Erwin Frank Klugman DSO was a major in command of units of the Royal Highland Light Infantry during the battles after the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy by Allied forces.
From D-Day, the Canadian Army fought in seven major battle campaigns. These included the invasion itself, the capture of Caen, the Falaise Gap, clearing the coastal ports, the Scheldt, the Rhineland and the liberation of Holland.
Most of the action, starting with the D-Day invasion of Normandy, involved horrific battles, with soldiers from both sides, in mortal terror from impending destruction from enemy shells and machine guns. There was the constant terror of being hit by incoming shells, prolonged lack of sleep, weakness from dysentery and the mental anguish from the sudden and gruesome deaths of close friends.
By the first days of March 1945, the US Ninth Army was racing towards the Rhine River from the south and met British tanks on the outskirts of Geldern. The German First Parachute Army was now caught in a pocket with its only escape being the bridges over the Rhine at Wesel.
On the morning of March 5, 1945, Major Klugman was in command of the left forward company of the Royal Highland Light Infantry when it attacked the Hammerbruch wooded knoll east of the Hochwald Forest.
After "A" company, under a heavy artillery barrage had captured four small heavily defended wooded knolls, they occupied a very exposed position which invited very heavy enemy mortar and artillery fire and were subjected to heavy machine gun fire from an adjacent knoll still in enemy hands.
This enemy knoll was to have been attacked simultaneously by two other companies. Klugman realized that his rapid success could contribute much to the battalion battle.
Hence, with utter disregard for the enemy near the area, he ensured proper consolidation and organized direct firing support to help in the battle raging against the uncaptured knoll.
Klugman, at great personal risk sought out strategic observation posts from which he could direct counter fire measures against active enemy guns that he spotted. For his actions here and earlier near Calcar, Major Klugman was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).
Later, on April 5, he was wounded in Holland but recovered and returned to
Canada at war’s end.