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Royal Norfolk Memorial

Small monument of stone. The memorial is placed in Royal Norfolk Square. The Royal Norfolk Regiment was part of the 3rd Infantry Division which was indirectly involved in the liberation of Helmond.

It has the following inscription:
Helmond
1944-1984
Liberation 25 Sept
Royal Norfolk Reg.
9th Infantry
1st Battalion


George Dicks, a rifle company platoon commander of the Royal Norfolk Regiment in 1944, gave the following speech in 1994 (see video below):
"Although I'd been over to Helmond on one or two occasions after the war. This was the first time I'd come with an organized party. And I then realized the sort of welcome I was getting was as warm and as loving as it was 40 years before. At each year since then, we've come, with our Dutch friends, to talk about those days and to pledge ourselves to future friendship.

Our entry in 1944 as you all know now was peaceful. There was no opposition and we had no casualties, thank god. But sadly we cannot say the same for our brothers-in-arms the 11th Armoured Division, including the 3rd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment, who had fought very closely with the Norfolk's in Normandy. They approached from the other side of the canal and they had a sharp battle and several fatal casualties and they have now a very fine monument erected at Stiphout. But faced with the imminent arrival of the Second Army in the form of VIII Corps the enemy, the Germans, decided to decamp and make towards the Heimat.

This plaque therefore is rather different from the normal it's not a memorial as such it is a monument. Signifying the Royal Norfolk's feeling of gratitude to the Helmonders for the greeting they gave us when we arrived and accepted by the Helmonders for the joy that liberation gave them.

No Royal Norfolk who was present on that day will ever forget it. The excitement of the occasion and the exuberance of the Dutch people. They made a profound impression on me. So much so that I've often referred to it as one of the most memorable days of my life."

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Source

  • Text: Jeroen Koppes. Video: Harvey Smith.
  • Photos: Jeroen Koppes

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British soldiers in Helmond, the Netherlands

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British soldiers in Helmond, the Netherlands

Helmond is a town in the south of the Netherlands, just east of Eindhoven. It was liberated on the 25th of September 1944 during one of the flanking operations of operation Market Garden. After its liberation, the town was used as a rest centre for allied soldiers, mainly British. They where quartered in schools, but mostly at the homes of the civilians. Some signed their names on pieces of paper, others sent lengthy letters after they left. We've compiled a list of names that we came across and encourage British family members to contact us.

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