To mark the departure parade for Canadian Forces members participating in this year’s Nijmegen Marches, a pair of miniature wooden shoes was presented to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa by the family of James McGinnis, a member of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) during the Second World War.
Dutch citizens gave many of these miniature shoes, called Liberation Wooden Shoes to members of the Canadian and Allied Forces as a way of expressing gratitude in marking their country’s liberation.
As a truck driver with the RCASC, James McGinnis delivered food and supplies to fighting forces. The RCASC also helped transport wounded soldiers out of battle zones. Mr. McGinnis landed on Juno Beach in Normandy six days after D-Day and served until the end of the war in Europe. He was stationed in the city of Tilburg after it was liberated on October 27, 1944. It was in Tilburg that Mr. McGinnis received this pair of Liberation Wooden Shoes.
“Canada’s crucial role in the liberation of the Netherlands created a bond between our two countries that endures to this day,” said Stephen Quick, director general of the Canadian War Museum. “These shoes remind us of this bond, and also of the ways this experience has been remembered and commemorated. We are very pleased to have them in our collection.”
The shoes were donated to the Canadian War Museum by Mr. McGinnis’s daughter, Doreen, and his son-in-law, Simon Beekhuizen, whose family was living in The Hague when it was liberated by Canadian Forces. The shoes will be displayed in the museum’s lobby from July 24 to July 30, 2017.
This is the 20th year that the Canadian War Museum has hosted the departure parade for participating Canadian Forces members. The International Four Days Marches Nijmegen is the world’s largest multiple-day walking event, with over 47,000 military and civilian participants from more than 50 countries.