The SAR Bronze Plaque Tour - 1999

September 23
Prepared by James Stoness with
the Bronze Plaque Tour in Enschede

Today, the veterans of the South Alberta Armoured Regiment (SAR) drove into Germany following the route taken in the spring of 1945. At Udem, they received a warm welcome from the Mayor. In his speech the Mayor said that Germany has changed and that we all hope that such a conflict never again happens. He stressed how happy he is to have the SAR veterans in his city.

Veteran stands by tankAt Uedemerbruch the SARs unveiled a bronze plaque. This historic moment marked the first time a Canadian regiment has placed a bronze plaque in Germany. The theme of the bronze plaque is "We shall remember them". A representative of the German Air Force said that he was pleased to participate in this gesture of peace and friendship and that we have the opportunity to learn from each other. The veterans of the SAR then moved down the road where they saluted a German war memorial to the civilians from the local area who were killed.

At noon the SAR veterans and families lunched in a beautiful hotel with a fine view of the distant Hochwald Forest. The battle to cross through the Hochwald Gap was fierce and difficult as the muddy terrain was unsuitable for tanks, and their slow progress was in full view of the enemy who took full advantage of their position and superior weapons. Eighty-seven year old Bob Fairhurst, a veteran with the SAR tour, had made it through the death and destruction to the hill where he had to hunker down for two days waiting for help to come.

Returning to Enschede, the SAR tour passed through Emmerich, Vorden, Ruurlo, Lochem, and the Twente Canal following the route taken by the SAR back to Holland.

After Enschede, the SAR veterans had the satisfaction that they had kept the faith with all their comrades who were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner, and that the plaque will be a reminder in perpetuity.