Lieutenant Basil Andrew Nunn, Cape Breton Highlanders, R.C.I.C.

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Lieutenant Basil Andrew Nunn, Cape Breton Highlanders, R.C.I.C.

Post by Phil » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:47 am

Looking for more info regarding the service and death of Lieutenant Basil Andrew Nunn, Cape Breton Highlanders, R.C.I.C.

Military Medals, Silver Star, 1946
Given Name(s): Basil Andrew
Surname: Nunn
Date: 1946-03-30
Rank: Lieutenant
Medal/Honour/Award: Silver Star
Event/Time Period:
1900-1969
Authority: CG 13
Volume: 50
Date: 1946-03-30
Reference: 2004-01505-5
Item Number: 86194
Service Files of the Second World War - War Dead
Surname: NUNN
Given Name(s): BASIL ANDREW
Age: 23
Date of Birth: 1922
Date of Death: 1945-05-01
Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: Cape Breton Highlanders, R.C.I.C
Force: Army
Reference: R112
Volume: 30573
Extra Information: Silver Star (U.S.A.). Son of Thomas Andrew and Agnes May Nunn; husband of Yvonne Lyle Nunn, of Toronto, Ontario. B.Sc. Civil Engineer.
Item Number: 43149
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Re: Lieutenant Basil Andrew Nunn, Cape Breton Highlanders, R.C.I.C.

Post by Phil » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:00 am

It would seem was killed at the battle of Delfzijl.

https://www.capebretonpost.com/news/loc ... ered-5205/
C.B. Highlanders success at Delfzijl remembered
Cape Breton Post
Published: Nov 08, 2013 at midnight
Updated: Oct 02, 2017 at 11:21 a.m.

One of the last battles of the Second World War in Europe was one of the fiercest fought by the Cape Breton Highlanders.
In the northeast of the Netherlands along the border with Germany, the Dutch town of Delfzijl had been transformed into a fortress by the Nazi regime.

Swamp land, flooded by broken dykes, and landmines and barbed wire, created enormous problems for the Allies trying to free the town — one of the last regions of the country that was under German occupation.

Ted Slaney, 90, remembers the last battle with crisp accuracy.

A sergeant in the anti-tank platoon, Slaney, a Cape Breton Highlander, was one of 400 men from the regiment on the frontline. Another 400 Highlanders were used in a support role for the troops in the attack code named “Operation Canada.”

The Cape Breton Highlanders attacked Delfzijl from the north while its sister regiment, the Perth regiment, attacked from the southeast just after midnight on April 30, 1945.

“They (the Germans) had concrete placements with big naval guns attached that covered the whole area,” said Slaney, in a phone interview from his Montreal home on Thursday.

“One of our 25-pounder shells couldn’t penetrate them, and neither could the tanks, which made it pretty hard.

“It was very swampy ground and in this particular case where (the Germans) captured Delfzijl, a lot of the vehicles couldn’t move forward because they were sinking in the mud and so forth. There was a lot of rain at that time.”

The low cloud cover and fog made it impossible for the Canadians to use firepower from the air. An invasion of the town from the North Sea was also ruled out because of the number of German U-boats patrolling the coast.

Mostly light armoured vehicles were only able to make it into the town using roads that hadn’t been heavily damaged.

Slaney, who grew up and lived in Glace Bay, wrote a book on the Cape Breton Highlanders experiences during the Second World War with fellow soldier, Alex Morrison.

The book, entitled, The Breed of Manly Men: The History of the Cape Breton Highlanders, included extensive research and excerpts from soldier war diaries, was published in 1994.

The battle of Delfzijl lasted for most of April 1945, and included Canadian, American and British involvement.

However, it was the Highlanders and the Perth regiment that were called in to claim the town for the Allies.

Other Canadian regiments which were part of the battle included the Westministers, the Irish regiment, the British Columbia Dragoons, 8th New Brunswick Hussars, and a couple of field artillery regiments.

Slaney said the battle lasted a little more than 48 hours. Many German soldiers — some 1,700 were captured — fled to the other side of the River Ems into the Germany port city of Emden.

“As a matter of fact, I think everybody (Cape Breton Highlanders) were catching (the Germans) at the end,” he said.

“They were just overrun and I guess they were just trying to get away somewhere but they were actually giving themselves up.”

Although many buildings in the town caught fire, the harbour remained intact. Slaney said the Germans had planned to detonate mines on the waterfront but never had the chance.

John Clarke, the curator of the Cape Breton Highlanders museum at the Victoria Park Garrison in Sydney, said German intelligence officers were key to maintaining control over Delfzijl.

