May 4, 2020. As the Dutch remember the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of The Netherlands, this year without any public gatherings and events cancelled due to social distancing to prevent further outbreaks of coronavirus, Edwin van der Wolf of Hattem, The Netherlands, notified us about a website he’s begun. This labour of love is about the 394 fallen soldiers of the Canadian Scottish Regiment during WW 2, a regiment from Victoria, BC.
The website is in Dutch and English, and includes maps, war diaries, a brief history of the regiment, photos, brief biographies of the fallen soldiers, and the cemeteries they are buried in. You can access the website at https://www.csri.nl/.
We first met Edwin on our 2017 War Memorial Tour, when we visited the graves and monuments of most of the names listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion. In addition to his research into the Canadian Scottish Regiment, Edwin is an active researcher at the Holten Information Centre based at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten. (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/on-the-war-memorial-trail-at-the-information-centre-at-holten-canadian-war-cemetery/ for an account of our visit there.)
Back in 2017, we asked him about his interest in Canadian soldiers and he told us that he feels a special bond with Canada. He explained that his grandfather lived in an area of Deventer that was liberated by Canadians. “My grandfather lived in a house in a corner of the street, and he could see a hospital fence 100 metres away. Canadian soldiers climbed the iron gate and, in a crouching position, walked past a couple of Germans who were on the roof and firing at the Canadians who’d climbed over the gate. The Germans withdrew as the Canadians advanced. Grandfather told this story every Sunday!” This story captured a young Edwin’s imagination. “So many Canadians came from thousands of kms away to help liberate the Dutch!”
One of the places where the Canadian Scottish Regiment fought was in Schalkhaar, near Deventer. Edwin took us on a tour of the village and told us one story about what happened there on April 10, 1945…
“The Canadians were in a villa in Schalkhaar and saw Germans coming up the road, crawling through ditches. After the Canadians shot at them from the villa, about 25 Germans came with a white flag and surrendered themselves as prisoners of war. The Canadians thought that was the end of the incident, but then three tanks of Germans came and shot at them right through the villa. Corporal Frank Arthur CHERRY was killed in that villa.”
You can find more about Lt Mitchell and Cpl Cherry on the website, along with 392 more soldiers. Both men were killed during the Battle of Deventer and are buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten. Kudos to Edwin for this initiative!
If you have information to share about any Canadian soldiers buried in The Netherlands, please contact Pieter at email@example.com or comment on the blog.
© Daria Valkenburg