The Netherlands / Battlefield

Initial, temporary resting place




After the liberation of North Brabant, the River (Bergse) Maas became the new front line. In November 1944, the 1st Battalion of the Canadian Algonquin Regiment, led by Lieutenant-Colonel R.A. Bradburn, was responsible for the sector north of Waalwijk. Both German and Canadian troops patrolled intensively along their own, and the other, side of the river. This did not always end well, and a particular Canadian patrol near Waalwijk ended in a bloodbath.

On Sunday 19 November, a group of German soldiers crossed the Maas and settled in the dyke house near Drongelense Veer. In the late evening of 20 November, the Canadian No.17 Platoon, led by Lieutenant Hoofer, set out to drive off the enemy. However, this was not easy: the evening was cold and pitch black, and on top of this many of the meadows had been flooded. Soon Hoofer lost his way, and only after turning around did he find the house. Just before the assault, the platoon forgot to give the correct light signals, meaning that they were also shot at by machine guns from another company, behind them.


Chaos was now complete and nothing came of the attack. During the retreat, the biggest tragedy of that night happened: Canadian soldiers were stepped onto so-called Schuh-Minen - anti-personnel mines which exploded when a person stepped on them. In quick succession, five went up in the air. The carnage was complete. Of the 30 men in Hoofer's platoon, 12 were wounded, including Hoofer himself, and nine were killed. The dead and wounded had to be carried back to Waalwijk harbour, with two of the casualties finding a temporary burial place at the Waalwijk railway station, and the seven others at the steam pumping station near the River Maas. The next day, the remaining mines were removed by the intrepid Sergeant Cambell, who was awarded the Military Medal for doing so.


As early as 25 November 1944, a large crowd gathered in the pouring rain at the temporary cemetery near the Waalwijk railway station, next to the graves of Carruthers and Jackman, two of the Algonquin Regiment who were killed. Canadians were also present at the ceremony: Bradburn and the chaplain in front, and 30 other soldiers alongside them. English teacher Joep Naninck gave a speech in English and Dutch, followed by a minute's silence, and the laying of wreaths. Later on, the Canadians buried at the station were transferred to Bergen op Zoom Canadian War Cemetery for their reburial, whilst the other seven were taken to Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery.

Tegenover Burgemeester van der Klokkenlaan 37, Waalwijk