Crowd Welcoming Canadian Soldiers, Leeuwarden, Netherlands, 16 April 1945.
National Archives of Canada (PA-131566, photo by Donald I. Grant).

Crowd Welcoming Canadian Soldiers, Leeuwarden, Netherlands, 16 April 1945.

The Dutch were ecstatic after the liberation of their country. They have never forgotten the efforts and sacrifices of Canadian liberators such as these Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry Highlanders.


With the Falaise Gap closed and France liberated, the Allied armies continued the eastward push towards Germany, the ultimate objective of the campaign. As they distanced themselves from the Normandy beachheads, keeping the troops supplied with fuel, food, ammunition, and replacement tanks and trucks became increasingly difficult. The 1st Canadian Army was tasked with clearing the coastal belt, with emphasis on the channel ports, all the way up into the Netherlands. Of particular importance was the port of Antwerp.

The Scheldt

With the seizure of Antwerp and its port facilities virtually intact, that became the ultimate solution to the supply problem. However, Antwerp was some 50-miles inland, and the German army still held both banks of the Scheldt Estuary leading to the docks of Antwerp. The task of dislodging the Germans and thereby opening up Antwerp fell to the 1st Canadian Army.

The Netherlands

After moving into the heavily fortified Rhineland and shattering the German defences of the Siegfried Line, the 1st Canadian Army turned north and liberated large portions of north-eastern Holland and attacked the north-western part of Germany to the Elbe River.


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