The Museum has been very busy doing research
since September of last year to assist with the 60th Anniversary of the
Liberation of Belgium and Holland. Some in greater depth, especially the
one from Albert Metselaar in Hoogeveen.
Town of Virden sent a congratulatory letter to the Mayor and citizens of
Hoogeveen for this event and 5 packets of mementos for each organizers.
Our Museum also sent 5 Poppy quarters issued to comemerate “2005 The Year
of the Veteran”. Each coin container fit in a box with the Dragoons Buffalo
logo inside the lid.
We had the privilege of talking to 3 of the Dragoons that made the trip
to Holland this Spring either in person or on the Internet. Art Lyon offered
to send us some pictures when he returned and we received a CD with 220
photos on it and an explanation of each set of photos. Art also dropped
in for a visit while on the way to Winnipeg and on the way home to BC.
If anyone gets a chance to drop in to the Museum we would be very glad
to show them to you.
I would like to thank all those who have been in contact with us over
the last year for the information. Please keep in contact with us by internet
or by regular mail at the useum. If we can help with any information we
will certainly try. We appreciate any information or pictures of the Regiment
and it’s members that you would share with us.
The Museum has been invited to an Open House in Virden on 11 August
from 1400 to 1900 hours. We would really appreciate it if any of you do
attend you would come over to our table and introduce yourselves.
Cheers from the Museum, Gord Sim
If we can be of assistance in any information you may like please drop
us a line by
or regular mail at:
XII Manitoba Dragoons
1116 Victoria Avenue
Brandon, MB, R7B 2N4
Trip of Lifetime
Dear Fellow Comrades:
I am sure happy I was the lucky one to receive an all expense paid
trip to the Netherlands for thE 60th Anniversary Day
Celebrations. It was the trip of a lifetime and the Dutch people still
give us the ground they walk on.
I found the graves of former Comrades Sneesby, Barlow, Tester and Deacon.
I had the privilege of riding in a re-built
Staghound that took five years to restore. Thank you to Dolores Green
for her kindness and help to finalize my trip.
Art Lyon during the 60th Anniversary of
the Liberation of the Netherlands
Art rode in a restored Staghound
Roy Webster’s Visit to Holland
I was able to attend the 60th anniversary of the liberation and the
25th anniversary of Queen Beatrix as Queen. I stayed at the same host family
as in 95 (1st cousin of Hermam Stegeman our historian).
Russell Kennedy also stayed at Vriezenveen with the same host family
he stayed with in 95. We were the only veterans at Vriezenveen so the two
of us took part in the local festivity's as well as the various ceremony's
at Groesbeek and Holten cemetery's and also the large parade at Appledoorn.
was a very full schedule so the time went quickly past.
crowds of people were just as large as at any of the previous celebrations
and the gratitude and the enthusiasm of the people like wise. The greatest
joy is from the little children standing in the rain and reaching up to
shake our hands or even touch us and the mother or fathers holding their
child up beside one of us so Grandma can get a picture for posterity. This
was repeated many times along the parade route two miles or so. We had
sunshine, light rain, heavy rain and a few minutes of hail but everyone
stayed till the end. I would estimate that I shook hands a several thousand
of times in the two hours along the parade route, got soaked like everyone
else, but the adrenaline was flowing so fast that no one took note of the
weather. One thing is for certain that in years to come when the rest of
the world has forgotten the liberators of Holland, their children and grandchildren
will still remember us and all of our comrades that gave their lives so
that we all may be free.
Best Regards to all
Bayard Goodday’s Holland Trip
A note to let you know I had a great trip to Holland for the 60th Anniversary
ceremonies. I ran into Russ Kennedy at the Amsterdam airport after we de-planed
and again at the Groesbeck Cemetery Ceremony. He was headed for Almelo
and my host tour was Deventer. We were scattered all over and trying to
find someone was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
My sister, Betty, and her husband (a navy veteran) were with us and
we stayed with a wonderful host family in Bathmen, a village 12 KM east
of Deventer. The host committee of Deventer had a full program lined up
for us, which was very interesting and entertaining thoroughly enjoyable.
It of course included the official ceremonies at Groesbeek and Holten cemeteries
and the final big parade in Apeldoorn on May 8th. One afternoon was devoted
to a boat ride in a luxurious riverboat for a trip on the river Ijssel.
