The 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Over the weekend of 25–27 October 2019, C Company 1 R WELSH were privileged to deploy to Holland in support of the commemorations marking the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The Welsh soldiers who fought were part of the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division that spent four days in October 1944 battling to free the city in southern Netherlands in which 146 Welsh soldiers died.
The celebrations began with a service in the Cathedral followed by a parade through the city with the R WELSH group swelling to include the Shenkin (the Regimental Mascot), R WELSH Band, cadets, antecedent regimental standard bearers and of course our own Colour Party (Lt Probert and Lt Colley. There then followed a remembrance ceremony held at the 53rd Division’s War Memorial which was a truly remarkable experience given the amount of local attention it received. The Sunday proceeded with a similar ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery before a Rugby match between the ‘s-Hertogenbosch Dukes and 1 R WELSH side. This proved to be a hugely lively and competitive affair with the Dukes ultimately prevailing but not before some R WELSH heroics.
The weekend was a great occasion and opportunity for 1 R WELSH soldiers to be on parade and take real pride in themselves and the achievements of their forebears. It was humbling to say the very least to get a reception such as the one the Soldiers and Officers of the R WELSH received whilst in the city both on parade and socially. The high regard in which the city holds the Regiment was clear for all to see, and all concerned did an impeccable job of representing the sacrifices of 75 years ago. Of course, it wasn’t all drill and parades. The soldiers also had plenty of opportunity to explore the local area and soak up the different culture, one that many had not experienced before. All in all, a fantastic weekend and the soldiers did their cap-badge and history proud.