65th Anniversary Trip to Rijkesvorsel Bridgehead, Belgium (49 Polar Bears Division). After I arrived home from my recent trip to Belgium, I sat down and tried to write an account of the most amazing weekend I have had in quite some time and to pick out some of the best photos. Rather difficult to do, when the day after your arrival, you have unexpectedly been invited to participate in the events.
I was visiting the Rijkevorsel area with my Sister Pat, which is where an important bridgehead was created by the 49th Polar Bears Division in late September 1944. It took a further month before the area north of this important bridgehead was secure and by the end of October, Breda, in the Netherlands (the town where my Mother was living and working) was outflanked and captured by the 1st Polish Armoured Division. At some loss to themselves, but with surprisingly little damage to the main town.
I was fortunate to have made contact about 4 years ago with a man from the town of Hoogstraaten. He told me very little about himself, but supplied me with tantalising titbits about the short time my Father’s Regiment spent in the area. He said anytime I came over, he would show me around. I finally decided at short notice to go for it.
My Sister and I went round on the first day and the headstone photos some Forum members have are part of that trip. We then saw key places where certain events took place and that will be written up for my own family history.
On Saturday 19th, we went to a camp called Plumbridge (in the village of Sint Jozef, South east of the Town of Rijkevorsel), which is where every year, a group of individuals get together to celebrate and commemorate the events which took place in 1944. The laying of a strategically important Bailey Bridge called Plum Bridge.