Dutch Presentation Honours Local Reserve Unit’s Role in the Liberation of Holland

Image Gallery

Article / November 24, 2016

Capt DB Forsythe, PAO 41 CBG

Members of Edmonton’s Dutch Community gathered at the Dutch Canadian Centre on September 21, 2016 to witness a presentation commemorating the South Alberta Light Horse’s (SALH’s), role in the liberation of Holland in 1944 during the Second World War.

A delegation from the Netherlands including the Mayors of Steenbergen and Bergen op Zoom were in town to present the SALH with a replica of the Bell of the Liberation Monument located in Welberg, one of the many small towns liberated by Canadians in 1944.

Welberg, now part of the larger municipality of Steenbergen, was liberated on 4 November 1944 by the 4th Canadian Armoured Division after five day of heavy fighting that saw 57 Canadians and more than 30 civilians die. The Bell of Liberation Monument, created by the residents of Welberg, is rung every year in memory of the sacrifices made by Canadians to restore freedom to the people of the Netherlands.

The idea for a replica bell came when the original brass bell in Holland was stolen and local residents began fundraising for a replacement iron bell. The replica bell was first presented to the SALH during a battlefield tour arranged by the Regiment during the summer of 2016.

At the official presentation ceremony in Edmonton, Ruud van den Belt, Mayor of Steenbergen, reflected on the strong ties that still exist between his community and the SALH.

 “Seventy-two years ago your Regiment fought fiercely in our country to give us our freedom”  van den Belt remarked.   “[This bell] symbolizes gratitude, gratitude for the freedom we still have today and hopefully for the freedom we will have in the future.” 

In commenting on the receipt of the bell, Lieutenant-Colonel Troy Steele, Commanding Officer of the SALH indicated the bell will have a prominent role with the Regiment going forward.

 “The bell is mobile and we intend to feature it our Remembrance Day activities in communities across Alberta where the Regiment has a presence,” Steele noted.   “We're especially pleased to be able to incorporate the ringing of the bell into this year’s ceremony at Light Horse Park.” 

Date modified: