April 27, 2020. Today is Kings Day (Koningsdag) in The Netherlands, the national holiday in that country, equivalent to our Canada Day on July 1. It celebrates the birthday of the Dutch King Willem-Alexander. Normally there are lots of activities, but with social distancing due to the coronavirus, events have been cancelled, and people have been asked to celebrate at home.
Here on the Island, a proud Dutch-born Pieter put out the Dutch flag by our garage and held on to it long enough to take a photo before the wind whipped it around the pole. The day is a reminder of next week’s 75th Liberation of The Netherlands on May 5. Most events have been cancelled or curtailed, but the day will still be marked.
Alice van Bekkum, Chair of the Face To Graves Foundation, has advised that stories and photos collected on those buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek are now online at www.facestograves.nl. She will be interviewed by CBC Calgary reporter Erin Collins on May 5. (For more information see: Press Release Digital Monument May 2020)
Readers of this blog are aware of Pieter’s efforts to help the Foundation and other researchers with photos and stories about PEI soldiers buried in The Netherlands. (See Photos and Info Requested For WW2 Soldiers From PEI Buried In The Netherlands)
Of the Islanders buried in Groesbeek, photos for all but two have been found. Still missing photos are two who lost their lives in 1945:
- Joseph Edmond HENNEBERY, born in Morell, was with the Royal Canadian Engineers -33rd Field Company. He died on April 20, 1945, aged 25.
- Barney Ruben MCGUIGAN, born in St. Peter’s, son of Thomas and Sadie McGuigan, was with the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment. He died on February 26, 1945, aged 17.
If you have photos or information to share about Henneberry, McGuigan, or other Canadian soldiers buried in The Netherlands, please contact Pieter at email@example.com or comment on the blog.
© Daria Valkenburg