Prepared by James Stoness with
the Bronze Plaque Tour in Bergen Op Zoom
On Tuesday the veterans of the South Alberta Armoured Regiment (SAR) visited a memorial in Huibergen and placed a wreath during a short service.
The Brick Factory, nearby Centium, and Wouse Plantage proved to be an area of difficult fighting for the Canadians. Aboard the bus they drove along a narrow dirt road surrounded by thick forests. Peaceful and beautiful today, it is difficult to visualize the nightmare through which the SAR tanks threaded their way in 1944 when fallen trees, booby traps, and enemy troops hidden in the woods threatened every inch of their passage. They also encountered shoe mines, and the dangerous destroyer of tanks, the panzerfaust.
Later, SAR veterans and their families travelled to Bergen Op Zoom which was the Fourth Armoured Division's objective. Here, they had encountered an extremely difficult crossing of the Zoom River in the face of determined enemy resistance. In places a steep embankment prevented passage to the tanks, and other places were protected with concrete anti-tank teeth.
It was here, in Bergen Op Zoom, that a tragic accident occurred when one of the Canadian's own shells struck the rear of Major Dave Currie's tank causing several casualties. Dave Currie, who would receive a Victoria Cross for his action at St. Lambert-sur-Dives, narrowly escaped injury.
The SAR veterans and their families, along with local veterans and their families attended a reception sponsored by Leon Rosenboom who has been made an SAR Honorary Member. At the reception a live orchestra played music from the 1940's. Guests pressed around the veterans to thank them for liberating their city. Mothers passed their babies to eighty-seven year old veteran Bob Fairhurst, for pictures. Later in the day the veterans thanked Leon Rosenboom for all his work done on behalf of the SARs.