65th Anniversary Trip to Rijkesvorsel Bridgehead, Belgium (49 Polar Bears Division).

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by ramacal, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    After I arrived home from my recent trip to Belgium, I sat down and tried to write an account of the most amazing weekend I have had in quite some time and to pick out some of the best photos. Rather difficult to do, when the day after your arrival, you have unexpectedly been invited to participate in the events.

    I was visiting the Rijkevorsel area with my Sister Pat, which is where an important bridgehead was created by the 49th Polar Bears Division in late September 1944. It took a further month before the area north of this important bridgehead was secure and by the end of October, Breda, in the Netherlands (the town where my Mother was living and working) was outflanked and captured by the 1st Polish Armoured Division. At some loss to themselves, but with surprisingly little damage to the main town.

    I was fortunate to have made contact about 4 years ago with a man from the town of Hoogstraaten. He told me very little about himself, but supplied me with tantalising titbits about the short time my Father’s Regiment spent in the area. He said anytime I came over, he would show me around. I finally decided at short notice to go for it.

    My Sister and I went round on the first day and the headstone photos some Forum members have are part of that trip. We then saw key places where certain events took place and that will be written up for my own family history.

    On Saturday 19th, we went to a camp called Plumbridge (in the village of Sint Jozef, South east of the Town of Rijkevorsel), which is where every year, a group of individuals get together to celebrate and commemorate the events which took place in 1944. The laying of a strategically important Bailey Bridge called Plum Bridge.

    I knew there was a photographer around to record events and this website shows what took place over that weekend. There are over 600 photos and they capture that experience perfectly. Some great pics of military vehicles.

    http://www.barthuysmans.fotopic.net/c1757996.html

    This is what we got up to:-

    Saturday 19th September 2009.

    1. Visit to the Roman Catholic cemetery in Ulicoten to lay a wreath to the fallen of 3 men from the 49th Division.
    2. Visit to the Roman Catholic cemetery in Baarle Nassau to lay a wreath to the fallen of 6 men from the 49th Division and a Typhoon Pilot from 263 Squadron.
    3. Lunch with civic leaders from Baarle Nassau.
    4. Parade through the town of Merxplas.
    5. Dedication of a new peace Memorial to those civilians killed by V1 and V2 rockets in 1944 and 1945.
    6. Wreath laying ceremony at the place where VC winner John William Harper of the Hallams lost his life.
    7. Back to the Plumbridge Camp.

    Sunday 20th September 2009.

    1. Civic ceremony at the Rijkevorsel Town Hall.
    2. Lunch back at the Plumbridge Camp in Sint Jozef.
    3. Parade to the Rijkevorsel Bridgehead Memorial in WW2 vehicles.
    4. Wreath laying ceremony in Honour of those who took part in 1944.

    That in short was my brilliant trip.

    If you have relatives who were part of the Liberation of that area, I would recommend the experience as you will be made to feel most welcome.

    Regards - Robert
     
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Robert,

    Glad you had a wonderful time with your sister and that the weather was also kind.

    A super description and meeting the Polish veteran whom helped liberate your mothers town must have been quite an experience.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  3. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Thanks Tom.

    I am still buzzing even now.

    Robert
     
  4. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    This was the higlight of my weekend. Helping to lay a wreath as Son of a Vet of British 1 Corps. Thanks to Luc Cox & Francis Huijbrechts for that special invitation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  5. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    I am at work workng on a report about the fighting in that area, also small part of Poppen en Bedaf :)
     
  6. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    :D
    Rob
    Great stuff and write up mate, what a wonderfull time you must have had, great memories for you. wish i could have been there.
    The nearest dad's Regt got to you was Stabroek and Etten, which i don't think is too far away.
    Rob D
    :)
     

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