“The Final Push”of Keep Them Rolling (KTR) experienced its large finale in Groningen at April 12, 2015 at the day the city Groningen was liberated by Canadian forces in 1945.
Groningen has been the theater of an unique liberation event: 70 years liberation of Groningen. The event took place from 10 till 12 of April and had a brought a mix of re-enactment, theater, education, commemoration and festivities. The purpose of the event was to share the awareness that freedom is vulnerable, to bring understanding of hardships, to increase knowledge of history and celebrate freedom. This was said in the press release of the event.
The day began for many very early. The delegation of RCL005 had to be in place in Groningen at 11.00AM. The cars were parked at a place just outside the city and everybody had to be (free of charge) transported by bus to the centre of Groningen. Due to the many groups participating at the event and the waiting for the arrival of the historic vehicles, it took some time before the RCL005 Colour Party was deployed and the parade began. The RCL Colour Party of course marched in the front part of the parade entering Groningen. It was very crowded. People were lined up and packed along the route. It was like the liberation in 1945. At the market square the groups marched past the podium with VIP-guests.
After the entire row of old WW2 vehicles of KTR and the various bands arrived at the market square there was a time slot to lunch.
At 03.00PM a reconstruction of the battle at the “Vismarkt” was carried out. Stories about the liberation of the city were part of that with cooperation of director/actor Albert Secuur. Three hundred so called re-enactors (persons who reenact historic events) from the Netherlands and abroad teamed up with actors and singers, while tanks and other army vehicles dominated the image of the street.
The actual liberation of Groningen lasted from Friday April 13 till Monday April 16, 1945. The allied forces and citizens paid a high price. 110 people of Groningen died during the fights. 43 Canadian fell in action. An estimation of 300 German soldiers, Dutch and Belgium collaborators died during the battle. A large part of the city centre was destroyed. The road to the province of the Netherlands was cleared, but the allied forces encountered heavy resistance of returning occupiers. The final shots of WW2 in the Netherlands were fired in the region of Delfzijl (in the province of Groningen).
The Liberation day of Groningen was ended by a large musical masterpiece. It was a day to remember in Groningen.