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Hasty Ps veterans retrace 1945 route down regimental history lane

Above, officers of The Regiment at Duin en Kruidberg in Santapoort in the spring of 1945 and the photo below shows the 2011 Hasty Ps contingent visiting the same site 66 years later.

VELSEN – A contingent of serving and retired members of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment (also known by their nickname Hasty Ps) recently made a pilgrimage to the Netherlands to retrace their predecessors’ campaign of 1945. The itinerary included a visit to Juno Beach and Vimy Ridge before crossing the French and Belgian borders into the Netherlands.
The regimental tour party visited their comrades’ graves at the Groesbeek and Holten Canadian War Cemeteries, before calling on the former Royal Dutch Palace at Het Loo (Apeldoorn), which the Hasty Ps liberated on 17 April 1945. A highlight of this visit was an audience with Princess Margriet, an honour accorded very few regiments.
The regimental party also visited Amersfoort, Overveen, Sandpoort, Velsen, IJmuiden and Amsterdam, all places noted in the Hasty Ps history, before returning home.
The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment originated in Picton in 1863. Between July 10, 1943, and March 10, 1945, the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, headquartered at Belleville, inched its way through Sicily and Italy, winning no fewer than 29 battle honours.
Crossing France
On March 11, 1945, Hasty Ps troops boarded transport ships and sailed to Marseilles, France, from where they drove in convoy across France, arriving on March 20 in a concentration area in Westmalle, Belgium. The Regiment crossed into The Netherlands on April 3, arriving in a staging area in the Reichswald Forest on the German/Dutch border. Here the Regiment remained for nine days until they were ordered to take up positions near the town of Zutphen on April 12, where they crossed the IJssel River to launch their campaign toward Randstad Holland.
In all, 7,600 Canadians gave their lives for freedom in the Netherlands. In April 1945 alone, 1,191 Canadians were killed in action, 114 in the last five days of the war. The 1st Canadian Division’s actions in the Netherlands registered 506 casualties, of which more than 100 of them were fatal. In six days of fighting in and around Apeldoorn, the 1st Brigade (Royal Canadian Regiment, 48th Highlanders of Canada and The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment) lost a total of 184 men.
For its actions in the Netherlands, the Hasty Ps was awarded its 30th and 31st battle honours; Apeldoorn and North-West Europe 1945, the latter of which is emblazoned proudly on their regimental colours. Eighteen Hasty Ps were killed in the Netherlands, with 36 wounded. During the Holland campaign, four Regiment members were decorated for bravery.

Via John Langschmidt, of Picton, photos and story reprinted with permission The Windmill Herald

Don Casselman and Bob Wigmore wear medals presented to them on the trip as a way of thanks for their contribution to the liberation of the Netherlands, Amersfoort and the concentration camp – Kamp Amersfoort. They were part of a delegation from The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment – veterans and still actively serving soldiers – visiting historical war spots. photo

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  1. Evan Wood says:

    Wonderful to see this commemorative trip by the Hasty Ps, who also were integral to Operation Husky in 1943 – the invasion of Sicily and push up through Italy. Your efforts and sacrifices will be remembered.

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