Its soldiers, on the other hand, proved not as experienced, he said.

“Many of them were new soldiers so they lacked experience but their dedication to their job did remain. They really did make every effort to keep the enemy out spirit-wise, but a lot of them were green troops and not very familiar with how to repulse the enemy,” Clarke said.

“They held the strongpoints as long as they could and the Highlanders had to overpower each one of those strongpoints as they worked their way through the town.”

He said many residents of the town remained inside during the fighting, holed up in basements and cellars waiting for the guns to stop blasting.

“A lot of the homes were getting damaged from bombs and from the attacks themselves. The population did stay in the city. They didn’t leave to go someplace else.”

He said the Dutch people were very grateful for everything the Canadians did to free them from German repression in Delfzijl and hundreds of other towns and cities in the Netherlands.

“The Dutch people were very good to us. You couldn’t find better people. I still have correspondence from people over there,” said Slaney.

Once shelling and artillery fire abruptly halted over Delfzijl, Slaney remembered saying: “Thank God. It’s over!”

In all, there were 20 Cape Breton Highlanders killed in action — the last action they would see during the Second World War. Another 53 Highlanders were injured in the fight.

After the war ended in Europe on May 7, 1945, Slaney decided to remain in the military.

He continued to work in the regular Canadian Forces for another three decades and retired as a captain.

Slaney also served as honorary lieutenant-colonel of the 2nd Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders (Cape Breton) and as honorary colonel of the Nova Scotia Highlanders over a 10-year period.

Cape Breton Highlanders who died in the battle at Delfzijl, the Netherlands:

• Pte. C.E. Gillcash – Glenwood, P.E.I.

• Pte. P.H. Long – Euereka, N.S.

• Lt. N.J. Nixon – Halifax, N.S.

• Lt. B.A. Nunn – Halifax, N.S.

• Sgt. H.D. MacLellan – Meat Cove, N.S.

• Cpl. J.B. MacInnis – Grand Narrows, N.S.

• Cpl. G. MacLean – Florence, N.S.

• Pte. R.H. MacLean – Sydney, N.S.

• Pte. V. Penny – North Sydney, N.S.

• Pte. D. Pearo – Florence, N.S.

• Pte. E.M. Brown – Springhill, N.S.

• Pte. F.H. Spidle – Parkdale, N.S.

• Pte. K. Butt – Winnipeg, Man.

• Pte. O.B. Marshall – Bridgetown, N.S.

• Pte. F. Mombourquette – Lower L’Ardoise, N.S.

• Pte. A.J. O’Handley – Dominion, N.S.

• Pte. E.J. Votour – Chatham Head, N.S.

• Pte. A. Szarka – Welland, Ont.

• Pte. J.A. MacLaren – St. Peter’s Bay, P.E.I.

• Lt.-Sgt. R.B. Thomas – Louisbourg, N.S.

Source: "The Breed of Manly Men: The History of the Cape Breton Highlanders"

History of the Cape Breton Highlanders:

• The Battalion was organized on Oct. 13, 1871 as The Victoria Provisional Battalion of Infantry from four independent companies and based in Baddeck, Victoria County.

• It was known as The 94th Victoria Regiment (Argyll Highlanders) until 1920 when the regiment became known as the Cape Breton Highlanders.

• Between 1920 to 1954 the Cape Breton Highlanders were dressed under the Sutherland tartan (Black Watch).

• From 1954-2011, the regiment was known as the 2nd Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders (Cape Breton). It adopted the Clan Donald tartan but maintained its motto – Siol Na Fear Fearail – which translates into “Breed of Manly Men.”

• In October 2011, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay presented the regiment with the camp flag of the army reserve unit. The flag had not been flown at Victoria Park in Sydney since 1954 when the regiment merged with Nova Scotia's other two Highland regiments. The regiment reverted to its previous name, the Cape Breton Highlanders.

Source: The Cape Breton Highlanders Association
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Re: Lieutenant Basil Andrew Nunn, Cape Breton Highlanders, R.C.I.C.

Post by Phil » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:13 am

Photos from the liberation of Delfzijl,

http://www.capebretonmilitaryhistory.co ... section-2/
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Re: Lieutenant Basil Andrew Nunn, Cape Breton Highlanders, R.C.I.C.

