The Netherlands / Story

A dying man




A Canadian Bren Carrier, an armored vehicle equipped with a heavy machine gun, hits a mine on the evening of April 23, 1945. The explosion hurls the Carrier into the Damsterdiep of Appingedam and the driver is killed instantly.

The air pressure from the explosion destroys the windows and doors of surrounding houses, forcing three residents to move into a neighboring house, including Mr G. van der Ploeg, an old man who is seriously ill. They sleep on the floor of a small kitchen. The old man is dying.

The next day he is put on a stretcher and taken to Tjamsweer. The dying person is kept in the home of Mr. T.C. van Sloten (69) and was laid to bed on the Rijksweg. He dies at 9 o'clock. A coffin is made and a grave is dug in the cemetery. While the fighting is still going on, a service with family members and church council members takes place.

The Canadians – supported by four tanks – are advancing slowly. They open fire on the German positions at Stuivinga Vlasfabrieken and Carrosseriefabriek Medema. The buildings catch fire. Moments later, the bodywork factory is also hit, where the Germans have established a command post. The mines in Appingedam initially form a major obstacle for the Canadians. But local residents lead them behind the houses, so that they can get back on the road past the mines. They reach the Westersingel unhindered. Some Bren Carriers drive through front yards.

The remainder of the afternoon and evening were used to advance along the Westersingel to the Bolwerkbrug.The next day, Appingedam is completely liberated.

Westersingel, 9932 AB Appingedam