Diary of a Battlefield Tour
Arrival and Day 2
by Bill Streeter

November 6, 2016


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Monument to the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps
7th Infantry Brigade Company
The ages range from 19 - 34

WWII Battlefield Tour from Zeeland to the Rheinland September 20 to 23, 2016 With Wybo Boersma Certified Guide Battlefield Guild Member

Bill Streeter of Southampton has always been fascinated with military history and has, in fact, gone on four treks to Europe.

He and his wife have explored the trenches of World War I in France, Belgium and Normandy, Auschwitz and, most recently Streeter went on a WWII Battlefield Tour of the Netherlands and into Germany.

"There are still places I would like to go," says Streeter.  "I would like to tour north Holland, other places such as Caan and region in France and Ortona and Sicily"

According to Streeter, two things that impressed him most were the height of the dykes and knowing that they were bombed and scaled during the war and the other are the cemeteries and monuments.  "The care taken with the cemeteries where Canadians are buried is simply amazing and everywhere you go, there are monuments to our troops who were there."

Monday September 19th

I arrived in the small city of Bergen Op Zoom in the South West of the Netherlands. My hotel was the Grand Hotel En Residence De Draak. It is a modest 62 room Boutique hotel claiming to be the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Netherlands dating back to 1397.

Tuesday September 20th

Wybo (my guide) arrived about 8:30 a.m. and we headed off in his Volkswagen Passat to Belgium about 40 minutes away.

We arrived at Moerkerke on the Leopold Canal.

Following the liberation of Antwerp in September, 1944, the Canadian army headed to this area to free the west of Belgium and the Netherlands along the North Sea and around the Scheldt estuary.

The Algonquin Regiment initially had some success but were driven back across the canal by the Germans and suffered significant losses.

Each year, in mid-September, local residents perform a Peace March to the Algonquin memorial and lay wreaths and plant small flags for each of the Canadian soldiers that died in the battle. We arrived a couple of days after the march and the decorations were still in place.

In mid-October, a larger Canadian contingent consisting of multiple regiments were successful in removing the Germans. A bailey bridge constructed during that battle is still in use and close by is a German bunker.

Click the orange arrow to read the second column

Near by, on the border is the small town of Eede where Queen Wilhelmina arrived in May 1945 after she and her family had spent the years of war in safe haven in Canada. There is a large reproduction of the picture of her arrival with memorial plaques all located in the town square.

Queen Wilhelmina arrives home

We visited the Adegem Canadian War Cemetery. Another very well maintained CWWGC cemetery with 1,076 Commonwealth soldiers buried there, mostly all Canadian.

Next stop was Ljendije where the battles started to remove the Germans out of the southern part of the Scheldt. Here, the dykes are about 50 feet high to protect the land from the North Sea and there is a large expanse of mud flats when the tide is out.

Along the shore, are a number of beaches where battles took place before reaching the main town of Breskens, where there is a continuous ferry across the three-mile opening of the estuary to Walchern Island and its main town of Vlissingen.

It was then back to our hotel in Bergen Op Zoom after 9 hours and 355 km., dinner in one of the nice outdoor restaurants and early to bed to get ready for day 3 ...

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Monday, November 07, 2016