At one point up stream the boat stopped in mid-stream for a special memorial
service being conducted on shore at the very spot the first crossing of
the river Ijssel by the PPCLI In April 1945.
A highlight for me was the chance to visit Herman Stegeman in his home
in Den Ham. I had corresponded with him but had never met him. He certainly
is a great friend of the Regiment. He was a fountain of information and
gave us information, which we put to good use during the trip.
Another highlight was a day we took off from the program and devoted
it to a day trip to the town of Klundert in the province of Nord-Brabant.
This is a town 13 troop of C Squadron occupied and controlled for several
weeks in November and early December 1944. The Germans were across the
river from us. I had established a connection with a doctor’s family and
used one of the daughters as an interpreter from time to time. The troop
was well received by the town’s folk so much so the men put on a party
for the young children on their Christmas December 6th I believe. Anyway
our host phoned some Klundert town officials and found out there was a
surviving daughter of the above mentioned doctor’s family and she remembered
me. He contacted her and arrangements were made for a meeting. It was an
emotional get-together. She is now 76 – a widow and her 2 grown sons were
on hand when we arrived. The sons had many pictures of 13th troop and other
momentous of our occupation of their town 60 years ago, which they had
saved from family records. They were obviously very happy that I made the
effort to come back to see them 60 years later.
I found the visits to the cemeteries very emotional, particularly Holten,
where I managed to find the grave of Gerry Soanes, who was my wireless
operator when I was in 19 Troop – D Squadron. I handed out various Regimental
memorabilia. All in all it was a memorable trip and I am glad I was finally
able to make it to what in all probability was the last official celebration
in the Netherlands.
With kind regards,
Liberation of Vroomshoop
The following letter was sent to Nelson Smith
In the local newspaper here was a little article that told about what
happened on one of the last days under the German oppression in 1945 in
a village in our neighbourhood called Vriiezenveen- Vroomshoop. It says,
“The liberation came just in time. The furious Germans were preparing a
mass execution of villagers of Vroomshoope because the day before five
Germans had been killed by members of the underground organization. Fifty
men, women and children were taken from the houses of the Hoofdstreet,
Orangestraat and Tonnedike and lined up along the border of the local canal
to be executed. In that very moment an armoured car of Manitoba Dragoons
appeared and made the Germans hurry up to flee. So the fifty lives were
saved by the regiment of the Manitoba Dragoons.” Further on in the article
written is about a Fly Pass that will take place on April 5th as a remembrance
of the liberation of this village 60 years ago.
Rieky en Meindert van der Woude - Almelo
Let me respectfully suggest that it's time to relate what you went through,
both the good and the bad. I's also like to let you know that there are
still many of us in the following generations who respect, remember and
are both proud and humbled by your accomplishments and the freedom you
have passed on to us. On VE-day, I'll be driving my restored
1944 CMP Chev 3-ton cargo truck.
Our Heartfelt Condolances
Sadly we learned of the passing of Art Lyon’s wife and David Blackburn’s
wife recently. We wish to send our condolances to the families, and all
the families who have lost a loved one.
Nephew of Brigadier Roberts Writes:
I am the nephew of the late Brigadier Roberts who was the Commanding
Officer of the XII Manitoba Dragoons during the war, before being promoted
Commander of the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade.
Brigadier Roberts has entrusted all of his wartime memorabilia, files,
etc. to me. It is my intention to go through this material in the near
future to see whether any of it should be sent to the Association for its
archives and/or its museum.
I am writing to ask whether it might be possible to obtain a full set
of "The Staghound" newsletters as published weekly throughout the War from
the time of the Regiment's arrival in England until cessation of hostilities
When my uncle visited me in Victoria BC in 1984, I arranged for him
to reunite with some of the local ex-Dragoons, including Sgt. Bill Ward
who was the editor of "The Staghound" throughout the war. Bill was kind
enough to allow me to look through his file of back-issues and I read a
number of items regarding my uncle, and a few referring to my father who
also served in the Regiment as OC A and C Squadrons. Sadly, Bill passed
away about four years ago and his widow is now confined to the Lodge at
Broadmead in Victoria, a care facility for veterans and their families.
His file of back-issues has been disposed of, destination unknown.
Does the Association have a copy of my uncle's autobiography "The Canadian
Summer" which includes a complete record of his military career, with particular
emphasis on his years as CO of the Dragoons? If not, I will be pleased
provide it with a copy.
