Mike Strachan’s e-mail journal — Entry #34, from Netherlands
Received 26 May 2008
Travels for May 25/08 — Holten and Almelo
The sound of rain on the roof wakes me early, and I think my travels today will be the wet kind. A bit later I can hear the children playing downstairs. At 8:30 my host Gerrit brings my breakfast on a tray, and after a brief conversation he suggests I use his second car for my travels today. Am I hearing right? How generous of him! It's a Volvo, powered by LPG (liquid propane gas) with a gasoline emergency supply.
So after breakfast I head for Wilp, just south of where I am staying. There is no marker that I can find, so I get a couple of photos of the river near the road to Wilp. Next I'm off to Holten where there is a Canadian war cemetery, and on the way I discover the town of Snippeling, which is on my list but not on my map. The QOR went through Snippeling to enter Deventer on April 11/45. The next stop is the cemetery, and rather than being close to the train station as I was told at the Deventer VVV it is quite a ways out in the country on a dirt hiking road. The layout is similar to all other Commonwealth cemeteries, and just as nicely kept. There are 1393 graves here, of which 1355 are Canadian, 36 UK, and 2 Australian. Just about every Canadian regiment and support group is represented here including the 1H and QOR:
Next I'm off to Almelo which is on the military trail. On April 26 and 27/45 the 1H, after a weeks rest, headed east via Deventer and Almelo into Germany. It is not far from Deventer, and there I discover a Japanese style garden (closed today) and a circus set up in a field with big tents and flashing lights. On the way back to Deventer I have a chance to visit the small towns on my military trail list that I thought I wouldn't get to see because they aren't on the railway line. Gossel and Epsen were on the 1H route from Zutphen to Deventer, and Teuge is on the 1H route from Deventer to Apeldoorn. They are all small towns, and I get some interesting photos at each of them, such as a big crowd of sheep standing like statues in a field, a derelict building in front of a new subdidvision, and cranes nesting on a building.
From Teuge it's a short trip back to Deventer, and I'm back at the B&B by 4:45 PM. Not long after that Gerrit offers to take me to the Ijssel river crossing marker south of Wilp. He retraces the route I took earlier in the day, but goes further south. The marker is close to a narrow part of the river, where an engineering regiment built a Bailey bridge so the 1H could cross on April 12/45 along with the 48th Highlanders:
Earlier today I drove into Wilp, and seeing nothing I turned around at a church. That is exactly where Gerrit takes me now, and points out a plaque set in the church wall. The plaque is for the commanding officer of the 48th Highlanders who was killed here on April 12.
Back at the B&B I update my journal, stroll in the nearby park, then read myself to sleep.
Tomorrow - Leeuwarden