Pays-Bas / Champ de Bataille

The surrender of the Korvettenkapitän Wolter




From Weiwerd, the Irish Regiment of Canada advanced with tank support towards Farmsum on 2 May 1945. Delfzijl had already been liberated by the Canadians. They had driven many fleeing Germans before them to Farmsum, where it was very busy.

However, the attackers soon came across a barbed wire barrier consisting of three consecutive rows. There were also three bunkers here, from which the Germans offered resistance with rifles and machine guns. In this confrontation, 21-year-old soldier John Gerard Spicer was killed. He was the last Canadian soldier killed on Dutch soil.

At about 06:40, the leading troops of the Irish Regiment saw a German officer approaching, carrying a white flag as a sign of neutrality. He introduced himself as a Parliamentarian and was taken to Lieutenant Colonel Payne. There the German inquired about the terms of capitulation on behalf of his garrison commander. The answer was short and clear: there could be no question of conditions, only a capitulation was accepted, no more, no less. For the German Korvettenkapitän Wolter, this negotiating action must have been no more than a formality, because developments took place surprisingly quickly after this. Twenty minutes after the parliamentarian's departure, the garrison commander signaled his intention to capitulate.

Canadian Major Paul La Prairie of the Irish Regiment, who apparently acted as a liaison officer, related: “Two things about the German Garrison Commander Wolter made a great impression on me. When I entered his bunker, I exchanged my steel helmet for my green beret with badge and feathers. He looked at me and said in English: 'The Irish Regiment. I already told my men that we were facing well-trained soldiers.” With the help of an interpreter, he declared that his garrison was ending the battle: "he did not want any more of his men to die. In this relatively modest assignment in and near Delfzijl we lost 16 officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers. Many of them had served in our regiment for a long time,” said the major.

After the announcement of the surrender, 1,386 Germans laid down their weapons in Farmsum, including 39 officers. The battle for the Delfzijl Pocket was over. On May 4, the Canadian soldiers in Delfzijl heard the unconditional surrender of the Germans in the Netherlands, northern Germany, Denmark, the Wadden Islands and Heligoland. This news was met with great cheer, and permission was given for a double issue of rum for this special occasion.

Borgshof, 9936 CS Farmsum