The Foundation Bevrijding Brabantse Wal and the Canadian Government organise the 5th edition of the Memorial Day of Canada in the Netherlands. The Canadian Government assigned the Canadian Cemetery in Bergen Op Zoom as the main place to commemorate Canadian soldiers who passed away during the war.
Foreign guests will take part in the commemoration, which offers a special edition for the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation. This event will be the most prominent commemoration in the area of the Brabantse Wal.
Construction of a Sherman Tank
The Brabantse Wal Liberation Foundation (SBBW) wants to carry out a number of projects in connection with local WW2 history. One is the construction of a Sherman tank, in cooperation with the Decorbouw Groot Arsenaal Foundation. These medium-heavy tanks were used by regiments such as the Canadian South Alberta Regiment. This regiment, together with the Lincoln & Welland Regiment, played an important role in the liberation of the city and region. On October 27, 1944, the tanks of this regiment rolled up into the Grote Markt of Bergen op Zoom. The Brabantse Wal Liberation Foundation wants to make use of the replica Sherman tank for the liberation activities in 2019. Purchasing a real Sherman tank is not realistic due to the logistical and operational challenges it entails. The intention is that the replica, which is indistinguishable from the real thing, will be used during the liberation parade on 26 October. The tank will also be used for the Vierschaar Foundation’s SUPERSUM show and for other staged projects and events.
In addition to the use of the replica tank for activities related to liberation and culture, efforts are also being made to involve schools. One of the objectives of the Brabantse Wal Liberation Foundation is to include the Battle of the Scheldt in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools. In the coming years, schools will be focusing more on informing pupils about the WW2 history of the region, and a link will be made with the contemporary experience of the themes of peace and freedom. The replica of the tank is intended to trigger young people to take an interest in the freedom which was fought for so hard.
For the actual realisation of the tank (including the financing), contact was made with interested parties from both the Netherlands and Canada.
Parade 26th October 2019
In the morning of October 26, three columns of old army vehicles will depart from Zeeland and the municipalities of Steenbergen and Woensdrecht for Bergen op Zoom. Just like in 2009 and 2014, these vehicles will gather in the Canadalaan of Bergen op Zoom in the afternoon of that day.
Bergen op Zoom was liberated on October 27, 1944 by the Canadians, who entered the city via the Huijbergschebaan. We know from eye witnesses that the street was full of Canadian vehicles and soldiers. After obtaining information, the commander of the South Alberta Regiment turned to his colleague in the Lincoln & Welland Regiment and said these legendary words: "Hell Bill, let's take the damn’d place." After the liberation, the street was renamed "Canadalaan".
In the street a written sign reminds us of the capture of Bergen op Zoom and a Liberation Route Europe audio pillar tells us the story of the Liberation and the Battle of the Scheldt. The military operations in and around Bergen op Zoom were part of this battle.
On Saturday, October 26, Canadian flags will flutter throughout the street. In addition, the drivers of the convoy will be welcomed with coffee, tea and something delicious to eat. The vehicles can be viewed by all those who are interested. Later in the afternoon the vehicles will take part in the military parade in the centre of the city.
For more information: www.st-decorbouw.nl