The Netherlands / Story

Liberation of North Groningen




The liberation of northern Groningen took place between 15 and 21 April 1945. In barely a week the 'Royal Canadian Dragoons', part of the first division of the First Canadian Army, managed to liberate the area.

Via Zoutkamp (15 April 1945) the 'Royal Canadian Dragoons' entered the province of Groningen. They advanced via Ulrum, Leens, Eenrum (16 April) and came via Saaxumhuizen to Den Andel. They did not follow the main road, but via the green lane, a back road on a clay road to the driveway of the farm of L.R. Bentema. The heavy Sherman tanks destroyed the clay road so that the ditches were closed. They stopped on the driveway and from there the tanks fired at Warffum. It was probably assumed that there were Germans in the Breedenburg. It is known that many Germans were 'trapped' and had nowhere to go. Many leaders had left the city of Groningen in a hurry.

The Canadians then first withdrew towards Eenrum/Leens. The supply line of food/ammunition was too long. Many people were under the delusion that they had been liberated. People in hiding returned home and others have already ventured onto the streets. A car with members of the underground came from Warffum. The car was loaded with ammunition. At Breede, just after the driveway of the Breedenborg, they were ambushed by a group of Germans. They had hidden themselves on the 'black road' a little further. The car ended up in the ditch and the occupants fled in all directions, apparently afraid that the ammunition would explode. Here followed a car with Germans, which drove from Breede to Baflo while firing. The bullets flew over the fields.

After the Canadians had returned, Baflo was liberated on April 18 and on April 19 in Winsum they met the group of the second Canadian division, which had also advanced to Winsum from Adorp (April 17) and Sauwerd. In Winsum, the bridge De Boog had been destroyed by the fierce fighting, so that an approach from two sides was necessary. Another group went via Zuidwolde (April 17), Bedum, Onderdendam (April 20) to Middelstum, Kantens and Usquert (April 20). Then it went smoothly. They also advanced to Usquert via Warffum and also liberated Uithuizen, Uithuizermeeden and Roodeschool on April 20. Little or nothing happened here in the area during the liberation. An eyewitness recalls: “I saw a couple of Krauts running in the meadow, guns in hand. But they did not run towards the Canadians. They could run very fast.” Delfzijl fell after a heavy battle on May 2, in the morning at 7:00 am, after many Canadian soldiers had been killed.

Hoofdstraat West 1, 9981 AA Uithuizen