May 31, 2020. Last year, a request was made for photos and information on PEI soldiers from WW2 who were buried in The Netherlands. (See Photos and Info Requested For WW2 Soldiers From PEI Buried In The Netherlands) One of these soldiers, buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, was Joseph ‘Joe’ Edmund HENNEBERY.
He was born in Morell on July 7, 1919, the son of Edmund Joseph and Mary ‘May’ Hennebery, and was a sapper with the Royal Canadian Engineers – 33rd Field Company, and served in the UK, France, and The Netherlands. He died in The Netherlands on April 20, 1945, aged 25, along with two other men, Pte L. A. CROSS, a cook in the platoon, and Sapper A. COLVIN, following an accident on April 18 while off duty.
When we were in The Netherlands last fall, Pieter placed flags at his grave. “It’s always much more meaningful when I’m standing at a grave and have an idea what the person looked like.” After our return, a chance encounter with Hennebery’s niece, Teresa Hennebery, resulted in a photo of her uncle, finally giving a face to the name listed on the grave. “He looks exactly like my father” Teresa explained. “Joe is my father’s brother.”
“The Hennebery Family from Morell Rear (now called Green Meadows) was very committed to the World War II war effort. At one point seven of the twelve children in the family were serving in the Canadian Army or Air Force. Sadly, Joe was the only one of the Hennebery siblings that did not come home.”
In 2000, Teresa visited his grave with family members. “…That was the first time anyone from the Hennebery family visited Joe Hennebery’s grave. It was a very emotional and impactful trip…”
On behalf of the Hennebery family, Teresa wrote that “…The family appreciates the efforts of the Dutch people to commemorate and remember those Islanders and Canadians who gave their lives for our freedom. ‘Dying for freedom is not the worst thing that could happen; being forgotten is.’…”
Joe Hennebery is not the only family member buried in a Dutch cemetery. Michael Joseph ‘Joe’ MCKENNA, the brother of Teresa’s mother Mary, is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten. “…My mother and I were in Holland in May 2000 for a commemoration ceremony for her brother (also named Joe) who was killed in Rha a couple of weeks before my other Uncle Joe died. It was so beautiful and the people of Rha treated us like Royalty...”
Thank you to Teresa Hennebery for sharing her family photos, which will be forwarded by Pieter to the researchers at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek. If you have information to share about Canadian soldiers buried in The Netherlands, please contact Pieter at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on the blog.
© Daria Valkenburg