Yesterday, May 5, was Liberation Day in Holland. This holiday celebrates the liberation of The Netherlands from the NAZI regime over 70 years ago.
My great grandfather was in Holland for the original liberation celebration. For he was one of the liberators!
His name was Lloyd Victor Rains, and indeed he was a victor. He had signed up for the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry two years previous, and had spent the last one and a half years on the fighting front, going through experiences no one should have had to endure. He was a private, and he carried a rifle and a shovel. The shovel was used for quickly burrowing into a ‘slit trench’ when under fire, and we all know what the rifle was for.
After months of brutal combat to liberate Sicily and Italy, Lloyd’s regiment was moved around up to France, where the liberation of Continental Europe was in full swing (following the famous invasion of D-Day). Lloyd was then moved on to Holland, where the fighting continued until the end of the war. Lloyd’s was the first regiment to enter Amsterdam directly following the war’s end.
In the following months Lloyd met and married my Great Grandmother, Olga, one of the many dutch girls who came back to Canada as a War Bride.
Lloyd joined up as a teenager hoping for adventure. What he saw was not so glamorous. He hardly spoke of his experiences to anyone. I have always been fascinated by WWII, the way the entire world clashed together in arguably the most all-embracing worldwide conflict in history. It was so terrible in so many ways, what lessons can we now learn so that we never have to do something similar again?
Thank you Opa