Exploring Walcheren Island

The Walcheren Island in the Netherlands is located close to the port of Antwerp just across the border in Belgium and overlooking the Scheldt river estuary to the south. By autumn 1944 the port was in Allied hands but the estuary area from Walcheren across to Breskens was in German hands. This meant that shipping…

For Freedom Museum, Belgium

The For Freedom Museum at Knocke-Heist in the Flemish region of Belgium is a private museum started by two brothers whose father served with the British Army in the Second World War and settled in Belgium, marrying a local girl here in 1947. The museum is housed in the old school house of the village…

Casa Berardi: Italy VC Action 1943

The Casa Barardi was a huge stonewalled farmhouse on the western approaches to the coastal town of Ortona. In December 1943 the Eighth Army had crossed the Sangro River and were advancing on Ortona with the 1st Canadian Division leading the way. The Canadians had one assault following the coastal road and another swinging in…

Lūneburg Heath Memorial

On this day in 1945 Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery signed the declaration of surrender of German troops in Holland, Northern Germany and in Denmark bringing to an end the fighting for his 21st Army Group. Monty was the first Allied commander to bring the Germans to the table for an unconditional surrender, and events…

Ede Sherman

We ended our journey following the battles of 1945 in Holland, looking at the ground around Arnhem. Most people who come to Arnhem do so to follow the Airborne element of Operation Market Garden and examine the fighting here from a 1944 perspective, perhaps not even realising that there was a battle at Arnhem in…

WW2 Book Review: Stout Hearts

Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944 By Ben Kite (Helion & Company 2014, ISBN 978 1 909982 55 0, 467pp, illustrations, colour maps, £29.95) The story of British and Commonwealth troops in the Normandy campaign is often overshadowed by the American contribution; often due to the way the conflict was written about…

Woensdrecht Canadian Sherman

In October 1944 the Canadian forces in North Belgium crossed the Dutch border during Operation Switchback and landed on the Dutch coast. The objective was Antwerp and in an effort to secure the approaches the village of Woensdrecht was attacked by infantry from the 2nd Canadian Division, supported by tanks from the Fort Garry Horse….

Leopold Canal, Belgium

  The Leopold Canal runs just short of the Belgian/Dutch border and was reached by Canadian troops after the liberation of nearby Adagem in October 1944. The assault was made by units of the 7th Canadian Brigade on the morning of 6th October. At about 5:30 on the cold morning of 6 October, 27 Wasps…