Exhibition Operation North Sea 1944 - '45
What does the exhibition have in store
Exhibition Operation North Sea 1944-‘45 brings you
- The story of the months (October to November 1944) during which the Battle of the Scheldt was fought. You can follow the events of D-Day right through to the taking of the mouth of the Scheldt and learn why it was so essential that the estuary be recaptured.
- The big story and the small stories from those who were there. You’ll discover what anti-aircraft guns would later prove to be a source of inspiration for Star Wars, not to mention see an original autocannon the Canadian liberator used during the advance.
- We also show you what is left of the operation today. You get to walk through the underwater heritage.
- See how the Atlantic Wall was broken through for a second time after D-Day.
- See how, on 1 November 1944, an impressive Navy sailed from Ostend to liberate Walcheren and how Knokke and Zeebrugge were liberated via the polders.
- Learn how water was used as a weapon.
- Find out which Belgians risked their lives.
- Learn that every second German soldier was suffering from stomach problems.
The exhibition takes you through the story of 75 years ago, but starts today. It is the underwater heritage that will make you reflect on the course of events. By the time the Battle of the Scheldt had been fought, dozens of ships had sunk. Most of them were never salvaged ....
- You get to walk through the remnants of that battle which are still being found on the seabed: helms, shells, compasses and rudder blades, but also shoes, mess tins and gas masks.
- The rudder of a landing craft is one of the silent witnesses to the losses of that battle. Where did this rudder come from? Why did the ship it was attached to sink?
- A short film tells you about people’s fascination with the underwater archaeology and about the protection of that heritage.
Life at the Belgian Coast behind the Atlantic Wall
All through the war, the Belgian Coast was separated from the rest of the country by the coastal defence and fortifications along the beaches, known as the Atlantic Wall. The locals tried to make the best of a dismal situation while the German guards were often bored to tears.
- The exhibition features photographs that never saw the light of day, stories that were never published and an original battery flag.
Liberation of the Belgian Coast
The Canadian army liberated the Belgian Coast. The locals were delirious. All of a sudden, there was chewing gum and chocolate, the soldiers were adored.
- You get to see an original tank truck from the Canadian army. The film that shows it driving through the streets makes it ever so real.
- Families try on a helmet and take a selfie with the tank truck.
The Battle of the Scheldt
The Allies take the mouth of the Scheldt. A tactical fight that has been topic of many a heated debate.
- Exhibition: a film with unique archive footage and explanatory cards tell the story and show you what happened. Take a seat and use the ground plan to re-enact the battle or show your strategic prowess.
- Uniforms, objects, cannons, parts of aircrafts that were shot down, scale models of war ships and the gigantic Pom-Pom cannon of the HMS Roberts make for a gripping and true-to-life experience.