Post by Phil » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:13 am

Article from Legion Magazine,

https://legionmagazine.com/en/2010/05/t ... o-victory/
Hoffy’s Mighty Maroon Machine then moved on Delfzijl, the small Dutch port across the mouth of the River Ems from the German town of Emden. Here the Germans, some 1,500 troops behind a well-wired trench system and supported by heavy naval guns on the German side, also fought fiercely. The Canadian attack, commanded by the able Brigadier Ian Johnston of the 11th Canadian Inf. Bde., began on April 25. The infantry, men from the Westminster Regt., the Irish Regt. of Canada, the Perth Regt. and the Cape Breton Highlanders, moved to breach the German perimeter, advancing slowly under fire while lifting mines. The ground was sodden which made life even more miserable. The Perths suffered 78 casualties over five days clearing the outskirts of Delfzijl.
Taking the town itself was the task of the Capes, their main attack going in at 10 p.m. on April 30. The German defences, anchored by huge bunkers constructed of concrete four feet thick had to be cleared and resistance did not cease until May 2, with Adolf Hitler already a suicide in the ruins of the Third Reich in Berlin. Ten days of fighting near and in Delfzijl cost the Cape Breton Highlanders 62 men killed and 168 wounded. The regiment’s war diary called it the Capes’ hardest fight of the war, an extraordinary comment by a unit that had fought through the Hitler and Gothic Lines in Italy, a testament to the fanatical Nazi resistance that lasted to the very end of the war.
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Re: Lieutenant Basil Andrew Nunn, Cape Breton Highlanders, R.C.I.C.

Post by Ludford 101 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:51 pm

And it looks like Lt Nunn was one of those 10% with photos on file.
lt basil andrew nunn.jpg
lt basil andrew nunn.jpg (165.11 KiB) Viewed 1627 times
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Re: Lieutenant Basil Andrew Nunn, Cape Breton Highlanders, R.C.I.C.

Post by Ludford 101 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:52 pm

Lieutenant Basil Andrew Nunn's Silver Star citation.
NUNN, Basil Andrew, Lieutenant (killed in action) - Silver Star (United States) - Infantry (Cape Breton Highlanders) - awarded as per Canada Gazette dated 30 March 1946 and CARO/6478 dated 1 April 1946. Killed in Action on 1 May 1945. Recommended by Major S. McKinnon, Acting Commanding Officer, Cape Breton Highlanders; supported by Lieutenant-Colonel R.B. Somerville, Acting Commander 11 Canadian Infantry Brigade on 30 June 1945 and passed forward on 1 July 1945; supported by Brigadier I.S. Johnston, Acting Commander 5 Canadian Armoured Division on 2 July 1945 and passed forward on 3 July 1945; approved by General H.D.G. Crerar, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, First Canadian Army on 10 July 1945 and passed for action on 20 July 1945.

On 1 May 1945, Lieutenant Nunn was commanding a platoon of "D" Company, The Cape Breton Highlanders. The company was engaged in an assault on the main defences of the town of Delfzijl.

The position being attacked by "D" Company was extremely well defended with wire entanglements, mines, entrenched machine guns and infantry supported by four 105 mm guns firing over open sights.


Lieutenant Nunn's Platoon, leading the assault penetrated the enemy wire and mine defences and came under the concentrated fire of all the enemy machine guns and the 105-mm guns. Lieutenant Nunn then dashed forward ahead of his leading section. Calling to them to follow him, he ran across 150 yards of open ground in the face of intense fire, leaped into the enemy trench and aided by his section cleared the enemy from the trench. Immediately after this Lieutenant Nunn was killed while leading his men in an assault upon another enemy trench.

This officer distinguished himself by extraordinary gallantry in action. His assault upon the enemy trenches enabled his company to gain the foothold which enabled them to launch a final successful assault upon the enemy positions.

Citation as published in General Order 263 (U.S. Forces. European Theatre), 25 September 1945 (Canadian Army file 21/USA/1/2 “USA Awards”, in National Library and Archives of Canada, RG.24 Volume 12740) reads as follows:

For gallantry in action on 1 May 1945. While leading his platoon in the assault on the extremely well defended positions at Delfzijl, Lieutenant Nunn dashed forward into the very face of the enemy fire, calling on his men to follow. Charging across 150 yards of open ground, he leaped into the first trench and, with the aid of his leading section, cleared it of the enemy, thus gaining for his company the foothold which it needed in order to launch the final successful assault upon another enemy trench. His leadership, exemplary courage and sacrificial devotion to duty were an inspiration to his comrades.
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Re: Lieutenant Basil Andrew Nunn, Cape Breton Highlanders, R.C.I.C.

Post by Phil » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:39 pm

Lte. Nunn's Nephew (who also happens to be Alonzo James Brackett's Grand Nephew) sends his thanks,
Phil, so very much appreciated. We’ve never heard this. Best I’ve had is his brief obit in local paper and local education history.
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