Niederlande / Audiospot

Canadian liberator died in Kloetinge





One of the Canadian regiments that liberated South Beveland from 24 to 31 October was Le Régiment de Maisonneuve. Jean-Maurice Dicaire was part of it. Dicaire enlisted in Canada at 17, actually too young according to the rules.

In 1944, he was 23 when his regiment advanced from Schore to Kloetinge on the morning of 29 October. Other regiments in the area are the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment of Canada) and the Rileys (Royal Hamilton Light Infantry). Regularly, Dicaire's group has to stop when retreating German troops use their artillery to slow down the Canadians' advance. Near Kloetinge, this happens again.

Around 9.30am there is light gunfire on Kloetinge from the direction of Waanskinderen, a hamlet east of the village. A little later, the first Canadians venture into the village. They are received with enemy gunfire from Ter Vaten. The Germans then fled via the Noordeinde. Another group of Germans of about 25 men now emerge with a white flag in Ter Vaten and surrender. After several hours of silence, heavy German artillery starts firing towards the village.

At Bredeweg another large group of Germans turned out to be holding, firing at the advancing Canadians who were moving from Ter Vaten to Mannee.

Canadian artillery near Kapelle returned fire. Jean-Maurice failed to take cover in time and was hit in the back by a projectile near the Tervatenseweg and Daniëlsweg roads. He was seriously injured. He died in an emergency hospital. Residents of Kloetinge took his memory to heart, burying him in a place of honour in the cemetery where Jean-Maurice Dicaire still rests today.