May 2025: 80th Anniversary of the Liberation of Apeldoorn
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At the beginning of May, 2025, we will be sending soldiers to Holland for the 80th anniversary of the Liberation of Apeldoorn. This is a very important Battle Honour for our Regiment, one which played a key role in the culmination of the Second World War, as the Allied forces closed in on Germany from all sides. It is a significant anniversary for the people of Apeldoorn as they continue to remember and honour the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers. The people of the Netherlands had suffered terrible hunger and hardship under the increasingly desperate German occupiers. Members of the Apeldoorn community are getting ready to welcome our Regiment and Regimental Family for this special anniversary. As we no longer have Apeldoorn veterans to share their stories with us and the Apeldoorn community, it is important for us to attend in person, to build bridges of connection and friendship, and to preserve the memory of the Liberation.

Accommodations for forty soldiers (including Pipes & Drums) have been confirmed at the Majoor Mulderkazerne, which is near a town called Stroe. This is about 20km and 20 minutes to the west of Apeldoorn. In addition, eight members of the 48th Regimental Association Drill Team are also coming.

We are in the midst of locking down flights. The Regiment is planning to be in Holland 1-9 May. There are public events on 3-5 May, as follows:

3 May 2025 (Saturday)
Canada Festival (Dutch: Canadafestival)
Parade along the Loolaan (morning) and performance at the Omnisport (afternoon).

4 May 2025 (Sunday)
Remembrance Day
(Dutch: Dodenherdenking)
Ceremony at the Holten Canadian War Cemetery (morning), additional Wilp/Twelloengagement, and parade in Oranjepark(evening).

5 May 2025 (Monday)
Liberation Day (Dutch: Bevrijdingsdag)
Parade in Wageningen (morning), parade in Beekbergen (afternoon), street party (evening).

We are planning to visit Holten War Cemetery, tour the Operation CANNONSHOT battlefield, and possibly visit the MARKET GARDEN sites. Departure from Toronto may be 30 April or 1 May. To be determined.

As you may recall, we did a matching fundraiser. Along with other donations, we are now at $66k thanks to many generous donors. This should cover the airfare for soldiers. We will need to fundraise more in order to achieve full funding and we will keep you posted as we are still waiting for the final quote as there are other costs including transportation during the trip.

In the meantime, for those who wish to donate to enable this great opportunity for our soldiers to honour our fallen in the pursuit of freedom for Apeldoorn, please click on the link below and donate using the “Holland 2025” drop down on Canada Helps.

A number of people have provided generous financial support to date. A complete report will be published when we finish our fundraising. We have received robust planning support from Sgt (Ret’d) Guy Bowie, Sgt (Ret’d) Al Kowalenko, Corporal (Ret’d) John Perkins, Capt (Ret’d) Anatol von Hahn and HCol John MacIntyre. We are most grateful for these contributions. We also thank the CO LCol Jason Morische for his vision to send so many of our active Regiment to participate in the 80th anniversary, paying tribute to LCol Mackenzie, DSO and our fallen in the Netherlands.

I want to give a special shoutout for the extraordinary efforts of two people in particular:

Our DCO, Major Tyler Wentzell, has been instrumental in this trip planning and related outreach, as well as giving lectures about the Liberation of Apeldoorn in his role as an historian. Most recently, he has been raising awareness and building bridges with the St. Andrew’s Society, and was the featured speaker at the St. Andrew’s Society dinner on 14 June where he told the story of the Liberation of Apeldoorn through the lens of LCol Mackenzie, DSO. The St. Andrew’s Society has committed to focus their charitable efforts at the 16 Nov St. Andrew’s Ball on sending our Highlanders to Apeldoorn. Thank you for your ongoing advocacy, Major!

photo of Capt Pim Van der Toorn

Capt Pim Van der Toorn has been at the forefront of trip planning and has been communicating directly with our contacts in the Netherlands, in Dutch, on our Regiment’s behalf. His commitment has been stellar. In May, after his deployment to Latvia, he went to Apeldoorn to meet with the people who are involved in the local planning in Apeldoorn and to visit sites that are meaningful to the Regiment. He spent his downtime building bridges between our communities. Bedankt, Captain!

For Regimental Family who wish to make plans to join us on this trip, another message for the Regimental Family will follow this message shortly. Please stand by.

Stay strong. Stay connected.

Dileas Gu Brath

Sasha Darling

Apeldoorn battle map

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