Percorso a tema

The fleeing and fighting occupier cornered

Paesi Bassi





26.51 km

As the end of World War II drew near, the German forces in Friesland faced the inevitable defeat of their occupation. In the spring of 1945, as the Allies, mostly Canadian troops, advanced towards Friesland, the German forces began a hasty retreat from the province.

Faced with the relentless pressure from the advancing Allied forces and the determined resistance from local Dutch resistance groups, German troops abandoned their positions and fled from Friesland, but not before some heavy fighting in the area in and around Wons, Witmarsum and Hayum. In Hayum, German troops ambushed Canadian infantry of the Queens Own Rifles of Canada. As a result, six soldiers from the Queens Own Rifles of Canada were killed. After support by Sherman tanks of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers, Canadian troops managed to liberate Witmarsum, Hayum and Wons on April 16th.

The retreating German forces left behind a trail of destruction and devastation as they hastily withdrew, destroying bridges, roads, and other infrastructure in an attempt to hinder the Allies’ progress. Their retreat of the occupying forces marked the imminent end of the occupation and the approaching liberation of Friesland.