December 9, 2020. In telling the stories of individual soldiers, sometimes it turns out that the connections between them leads to a bigger story. In 2017, when we were in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands, we laid flags down at the graves of soldiers who had been identified by Dutch researchers as coming from Prince Edward Island.
We also laid flags down at the grave of Lance Corporal Frank Edward MCGOVERN, of Chipman, New Brunswick, at the request of our friend and neighbour Brenda Graves. McGovern was her uncle.
McGovern was born April 26, 1925, the son of Hugh and Wilma McGovern. Brenda’s mother Pearl was Frank’s sister. He enlisted with the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, and was killed during the Battle of Keppeln on February 26, 1945. Keppeln is in Germany, just over the Dutch border, and after WW2 ended, he was reburied in The Netherlands.
In 2019, we again visited his grave when we were in The Netherlands. In the spring of 2020, Pieter researched the story of Barney MCGUIGAN, and that’s when a connection was made. He too was in the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, and also died in the Battle of Keppeln on February 26, 1945. (See On The War Memorial Trail…..The Search For Barney Reuben McGuigan)
In researching McGuigan’s story, Pieter learned that 28 soldiers from the North Shore Regiment were killed in action that day, in the same battle.
In the book ‘Fields Of Valour’ by Ken Smith, he explains that “… Keppeln was a small town in Germany’s western frontier and a part of the supposedly impenetrable Siegfried Line. As an ongoing part of Operation Veritable, the North Shore Regiment was ordered to attack Keppeln on February 26, 1945. No apparent fortifications or troop concentrations were noted, so it was assumed, wrongly, as it turned out, that the village, being so lightly held, would fall quickly....”
It was a trap, and the North Shore Regiment was caught in it, as the Germans waited patiently. Smith describes what happened. “.…Camouflaged expertly were the machine gun pits and the fearsome 88mm guns, some mounted on well hidden tanks….” 50 yards from their line, the Germans “…opened up on the North Shores…. The North Shores were cut to pieces, many getting killed outright, and scores of others suffering terrible wounds...”
Among those killed was Frank Edward McGovern. Brenda has been looking for a photo of her uncle, with no success. Lou Daley, whose uncle Aloysius DALEY lost his life in the same battle, sent a newspaper clipping in which McGovern’s death was announced. Unfortunately, Brenda has not been able to find the paper in which the notice was published, or who sent it in.
She contacted the Chipman Legion, again with no success. She recently received an email from a Legion member, saying that “…I can’t get the info you requested because we had a pipe break in the Branch and all of our Archives and other info have been destroyed and irrecoverable. We have no WW2 Veterans left….”
With one door closing after another, Pieter decided to feature Brenda’s quest for a photo on our new ‘On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg’ YouTube channel. With so many roadblocks in finding family and photos, the YouTube channel is one way to reach an audience that might not read this blog or our newspaper articles, or hear Pieter on the radio. You can watch the video here:
28 men from the North Shore Regiment were killed during the Battle of Keppeln…..
Per ‘Fields Of Valour’ by Ken Smith, the following are the 28 men from the North Shore Regiment killed on February 26, 1945 during the Battle of Keppeln:
- Richard Paul BEAZLEY
- Gerald Albert BECK
- Thomas Clinton BEERS
- Aloysius John DALEY
- Eldon Alexander DUCHER
- Thomas Mitchell GEMMELL
- George Luckett GRAHAM
- William Edward HARBOUR
- Albert Percival HEBERT
- Emidia Austin HICKEY
- Frederick Clarence HULL
- Donald Charles JAGOE
- John Albert LAFAVE
- Hubert Ivan LUTES
- Donald Rae MACPHERSON
- Frank Edward MCGOVERN
- Barney Ruben MCGUIGAN
- Elbridge Wellington MILLER
- Reginald Vincent MOOERS
- Ervin Alfred MUNROE
- Gerald Bruce MURRAY
- Willard Bruce PARKER
- Millard Arthur PATTERSON
- John Giddeon PAYNTER
- Patrick John POWER
- Waldo Leroy RICHARDSON
- Carol Kenneth TITFORD
- Raoul VADEBONCOEUR
Thank you to Brenda Graves for sharing information about her uncle, and to post-production editor Wendy Nattress, who made the YouTube video a reality. If you have photos or information to share about Frank Edward McGovern or any of the other men killed in the Battle of Keppeln, please email Pieter at email@example.com or comment on the blog.
On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw
© Daria Valkenburg
3 thoughts on “The Search For A Photo Of Frank Edward McGovern Moves To YouTube”
This is very interesting. Such a terrible loss in one battle! I hope Brenda can find a photo of her uncle.
We are hopeful someone will come forward with a photo of Brenda’s uncle, since one did exist when it was sent to an unknown newspaper in 1945, with the announcement of his death. Thank you for your comment!
Daria and Pieter
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