Pays-Bas / Histoire

Easter celebration and parade




In late March 1945, the First Canadian Army (General Crerar) was on the eve of the liberation of the eastern and northern Netherlands. While the two divisions of Lieutenant General Foulkes' 1st Canadian Corps were exploring the German lines in the Betuwe, church services were held in the area.

For many soldiers, the army was a surrogate family during the war, and at the same time tried to establish some normality when soldiers were not required at the front. Oss housed part of Lieutenant General Foulkes' headquarters, and the soldiers stationed there were given the opportunity to attend a church service at Easter.

On 1 April, there were two Easter celebrations at two different locations: the Protestant celebration was in an open field outside the city, the Catholic one near the city centre between Carmel College (now Titus Brandsma Lyceum) and the Bergoss factory. The field was lined with Dutch flags for the occasion. Easter Sunday 1945 was a typical Dutch spring day: the weather was moderate, with heavy clouds, occasional showers and some drizzle. Incidentally, this did not hinder the planned Easter services or the official parade held afterwards.

The parade was conducted by Lieutenant General Foulkes himself, in the presence of burgomaster Louis de Bourbon. They stood in front of the town hall (now Museum Jan Cunen) in the Raadhuisstraat. Despite the bad weather, many Oss citizens came to see the spectacle, and were impressed by the impeccably dressed and tightly marching Canadians.

Ten days later, the peace was over and the attack towards the north began. The war would continue for almost a month after that.

Molenstraat 65, Oss