Recently Netflix released a film called “Forgotten Battle,” one of the most expensive Dutch films ever made. The film explores the lives of several characters in and around the difficult battle for the Scheldt Estuary in 1944. What the film barely touches upon, however, is that this battle was fought primarily by Canadians of First Canadian Army and the closing scenes of the movie are a climactic rendering of the brutal fight for the Walcheren Causeway by 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. After both watching this movie myself and acclaimed historian and author Mark Zuehlke sat down to chat about the battle and the movie’s depiction of it. Mark wrote an excellent book on the Scheldt operations titled “Terrible Victory: First Canadian Army and the Scheldt Campaign” which came out in 2014 and was the perfect guest for this fascinating discussion.
Thousands of Canadian merchant mariners lost their lives during the Second World War as part of the valuable supply chain bringing important war material from North America to Great Britain. Despite the high casualty rates, dangerous working conditions, and vital importance of the job, it took years before Canadian merchant mariners were properly recognised for their role in the war and their status as veterans.