Renewed monument

"Here fell 19-4-'45 W. STRANG Of the Canadian army"

The word 'Here' is not quite correct. Walter Strang was found at another spot by Peter van Ruitenbeek (1913 - 1999). In an interview with Historisch Hoeflake he told about his discovery: "...the Germans had built trenches from the house of Henk Beitler (now Park Weldam 3) to that house of Ab de Greef (now Westerdorpsstraat 50)...then I step over the trench and I see a soldier there, a Canadian. Strang was slumped forwards, all his clothes were ripped off his back, completely open." Ms Beitler who lived at Park Weldam 3, but recently passed away, has confirmed that her husband had told her that Walter died in her backyard under a big blue spruce. Some 150 metres from the monument.

The current monument has been in place since 1946 and was somewhat rearranged in spring 2006 by the local council. Now, both the plants and the pavement have distinct Canadian and Scottish characteristics. However, the monument is still somewhat anonymous, in the sense that it seems as if nobody knows who that W. STRANG was. And this despite the fact that he sacrificed his life for the liberation of Hoevelaken, the Netherlands, and North-Western Europe.

Ever since 2007 this 'unknown' soldier has become better known. Photographs and letters have reemerged, stories from family and veterans have been collected, his service record is now known, and modest Scottish and Canadian archives have been rediscovered. In other words, we are now able to form a better picture of who Walter Strang was.

On 19 April 2008 - exactly 63 years after Walter Strang fell in Hoevelaken a new monument will be unveiled, not replacing the existing monument but integrated with it, because the old monument has historical value and for many people in Hoevelaken, emotional value as well.

A stainless steel plate will be placed behind the existing monument with a life-size picture of Walter Strang. This image is repeated, but then as a cut-out shape symbolising his sudden departure from the life. The stainless steel symbolises his birthplace Glasgow - at the time an industrial city -, the infantry, and the mortar that killed him. Furthermore, the stainless steel plate of 2 metres height and 2.6 metres width will contain his signature, a short biography, and an appropriate commemorative text.

To be sure, Walter Strang was not buried in this spot. At first he was buried in the garden of Mr Melchior, the current 'Weldam' at Westerdorpsstraat 50, to be reburied in the town of Baarn, only to be reburied again in his final resting place in August 1946 at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek. His widow had the following text engraved in the tombstone: