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Canada’s Tie to the Netherlands Museum of the Regiments Remembrance Program

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William Oglive. Canada’s Tie to the Netherlands Museum of the Regiments Remembrance Program. The Beginning During WWII, several Canadian units including the PPCLI, LdSH, 14 CAR and Calg. Highrs. fought in the Netherlands. .

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William Oglive

Canada’s Tie to the Netherlands

Museum of the Regiments

Remembrance Program


The Beginning

  • During WWII, several Canadian units including the PPCLI, LdSH, 14 CAR and Calg. Highrs. fought in the Netherlands.
  • Before WWII broke out, Canadians and Dutch people did not know each other that well.
  • After WWII, it was clear that Canadians had established strong ties with the Dutch as they liberated the country.

The Dutch Experience

  • Had an organised resistance that produced newspapers and pamphlets to bring down the morale of the German soldiers.
  • Underground printing presses were established to relay news that countered the stories being told by the Germans.
  • There were over 1200 presses by the end of the war.

Other activities of the Resistance

  • Resistance workers also sabotaged factories, reported German activities to England, and went on strike to protest.
  • Members of the resistance were executed.
  • Escape networks for Prisoners of War, downed fliers, Jewish people and discovered resisters were put in place.
  • 15,000+ people were saved by other Dutch families when they were put into hiding spaces.

Autumn of 1944

  • Canadians had reached the border of the Netherlands.
  • Liberation of The Netherlands continued during the end of 1944 and through 1945.
  • Canadians followed the coastline to the Netherlands and the North Sea.
  • Germans had built great defences, flooded group and used poor weather conditions to their advantage.

The Battle of the Scheldt, 5 September 1944

  • The land lies Northeast of Antwerp.
  • The German Army fought stubbornly, flooding ground, mining dykes and building gun strongholds.
  • Canadians were called water rats dealing with amphibious attacks, drainage ditches and foot battles. Soldiers walked waist high in ice cold water.
  • General Montgomery said that only superior troops of the highest calibre could have taken this ground.

Liberating Towns

  • Canadians kissed babies, signed autographs, and handed out cigarettes and chocolate.
  • Soldiers decided to share their food rations and food parcels with the Dutch civilians.
  • When billeted with civilians, everyone obtained extra food and fuel for the household.
  • Despite the damage done to the fields, houses and all the wounded civilians, the Dutch believed that their freedom was worth it.
  • There were houses in ruins, and wrecked vehicles and mines along the road.

After the Battle

  • The Canadians had cleared the Scheldt Estuary and Walchren Island to allow shipping through to Antwerp.
  • Supplies were running short and Canadian losses were enormous. Canadians had to rest and regroup.

Delayed by Winter

  • Canadian soldiers had to rest to recover physically and mentally from the Scheldt Battle.
  • The North and West areas of the Netherlands remained in German hands for another 8 months.

Scrounging for fuel

Starvation rations 665 calories a day


Hungry Winter


Starving boy, ill with rickets.

This is a typical kitchen, where food is scarce and the wood is being taken for fuel

Many died of starvation


8 February 1945

  • The push towards the Rhineland started.
  • Canadians were still fighting in Italy.
  • During February and March 1945, the 1st Canadian Corps was preparing to transfer to the Netherlands.
  • On April 1-2, 1945, they were united with the other Canadians.

4 May 1945, Operation Faust

  • Canadians and other Allies dropped food into starving regions.
  • The Dutch were worried about possible starvation and flooding from the dykes.

Food dropped compared to boy who died from starvation.

  • The liberation of Holland came when the Dutch people were completely out of food.
  • Soldiers said that they had never seen such joy and so many tears.


  • The Dutch were filled with excitement and joy.
  • The Dutch were thrilled to be able to touch a sleeve of a Canadian soldier.
  • The people were exhausted mentally and physically.
  • They suffered from lice, dysentery and typhoid fever.
  • Canadians provided medical attention.

Dutch People Developed Fond Memories

  • Canadian soldiers were invited to share their homes and their lives with the Dutch.
  • Canadians were quick to pay for damages.
  • Canadians brought food, shared willingly and helped with chores.
  • Canadians warmed to the love and trust of the Dutch.
  • Many married Dutch girls while overseas.

End of the War

  • After the war was over, the Canadians enjoyed friendships with the Dutch.
  • They shared food, homes and stories about Canada.
  • Celebrations were occurring everywhere.

I am 17 by Ap Speelman

I am 17

I was not born until after the war

I am able to go to school

I have parents

I have never gone hungry

I don’t know what war is!

What is hunger?

What is a concentration camp?

What is a razzia?

What is a bomb?

What is fear?

I know we are free!

I know who liberated us!

I know what they sacrificed

Thanks a million for our freedom.


Each Dutch student looks after a Canadian military grave through-out their school years. Follow their example, remember those that died so we may live in peace.