L/Cpl Arthur Emil Winters, 11th Fd Coy

Christmas photo of the family of Arthur Emil Winters in East Prussia found in his Pay Book
L/Cpl Arthur Emil Winters' Grave Marker in the Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemeter
Crois de Guerre avec Palme (Belgium)
Background 

Arthur Emil Winters was born in Kumilako, East Prussia, Germany. When he was 15 years old, his parents were killed in an accident. He emigrated to Canada at age 17 after three years of high school and settled in northwestern Ontario around Vermillion Bay.  He taught himself English through conversation and with a dictionary.

Arthur initially worked as a carpenter but later bought a truck and hauled pulpwood. He was naturalized but not considered an enemy alien, although he was required to report to the RCMP monthly. He was also disqualified from any coastal duties or employment. He was living in his own home, one that he built, when he enlisted. He enlisted for active service in Fort William, Ontario on 25 February 1943 after a month or so in the Militia. By May 1943 he had completed his advanced training in Camp Chilliwack and arrived in England in August.  He spent nearly a year in the Engineer Reinforcement Unit qualifying as a Carpenter Group ‘C’ as well as Waterman Group ‘C’. In March 1944, he was posted to the 11th Field Company.

The 11th Field Company arrived in France in July as part of 2nd Canadian Division Engineers. They participated fully in all operations during the Battle of Normandy and the advance across the Seine, through the Channel Ports and into Belgium, clearing routes and building bridges.

The 11th Field Company arrived in France on 7 July as part of 2nd Canadian Division Engineers. They participated fully in all operations during the Battle of Normandy and the advance across the Seine, through the Channel Ports and into Belgium, clearing routes and building bridges. The Division was then moved north of Antwerp in preparation for the Battle of the Scheldt.

While the battle officially began on 2 October 1944 when the 2nd Canadian Division crossed the Antwerp-Turnhout Canal to clear the Beveland approaches, for the RCE, the Battle of the Scheldt started a day earlier. On the night of 1 October, the 11th Field Company struggled under fire to build an 80-foot Class 40 bridge across the canal just west of a weaken bridge built the night before by the 7th Field Company near Lockenberg. The task was costly when a direct hit on the bank seat party killed three and wounded three more. Continued mortaring slowed the work during the day, but the bridge was open to traffic before the evening.

Lance Corporal Frank Arnold Lowe was seriously wounded in the blast.  He was taken to Number 9 Canadian Field Dressing Station and died later that day. He is buried in the Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery in Holland. In 1948, the Belgium Government awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme to Sapper Lowe in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the liberation of that country. The medal was presented by the Belgian Embassy 1940 to Mrs . Natalie (Franz) Matteoschat, friend and prospective wife.

Return to Part 5: Tributes to the Fallen Sappers of the Scheldt