Happy Holidays From The Valkenburgs!


December 20, 2020.  We’re nearing the end of a challenging and socially distanced 2020, and looking with hope and anticipation to a 2021 with a vaccine to protect us against coronavirus, and a chance to visit and travel again. 

Since returning home from our winter vacation in March, we have been quietly working at home, and this seems a good time to reflect on what has been done with this research project.

…Documentary About Halifax L9561….

We began the year with a short documentary summarizing the amazing day on October 12, 2019 when a memorial panel to honour WW2 pilot Elmer Bagnall MUTTART and the crew of Halifax L9561 was installed in Wons, The Netherlands. 

In February, we were invited to screen the video and give a short presentation to snowbirds in Florida.  This was the last event before pandemic safety measures resulted in the cancellation of all other engagements.

…. WW2 Soldiers Listed On The Cenotaph Outside Borden-Carleton Legion …….

This year we told the stories of 8 WW2 servicemen listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion:

  • Albert Eugene ARSENAULT
  • Joseph ‘Francis’ ARSENAULT
  • George Alfred DUNN
  • John Daniel “Jack” FERGUSON
  • Ernest Ramey GALLANT
  • James Emmet HUGHES
  • Singleton Charles JEFFERY
  • Harold “Lloyd” LEFURGEY

 ….End of WW1 Observations….

We shared some of the observations that WW1 soldier Harold Keith HOWATT made towards the end of the war.  The history books are filled with official accounts from officers and politicians. Howatt’s observations came from the viewpoint of an ordinary soldier caught up in extraordinary circumstances. 

…. Interviews To Highlight Search For Photos….

Pieter did radio interviews and was interviewed by newspaper reporters in his quest for photos for:

  • WW1 soldier Bazil CORMIER, who is buried in France
  • WW1 soldier Joseph Arthur DESROCHES, who is buried in France
  • WW2 soldier Philip Hubert LONG, who is buried in The Netherlands
  • WW2 soldier Barney Reuben MCGUIGAN, who is buried in The Netherlands

A photo for Philip Hubert LONG was found, but not for the other three.

…. Letters To The Editor For Photo Search….

Several letters to the editor in various newspapers were written in the quest for photos for:

  • WW1 soldier James CAIRNS, who is buried in France
  • WW2 soldier John Clifford ROGERS, who is buried in The Netherlands
  • WW2 soldier Norman James NIXON, who is buried in The Netherlands

Family and photos for Norman James NIXON were found, but not for the other two.

… Successful Search For Photos …..

Many WW2 soldiers from the Atlantic provinces are buried in cemeteries in The Netherlands, and as requests by Dutch researchers for photos are uncovered, a few of those stories were told.  Photos were found for:

  • James Walter AULD
  • Robert W. ATKINSON
  • Arthur DOIRON
  • Gunnar DALMAN
  • Joseph Edmund HENNEBERY
  • Philip Hubert LONG
  • James B. MACINNIS
  • David MAGUIRE
  • Olen Byron MARSHALL
  • Norman James NIXON
  • Donald O. ROBERTSON
  • Ford H. SPIDLE
  • Robert B. THOMAS

…. Stories About Servicemen NOT on the Cenotaph

We also featured stories about servicemen in the South Shore area who weren’t listed on the Cenotaph:

  • WW1 soldier William Earle DAVISON, who was killed in France
  • WW2 soldier Joseph Robert GAUTHIER, who was in the Devil’s Brigade
  • WW1 soldier Herbert ‘Herb’ S. MACEWEN, who was in the 2nd Siege Battery
  • WW2 serviceman Robert ‘Scott’ MACQUARRIE, who was a mechanic with the RCAF
  • WW2 serviceman Ralph Gordon MCCUTCHEON, who died in an accident during pilot training
  • WW2 soldier Frank Edward MCGOVERN, who was in the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment
  • WW2 soldier Earl Francis Phinney SMITH, who was in the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment

… The Search For Photos Also Moves To YouTube….

2020 began with a documentary that was posted on YouTube, and ends with a dedicated YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw

The new YouTube videos focus on the search for photos of WW1 and WW2 soldiers.  Each video is very short and briefly tells the story of an individual soldier, with a request for a photo.  So far, no one has come forward with a photo.  The more these videos are shared, the more chance of reaching someone with a photo.  You can help us by sharing the links as widely as you can.

Thank you for your support and encouragement of this research project!

As 2020 comes to an end, we would like to thank everyone who helped with researching these stories.  To give one example, Leonard Boudreau of the Cape Breton Highlanders Regimental Association helped to find many of the photos. We also thank readers of this blog and the On The War Memorial Trail column in The County Line Courier who suggested some of stories you’ve read.  A big thank you goes to Mike and Isabel Smith, owners of The County Line Courier.  Last, but not least, the YouTube videos and channel would not be possible without the invaluable support of post-production editor Wendy Nattress.

Christmas2020 Photo Daria & Pieter

If you have photos or information to share, please email Pieter at dariadv@yahoo.ca or comment on the blog. 

© Daria Valkenburg

2 thoughts on “Happy Holidays From The Valkenburgs!

  1. Hi Daria and Pieter, Hope you have a joyful and cozy Christmas! We all miss our get togethers and information sharing in person! Next year should be different! Take good care, Barb and Steve

    Sent from my iPhone



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