An armored car rolls down the street as a crowd celebrates in the Netherlands during WWII. (Philip Siersema/Contributed)
This photo was in a box that belonged to my grandfather Johan Nico Siersema, so I could infer that it was taken in the Netherlands during WWII — likely by one of his relatives. But, since I didn’t know much else about it, I posted on the military history sub-Reddit to see if anyone might know more.
Alex Clumpkens identified the car as being of the Canadian Corps’ 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division, aka “the Polar Bears,” and suggesting Utretch as a location:
This Unit was heavily involved in the liberation of Utrecht! Hm saw that city mentioned in your blog. For pictures see http://www.mapleleafup.ca/ve2.html“
Redditor hydrogenjoule also responded, but with an alternative location:
“Because your grandfather was Dutch, and there seems to be a Dutch flag in the photo, I’m going to say that this was at Arnhem in April 1945, during I Canadian Corps liberation of the city. This was, as far as I know, the only major action in the Netherlands that the 49th took part in, and would certainly have merited a celebration.
After the failed Operation Market-Garden in ’44, Arnhem was the front line of the German resistance in the Netherlands until I Canadian Corps secured it during Operation Anger.”
So! We know who is in the photo now, just not the when and where. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!