December 4, 2019. While in The Netherlands this fall, we visited the three Canadian War Cemeteries and laid down flags of Canada and PEI for the names listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion, as well as other Islanders who have been identified by Dutch researchers. The second Canadian War Cemetery we visited on the 2019 trip was in Groesbeek. (See On the War Memorial Trail ….. At The Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek and On the War Memorial Trail ….. PEI Soldiers Buried In The Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek for accounts of our 2017 visit.)
We visited the cemetery on a rare sunny and dry day during our time in The Netherlands…. it rained 19 out of 21 days! We hadn’t been as lucky when we went to Holten! (See On The War Memorial Trail…..Our 2019 Visit To The Canadian War Cemetery In Holten)
As in 2017, we were joined by Pieter’s former colleague in the Dutch Foreign Service, Ad Scheepers, and his wife Noor, who live in Groesbeek. Pieter and Ad served together in New Delhi and both are passionate in their gratitude to the Allied troops that liberated The Netherlands during WWII.
Since our 2017 visit, no additional names of soldiers from PEI have been uncovered, so we placed flags at the graves of the same 17 Islanders. Unlike in 2017, however, photos of several of these soldiers have now been provided by family members. In alphabetical order, here are the known soldiers from PEI that are buried in the cemetery:
- L/Cpl Ralph Schurman BOULTER, North Nova Scotia Highlanders, from West Point
- Pte Lawrence BULGAR, North Nova Scotia Highlanders, from Foxley River
- Major John Weston CAMPBELL, North Nova Scotia Highlanders, from Clermont
- Cpl Preston D. CAMPBELL, Algonquin Regiment, from Coleman
- Rifleman William Alfred CANNON, Regina Rifle Regiment, from Pownal
- Cpl Arthur GAUDET, Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, from Mont Carmel
- Sapper Joseph Edmond HENNEBERY, Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers, from Morrell
- Cpl George Ivan MACKINNON, North Nova Scotia Highlanders, from Mt. Albion
- Cpl Robert Bruce MACNEILLL, North Nova Scotia Highlanders, from Charlottetown
- Pte Barney Ruben MCGUIGAN, North Shore Regiment, born in Souris
- Cpl Stephen A. MCKINNON, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, from St. Peter’s Bay
- L/Cpl Edward Gabriel PERRY, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise), from St. Nicholas
- Pte John Clifford ROGERS, North Shore Regiment, born in Hope River
- Pte Ralph K. SILLIKER, Lake Superior Regiment, from O’Leary
- Sgt Edison Alexander SMITH, North Nova Scotia Highlanders, from West Point
- Pte George Preston SMITH, North Shore Regiment, from Kinkora
- Pte William L. WEATHERBIE, Royal Regiment of Canada, from Charlottetown
We also placed a Canadian flag at the grave of one soldier from New Brunswick, the uncle of our neighbour Brenda Graves:
- L/Cpl Frank Edward MCGOVERN, North Shore Regiment, born in Chipman
Photos have still not been found for:
- Joseph E. HENNEBERY, born in Morell, who died on April 20, 1945.
- Barney Ruben MCGUIGAN, born in St. Peter’s, son of Thomas and Sadie McGuigan, who died on February 26, 1945.
- Frank Edward MCGOVERN, born in Chipman, who died on February 26, 1945.
After placing the flags, we met with Alice van Bekkum and her husband Leendert at De Oude Molen (The Old Windmill) cafe. Alice is the Chair of the Faces To Graves Project in The Netherlands, which is trying to find a photo for every Canadian soldier buried in one of the Dutch cemeteries for a digital archive.
During the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of The Netherlands commemoration in May 2020, the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek has received permission from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to place photos of Canadian soldiers by their gravestones for two weeks. Pieter is trying to ensure all of the Island soldiers have a photo, but as you can see above, there are 2 Islanders without photos, plus one from New Brunswick.
Thank you to Ad and Noor Scheepers for joining us on the memorial trail at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek! If anyone has more information to share on any of the soldiers listed above, or know of more Islanders buried in the cemetery in Groesbeek, please contact Pieter at email@example.com or comment on the blog.
© Daria Valkenburg