The Netherlands / Battlefield

The Park bridge under fire




In the night of Saturday 14 April 1945, Canadian soldiers of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry regiment make two attempts to storm the Park Bridge, both attempts are repulsed by the Germans, who are located on the other side of the Hoornsediep. The Germans are armed with machine guns and antiaircraft guns.

The Canadians then decide to attack the Germans in the flank, crossing the Hoornsediep with storm boats. Commander Shortreed leads the attack, he was warned before his departure to watch out for poisoned coffee offered by Dutch traitors. In the aid post are soldiers who have drunk this coffee.

At 4.15 am the Canadian soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Canada cross the water with four storm boats at the Kerstholt Shipyard. They are tasked with clearing the southwest side of the river district with two companies. The Germans in an apartment block are completely surprised by this attack, but offer fierce resistance.

Sergeant Mulvihill's platoon has great difficulty clearing the houses in which Germans have entrenched. During two moments, the platoon is under so much fire that it seems for a moment that the attack has to be stopped. Still, Mulvihill manages to carry out his assignment, but is mortally wounded. The heavy fighting resulted in a lack of ammunition. Sergeant Major Hamm braves the enemy fire to retrieve ammunition.

Germans fire with anti-aircraft guns on the upper floors, so that all the glass falls on the liberators. In the morning the rest of the companies also cross the Hoornsediep. Meanwhile, the battle for the Park Bridge continues unabated. The Germans have placed antiaircraft guns on the high part of the Hereweg opposite the Rabenhaptstraat.

Five soldiers are killed in the Royal regiment of Canada that day. Eight are wounded. But the strategically important Park Bridge has been captured almost undamaged. Sergeant Mulvihill is posthumously nominated for the Dutch Bronze Lion on 29 August 1945.

Parkweg 112, 9727 HC Groningen