Pays-Bas / Histoire

'Sinterklaas' celebrations




The Fort Garry Horses regiment were stationed at Nederasselt and Balgoij in 1944. Even though they did not know the tradition of St Nicholas, they wanted to do something for the children of the region and organised a big party for them.

When the soldiers of the Fort Garry Horses heard about the Dutch Sinterklaas traditions, they immediately knew they wanted to throw a big party for the children of the Gelderland villages of Balgoij and Nederasselt. After all, this was where the soldiers had been stationed since November 1944 and where they had experienced a lot of hospitality from the residents. Capt "Sandy" McPherson became the Sinterklaas and Van Davies and Howard Smith the Pieten (assistants to Sinterklaas). Unfortunately, the white horse was ill, so they had to come on a different colour horse, which caused some confusion among the children.

At the beginning of the day, the enthusiasm of the children was rather reluctant, the children coming in groups of twos and threes, but eventually the news spread through the villages so that by the end of the day almost 200 children had come to see St Nicholas.

Gifts were also distributed to the children: these were either donations from the soldiers or were made by them, and each gift was beautifully wrapped. No child went home empty-handed on that day. Fortunately, there were enough gifts for every child!

Fort Garry Horses
The Fort Garry Horses were part of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and were stationed in Europe from November 1941. On 6 June 1944, they were part of D-Day and the Normandy landings, and were stationed near Nijmegen from November 1944, which was where they spent the winter 1944/45.

Veerstraat, Nederasselt