Belgien / Denkmal
This memorial commemorates an important moment that took place here in the city of La-Roche-en-Ardenne on 11 January 1945. Following the German winter offensive in the Ardennes, here the British and American troops met after retaking the city.
In January 1945, a small number of British Divisions entered the Ardennes to support the US forces in re-liberating the surrounding captured towns and villages. These had been taken by German forces during the failed Ardennes Offensive in the winter of 1944 to 45. La Roche-en-Ardenne was retaken by the British 51st Highland Division.
On 11 January, the soldiers of the British 1st Black Watch began to move towards the city from the high roads at around 06:00. By around 11:00 most of the city was secured. Later that day, soldiers from the US 84th Infantry Division and 4th Cavalry Group entered the city and linked up with the British troops there.
It was on this corner that the link up between the American and the British forces was captured by army photographers. Today, this image is replicated in the black and white engraving on the memorial. The image (from left) shows British soldiers Signaller Harris McAllister, Corporal John Donald and Sergeant Richards, greeting US soldiers First Sergeant Ray Stangler, Corporal Harlem Mathis and Sergeant Max Beal. The memorial captures the handshake of friendship and appreciation.
The image also gives an insight into the harsh conditions the troops had to face at the time, with not only physical conditions but also psychological challenges. Many accounts from veterans who fought during the winter of 1944 to45 make reference to how cold and brutal the conditions were.
The text engraved on the memorial in English and French reads:
‘This memorial commemorates the meeting of the 1st Battalion, Black Watch Regiment, 51st Highland Division and the 84th US Infantry Division “Railsplitters” who liberated La-Roche-en-Ardenne on the 11th January 1945.’
Rue de Cielle 2, 6980