The Netherlands / Battlefield

Full blast for Rilland




On 10 October 1944, Canadian soldiers unexpectedly reached the railway embankment between Rilland and Bergen op Zoom. A stone's throw away was the ramp of the Kreekrakdam, the only road to Zuid-Beveland. The shocked German army commanders pulled out all the stops to prevent the attackers from advancing towards the mouth of the Scheldt. From two sides they took the Canadians under fire. Regular attacks followed each other at dawn and dusk. In response to the threat, the Canadians gave Rilland the full blast ...

Brigadier General Fred Cabeldu understood that the Royal Regiment of Canada's strategic position in the railway embankment was coming under pressure. He requested the air force to attack targets in and near the village of Rilland.

The Royal Air Force attacked targets in the Kreekrakpolder and around Rilland on that Thursday, 12 October. Twelve Spitfires dropped seven 500-pounder bombs on four German guns near Rilland-Bath railway station. A number of field guns near Bathsedijk suffered seven bombs three quarters of an hour later. The area around the guns was mitigated with the board guns.

Despite the airstrike, German troops continued to shell the Canadians. As a countermeasure, anti-aircraft shells hit the church tower of Rilland. Then the mill and the water tower also fell victim to the violence. What was heartening for the Canadian soldiers was a tragedy for the villagers. Reverend Aalbers heard people screaming and running in the streets between the explosions. The shells were getting closer and closer, and startled, he and his family shot into the shelter. Together with the family doctor, the pastor took to the streets every quiet moment to provide assistance. With volunteers, they carried wounded people on a wagon who were evacuated overnight to the hospital in Goes. The Zeeland village had fallen to a ruin.

Oorlogsmonument op de Algemene Begraafplaats, Valckenisseweg-Hontsestraat, Rilland