Holandia / Historia

A medal for Corporal Jean Marie Beaulieu




During the liberation of the city of Groningen, the Canadian advance at the railway bridge over the Hoendiep came to a standstill due to heavy German resistance. Corporal Jean Marie Beaulieu with complete disregards for his own safety got up and rushed across the bridge and took out the German guns.

On April 14, 1945 the Canadian Le Régiment de Maisonneuve was ordered to attack the southwestern outskirts of Groningen. Their task was to capture and hold positions close to the railway and the Hoendiep road leading west from Groningen, but most important was to capture the railway bridge across the Eendrachtskanaal west of Groningen. During the attack around 15:00, the soldiers came under fire from German 20 mm anti-aircraft guns that were positioned at the railway bridge and the Sugar Factory along the Hoendiep. The 20mm Flak guns were shooting from the second floor of the factory. Canadian tanks which were in support during this attack soon silenced the Flak guns in de factory allowing the soldiers to get into the factory and to start clearing it from German resistance. 

The last phase of the attack was the capture of the railway bridge, which was a dominating position that dominated the line of advance into the built-up area of the town of Groningen. Corporal Jean Marie Beaulieu, the leading section commander of “B” Company skillfully worked his section to within seventy-five yards of the bridge and found it to be intact but covered with fire from two 20mm guns on the far side of the canal and also by very heavy machine gunfire which by this time had pinned his platoon to the ground, preventing any further advance. 

Realizing that the objective could not be taken unless these guns were dealt with, Corporal Beaulieu with complete disregards for his own safety got up and rushed across the bridge. In spite of the steady and intense enemy fire he succeeded in reaching the bank on the far side and after crawling to a position on the flank he engaged the first gun with his machinegun. The German gun crew now outflanked surrendered and corporal Beaulieu turned on the second gun and engaged it while his section crossed the bridge and secured a safe position on the far side. For his brave action he received a Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Kostverloren, 9718 TP Groningen