Note: We are looking for any copies of the Staghound that you can
send us. Please contact me Lora Deighton at the address or phone number
on the back of the Newsletter. Thank you.
I came across your Manitoba Dragoons webpage recently and wish to congratulate
you on the work you're doing to keep the memory alive.
It is sad for me (next generation) to see so many names in the Last
Post. Good to see Doug Fisher still kicking, alhtough I
hope he doesn't stop his writing career too soon!
For the other vets, please pass on your experiences.Too often indeed,
I get requests from sons and daughters who wish to learn more about what
their Dads did in the war.
Your experiences are a part of Canada's heritage, and a vey honourable
part at that.
Setting the Record Straight
Hi. Great to receive the March issue of the Staghound, but it was no
pleasure reading the last post. I saw both Ken Farmer and George Campbell
at the Voorst Airshow on a hot May3/95 in Holland. I met Ken while walking
in a crowd. Ken was looking fit,bareheaded,white shirt open at the collar,dark
jacket,only thing identifying him as a Canadian was his Order of Canada
on his lapel. I was sitting in the stands with my wife Alice and George
spied my black tam and hat badge and came up into the stands to talk to
In George Hoffman's Memories (March 2005 issue) while staying at the
Kazerne I was amazed that he would disparage a fellow Dragoon and decorated
W.O.2 with his remarks, and then go on to demean himself and his uniform
to kick a Dutch boy down a flight of stairs in an apparent fit of anger.
The late Sgt.Johnny Spence was also a friend of mine. Alice and I met and
talked to him a number of times at reunions after the war.As I recall our
Sgts mess at the Kazerne was a dry mess.There was not that many Senior
Ncos around in our last months in Europe and they were laid back bunch
of guys.Our Sgts messes in the UK were dry messes.When you were getting
$1.70 a day and sending half of it home,you really couldnt afford more
than a pint or two of mild and bitter(mud and blood). Officers messes were
wet messes. They were the boys with the bucks. In the last weeks of the
war NE Holland some of the boys in the Regt hurriedly loaded up a truck
full of Bols from Amsterdam liquers from a German suppy dump. Apricot Brandy,
sherry whiskey, Advocat. All that easy to drink but potent stuff. For a
couple of months after the war some Sgts messes were wet. RHQ and HQ had
a posh mess on the second floor of the Orange Hotel in Leeuwarden.I recall
one evening on the second floor balcony of our mess,a now deceased Sgt
dancing on a table.
When we were in Holland in 89 Alice and I visited the Orange Hotel but
it had been torn down and replaced with a new one. Reading on in George’s
Memories I find he had resurrected and embellished my old love affair with
Lena Berens.We never did go to the Berens residence in Den Haan for a going
away party as George states. Nor did I ever go on a weekend with George
to Den Haan.George and I did have a memorable time on a warm Sept day in
1944 when we cycled along the dune coast on bicycles built for two with
our girlfriends and had lunch in Wenduine before returning to Den Haan(Le
Coq sur mere. Coming back to our departure from Ostend I had phoned Lena
a few days before telling her our deparure day and time.She was at the
pier to meet me and wave me good bye.It was and is a very poignant memory
in my life. Heading for Dover I had four guns in my kit bag. An 1894 Model
Winchester rifle,a Belgium double barrelled 12 gauge shot gun, a 7.65(32
colt)Walther pistol, a P38 9mm revolver and case.We disregarded the stern
warnings coming over the loudspeakers on the boat "Any persons caught with
weapons will be sent back to the occupation force in Germany.All guns came
home safely.Only one in my possession now is the P38.
Prior to our Regt. trip to Europe in l989 I made contact with Lenas
brother. He and his wife met us at our hotel in Brugge. We toured the city
briefly, had lunch with some of the gang. Then Sylvaind and his wife Andrea
drove us to their home "Villa Avendrood" in Knocke. We had lunch on their
patio. I talked to Lena on the phone. She was living at this time on the
Island of Corsica in the Meditteranean. We then toured west along the dune
coast to Den Haan and then back to Damme on the Leopold Canal for a delicious
seafood supper. I feel I made the right decision for Lena and myself. There
is much that could be said but the Staghound is not a tabloid magazine.
This year my very dear wife Alice and I are celebrating our 55th wedding
I have been retired since 1983. We have spent 17 winters in Arizona
and our summers at Madge Lake in Sask. Archie Butt used to walk past almost
every day with his dog Rusty. Well cheers to all you fellows, we are getting
to be a rare breed. Only two of us left in the Swan River Valley, young
Omar Lamb (79) and myself. Legion calls me out to Legion Funerals, two
in the last six weeks.
