Transit Camp

The Netherlands




After the British had liberated Gennep on 12 February 1945 and penetrated ever deeper into Germany, there was a growing need for bridges with sufficient capacity to move thousands of troops and large quantities of equipment across the river Meuse and, soon after, the river Rhine as well. This is why Gennep did not only get two temporary Meuse bridges, but also a large transit camp. This was a major achievement that was completed within a few months.

Initially, troops and supplies were brought in over a Bailey bridge across the Maas between Oeffelt and Gennep. British engineers had built the more than one-kilometre-long riverbank connection in February and March 1945. Not only was it the longest Bailey bridge of World War II, it was also an extraordinary feat of engineering skill. Churchill and Montgomery came to inspect it in person.

Meanwhile, a temporary railway bridge was being constructed on the pillars of the railway bridge that had been blown up by the Germans in September 1944. On 1 April, this bridge was also ready for use. 

After completion of the two bridges, a large army camp was erected at the edge of the built-up area of Gennep, in the Maaskemp, in April 1945. It served as a transit camp for soldiers going to or returning from the frontline in Germany. They arrived and left via the so-called German line and stayed there for a few days at most.

The British used the tent camp, which almost looked like a real village, until October 1945. There were tents for medical care, recreation, and church services. By far the most tents were used for preparing food, eating and sleeping. The duration of the stay of the returnees from Germany depended on the departure of the boat to England from Hoek of Holland. For those who stayed in the camp for a few days, there was a theatre and dance party in the hall of Hotel Van Bergen, to which the girls from Gennep were very welcome. Note: girls only!

Today, only traces of the transit camp can still be found in the soil. 


Veerstraat 2, 6591 BK Gennep