Although they declared themselves neutral, the Netherlands was invaded by Germany in 1940 and had been under German occupation since. Most of the southern regions had been liberated in 1944, but the northern and western regions remained under occupation. Those living in occupied regions were struggling to survive and the winter of 1944-45 is known as the "Hunger Winter".
During the “Hunger Winter” the daily ration of someone living in the occupation zone was 32o calories a day. Delfzijl was intended to be a primary port for imported goods to relieve the starving Dutch population. However, it remained under German control and used only for German military transports.
The sea port was being held by approximately 1500 German troops. This would be primarily and infantry task and ‘A’ and ‘B’ squadrons would be attached to the 11th brigade for the operation. The German forces had many concrete gun emplacements and heavy artillery. The only way to advance the foot soldiers was behind tanks.
For nine days the men of the Hussars fought to open the port of Delfzijl. More than 4000 prisoners were taken and the German garrison commander officially surrendered on May 2nd. Only 3 days later on May 5th the men received word to cancel all offensive operations – the war was over! Operation ‘Canada’ was very successful and demonstrated remarkable bravery from the 8th Hussars; and it wasn’t long before they would see their beloved country again.