Thursday, April 28
Today we left the walled city of Brugge going to Maldegem and Adegem where the plaque is located. Here the veterans met one of the councillors and presented the SAR pin and hat. Afterwards they boarded the buses and drove through the scenic Belgium countryside driving through Van Ghent, Assenede, Phillipine, and Turnehausen. A change from the last tour, instead of a ferry, we went under the water through a 6 km long tunnel into Holland to Waarde.
The Veteran's ride into Waarde was in the Jeeps lovingly cared for by the 'Keep Em Rolling' committee. It was thanks to Minos and Joop Goud that this was possible.
In Waarde there was a ceremony where the children sang for us, one young man playing 'Oh Canada' on the trumpet. There was a Dutch couple dressed in marvelous old costumes. In the little square there was a monument to the crew of a bomber that crashed into the town killing the crew and several town's people.
Following this we returned to the building owned by the Goud family for an excellent reception. Here more gifts were exchanged, and here George Spittael was presented with a Jeep, not the one he'd been hoping for, but a model of it. George Spittael was the most outstanding military historian during our tours throughout Belgium. He was also responsible for the monument, "The Soldier and the Girl". He received the meritorious service medal from Canada.
We took a tour on back roads to a small Museum created by a local person. It was a tiny place and the attic was crammed with memorabilia. It was well done.
At the end of the day they went to the Golden Tulip Hotel in Bergen op Zoom. Later that evening and the next the group took the opportunity to walk through the streets of Bergen op Zoom viewing the magnificent buildings. Over the last 1300 years the city has been liberated 9 times, the last time being the Canadians. This is the city most Canadians will visit when going to Holland.
Friday, April 29
The drive today took the Veterans to Khalemtout and then to Huibergen. Here began the Dirt Road to Bergen Op Zoom. It's here at Huibergen there is a cairn with Corporal Moan's name on the shrine in front of a large church.
The Dirt Road had been a battle nightmare for the troops. The road was narrow, lots of trees and lots of mines and hidden troops. We were able to tour much of it, although it's hard to imagine it being such a war ridden place.
We had lunch at Bergen Op Zoom. We then travelled the battle route to Steenbergen where we met Mayor Jan Hoogendoom and were taken inside for a reception. The mayor received the SAR cap and sweater and the SAR received a group photo.