February 22, 2021. We continue to feature more of the photos submitted by Atlantic Canadians of soldiers buried overseas. Pieter is ensuring that every email is acknowledged, and that the photos of soldiers buried in The Netherlands will be forwarded to the appropriate cemetery for their digital archives. Thank you to the various members of Royal Canadian Legions in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for their help.
The volunteers at all three Canadian War Cemeteries in Holten, Groesbeek, and Bergen Op Zoom are now active, and Pieter has received wish lists for photos from all three cemeteries. Submissions for soldiers buried in municipal cemeteries are being held until Pieter gets the go-ahead that those volunteers are active again.
Soldiers buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands
Ken Dennis of Yarmouth let us know about the Wartime Heritage Association website, which features some of the soldiers from the area who served in WW2. One of the profiles, written by Flip Jonkman, was of a soldier on the photo wish list of the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten…. Brenton Leroy RINGER. (See http://wartimeheritage.com/whaww2ns2/wwii_ringer_brenton_leroy.htm)
Born on March 22, 1925 in Northfield, Nova Scotia, the son of Ralph and Alberta Ringer of Clementsport, he was an electrician’s helper when he enlisted, at age 18, with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders in Halifax on January 17, 1944. He later transferred to the 10th Armoured Regiment on March 27, 1945, and lost his life on April 12, 1945 during the liberation of Heino, The Netherlands, when the Sherman tank he was in was hit on the road to Zwolle.
There were 5 men in the tank, with one survivor. The survivor knocked on the door of a nearby farmhouse to ask for help, the home of Flip Jonkman’s parents. Flip was not born at the time, but always remembered the story, and in 2020, was instrumental in getting a memorial stone placed near the site of the attack. (See the article in Dutch for more information: https://www.destentor.nl/raalte/vurige-wens-in-vervulling-voor-flip-jonkman-73-uit-heino-nu-gedenksteen-is-geplaatst~a694b86d/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fduckduckgo.com%2F)
Another of the names on the photo wish list for the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten was found on the Wartime Heritage Association website…. that of Louis Graham RICHARD. (See http://wartimeheritage.com/whaww2ns/wwii_richard_louis_graham.htm)
Born February 13, 1918, the son of Raphael Daniel and Mary Ann Richard of Londonderry, Nova Scotia, Louis was a store clerk before enlisting with the No 2 Canadian Armed Corps in Halifax on February 17, 1943 as a trooper. On October 14, 1944 he was sent to the United Kingdom, and then on March 31, 1945 to Western Europe with the 9th Armoured Regiment (BC Dragoons).
Louis was killed in action in The Netherlands during the Battle of Delfzijl Pocket on April 26, 1945, at the age of 27, and was temporarily buried in Wirdum in the province of Groningen, The Netherlands before being reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten. (For more information on this battle, see https://www.canadiansoldiers.com/history/battlehonours/northwesteurope/delfzijlpocket.htm)
Soldiers buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands
Ken Dennis submitted a photo of Percy Clayton CROMWELL, explaining that “…I am a member of the Yarmouth Branch 61 Legion…” After receiving a wish list of photos from Pieter, he noticed one name from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. “…Having been shown this email, I decided to trace his local roots…”
“…He was a labourer, then for CP out of the Halifax area and upon enlisting moved his family to Yarmouth where they grew up….” CP refers to the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Percy was born in Yarmouth on February 12, 1914, the son of James Alfred and Annie May Cromwell. He enlisted with the West Nova Scotia Regiment in Aldershot, Nova Scotia on May 14, 1940.
Percy was with the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers when he drowned in The Netherlands on February 8, 1945. He’d been on guard duty along a canal in the Dutch province of Brabant on a very dark, windy, and rainy night, and it would have been very easy to lose his bearings and accidentally fall into the canal. His body was not found until March 12, 1945. He left behind a wife, Lillian Beryl, and four children.
Kent Caldwell, a member of the Royal Canadian Legion in New Brunswick, sent an entry on Francis ‘Frank’ Lewis LIBBY from one of the annual issues of the New Brunswick Military Recognition Booklet, explaining that the photo was a copy from a newspaper clipping. The entry stated that “…Francis served with the Calgary Highlanders in England and Northwest Europe. He was killed in The Netherlands in 1945…”
Francis was born February 21, 1918 in Milltown, New Brunswick, the son of Clifford and Mary Christine Libby. Before enlisting on July 25, 1941, he worked at the Canadian Cottons Plant in Milltown. On October 4, 1941, he married Dorothy Louise Caswell. He and Dorothy had a son Francis Brian in 1944 while he was overseas in Europe, and where he transferred to the Calgary Highlanders in September 1944. Francis lost his life on January 5, 1945 after being killed along the Dutch-German border. He was temporarily buried in Nijmegen, before his reburial, on July 30, 1945, in Groesbeek.
Kent Caldwell, a member of the Royal Canadian Legion in New Brunswick, also sent an entry on Hiram Albion LORD from one of the annual issues of the New Brunswick Military Recognition Booklet, explaining that the photo was a copy from a newspaper clipping. The entry stated that “…Hiram served with the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment during the Second World War and was killed in action in 1945…”
Born November 7, 1924 in Lords Cove, Deer Island, New Brunswick, the son of Minnie Smith, Hiram was a fisherman before enlisting on November 4, 1943 and served in Canada until his arrival in the United Kingdom on July 21, 1944. On August 17, 1944 he went with his unit to Western Europe and lost his life on January 8, 1945 near Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Donna Flaherty, President of Royal Canadian Legion Branch #20 in Digby, Nova Scotia, submitted a photo of Stanley SPRAY, writing “…This picture hangs on our Memorial Wall….”
Born April 24, 1913 in Nottinghamshire, England, the son of Edgar and Edith Spray, Stanley immigrated to Canada, and settled in Digby, Nova Scotia, where he ran a small farm and worked for J. J. Wallis as a printer before his enlistment on July 6, 1940 with the 52nd Anti-Tank Battery. He was married to Alda May and the father of two daughters, Jean Carolyn and Joan Carol.
He received several promotions, and was a battery quartermaster sergeant with the Royal Canadian Artillery when WW2 ended. Stanley lost his life in a tragic vehicle accident near Nijmegen, The Netherlands on July 23, 1945, when he was catapulted out of the back of an army truck that collided with an oncoming military vehicle.
Thank you to Kent Caldwell, Ken Dennis, and Donna Flaherty for sharing photos and anecdotes. Atlantic Canadians remember their loved ones who are buried overseas. If you have a higher resolution photo of Percy Clayton Cromwell, Frank Lewis Libby, or Hiram Albion Lord, please send it in to us.
More photos and stories in Atlantic Canada Remembers – Part 8! To share photos or information, please email Pieter at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.
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