BYCE CHARLES HENRY

BYCE CHARLES HENRY
2ND WORLD WAR 

 

 

Given the exploits of his father overseas , Charles Henry Byce seemed destined to become a military hero . His mother , Louisa Saylors , a Cree from Moose Factory, Ontario , married Henry Byce a White Westmeath. When Charles was born in 1917 in Chapleau, the First World War was still raging , and his father fought in Europe, where he earned two decorations for bravery : the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Military Medal of France . Two decades later , Charles Byce , aged 23 , enlisted in the Lake Superior Regiment (Motor ) - leLake Sups - and he began a remarkable journey , following roughly the same path as his father. After the war, Byce was the only man of his regiment to receive the DCM and MM .

Byce won his first award for bravery , the MM, the Netherlands in January 1945. At this time , the Allies had established positions in France and Belgium and a month later they would launch the final offensive crossing the Rhine into Germany.

Before dawn on January 21 , Lance Corporal Byce and 23 other Lake Sups left in rowboat to cross the Maas River. Their mission was to infiltrate behind enemy lines and bring back German prisoners in order to obtain information on enemy units . Byce led a team of five men charged with protecting the reconnaissance group .

Shortly after landing in enemy territory , the reconnaissance group was fired upon three German positions. Byce localization two of them and silenced them with grenades. He also managed to obtain information from a German prisoner before leaving. The official history of the regiment reported what happened next :

Red and yellow flares then began to streak the sky, and light machine guns and mortars of the enemy went into action . ... While the patrol ran along the dam , several grenades exploded in the air. Fortunately, they did not do damage ... , but they did reveal the presence of two other enemy soldiers. Again Corporal Byce took the initiative. He commissioned the German dugout and there threw a grenade caliber 36.

The patrol returned safely and thereafter Byce became one of about 1,200 Canadians who won the MM . In the citation commended the corporal for the " cold-blooded " and "dedication " in assigning credit for the success of the patrol.

About six weeks later, Byce became one of 162 Canadians who won the DCM during the Second World War. The campaign of the Rhine was well underway, but the defenses still blocking the road Allies in Germany. It was the last major line of defense of the enemy and it would not give easily. Against the attacks were violent and numerous.

March 2, 1945 , the Lake Sups engaged in the most difficult he has ever seen combat. At 4:00 , the deputy sergeant Byce and the rest of C Company set out to fill a group of buildings south of the Hochwald Forest . At 6:00 , they had reached their goal, but the first light of morning had revealed their position to the enemy. Company C was bombarded with shells and mortars destroyed all the tanks. Losses accumulated quickly. All officers were among the victims, including the company commander . Meanwhile, four enemy tanks approaching. The regimental history describes what happened next :

In the confusion and general chaos , the enemy approached the position of the company C. Hard , the Lake Sups held good, the perimeter defenses and narrowed corridor to return to the rear became increasingly narrow . ... With ferocity and courage, Sergeant Byce , now commanding the remnants of C Company , fought as long as he could and then bringing the few remaining men , he fought his way through the return path riddled with bullets.

It was 15 hours when Byce ordered the retreat of his men. He spent the rest of the afternoon behind the group , pulling the enemy infantry to protect the retreat of his company.

Again, his quote was impressive :

The magnificent courage and fighting spirit of this NCO face odds are beyond all praise . His brave resistance , without adequate weapons and a handful of men in a desperate situation will remain , forever, a great example for men of all ranks of the regiment.

Byce and Lake Sups had advanced into Germany when the war ended in Europe on 8 May 1945. He was sent to England the following month and returned to Canada in September 1945.
Add a comment

You're using an AdBlock like software. Disable it to allow submit.

Make a free website with emyspot - Signaler un contenu illicite sur ce site