Bruce Matthews

Major General Albert Bruce Matthews (Ottawa, August 12, 1909 – Toronto, September 12, 1991) was a Canadian soldier, businessman and politician. From November 1944 he led the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division who played a major role during the liberation of the Netherlands.

Before the war

Matthews was a son of Albert Edward Matthews, a “broker” who played a prominent role in the Liberal Party of Canada and was Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Ontario in 1937. He was educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto and at the University of Geneva. Later he would go to work. For the family business

In 1937 he married Victoria Thorne, and they had three children together.

Military career

Albert Bruce Matthews began his career in the Canadian Army in 1928. After World War II broke out in 1939, he was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division and sent to England. He had now reached the rank of Major. In January 1943 he was promoted to sergeant, which he was the youngest of this rank in the Canadian Army.

He gave the first time led combat operations in July of that year during the landing in Sicily. There he led include the attack on Agira and came under direct enemy fire. His division would withdraw further Italy later. Matthews went back to England in January 1944 and was promoted to highest artillery officer of the 2nd Army Corps. The Corps played an important role during the offensive in Normandy. So Matthews was involved in Operation Atlantic, Operation Spring at Caen and Operation tractable. In all these offensives he put the battle plans of the artillery.

Liberation of the Netherlands

In November 1944, after the bloody Battle of the Scheldt, Matthews was promoted to Major General and he was put in charge of the 2nd Infantry Division. He distinguished himself by his contribution to the liberation of Walcheren. His division was involved in the Operations Veritable and Blockbuster in the winter of 1945, which led by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, the area between the Ruhr and the Rhine was occupied. It managed to avoid some bridges over the Rhine was destroyed by retreating German troops.

After his troops had crossed the Rhine they bowed to north-westerly direction, and liberated the northern Netherlands. The heaviest battle that they made ​​was in April 1945 when the Liberation of Groningen. In late April they released Delfzijl. After the 2nd Infantry Division occupied the German Oldenburg and Wilhelmshaven they were already approaching when on 5 May, the Germans surrendered.

After the war

Although Matthews had a great career in the army, he returned after the war back in business. He was included director of the media company Standard Broadcasting and in 1978 he was briefly president of Massey Ferguson, a manufacturer of agricultural machinery. He was also president of the Liberal Party of Canada and was once a serious candidate for the office of Governor General of Canada, but was eventually seen as a party man for the job too much.


Matthews was because of his leadership during the war a number of high honors:

United Kingdom

•Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

•Order of Distinguished Service

•”Efficiency Decoration”

The Netherlands

•Grand Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau with Swords

•Honorary Citizen of the city of Groningen


•Légion honneur

•Croix de Guerre with Palm

External links


•Albert Bruce Matthews Generals.DK

•Biography on website Juno Beach Centre

•”Great Gunners”

Canadian soldier in World War II

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