However, the helpful archivist also provided me with another contact within the town, a gentleman by the name of Jacques Boone. I subsequently emailed Jacques with my now well-rehearsed potted history of my Grandfather’s service, the website and book plans and within a couple of hours I received the following reply:
Dear Mr Andrews,
Many thanks for your interesting mail. Every information about the 11th Btn, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, does interest me very much, indeed. On 24th September 1944, as a 17 years old boy, I was living in Turnhout and attended the liberation of the town,( I kept it vivid in my memory, almost as if it happened yesterday) by the 49th Reconnaissance Rgt of the 49th Polar Bear Division, followed immediately by the 11 Btn, the R.S.F. and the 7th Btn, the Duke of Wellington’s Rgt.
My text on the liberation of Turnhout was published by “Forces War Records”in their Magazine , issue 10, Special Edition , ‘Your Stories’, December 2015. Some photographs of me were shot on 24th September 1944 by a late cousin of mine, on the Turnhout Market square , while I was fraternizing with the Recces.
A friend of mine, Ken West, was a member of the 11th RSF. Hereby some correspondence. I read his book “An’ it’s called a tam- o’- Shanter”, Ken’s war memoires. I opened my contact to him with my letter of 1st October 2007, I asked him if he knew the 11th RSF man whose photograph I had taken in Normandy in 2007. Ken did not; he actually did not “liberate” Turnhout, on 24th September 1994 he was in an hospital in England, in treatment for severe burn wounds he had gotten in action on the Normandy front.
I am convinced that my friend John Peters (address provided) knows English very well and I am almost certain he could give you some interesting data . Tell him I gave you his address.
With kind regards,
Member of the 49th (WR) Infantry Division Association.
I replied, thanking Jacques for the link to his article and the additional contact. I explained that Ken West was indeed a mutual acquaintance and sent on a photograph of Ken and I in Leicester in 2015. In addition,
Jacques bounced back with another prompt email:
Thank you for the nice photograph of you with Ken. The last time of our meeting was in 2014, in Normandy, in front of the Polar Bear monument at Fontenay-le-Pesnel. He was leading an important group of Normandy Veteran Association members. What a pity this association has been dissolved. We met several times in October at a memorial ceremony at Wuustwezel in Belgium next the PBA monument and also one time at Merksplas, at the monument of Cpl John HARPER, VC.
My motto is: Remember ! Often, I attend ceremonies , last week to remember crashes of 3 RAF bomber command bombers, for a Manchester, a Halifax and a Stirling at the village of Kasterlee. I had again the pleasure of meeting there British and Canadian acquaintances to members of the crews. I had to make a speech in English at the Manchester monument.