Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery

The Canadian War Cemetery Groesbeek
Le Cemitière de Guerre Canadien Groesbeek

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Canada's 5,7O6 war dead in The Netherlands are buried mainly in the three Canadian Commonwealth War Cemeteries,
or are commemorated on the Groesbeek Memorial
By far the greater number of the men buried in the Groesbeek cemetery were Canadians, and many of them
lost their lives in the Battle of the Rhineland, when the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions,
and the 4th Canadian Armoured Division took part in the drive southwards from Nijmegen

to clear the territory between the Maas and the Rhine, in February and March 1945.
Canadian casualties from 8th February to 10th March of that year totaled 5,304.

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The Groesbeek Memorial stands in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery about ten kilometers southeast of the Dutch town of Nijmegen.
It commemorates, by name, those members of the Commonwealth land forces who died during the campaign in Northwest Europe,
between the time of crossing the Seine at the end of August 1944 and the end of the war in Europe.
The Memorial consists of twin colonnaded buildings,
which face each other across the surfed forecourt of the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery,
between the entrance and the Stone of Remembrance.
The names of the men commemorated are inscribed in panels of Portland stone built into the rear walls.
Within each building are inscribed the words:

THESE WALLS BEAR THE NAMES OF THE SOLDIERS OF THE BRITISH COMMONWEALTH,
AND EMPIRE WHO FELL IN THE ADVANCE FROM THE RIVER SEINE
THROUGH THE LOW COUNTRIES AND INTO GERMANY
BUT TO WHOM THE FORTUNE OF WAR DENIED A KNOWN AND HONOURED GRAVE
AUGUST 1944 - 5TH MAY 1945
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Most of those buried here are Canadians who died in the heavy fighting in the battle of the Rhineland in February and March 1945.

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Others buried here died earlier or later in the southern part of Holland and in the Rhineland.
The Cemetery stands under responsibility of the Canadian War Graves Commission.

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The cemetery is unusual in that many of the dead were brought here from nearby Germany,
one of the few cases where bodies were moved across international frontiers.
So far as can be ascertained, all slain Canadian soldiers of the Rhineland battles,
who were buried in German battlefields, were reentered here (less one, who is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery).
General Crerar, who commanded Canadian land forces in Europe, ordered that Canadian dead were not to be buried in German soil.

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Above: The exact spot 55 yrs later.

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The total of 2599 burials is made up as shown below:

Country Known
Canada 2.338
United Kingdom 253
Belgium 3
Poland 2
Dutch 1
Russia 1
Yugoslavia 1


The cemetery contains the largest number of Canadians, 2,350, interred in the Netherlands and there are also 265 British burials.
As it is the 'open' cemetery from the Netherlands, these figures are rising slowly.
Canadian airmen who died in Germany and were buried there were not moved into Groesbeek, but into Commission cemeteries in that country.


© 2000 The Hins