Holandia / Historia

The capture of the Broeksbrug Apeldoorn




In the early morning of April 14th, the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment attempted to capture the Broeksbrug. The bridge exploded right before their eyes. Over the following days, the battalion fortified its position while awaiting a makeshift bridge. Several patrols were conducted, resulting in casualties. On April 17th, they entered Apeldoorn, heading towards Palace Het Loo.

After the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment captured Teuge on April 13th, they fought their way to the Broeksbrug. In the early morning of April 14th, D Company, along with the commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Renison and tanks, launched an attack. By 05:15, an advance guard reached the Broeksbrug, advancing up to 50 meters. However, the bridge exploded before their eyes. The battalion took up positions to the east of the bridge. Over the following days, they fortified their position while awaiting a makeshift bridge and the clearing of East Apeldoorn by the 48th Highlanders and the Royal Canadian Regiment.

During this time, various patrols were conducted, resulting in the capture of more than a hundred Germans. German snipers fired from the Teresiakerk, and an 88mm cannon fired from the Tol. The tower of the Teresiakerk was subsequently targeted by the Canadians, resulting in it being 'knocked out'.

During a bombardment, Soldier Carl Doonan was wounded; he later succumbed to his injuries on April 18th in a hospital. Around midnight on April 15th to 16th, a forward Canadian position in a barn at Anklaarseweg 141 was hit by a German mortar shell. Five Canadians were wounded, and Sergeant Harry Brott and Soldier William (Bill) Martinsen were killed. The regiment's chaplain, Captain Goforth, wrote the following to Martinsen's father:

"It is quite impossible for me to put into words just how badly we all feel about Bill. He and a number of their lads were asleep in a barn when the building received a direct hit by a shell, and your son and his platoon sergeant were killed instantly. It will be of some relief to you to know he did not suffer at all. I have known Bill ever since he came to the unit. He was one of the best, everybody thought so. Kind and considerate to his comrades, strong and fearless in action –this is how we shall remember him. They’re proud to think he was one of us. It is men like Bill, who in their quiet, steady, pleading way, without any publicity are winning the war. Whenever I see men like this go, I pray that God will deal gently and generously with them as I know he will. It was my privilege to conduct the service for your son. The Colonel and a large number of our men were present to do him honor. We have our own little regimental cemetery where all the lads from this unit who have given their lives in the liberation of this country are laid to rest. The cemetery is being well looked after and the Dutch people have planted flowers on the graves. My sincere prayer is that God may comfort and sustain you in your great loss. With kindest regards, John Frederick Goforth, Padre."

During the night, a bridge was placed by the engineers, and on April 17th, they entered Apeldoorn, heading towards Paleis Het Loo.