The WWII Soldier Killed in Germany But Buried in Holland

February 22, 2019.  Most of the men listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion were unmarried.  However, William Douglas SHERREN, born November 25, 1914 in Crapaud, son of William Douglas Sherren and Florence Amanda Carrier, was married, to Florence Mead Strickland, and the father of two children, Hubert and Harrison Blair.

An electrician with Palmer Electric in Charlottetown before WW2 broke out, William Douglas enlisted with the First Survey Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery on January 6, 1940, receiving the rank of Lieutenant.  He was sent to England and on March 29, 1944 was promoted to Captain.  He arrived in France in July 1944, a month after D-Day.

Wiliam Douglas Sherren

William Douglas Sherren. (Photo courtesy of Holten Canadian War Cemetery Information Centre)

On March 17, 1945, he was recognized by King George VI as a Member of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for “gallant and distinguished services in the field” in North West Europe.  Unfortunately, we don’t know the circumstances of him receiving the award.  If anyone has more information, please let us know.

Notice of decoration awarded to WD Sherren

Notice of decoration awarded to William Douglas Sherren. (Source:

On April 25, 1945, just a few days before the end of WWII, he was severely injured when the vehicle he was travelling in drove over a land mine in Germany.  According to his service file, William Douglas died of his wounds at 3:30 am on April 28, 1945.

Originally buried in Cloppenburg Hospital Cemetery in Lower Saxony, William Douglas was reburied in Holten Canadian War Cemetery in The Netherlands in 1947.  This was one of the cemeteries we visited while in Europe, and of course we placed flags at his grave. (See On the War Memorial Trail ….. At Holten Canadian War Cemetery)

IMG_20170918_134108826 Sep 18 2017 grave of WD Sherren Holten cemetery

Grave of Captain William Douglas Sherren at Holten Canadian War Cemetery. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

Obituary W.D. Sherren

Obituary of William Douglas Sherren. (Source: The Charlottetown Guardian, Friday, May 4, 1945, page 1)

Do you have photos or information to share on William Douglas Sherren, or any of the soldiers discussed in previous blog postings?  You can send an email to or comment on this blog.

© Daria Valkenburg


The Last Valentine From A WWII Soldier

February 13, 2019. When family members have saved information about their loved ones who died, and are willing to share, it warms our hearts and makes Pieter’s research into the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion that much more relevant.  So, when Harry Norton invited us to come to his home in Charlottetown to talk about his older brother, WWII soldier Ernest Murray NORTON, we didn’t hesitate.

Harry Norton & Pieter

Harry Norton, left, with Pieter Valkenburg. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Ernest was born April 18, 1924 in Crapaud, the son of Harry Vernon Norton and Hazel Reid.  He enlisted on July 4, 1940 with the Prince Edward Highlanders and later was transferred into the West Nova Scotia Regiment.  In 1942 he left Canada for England.

Ernest Murray Norton

Ernest Murray Norton. (Photo credit: Harry Norton family collection)

Among the treasures saved by Harry Norton were letters that give a picture of the man behind the soldier’s uniform.  In a May 3, 1944 letter from Italy, written to his younger brother Fred, Ernest gave a summary of his travels.  Because of censorship he couldn’t give any details, but he explained that from England he had “gone to North Africa, then to Sicily, to Italy, went to hospital in Malta by plane, returned back to North Africa, and then again to Italy.” The reference of going to hospital by plane to Malta was because he’d been wounded.   In the same letter, he also thanks Fred for giving their mother a Valentine’s card from him.


The last Valentine’s card to his mother, lovingly made on Ernest Norton’s behalf by his brother Fred.  (Photo credits: Harry Norton family collection)

Unfortunately, it was the last Valentine’s card from Ernest.  Shortly after the letter was written, Ernest was killed, and is now buried at Cassino War Cemetery in Italy.

On June 2, 1944, Chaplain Herlaut of the West Nova Scotia Regiment wrote to Mrs. Norton about her son’s death.  He explained that Ernest and another signaller were instantly killed on May 20, 1944 while operating their signal set. He wrote: “I was at the scene a few moments afterwards and buried both boys together.  I was able to return a few days ago and erected a white cross to mark their graves.

Original wooden cross Norton

Original wooden cross placed by Chaplain Herlaut in 1944. (Photo credit: Harry Norton family collection.)

Norton gravestone

Current gravestone of Ernest Norton at Cassino War Cemetery in Italy. (Photo Credit: Canadian Virtual War Memorial at

Ernest Norton was a lucky man never to have been forgotten by his loved ones, with so much family information about him!  Do you have photos or information to share on any of the soldiers discussed in this and previous blog postings?  If so, please let us know. We still are in need of photos.  You can send an email to or comment on this blog.

© Daria Valkenburg