Holandia / Miejsce zainteresowania

The Village of Olst had now been cleared of all Germans




The Canadians approached the town of Olst from both eastern and southern directions. Along the river IJssel, Allied troops encountered considerable resistance in the form of German rearguard battles. While farms fell victim to the fighting, mines and scattered pockets of resistance were cleared. The advance towards Olst was started from Diepenveen and towards Wesepe.

The German occupiers were determined not to surrender, especially at Wesepe, where Canadian troops faced stubborn resistance. In late summer 1944, the German troops had established defensive lines along the river IJssel, manned by 800 German civilians and local residents who had been forcibly employed to build these fortifications.

As elsewhere, the Canadians could rely on reliable information from the resistance. In Boskamp, a few people reported to the Canadian troops with crucial information about the German positions in Olst. Jan Hoogland, a twenty-three-year-old man, and Leendert Immerzeel, almost twenty-three years old and from Kamerik, volunteered as guides. However, their reconnaissance mission on the night of 12-13 April 1945 ended badly. Hoogland and the two Canadian soldiers were captured by a German patrol. Hoogland was considered a terrorist and was given the death penalty by the Germans. On the day of Olst's liberation, the sentence was to be carried out at the Olsterbrug in Heerde, together with several members of the resistance from Heerde.

The second guide, Leendert Immerzeel, also did not return alive. Near the Koekoeksbrug, his reconnaissance unit encountered a German guard post, which immediately opened fire. Immerzeel and a Canadian were fatally hit. Despite these losses, the Canadians, especially the 'B' Company of the Canadian Scottish Regiment, continued the attack on Olst with determination. They braved artillery fire and machine gun salvos, with Corporal Wilfred Paradis distinguishing himself by courageously taking the initiative, eliminating German positions and eventually liberating Olst on 13 April 1945. For his heroic deeds, he received the Dutch decoration, the Bronze Lion.

Around noon, Major English signed a self-written document: 'To whom it may concern: The Village of Olst had now been cleared of all Germans'. What followed next for the Canadians on Overijssel territory was little more than a staged column exercise. The road was open, but the landscape was steeped in the aftermath of war. Ruined farms and cleared minefields testified to the intense fighting that had taken place around Olst.

Hendrik Droststraat 20 Olst, Overijssel