Holandia / Pomnik

“In remembrance of the heroes who died for us” Monument




Near Moerstraten lies the oldest monument commemorating fallen Canadian servicemen in the Netherlands. The initiative for this monument came from the local population, and was unveiled by one of its liberators, amid great interest, in August 1945. Comrades of the fallen soldiers were present to lay wreaths.

On Sunday 29 October 1944, several tanks of the Canadian tank regiment Governor General Foot Guards approached Moerstraten from the south. Two tanks got stuck in the mud on the north side of the village. The German troops disabled both tanks, killing four Canadian soldiers. They were given a collective field grave at the corner of Luienhoekweg and Moerstraatsebaan streets, near the Potersbos woods.

A few days later, at this same spot, the Canadian troops buried another five soldiers of the Canadian Grenadier Guards and the Algonquin Regiment. They had been killed in action in and around Welberg. There were now a total of nine Canadian soldiers buried here.

In the spring of 1945, the Canadian Army began construction of a Canadian War Cemetery near Bergen op Zoom. The first burials took place in the last week of April and the nine soldiers buried near the Potersbos received their final resting place there.

However, the population of Moerstraten had not forgotten the sacrifice of the nine Canadian soldiers. In the summer of 1945, most likely at the initiative of a theology student, a monument arose on the site of the former field grave. It is the oldest Canadian war memorial in the Netherlands. On 26 August 1945, the monument was unveiled amid great interest. Lieutenant Colonel Bill Cromb, himself having been involved in the liberation of the region, was invited to perform the unveiling. Comrades of the fallen soldiers were also present to lay wreaths.

In the centre of the monument is a headstone with the names of the nine Canadian soldiers. At the back is a standing cross with the emblem of the 1st Canadian Army. In front of this are two plaques with words of thanks from the citizens of Moerstraten. The whole area of the monument is enclosed by nine large granite blocks in the shape of shell weapons, all linked together.

Luienhoekweg-Moerstraatsebaan, Moerstraten