Contribution to construction of the Memorial museum

Memorial 40-45 Kapelle tells the extraordinary history of the period between 1940 and 1945. Particular attention is paid to the role of the French forces during this period. The collection of objects and documents has grown so much that the museum needs to expand. The new museum is being built next to the French war cemetery in Kapelle, the only French war cemetery in the Netherlands. There’s no better place to tell the stories behind these graves. De Hoop Terneuzen believes it is important for there to be a lasting reminder of this extraordinary history for future generations. Therefore, we’re making a contribution towards the realisation of this initiative. That way, we can help to keep sharing this history.

A great deal of the collection was assembled by Mr Minus Goud, from Krabbendijke. Over the years, he collected uniforms, helmets, weapons and medals. After his death, Andries Looijen took over the collection and added to it. When Andries took possession of the collection in 2011, the old barn next to his home was converted into an exhibition space.

In 1942, on Winston Churchill’s orders, the Commandos were established. The goal of these ‘special forces’ was to infiltrate the German lines, sowing unrest among the occupiers. These ‘secret’ Commando operations took place in the Netherlands, as well, during the war. One of these nocturnal attacks ended in the Kapelle cemetery…

“On the afternoon of 31 October 1944, a group of Commandos arrived in the ravaged port of Breskens. They had come from Ostend, after one week of intense training, to march on to Vlissingen early in the morning on November 1st.”

Operation Infatuate 1 was part of the Battle of the Scheldt, which aimed to make the Port of Antwerp accessible to the large sea-faring vessels carrying much-needed goods for the liberation army. The expectation was that it would be a pitched battle in Vlissingen. This turned out to be an understatement. The battle lasted 3 days. Intense street fights, from house to house, took place here. The few civilians remaining were surprised to hear orders shouted in French in their streets…

Stories about this battle, fought by a forgotten liberator, can be found in the Memorial 40-45 Kapelle museum.