Pays-Bas / Champ de Bataille

Canadian Tank Regiment '8th Hussars' in Eelde




After the liberation in April 1945, Eelde was the central point for “The 8th Princess Louise New Brunswick Hussars”. This Canadian tank regiment had made an important contribution to the liberation of the Northern Netherlands. They would stay in Eelde until November 1945.

In those first months after the liberation, a lot was done to make the stay of the Canadian soldiers in Eelde and Groningen as pleasant as possible. There were committees everywhere, in which civilians and soldiers were active, who organized all sorts of things. There were sports meetings, relaxation evenings, lectures, courses. The Canadians were at home in many families. The soldiers of the regiment were stationed in the Family Hotel, the Twee Provinciën, in the Turnhal, in café de Passage, café Van Wijk and at Eelde airfield.

The emphasis was very much on sports encounters: volleyball, basketball, swimming and especially sailing on the Paterswoldsemeer. There were also the necessary dance halls in the city and region, there were memorial services and the Canadian soldiers regularly took part in liberation parades. The official parade in Eelde on the occasion of the liberation was conducted on May 23, 1945 by General H. Crerar of the 1st Canadian Army. The large audience saw 3000 Canadian vehicles pass by, including Sherman tanks.

The regiment published its own weekly magazine, “The 8th Hussar” with all possible information from and about its own troops, intended for the officers and soldiers directly involved and for family and relations. The magazine was printed by the Jacobs printing company in Groningen until the “Hussars” went home at the end of November. The magazine occasionally featured mini-interviews with Dutch girls who gave their impressions of the Canadian soldiers.

For example, F. Galis thought that the Canadians were good at dancing and sports and knew how to dress well, but that they consumed too much alcohol and were very receptive to beautiful women. Ina Bakker had also noticed the alcohol consumption of the Canadians. Incidentally, she also thought that the Canadian soldiers had good manners and were very sporty. Most of the regiment's men were finally able to return to Canada in November 1945.

Landgoed Vosbergen