Archie Glenn Riddell
We were very lucky to have a gorgeous day for Jack’s funeral it was
unbelievable. Jack told me often he wanted pipes at his funeral, so when
I asked for pipes they were doubtful, said maybe if the weather changed
and it did! A gift from heaven, everyone took his time not the hurried
we usually see, it sure does make me feel good.
Everything looked so nice, the green carpet and our stone. The Virden
cemetery is very beautiful with many big old stones on a big area of sandy
soil, the only thing is it’s dry and flowers die quick.
Elise phoned to tell us of Jack’s untimely passing. When I last spoke
to him he said he was feeling pretty good.
Jack and I were in 20th Troop of “D” squadron – he was the driver and
I was the lowest form of human life, the Lance/jack (that is an old expression)
which you may not have heard before. Our car was #204, the only one that
I know of that we equipped with a 50 caliber Browning and a 30 caliber
side by side. He was a good steady driver and we
got along well. I will miss our conversations – we used to be in touch
every few months, mostly to talk about the
latest doctor’s appointments is seems. I’ll take this opportunity to
say thanks for your continued efforts to keep
everyone in touch through the Staghound – much appreciated.
Just to Clarify
Just received the Staghound – thank you to all who keep the “old vets
up to date on Regimental happenings.
I would like to clarify any confusion that might arise concerning the
letter from J.Flemmings. The armoured car
mentioned that drove over a mine was from 17th Troop, not 19th. Beside
Sgt Balfour, the crew consisted of S.L.
Anderson, P.J. Devine, M.W. Hamilton and A.J. Morris. I was a corporal
in 17th Troop and A.B. Megave was our troop leader.
(Please note we always do our best to get names right, it is sometimes
hard to read handwriting)
HOOGEVEEN LIBERATED: 60 YEARS AFTER…
HOLTEN, THE CEREMONY….
Liberation of Hoogeveen, The Netherlands, 60th Anniversary
On October 18, 2004 we received our first letter from Albert Metselaar
of Hoogeveen Holland requesting information
on the XII Manitoba Dragoons to see if they were involved in the Liberation
of that emailing it was determined that D
Squadron of XII Manitoba Dragoons liberated the West side of Hoogeveen
on 11 April of 45. It was also determined that the Belgian SAS liberated
the East Side of the city and the French SAS liberated the surrounding
Hoogeveen decided to hold a 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of their
city on 11 April and to ask for members of those units to attend. Despite
an offer of 44 Euros, first to Veterans and then to son’s or daughters
of veterans to assist in attending, there were none available to attend.
It is felt that this was due to the fact that most had already made arrangements
through the Canadian Government or their assistance programmes that required
them to be there over VE Day on 8 May.
A Celebration Committee was formed to look after the Ceremonies and
it was decided there would be a tree planted for each of the Regiments
that liberated the city. Our Museum offered to supply a boxed “Poppy Quarter”
to the main people or organizations involved. Five of these coins were
sent to be presented to:
Mayor Urlings - City of Hoogeveen
Historische Kring Hoogeveen - Historical Society of Hoogeveen
Museum de 5,000 Morgen- Hoogeveen City Museum
Keep Them Rolling- Organization that keeps old WW 2 vehicles running
Albert Metselaar - Our correspondent that did all the digging
In the last few days before the ceremony and with no Dragoons able to attend,
Albert emailed us of a Dutch Interpreter who had served with the Dragoons
in 1945. We were able to verify this and Mr. Wim de Jongh represented the
unit proudly. From reports he had tears in his eyes when he had to give
all 5 coins out,however the Museum will be sending him one shortly.
I would like to express a hearty thank you to the City of Hoogeveen
and the organizations and individuals who put so much work into this project
from our Museum and I am sure from the Dragoons Association as well, who
assisted in the
To follow is a submission from Albert Metselaar and some photos of
HOLTEN, THE CEREMONY…..
By Albert Metselaar
April 11, 2005. It feels like time stood still. More than thirty WW2 vehicles
are standing, riding, making noise like war is ready to come, and the heavenly
smell of fresh burned diesel is going through my nose and my clothes. I
am dressed in my old leather coat, helmet on and army bugle at my side,
so let them come, those damned jerries…. I realise that we had more trouble
in Hoogeveen and my home-village Hollandscheveld with Dutch people, who
worked together with the Germans. The cruellest SS-men were Dutchmen. They
tortured more than 175 people in the school next to the church in Hollandscheveld.
