Monday, December 11, 2023

The Liberation

 This is the uniform and equipment of a paratrooper of the 1st Canadian Parachute Batallion.

The medal set belonged to one of their number, Private Cliff Douglas, who jumped into Normandy on D-Day, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, but missed the battalion's jump into the Rhineland while recovering from injuries.

Dropped behind enemy lines, they went deeper into Germany than any other Canadian unit, ending the war by meeting up with Soviet soldiers.

The medal set and beret of one of their number, Corporal Frederick Topham, who won the Victoria Cross for extraordinary courage under fire during that last stage of the war.

While much of Canada's war efforts were directed at the European theatre and the Battle of the Atlantic, the country had also sent assets into the Pacific theatre. Lieutenant Hampton Gray led Corsair fighters against Japanese ships on August 9th, 1945- the same day the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki- and sank a warship at the cost of his own life. He was awarded the Victoria Cross.

This piece of wreckage was from a Canadian transport flight, lost for half a century when it crashed in what was then Burma.

The Americans dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which forced the Japanese to capitulate.

For Canadians in the Netherlands, the war ended with VE Day and the liberation of the country from German occupation. The Dutch people have never forgotten it.

The war had been hard on the country, particularly the last winter.

They welcomed Canadian soldiers with open arms.

This is the fountain pen used by Canadian General Charles Foulkes, who accepted the surrender of all German forces in the Netherlands on the 5th of May, 1945.

Books of thanks are displayed nearby.


  1. I look at this post and it breaks my heart. What have we learned. What would all the soldiers who fought in WW2 think of us today.
    My Uncle was one of the soldiers that liberated Hitler's Concentration Camps, Not something he talked about.

  2. There is nothing good about war! Take care, have a wonderful week!

  3. ...and my father didn't talk about the war either!

  4. That paratrooper looks so fragile…

  5. So many didn't speak of the war till much later and only when actively prompted. Can you imagine the feeling as the liberation came through?

  6. i'm so afraid that the mushroom cloud will loom once again.

  7. My Dad fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and had lifelong friends of fellow soldiers. They seldom talked about their war experiences.

  8. European citizens suffered and by the end of the war many of them were in very poor health.

  9. The only thing about that war was our liberation.

  10. Yes! Liberation ~ So grateful for all the troops ~ and all ~ Freedom is never free ~

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  11. War is a terrible thing and we remember what happened but it still goes on today

  12. My dad never talked about the war either. War is no good!

  13. This is a terrible reminder of the warring past

  14. A sobering look at history, gives me such a sinking feeling. Well done on bringing this part of history to us, a reminder of the awfulness of it all and why we shouldn't go there again.