The Canadian Military Engineers are pleased to advise that Ambassador Nicolas Chapuis presented the National Order of the Legion of Honour to WW II Veteran Captain Albert William Bridgewater (Ret’d) on 10 November at the Embassy of France on behalf of the Government of France. During WW II Capt Bridgewater was a member of the Royal Canadian Engineers of 4 Division who participated in the Battle of the Liberation of France.
Albert Bridgewater had joined the Militia in 1936 and served with the Royal Canadian Engineers before WW II in London, ON and Montreal, QC. He enlisted in the Canadian Army Active Force in the Summer of 1941 and proceeded to A6 Canadian Engineer Training Centre in Dundurn, SK for his Sapper training. After completion of this training he was assigned to 9th Field Squadron and continued his training with that unit at Camp Petawawa, ON. 9th Field Squadron then moved to Halifax and sailed for the United Kingdom on 1 June 1942. In England, the unit continued its training in preparation of the invasion of the Continent. Lt Bridgewater was selected as a Reconnaissance Officer and transferred to Headquarters 4 Armoured Division Engineers.
4 Division relieved 3 Division in the Normandy bridgehead in July 1944 and Lt Bridgewater landed in France on 6 July. He was promoted to Captain shortly after landing in France. The Divisional Engineers were initially employed on the construction of the Caen bypass. Capt Bridgewater worked as a Reconnaissance Officer throughout the Battle of France. He was responsible for the conduct of engineer reconnaissance of the roads and bridges to determine the engineer work necessary to clear the obstacles and to build the bridges and roads to support the Allied advance through France.
After the Battle for France, 4 Division over-wintered in the Nijmegen area in Holland and the Divisional Engineers continued to support the Allied advance into Germany until the conclusion of hostilities. Capt Bridgewater returned to Canada and was demobilized in September 1945.
After the War, Bert worked in Montreal for a few years before he became Assistant Chief Bridge Engineer for the Saskatchewan Department of Highways. The family moved to Ottawa in 1951 where he took up a position with the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority. He was transferred to its Montreal headquarters shortly afterwards where he worked on the design and construction of the Seaway canal system until 1974. He retired in 1978 and celebrated his 100th birthday in Ottawa in November 2015.