Sydney Valpy Radley-Walters

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Sydney Valpy Radley-Walters
CMM DSO MC CD
Nickname(s) Rad
Born (1920-01-11)January 11, 1920
Gaspé, Quebec, Canada
Died April 21, 2015(2015-04-21) (aged 95)
Kingston, Ontario, Canada[1]
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Rank Brigadier General
Unit Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment
Commands held 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's)
Awards

Sydney Valpy Radley-Walters CMM, DSO, MC, CD, nicknamed "Rad" (January 11, 1920 – April 21, 2015), was a tank commander in the Canadian Army. He was the top tank ace of the western Allies during World War 2.

Early life[edit]

Radley-Walters was born in Gaspé, Quebec in 1920 and graduated from Bishop's College in 1940.

Military career[edit]

Radley-Walters was commissioned in the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment in October of that year. The regiment was redesignated 27th Armoured Regiment (The Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment) in January 1942 and embarked for England in October 1942. The regiment was part of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade supporting the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landing in Normandy on D-Day 6 June 1944. Radley-Walters commanded a Sherman tank during the Battle of Normandy. On D-Day + 1, 7 June 1944, in fighting near Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe, with the 12th SS Panzer Division, Radley-Walters had his first kill, a Panzer IV.[2] Radley-Walters commanded a tank squadron in the regiment. His unit may have been that which killed "tank ace" Michael Wittmann of the 101. Schwere SS-Panzerabteilung, though no definitive proof has ever been provided. This claim has been disputed by 3 Troop, A Squadron, 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry tank regiment gunner Joe Ekins, who also claims to have killed Wittmann.

Radley-Walters was awarded both the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross and for his outstanding leadership and gallantry as a squadron commander. He had three tanks shot out from under him and was wounded twice.[3] His regiment participated in Operation Market-Garden and broke through and relieved the 101st Airborne Division. By the end of the war, he was the top tank ace, the ace of aces of the western Allies (and therefore, of Canada), with a total of 18 tank kills and many other armoured vehicles.[2] From July 1945, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and commanded the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment as part of the Allied Occupation Force.

After the war, Radley-Walters served on peacekeeping missions in Cyprus and Egypt. In 1957 he became the Commanding Officer of the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's). He attended NATO Defence College in Paris and was assigned to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe from June 1961 to July 1962. He returned to Canada as commandant of the Royal Canadian Armoured School in Camp Borden. In 1966 he became the Director-General Training and Recruiting at Canadian Forces Headquarters in Ottawa. In June 1968 he was promoted to brigadier-general and took command of 2 Combat Group at CFB Petawawa. In 1971 he became the commander of the Combat Training Centre at CFB Gagetown.

Radley-Walters retired in December 1974. He served eight years as colonel of the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's) and in November 1980 became colonel-commandant of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. There is a two part article discussing Radley-Walters' leadership style in the Canadian Military Journal (Vol 9, No 4 and Vol 10, No 1).[4] He died on April 21, 2015.

Sources[edit]

  • (French) "Au Service du Canada: Histoire du Royal Military College depuis la deuxième guerre mondiale", Richard A. Preston, University of Ottawa, 1992, ISBN 2-7603-0359-4
  • "A Fine Night For Tanks: The Road To Falaise", Ken Tout, Sutton Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0-7509-1730-X
  • "Rad's War", Lawrence James Zaporzan, University of New Brunswick, 2003, ISBN 0-612-68285-4
  • "In Desperate Battle: Normandy 1944", 1992
  • "Fields Of Fire: The Canadians In Normandy", Terry Copp, University of Toronto Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8020-3780-1
  • "Normandy: The Real Story: How Ordinary Allied Soldiers Defeated Hitler", W. Denis Whitaker, Random House, 2004, ISBN 0-345-45907-5
  • National Defence Canada, "History of the Sherbrooke Hussars" (accessed 20 April 2009)
  • The Memory Project, "James V. Love" (accessed 14 January 2015)
  • The Maple Leaf (Canadian Forces), "Fourth Dimension", Charmion Chaplin-Thomas, 1970 October 12 (accessed 20 April 2009)
  • "The Valour and the Horror", Sydney Radley-Walters (accessed 20 April 2009)
  • Operation CALVA Battlefield Study notes, Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College, 1988.
  • Greatest Tank Battles, "The Battle of Normandy" (episode 7), History Television
  • The Leadership of S.V. Radley-Walters, [1]
  • Achievements: [2]

References[edit]

See also[edit]