegfried and W. Petrynko, L/Cpl. D.E. Spencer, L/Cpl. Swanson. Later Lt. Clifford H. Hill became 12th Troops leader.
Photo taken around 20th March 1945 in the “van Eijkhovenstraat” in Dreumel, Holland.
Three men on the photo are from Westminster Regiment
and one from XIIMD (2nd from the right), names unknown.
Courtesy The Royal Westminster Regiment Historical Society and Museum, Mr. Terry Leith.
"Roadside Gossip in Holland."
Back, left to right: Capt. J.C. Calcutt XIIMD, 2nd IC from C-squadron,
Lt. H.A. Stephens, Westminster Regiment, Tpr A.R. Litchfield XIIMD, Tpr. W.J. Flanagan XIIMD.
Standing: Pte. J.A. Kingsnorth, Pte. S.N. Drummond, Sgt. J.D. Macgill, Westminster Regiment.
Photo taken around 20th March 1945 in the “van Eijkhovenstraat” in Dreumel, Holland.
Note the trackways are installed on the car.
Source: The Westminsters’ War Diary by Major J.E. Oldfield, 1964.
Both photos were taken when the Westminster Regiment, just having arrived from Italy,
took over the watch along the river Waal from XIIMD.
Photo from F215633 C122 made on September 12th 1944 in Dudzele,Belgium,
a village between Brugge and Zeebrugge.
The location is on the “Dorpsplein”. The houses on the left are still there.
Source: N.S.B. Dudzele.
A short moment later this photo was taken at the junction "Dorpsplein" – "Zwaanhofstraat."
The house and garage are still there and barely changed.
Source: N.S.B. Dudzele.
Another interesting document is this list titled "Staghounds –Canadian Units - 21th Army Group,",
dated September 7th 1944. Note F215633 near the centre of the photo.
In total, 92 Staghounds are listed, the majority are XII Manitoba Dragoons vehicles.
Source: Clive Law (Service Publications).
Document from the National Archives in Ottawa mentioning
the Code Signs used in April 1945 and mentioned in the war diary pages from April 1945.
12th Troop was Code Sign 6.
Code Sign 3 = 13th Troop, Code Sign 5 = 15th Troop.
Source: National Archives in Ottawa through Heritage Canadiana.
List of documents and literature
Chilwell Catalogue 72/533, 4 Ft. wading instructions for Amoured Car Staghound (incl. amendments). The Canadian Summer by J.A. Roberts, ISBN 0-7727-8000-5. Regimental Scrapbook XII Manitoba Dragoons. Regimental History of the 18th Armoured Car Regiment (XII Manitoba Dragoons). XII Manitoba Dragoons: a tribute by Bruce Tascona, ISBN 1-55056-006-9. Film “Life in the Regiment XII Manitoba Dragoons”. War Diary XII Manitoba Dragoons. Various editions of “The Staghound, unofficial bulletin of the 18th Armoured Car Regiment“. War Diary 40LAD (Light Aid Detachment) attached to XII Manitoba Dragoons. War Diary Royal Canadian Dragoons. XII Manitoba Dragoons and 26 Field Regiment Museum, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. The Westminsters’ War Diary by Major J.E. Oldfield, 1964. Canadian army manual of training CAMT 3-2 “The Armoured Car Regiment”. Wheels & Tracks No 32 en 55. Book “Tussen paard en pantser” by Jan Hof, ISBN 90 6084 889 6 City archive Amsterdam. National Archive The Hague. Resistance museum (Verzetsmuseum) Amsterdam. NIOD Photoarchive.
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