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There is a soldier from Thessalon whose name has rung through many accounts of the spectacular drive of they Royal Hamilton Light Infantry towards the Rhine. He is Cpl. Stanley Olmstead, son of Mrs. Mary Olmstead of Thessalon, who has been twice wounded in action and is at the present time in hospital in England recuperating from what the army calls "battle exhaustion"
Cpl. Olmstead displayed his gallantry and courage in the joint British-Canadian attack on Xanten and its surrounding countryside. The R.H.L.I. were fighting forward on the exposed right flank of the combined effort. The attack jumped off on the left and "Dog" company on the left and "Abel " company on the right facing the double danger of stubborn enemy to their front and holding a pocket on their flank. Olmstead headed a section of the latter company.
A strong barrage led the infantrymen forward but the cunning Hun loosing the power of his artillery mass, replied in strength, making the going extremely difficult for the assaulting company. Cpl Olmstead's company made a heroic stand throughout the long day. Commanded by Lt. Ken Wharton this gallant unit reached its objective right in the heart of the Hun position.
Cpl. Olmstead and his section separated from their comrades held out in slit trenches dominated by two 88's at about the 75 yard range firing at them over open sights.
Artillery fire eventually disposed of the two 88's. Three counter attacks of up to company strength were also dealt with by the "Riley" lads and the score in enemy dead reached three figures.
The boys in Cpl. Olmstead's section and particularly that gallant corporal himself, certainly believe in miracles as they look back on that action and realize that they just scraped through it alive.
"I only hope that I will have to go through anything like that again." Cpl. Olmstead writes. "I just scraped through with my life. However I did come out, so I won't worry you with my troubles...I've seen more than I will ever be able to forget in a short time, I wish the accounts had said more about the boys that were with me as they were real fellows and I would have done anything for them. I will never forget the part they played, poor boys."
Sgt Bill Rothera , son of Mrs. and Mr. C.F. Rothera, of Thessalon wrote to his parents that Cpl. Olmstead had distinguished himself by capturing a German gun. The young signalman added he believed Cpl. Olmstead would be recommended for a decoration.
Born in Thessalon Cpl. Olmstead received both his primary and secondary education in that community. Prior to his enlistment he was employed at Nobel.
Enlisting with the Essex Scottish Regiment in 1942 Cpl. Olmstead trained as a driver mechanic at Woodstock and Camp Borden. In September of the same year he was posted and transferred to the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and was wounded in action in France early in July. At that time he received wounds to his chest and back but returned to the western front seven weeks later.
He was wounded in Germany in March but according to his own reports, this wound was not serious. A brother Jimmy, is stationed at St. John's Newfoundland. His father was recently discharged from the army. Two sisters, Pat and Ruth Ann are at home.
- Media Type
- Item Type
- This article is about Cpl. Stanley Olmstead of Thessalon, Ont. and how he was wounded twice in the war overseas. Cpl. Olmstead was involved in an intense firefight with the enemy and was lucky enough to survive.
- Date of Original
- Fall 1943
- Local History
- Language of Item
- Geographic Coverage
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