I apologise for not yet having checked my own regimental history (48th Highlanders), nor have I checked to see where Hilversum is located, but I noticed this story:
Dutch town remembers its liberators
The Hamilton Spectator
Dirk van Houten was nine when Holland was liberated by Canadian soldiers 56 years ago. The Dutch ambassador to Canada remembers family members "being obsessed with food" when the liberation came.
By late 1944, many in the Netherlands were starving, more than a few eating roots and tulip bulbs to get by.
The Canadians, van Houten says, brought liberty and food.
Saturday, as a Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 fighter jet roared overhead, van Houten joined other dignitaries at a memorial service at St. Elizabeth's Village on Rymal Road to mark the liberation of Holland and the freeing of the town of Woensdrecht by the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (RHLI) in October 1944.
"We remember," van Houten said. "These gentlemen (the Rileys) have done so much in life, we do not forget."
Van Houten and the Dutch military attaché to Canada, Lieutenant Colonel Leo Van de Heuvel of the Royal Netherlands Air force, joined Hamilton Mayor Bob Wade and Herman Klitsie, the mayor of Woensdrecht, in laying wreaths at the memorial organized by the Dutch Canadian Legion Hamilton Branch.
The veteran Rileys paraded smartly through the village to a small cenotaph at the Edelweiss recreation hall behind the pipes and drums of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 163 and the RHLI's band.
Klitsie said he came to visit the RHLI veterans -- including the regiment's wartime commanding officer Denis Whitaker -- who were unable to travel to the Netherlands for the annual liberation ceremonies.
"There is great love in our town for the RHLI," said Klitsie, noting the Rileys placed a plaque in the town last year.
The five-day battle for Woensdrecht near the Belgian border cost the Rileys 167 casualties but opened the road to the port of Antwerp.
Pitted against elite German paratroopers trying to hold open an escape route, the Rileys took and held the town after other units had been unable to do so. But they paid dearly -- one third of the regiment was either
killed or wounded in that one battle.
"We want to keep our contacts and show our gratitude to these veterans and Canadians," Klitsie said.
The jet fighter -- in Canada on a NATO training exercise -- made two passes and disappeared.
The plane's appearance was organized by Chris Kruter, president of the Dutch Canadian Legion.
Later in the afternoon, veterans who could not attend the 50th anniversary in the Netherlands in 1995 marking the end of the Second World War were presented in a ceremony at Copetown Community Centre with liberation medals struck by the Dutch National Committee.
You can contact John Burman by e-mail at [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]> or by phone at 905-526-2469.