75th Anniversary Memories From Friesland

speldje bevrijding

May 1, 2020.  In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of The Netherlands, a few projects from the Dutch province of Friesland will be featured in this posting.

Remco de Jong, a volunteer at the Commonwealth War Graves Protestant Churchyard cemetery in Makkum (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2019/12/26/the-christmas-eve-candle-lighting-ceremonies-in-the-netherlands/) was moved by the story of the last flight of Halifax L9561 in October 1941, in which Flight Sgt Elmer Bagnall MUTTART lost his life, and prepared a photo tribute.  (To learn more about the last flight and the 2019 memorial panel commemoration ceremonies, see https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2020/01/31/he-died-that-we-might-live-video-is-now-on-youtube/)

Vliegtuigen haar bemanning Muttart

Tribute prepared by Remco de Jong from photos provided to Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation by families of the aircrew of Halifax L9561.

Bauke Posthuma, a volunteer at Het Hannemahuis Museum in Harlingen, let us know about a YouTube video filmed in 1945, shortly after the war ended, which has a brief clip of the Harlingen General Cemetery where Muttart and other Allied soldiers are buried.  While we placed flags at the graves of known Canadian soldiers in the cemetery on October 12, 2019, there are more than Canadians buried there. (For an account of our visit to Harlingen General Cemetery, see https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-visit-to-harlingen-general-cemetery/)

Screenshot Harlingen General Cemetery

Screenshot showing Harlingen General Cemetery in 1945 from the video ‘Friesland vlak na de bevrijding in 1945’.  Muttart’s grave is at the very far right, first row.  The wooden crosses were placed during the German occupation and replaced with stone gravestones afterwards. (Screenshot courtesy of Wendy Nattress.)

If you would like to see the short video ‘Friesland vlak na de bevrijding in 1945’ (Friesland after the war in 1945) here is the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oo5AKt92d1s. The video is less than 9 minutes and is in the Frisian language, but is interesting.  Some of the highlights include Canadian troops in the area, and farmers pulling items that had been hidden from the German occupiers out of haystacks.  You’ll see a car being pulled by horses… it’s not clear whether the car was out of gas or didn’t have a battery.  German soldiers are put to work clearing mines.  Bridges over canals are being repaired.

CIMG3468 Oct 12 2019 Harlingen Hannemahuis Pieter and Bauke Posthuma

Bauke Posthuma (left) with Pieter at Het Hannemahuis Museum in Harlingen on October 12, 2019.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Bauke Posthuma’s book about the Allied soldiers buried in Harlingen and surrounding areas has recently been published.  Written in Dutch, the book is available for purchase at https://www.flevomedia.nl/boekenwinkel?prod_id=862970/boek-862970-tussen-de-eerste-en-laatste-saluutschoten-1940-1945.

Front and back covers of the recently published book by Bauke Posthuma. (Photo credits: B. Posthuma)

Thank you to Remco de Jong and Bauke Posthuma for letting us know about these projects, and to Wendy Nattress for capturing the screenshot.  If you have information to share about Canadian soldiers buried in The Netherlands, please contact Pieter at dariadv@yahoo.ca or comment on the blog.

© Daria Valkenburg


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s