Pays-Bas / Monument

The Canadians are coming - liberation of Meppel




Around noon on 13 April 1945, the main Canadian force stormed into Meppel from the Werkhorst Bridge. Exactly 65 years later, on 13 April 2010, a commemorative monument was unveiled in nearby Wilhelmina Park by veterans of the then liberation army, the Toronto Scottish Regiment, together with primary school pupils.

The first tanks of the main Canadian force, the Toronto Scottish Regiment, landed on the Normandy beaches 8 July 1944, and stormed across the Werkhorst bridge from the direction of Staphorst at 12:05 on Friday, 13 April 1945. Meppel was liberated!  

At a brisk pace, they set course for the centre, after which a large part of the Canadians moved further north. A trail of cobblestones raised and loosened by the powerful tracks remained visible in the wake of the liberators for weeks to come.  

Before that, Allied forces had been active in the area for several weeks. Along with French paratroopers, there were continuous skirmishes with retreating Germans, which also resulted in regular casualties. At night, Canadian reconnaissance vehicles, often guided by the local resistance, ventured near Meppel. People feared a heavy defence of the strategically located city, but on the night of 12-13 April, the last occupiers pulled out of the city. Bridges were not blown up, but the telephone exchange was badly damaged by the retreating German troops.  

Exactly sixty-five years later, a commemorative monument in honour of the liberators was unveiled by veterans and members of the Toronto Scottish Regiment, alongside primary school students, in nearby Wilhelmina Park on 13 April 2010. Since then, this monument has been part of the Jeugdappèl (youth movement) on 13 April, which sees local youth commemorate the liberation and reflect on the victims of the war and focuses on the current theme of peace and security.  

Author: Wim Sagel