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First liberated Zeeland town

Canadian troops honoured at memorial in Sas van Gent

Tags: World War II

SAS VAN GENT, the Netherlands - The citizenry of this strategic Zeeland town on the Belgian border recently commemorated the 60th anniversary of their liberation from Nazi occupation.

Canadian troops were the first to enter Sas, which was to be the first community in the southern Dutch province to be liberated in September 1944. Units of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada drove and marched into town one morning at 7pm. Exactly sixty years later, the band of de Canadian Scottish Pipers repeated the entry, and marched to the war monument at the Karelplein. Officials laid wreaths at the monument.

The liberation of the Flemish Zeeland region for weeks was hard-fought and extracted a heavy toll of Canadian army units, the local population and of the German troops. The combattants fought over access to Antwerp's port facilities which the Allies badly needed to reduce the length of the supply lines of their troops. The Germans for a time successfully frustrated the effort.

Sas van Gent is situated on the canal which connects the Belgian city of Gent with the Western Scheldt, near the port town of Terneuzen.