Canadian Armed Forces contingent departs for the 103rd annual International Four Days Marches Nijmegen

News release

July 9, 2019 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

A contingent of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members participated in the Nijmegen Marches Departure Parade today at the Canadian War Museum. Lieutenant-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander of the Canadian Army and reviewing officer for the departure parade, wished them safe travels as they prepare to depart for the Netherlands, where they will take part in the 103rd annual International Four Days Marches Nijmegen.

Held from July 16-19, the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen is an international event that brings together nearly 50,000 military and civilian participants from 84 countries. Originally designed by the Dutch infantry as an exercise to increase their long-distance marching and weight-carrying ability, the marches have evolved into an international four-day march that challenges the physical and mental endurance of participants.

This year, the Canadian contingent, formed of 175 marchers, will march through the towns and countryside around the city of Nijmegen under the leadership of Lieutenant-Colonel Éric Quirion.

2019 commemorates the 67th year of CAF participation in the Four Days Marches. CAF participation in the Marches highlights Canada’s historic and unique connection to the Netherlands, where the Canadian military took part in the effort to liberate the country during the Second World War.

The marches are also an occasion for members to reflect on Canada’s important contributions to Europe’s security and freedom over the past 100 years and to commemorate those who fought before them, whether it be during the First and Second World War, the Cold War, or through Canada’s continued commitment to NATO.  

Quotes

“I am very pleased to be here today to wish our 2019 Nijmegen team the best of luck for the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen. The marches require a high level of physical and mental strength, and I know that these dedicated women and men are ready for the challenge. The marches are of great significance, as they highlight our very important bond to the Dutch people. They are also an occasion to reflect upon our rich Canadian military history and our legacy in the region”. 

—   Lieutenant-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander of the Canadian Army

“The International Four Days Marches Nijmegen represent an opportunity for our members to honour the two generations of Canadians who fought and died in Europe so that we might live in freedom and security. As the contingent marches through the same regions as their predecessors, members will remember the sacrifices and bravery of those who came before them. I wish each and every one of our CAF contingent members good luck as they undertake this challenging international event and thank them for perpetuating this important tradition.” 

—   Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre, Commander Military Personnel Command

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to command Joint Task Force Nijmegen on the 67th anniversary of Canadian Armed Forces participation. I am privileged to have the opportunity to march alongside this exceptionally strong and motivated contingent through the towns where many Canadians fought for our Canadian values. The marches are an occasion to pay homage to our fallen and celebrate our proud Canadian military history”. 

—   Lieutenant-Colonel Éric Quirion, Commander Joint Task Force Nijmegen

Quick facts

  • The CAF contingent is made up of 14 teams from across Canada, with 11 marchers each, plus special guests and support staff.

  • The contingent includes members from all ranks, trades, and environments, Regular and Reserve Force, women and men, speaking both Official Languages, and of diverse backgrounds. 

  • The CAF contingent will march 160 km through the Dutch countryside and crowded streets of towns in the area surrounding the city of Nijmegen. They will often walk the same terrain where Canadians fought and died during the Second World War.

  • While overseas, the CAF contingent will commemorate Canada’s First and Second World War legacy in Europe, in particular the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Scheldt. 

  • On July 12, they will hold the annual Vimy Memorial commemoration at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in Vimy, France. 

  • On July 13, after visiting the Sloedam Memorial and the Liberation Museum in Zeeland, the contingent will hold a remembrance ceremony at Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands. This cemetery is home to nearly 1000 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in the fighting north of Antwerp during the Battle of the Scheldt. 

  • On July 15, the contingent will hold a memorial service at Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, where 2,338 Canadian soldiers who participated in the campaign to liberate the Netherlands during the Second World War, are buried.

  • Canada’s contribution to peace and security in Europe continues to this day. The Canadian Armed Forces have 500 members permanently stationed across 19 NATO nations in Europe. It also has approximately 2000 members serving in Europe at any given time as part of its sea, land and air contributions to the security and stability of the region.

Associated links

Contacts

Capt Kathleen Soucy
Public Affairs Officer
Phone: 613-408-8692
Email: Kathleen.Soucy@forces.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353
Email: mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca


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