But in the talk of the people, they where all jerries…
I am standing between more than 60 people, young and old, with only
one love: keeping the old vehicles rolling. We start our tour on 09.30
hours. One of the cars stopped immediately. Yesterday he did it perfectly,
but alas, it is today. Another car, a Bren gun carrier, stops after 5 minutes.
Yesterday he did it perfectly. Our trail goes to the Town Hall, where the
mayor of Hoogeveen is waiting with guests. The mayor, Mr. Urlings, is giving
a speech. After that I introduce him to Mr. Meerpoel. The people of Hoogeveen
could not believe that they where liberated on April 11 by Canadians and
Belgians. Mr. Meerpoel is a veteran of Belgian SAS, an English parachute
regiment. He was in Hoogeveen on April 11, 1945, liberation day of Hoogeveen.
He is my still living witness that I am not having too many fantasies.
Mr. Meerpoel has been talking to two French SAS-soldiers, also veterans,
also in Drenthe in 1945. The long trip through Hoogeveen and area is to
cold for them, but Meerpoel told me: “I will never be back to Hoogeveen
at my age, and if it is the last I do, I will do it all today.” So we help
him in an open car, having warm clothes and a big jacket loaned from somebody.
We have to keep him warm, because he has to do a job this afternoon. The
fourth veteran, Wim de Jongh, translating Dutch to English for the Manitoba
Dragoons in January 1945, is still at home. He will be here this afternoon.
are driving through Hoogeveen, liberated on April 11, and the area, liberated
on April 10 1945. Beautiful weather, a little cold, but the sun is shining
like 60 years ago on this day, so we will have no problem with it. I am
sitting in the first car, an original Willy’s jeep, with Hagge Trip, leader
of Keep Them Rolling, the WW2-car association, for today.
We are riding through all the villages in the area of Hoogeveen, and
everywhere we see Dutch flags, people shouting, orange-colours, happy faces,
so it must have been 60 years ago. I have my eldest army-bugle with me,
type American Civil War, and am trumpeting everywhere we come. The real
WW2 was not filled with trumpets, but we were also not liberated by the
US, so that most of the cars in US colours this day are also not original
to this day. We make a happy day together, people believe having a part
of the last war in their backyard, they feel like it was 60 years ago,
and that is what counts today…….
The mayor of Hoogeveen starts a second speech, and Wim de Jongh honours
the organisations that organised this day with a beautiful coin, given
by the Manitoba Dragoons Museum. It is not an official medal, but given
on this moment, for what we did for the people who liberated us, feels
like having an official medal. We walked to the park, in front of the town
hall, where the people of Hoogeveen where waiting. Three trees were planted,
maple leafs, to remember our liberators. One tree for the Canadians, and
especially for the Manitoba Dragoons, one tree for the Belgian people,
and especially for their parachutists of SAS, one tree for the French people,
and specially for their parachutists of SAS.
where the memories of April 11. But there still was another special day
for me, and that was May 4, on Holten cemetery, where the Canadian soldiers
of the north of the Netherlands are buried. I expected there, veterans
of the Manitoba’s, 8th Recce, the South Saskatchewan Regiment, the Fort
Garry Horse, and other people who liberated Hoogeveen. I found none of
them, but we (Marga Zwiggelaar, Hagge Trip of Keep them Rolling, my wife
and I) had a good day. We arrived very early at the cemetery.
Those two hours were quick going, because there was a lot to see and
to do. We went to the grave of John Mckee, who died on April 11 in Hoogeveen.
We laid flowers on his grave. With the flowers we gave the words: Thank
you very much, the citizens of Hoogeveen. We found John burried next to
a trooper of the Manitoba’s, who is also killed on april 11. Does anyone
My heart and my brains are full of memories. My digital camera is full
of pictures. Let a part of them go over the earth, and let them make great
the name of the people that liberated Hoogeveen, or died for that liberation:
the Belgian Parachute Regiment SAS, the Manitoba Dragoons, the South Saskatchewan
Regiment (John Mckee) and the French Parachute Regiments SAS (Jean Salomon
Let’s not forget…..
Entrance at Holten Cemetery