The Netherlands / Story

Liberation of Holwierde




In the early morning of Tuesday 28 April 1945, the Canadian Perth Regiment captures the German anti-aircraft battery Nansum and the surrounding bunkers. They capture a total of 180 German prisoners. Like Holwierde, the village of Nansum itself has not yet been liberated.

Holwierde will only be liberated on Sunday afternoon 29 April. The Red Cross and the Canadians advise the population to leave, because the village may still be shelled by German artillery. But it is not easy to get over De Heekt, because the bridge has been blown up. There is now a raft, but children and the elderly have great difficulty making the crossing. They walk past smoking ruins. Dead soldiers lie in the street. The road is covered by rubble and glass.

The refugees have not yet left Holwierde, when the German artillery starts shelling Holwierde again. One of the grenades lands in the crowd, killing a man and two children. During the battle around Delfzijl, 74 Canadian soldiers of the Perth Regiment are wounded or killed. Fifteen civilians were also killed during the battle. Many farms were destroyed and more than 150 houses in the village were slightly or severely damaged.

The so-called 'Bailey Bridge' that the Canadians later build over De Heekt will be used for years before a new bridge is built.

Pastorielaan 4, 9905 RE Holwierde