May 5, 2020. While events planned for the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of The Netherlands were cancelled due to social distancing to prevent further outbreaks of coronavirus, organizations and individuals have found ways to mark the occasion. One group from BC, the Dutch Canadian Liberation 2020 Society, planned many commemorative events. (See https://www.dutchcanada2020.com/about-us/ )
When these had to be cancelled, the Society decided to pay for tulips to be placed at the graves at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands. Most of the soldiers buried in this cemetery fell during the fighting on the Lower Rhine between February 8 and March 26, 1945. In addition, the names of 1,103 soldiers reported missing between August 1944 and May 1945 are listed on the Groesbeek Memorial, with only a few found since the memorial was put up. The rest are still listed as MIA (Missing In Action).
The Cemetery was closed on the first two days in May while volunteers placed tulips in vases beside each grave.
Our thanks to Ad and Noor Scheepers for taking photos, including those of the graves of:
- Ralph Schurman BOULTER, who came from West Point, PEI
- Joseph Edmond HENNEBERY, who came from Morrell, PEI
- Frank Edward MCGOVERN, born in Chipman, NB
You can read (or re-read!) about our 2019 and 2017 War Memorial tour visits to the cemetery here:
In an unrelated commemorative gesture, a group of Dutch farmers used tractors to spell out ’75 Jaar Vrijheid’ (75 Years of Freedom) in the shape of a torch. They were given a citation by Dutch authorities for not respecting social distancing rules! (Watch them make this tribute in a 42 second video at https://www.nu.nl/280619/video/boeren-vormen-fakkel-met-trekkers-in-wei-en-ontsteken-vrijheidsvuur.html?jwsource=em)
No photos have yet been found for Joseph Edmond HENNEBERY and Frank Edward MCGOVERN. Can you help? If you have information to share about any Canadian soldiers buried in The Netherlands, please contact Pieter at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on the blog.
© Daria Valkenburg