60th Anniversary SAR Battlefield Tour - 2005

Tuesday, April 26

Children at ceremony, Veterans at SAR tank with George SpittaelThis morning we drove from Brugge to the town of Eeklo to participate in a ceremony at Canada Square, dedicated to the Canadian Soldier and the Girl. Here is the SAR Plaque put in place only a few years ago and the veterans placed a wreath beneath the statue. The veterans were very pleased to see the numerous school children carrying Canadian flags following in the procession from the main street to Canada Square to watch the ceremony. Afterwards, the children presented the veterans with beautiful long stemmed white roses.

Following the ceremony the veterans were invited to a reception where gifts were presented to them. SAR also gave gifts to the Mayor, and councillors, as well as George Spittael and his wife Ria.

Leaving the town behind, the bus stopped at the SAR tank monument and then drove a narrow road to the Bailey bridge. The site of the old Bailey bridge is where the Ist Battalion of the Canadian Scottish Regiment attacked across the Leopold Canal and cleared the road towards Cadzane and Knocke . The bridge was placed, under heavy shellfire, allowing crossing the canal and still exists today.

The Bailey Bridge, Gold trimmed buildings in Brugge

Wednesday, April 27

Today our guide is Jan Roose. We drove to the double canals, one of which is the rapidly running Stink Canal flowing from France, and the other is the Leopold Canal. The road runs beneath the shade of large trees that line the canals and also the narrow berm between them. The difficulty of getting across a canal was compounded here. The Germans were well dug in, and the Canadians had to cross one canal, and then pull the boat up and over the berm, and then cross the second canal. This was extremely dangerous and the veterans visited a plaque to the Algonquins and B Squadron of the SARs who suffered heavy losses here. Here we met two jeeps of the 'Keep em Rolling' committee.

Tree lined canal Welded tank ceremonies at Moerbrugge
The bus passed over the Bridge of Moerbrugge and stopped at the unusual statue of the Sherman tank, made up of many pieces of wreckage welded together. The veterans joined a large group of citizens and dignitaries beside the statue. Children and adults alike joined in with the veterans as they laid the wreath near the SAR plaque. Several of the adults sported tee shirts with the South Alberta Regiment on the back and the Canadian flag on the front.

We proceeded to Oedelem where the whole village was out to receive the veterans. A wreath was laid at their cenotaph and a reception was held in the town hall. The group was then treated to a lovely lunch following which was a tour of a new museum that was just opened.

War cemetery at Adegen
Later, the veterans conducted a service at the Cross of Sacrifice in Adegem and later stopped at the Canada Museum where they saw many people learning ballroom dancing. From here the tour proceeded to Zomergen where the Veterans laid a wreath at the cairn built to honour the South Albertas. Following this there was a beautiful reception that was held in the town hall where an exchange of gifts took place, and a great time was had by all.