It was here that Owen’s wife’s uncle, a gentleman by the name of Able Seaman George McAuliffe, participated in a commando landing in November 1944.
Whilst the city and port of Antwerp was retaken by the British 2nd Army in early September, Allied utilisation of the port was prevented by the presence of the German 15th Army on Walcheren and South Beveland. Their heavily fortified positions made the approach of shipping along the Scheldt Estuary impossible.
In early October, Montgomery ordered that priority should be given to the clearing of the Scheldt Estuary in order to render the port of Antwerp usable to Allied shipping since the strains of supply were ever mounting as the advance continued towards Germany. A coordinated plan of action, under the name ‘Operation Infatuate’ was drawn up.
The Operation consisted of two assault landings, one at Flushing in the south by No. 4 Commando and 155 Bridage of the 52nd (Lowland) Division (Operation Infatuate I) and the other at Westkapelle to the west by the 4th Special Service Brigade (Operation Infatuate II). At the same time, the Brigades of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division were to fight their way across the Walcheren causeway to gain access to the Island.
The dykes of Walcheren were deliberately breached by the RAF, thereby flooding the interior of the Island and forcing the defenders onto the dykes, which were heavily fortified. The units of 4th Special Service Brigade were to take control of the shoulders of the blown dyke at Westkapelle from where they would move to the north east and south east. To the south at Flushing, No.4 Commando and 155 Brigade would fight their way to the south west and north to connect with 4th Special Service Brigade and units of 2nd Canadian Division respectively.