Pays-Bas / Histoire

Dump Deelen: the large Canadian dump at the airfield in Deelen.




After the German surrender to the troops in Northwest Europe on May 4, 1945, the First Canadian Army prepares to return home. Much equipment is left behind at Deelen Air Base, including field hospitals, workshops, and everything else an army might need. In total, the airfield becomes a "dump" for more than 37,000 vehicles.

Canadian motorcycles, jeeps, reconnaissance vehicles, tanks, trucks, artillery pieces, but also lathes and other equipment are spread out on and around Deelen Airfield. Rows of vehicles are lined up thickly. The total size is enormous. It quickly becomes known colloquially as "Dump Deelen." After several months of negotiations, the Dutch government decides to purchase all the equipment in this "Demob Vehicle Park." All vehicles are restored as much as possible, and the unusable parts and steel (i.e., tanks and artillery) are sold at auctions. Some are directly sold to companies important for reconstruction. This sale is seen as unfair competition by the Bicycle and Automobile Industry (RAI), leading to the involvement of major car importers in the sales process. They set up offices in a mobile office trailer at the dump, from where test drives and sales are managed.

Some of the Canadian dump goes to state-owned companies like the State Company for Post, Telegraph, and Telephone (PTT) and the Royal Marechaussee, as well as to the fire department. However, the majority is sold to various military units. Partly for all military branches within the country, as a significant portion is destined for the war in the then colony of the Dutch East Indies. Kilometers-long convoys traverse the otherwise quiet Veluwe to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, from where they are shipped to the Dutch East Indies.

After five years of German occupation, there is still a huge scarcity in post-war Netherlands. The major shortages in various areas - and, of course, profit motives - also lead to theft. Numerous letters and articles in the archives report theft by civilians, but also widespread theft and fraud by personnel. Soon after, a fence is erected around the airfield with the Canadian dump, electrified by generators under a thousand volts. Apart from a few resourceful thieves, theft significantly decreases thereafter. Unfortunately, this measure also costs the life of a soldier who was going to work at Dump Deelen. Unaware, he walks into the fence in dense fog and dies.

Delenseweg, 6877 AE Deelen