Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Our New Home Away from Home in Milsbeek!

Once upon a time, there were two sisters and a daughter who found themselves very far from their home, Canada. One morning they awoke before the sun with plans to find a little piece of home in a land so far from familiarity.  Their trek was nothing if not adventurous. The day began with challenges. You see, the girls were caught in the furthest room in the tallest tower, with WAY too much luggage and the only way out was the travel down an endless spiral staircase. The sisters were resourceful though and called to the daughter, "Cassie, Cassie let down your hair, we can use it's strength to lower our suitcases to the ground." Finally after much effort, and a sore Cassie the women were off to find home. They managed to get a few mice and enlarged pumpkins to take them to the main carriage station before hoping onto a large, fast moving horse and buggy shaped like a train that would take them to the city of Nijmegen.

This is where the three amigos found the piece of home they were looking for.   Okay enough of the fairy tales...after almost a year of emails... today was the day we were waiting for. We arrived in Nijmegen and were graciously welcomed by our friends Alice and Leen.   Off to their beautiful home in Milsbeek but not before stopping to visit Uncle Tony's grave in Groesbeek Cemetery and The Liberation Museum.  Afterward we headed to Grace to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of this town.  The pictures are not in order...

Groesbeek Cemetery

 Uncle Tony's grave.  A flag for his mom, dad and siblings.

 Alice and Leen.
 At the Liberation Museum...this is a model of the area where Market Garden took place.  The story of Market Garden is narrated as small lights come on to indicate where various advances and retreats took place.  Here we could see the river Maas as well as Mook where Uncle Tony died by the Bailey Bridge.
 The outside of the Liberation Museum - replicates a parachute.
 This is a photograph of an arial photo of Grosbeek.
 You can see Uncle Tony's name in one of the books dedicated to fallen service men in the allied forces.

 This sculpture was done by Fransje Povel-Speleers and is found in the Liberation Museum.  The idea is that the soldiers will one day rise from their graves to be re-united with their comrades to celebrate the liberation for which they lost their lives.

 Alice and Leen side yard...notice the Canadian flag.

 At the re-enactment of the liberation of Grave.
 Helicopters landing to disperse troops.
 The liberation of Grave began on the morning of 17th of September, with air raids on the bunkers by the bridge.  Early in the afternoon, around 125 parachutists were dropped in Velp.  Their main aim was to capture the Grave bridge (see below).  Within a few hours, the bridge was in allied hands.  Grave was given its freedom back.  The liberation of this areas was part of Operation Market Garden.

 This monument below was dedicated to the paratroopers who were part of Operation Garden and who were instrumental in liberating the Grave area.  (British, Dutch and American Flags)
 The image you are looking at is a steel replica of a parachute and inside is the letter "v" for victory.

 Cassie placing a flag at her great Uncle Tony's grave.  It was an emotional moment for all of us.  We have seen many pictures of his grave but it is very difficult to express how we all felt when we first laid eyes on his stone for real!!!  Our hearts were filled with sadness at seeing the vast number of graves in image forever etched in our minds.  We can only hope that our parents know that we spent time here - we know they would be so proud.  Honestly, we can't believe we are here!

 Back at Alice and Leen's home in Milsbeek.  We are so thankful that they have taken us in and are making sure that our visit is filled with such special memories.


  1. Breathtaking photos. I can only imagine how incredible and overwhelming this must have been. I am so happy that you guys got to experience this. Can't wait for you to be home so I can hear all about it!

  2. We have many stories Andrew. Today will be quite the experience so we will share via photos tonight. Again, thanks for your posting.

  3. I got goosebumps reading and viewing the pictures, I can only imagine the emotion all of you a feeling, I'm so happy you were able to see everything first hand. Hugs!

  4. Very emotional Win. (D/C)

  5. What an incredibly moving story Deb. I was moved to tears. What an honour for your family and how very special that you were able to be there and share it with Cassie! Sending you lots of love,
    Debba and Dave xo