Medal of Distinguished Service awarded to Belgian citizen during 74th anniversary of the liberation of Antwerp
On October 21, Canadians and Belgians celebrated the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Antwerp, Belgium and awarded a medal for distinguished service, in the city of Kalmthout.
Brigadier-General Darlene Quinn, Commander of Formation Europe, presented the Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service (CFMDS) on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) for the Canadian Armed Forces to Roland Demuth.
Mr. Demuth is a Belgian Citizen who has helped organize and run the ceremony for over 20 years. He was awarded the medallion in recognition of his outstanding work as the chief organizer of the ceremony to commemorate the liberation of the Region of Antwerp by the Canadian Army.
Canadian Armed Forces led the Allied troops in liberating the province, of Antwerp, in September 1944. With most other ports being too small or too damaged to supply Allied troops in Europe, the taking of Antwerp allowed the Allies to distribute much-needed supplies, eventually leading to the end of the war in the following year Prior to using the port, surrounding areas and banks leading to the ocean would need to be cleared of enemy troops. This was no easy task as the battle was over flat and often flooded terrain offering little cover for the advancing Canadians.
The First Canadian Army led this mission, known as The Battle of the Scheldt, to completion, and helped the Allies liberate the province and its people, and secure the resources they needed to end the war.
A vigil was held for the fourth time to commemorate the fallen soldiers who died while liberating the region. Veteran Jos Roosens, now 102-years-old, began the vigil ceremony with a story from the war. The vigil party was commanded by Sergeant Jean-Paul Cloutier.
The CFMDS is an award given to members outside of the military for displaying acts of rare and high standard service, usually over a long period of time, and can be awarded to a Canadian or foreign citizen by the CDS.
Representatives of Canada, including Commanding Officer of the Canadian Forces Support Unit (Europe) Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Penney, and Commander of Formation Europe BGen Darlene Quinn and Chief Petty Officer First Class Geoffrey McTigue of Formation Europe, attended the event.