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70th Anniversary of The Liberation of the Netherlands

Overseas Events

70th Anniversary of The Liberation of the Netherlands

Interviewer: Today you probably have a lot of emotions as you head to the Netherlands in celebration of the 70th Anniversary, tell us how you feel. I Feel good in a way. It brings back a lot of memories. That’s where I was when the war ended. That is the sad part of the experience is going to the cemeteries and realizing that they're not going to be around anymore. So everytime I come up here I look for his grave. I forgot, before we went over the fence, this fellow, Juszkiewicz says to me, “Where’s your shovel?” And I said, “I don’t dig a shovel, I don’t need a shovel." And he said, "Here take mine, you’re going to need a shovel.” And the last thing he said to me was “Remember, you gotta be like a bird up here, you gotta be watching all the time and remember that.” It’s very impressive to see the young people, people from three generations. This is seventy years ago and they’re still showing this interest. It’s wonderful. As they explained in the ceremony we have to remember our past so it doesn’t happen again and to improve the future. I think of all of the things that we have done here in Holland since we came and I’ve been back here many times over the past thirty, forty years and this is the most moving experience. What he did, he took the rifle he had of his back, and put his hand over and took the rifle I had on my back and shifted it to his back He gave his life for me. It’s a great honour to be part of the Canadian delegation that has come to the Netherlands and to Germany as well. Today for this ceremony it’s truly an honour. Just before we crossed the canal, we saw three or four guys on the ground who were killed and then we boarded our little inflatable rafts and we paddled, Bullets were flying on each side. We finally were able to make it to the other side. The first thing I can remember seeing in the little town was five or six kids standing on the side of the road with their skinny wrists and their black eyes and I said oh it’s worse than we’ve been told. Interviewer: Ten years you’ve known Donald, how does it make you feel? It’s a special feeling. I can’t tell it. It’s the feeling and there are no words for it. Donald is a very special man. That’s just a feeling and my feeling I have another grandparent in Canada. Things Mr. Donald Sommerville together with his mates did, not being selfish, offering yourself for such a good cause, it’s unbelievable and that’s my drive to do it. Interviewer: The camaraderie within the regiment itself must be very strong. Yes and it still is and I have known Stewart and Ken, I’ve known Stewart and Ken for quite a few years and I meet them every year at the North Shore reunion and on these trips to Holland, we’ve been over here several times together and Stewart is kind of a hard fellow to get a hold of. He lives in Cape Breton and he gets snowed in and, he’s out now.

Veteran Affairs Canada invited regimental, air force and naval associations that participated in the Liberation of the Netherlands to be part of the official Government of Canada delegation. In May 2015, selected Canadian Veterans of the Second World War travelled from Canada to the Netherlands as members of the delegation for the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands to participate in commemorative ceremonies. These are some sights and sounds of that trip.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 8, 2015
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Liberation of Holland

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