19 April 1945:
"I'll go"

From the service record of Walter Strang we mainly learn about practical matters such as the training courses he participated in, in which units he served, and how he came from to Toronto to Hoevelaken. But we do not learn much about Walter as a person. Through the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Museum two veterans have been tracked down who have known him; Bill Teleske and Ken Froland.

Veteran Bill Teleske in front of the LER museum

Bill Teleske remembers Walter as a somewhat lean, tall man. He was a radio operator and he often saw Bill at meals. Walter was 11 years older and Bill considered him a quiet sort of chap. Bill himself did not fight in the frontlines since he worked in the kitchen. Ken Froland knew him better; Ken was a radio operator as well and shared a room with Walter. "Everyone liked him, he was a nice guy who'd everything for you. My first impression of 'Jock' was that he already was a seasoned soldier, with a lot of experience. He was older and a bit of a leader, very kind and he had a calming effect of the newer boys."

Veteran Ken Froland (right) in 1943 with his brother Walter Froland.

Was Walter a real Scot?
"He had a slight Scottish accent, talked a lot about his wife whom he wrote every week. He was a no-nonsense character and did not take part in the usual antics that carefree, young soldiers got into; he was more sensitive. A believer too; Walter carried a Bible in his left breast pocket."

What was special about him?
"He was clean and took meticulous care of his appearance, he washed his clothes, cleaned his gear, shaved, and had his hair cut. We in our twenties would leave skip that for a week sometimes. He was literally a friend of everyone, enjoyed being in the Group, loved a good chat with a drink or two. He was helpful and lent you everything, soap, cigarettes, and he also shared the food parcels he received from home."

Veteran Ken Froland after 62 years remembers the following of that fatal April 19th, 1945: "For a few days we were billeted (in Barneveld) and a porch had been fitted out as a radio communications room. There was a road block in Hoevelaken. The sergeant came in and said that they were going to clear away that road block and that a radio operator had to joint them. Jock said: 'I'll go'. He stepped forward and volunteered. It was around noon on a bright day. I am not sure how long the mission lasted and how much fire came from the German side, but late in the afternoon the patrol returned and we learned about his death", Ken concludes.

During the unveiling of the street sign to the Walter Stranglaan in Hoevelaken, on 1 December 2007, three veterans of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment visited the monument to Walter Strang. From left to right: Bill Teleske, Ken Froland, and Maurice White.