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The Netherlands Liberated in 1944/1945

Next Crown Year 2019/2020


Holten-Apeldoorn-Wageningen 4 May 2013

Remembrance Day 4 May 2013

Lest we forget


Holten, Overijssel, is a small village with about 9000 inhabitants. If you ask people in the street nowadays how important Holten has been for our freedom, there are remarkably maybe only a few who actually know the details. In World War 2 there has been heavy fighting in these surroundings. Many soldiers died, among them young people from far away, for instance Canada. They did not know what to expect, but went because “they had to do so” for their country. In Europe, most of them had never been there, there was a battle going on which might have had consequences for themselves as well. They were prepared to fight, because it was (and still is) important to help your fellow human beings and of course many of them had European “roots”. Unfortunately many soldiers died in combat. 1394 deceased are buried at The Canadian War Cemetery in Holten; 1355 of them Canadian.

Every year a memorial event is devoted to the sacrifice that took place long ago, in a beautiful place in the forest near Holten. This year it was lovely weather and people came in large numbers to attend this special memorial. To teach children that freedom is not obvious, schools took the initiative to be very active this year at the commemoration on May 4. The children have fulfilled their role by laying down flowers on each grave of a deceased soldier and to express in their presentations  how they think about peace. There were also personal commemorations at the various tombs, which were supported by the Colour Party of RCL and the Bags and Pipes. About 500 people attended the memorial.

Among those who were present also a number of veterans who fought in the area, from Canada in particular. This year (again) present Frank Graham, Laurie Lock and Bert Reynolds, men who are now around 90 years old. Very admirable! Yet they regularly come back to the place where they lost their friends. They greatly appreciate that the new generation is very grateful for the freedom obtained by them.

RCL participated as usual with a Colour Party. This time even four branches from Europe gave “acte de presence”. There were representatives from Canada as well and of course pipes and drums from the Netherlands and Canada to complete a memorable event.

Afterwards a large group of participants were warmly welcomed in Restaurant Mondani in Lochem, the clubhouse of RCL Branch 005 Netherlands, where a nice lunch and entertainment were organized.

After a pleasant afternoon in the clubhouse a number of representatives of RCL led by the Zone Commander moved to Apeldoorn to attend the May 4 Remembrance Day Memorial. Among them of course also members of Branch 005. Apeldoorn is the “Roots” of RCL Branch 005. It is here in Apeldoorn where 10 years ago the Dutch Branch was established.

Silent procession in APELDOORN

The memorial in Apeldoorn started with a gathering in the Great Church. With great respect of the population the Mayor of Apeldoorn held a speech beforehand the opening of the Silent procession. In the Great Church accompanied by a flutist, a violinist and saxophonist, three random inhabitants of Apeldoorn who were killed in the Second World War, were commemorated. Their story was told in a stylish and dignified manner by three students. A video wall supported the story with pictures of the deceased.

After the Holy Mass a long procession was formed by all participants present in the church and also the many outside. In silence it went to the Oranjepark. In the Oranjepark many people were waiting to show their respects to all the victims who are commemorated on May 4th. The procession had to really make way through the many spectators.

After everyone had found a place, the ceremony started with solemn music and later a minute of silence was observed. It was a – deafening – silence. Next was the wreath laying by the Mayor on behalf of the council and many other organizations followed. On behalf of RCL a wreath was laid by the Zone Commander of RCL Europe and the President of Branch 005. All other spectators were given the opportunity to lay down flowers at the monument. Many took the liberty. The ceremony ended with a parade along the monument again in silence and so anyone could show respect towards the victims died.

Before leaving there was an opportunity to drink coffee in the Irene House next to the Great Church as a conclusion of a stylish and very crowded silent ceremony in Apeldoorn.


In Wageningen on 4 May always a very intimate commemoration is held on site at Den Dreien. Members of RCL and the VMD (Association Military Depot) are present. They are working for Liberation Day to set up a large Canadian Base Camp and therefore unable to attend any memorial service somewhere in the Netherlands. A flagpole has been raised and the many appropriate sound signals were heard. The minute of silence was of course observed by its participants led by the President of the VMD. Every year it is a small but stylish memorial.

Afterwards they worked hard to bring everything in order for the big festival of Liberation Wageningen May 5th , 2013.

Photo AlbumDodenherdenking 4 mei 2013