April 15, 2021. More of the photos submitted by Atlantic Canadians of soldiers buried overseas are featured in Part 9. Pieter is ensuring that every email is acknowledged, and that the photos of soldiers buried in The Netherlands are forwarded to the appropriate cemetery for their digital archives.
Soldiers buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands
After being contacted by Marc Comeau, President of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 45 in Tracadie, New Brunswick, Gilberte Manuel submitted a photo of Alexis D. DAIGLE on behalf of “…Alfrida Richard, the niece of Alexis Daigle of Pointe-Sapin….”
Born March 2, 1920 in Lower Spain, New Brunswick, the son of Dominique Daigle and Exelda Mazerolle, Alexis was a fisherman before enlisting in Fredericton on August 28, 1941. After completing basic training, he was attached to the Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre in Montmagny, Quebec on a Home War Established (HWE) basis as an engineer’s helper.
His service file noted that he was a “…jack of all trades…” and could speak both French and English. He was described as a “…quiet and non-talkative single young man of above average intelligence...”
In January 1945 he arrived in the United Kingdom and assigned to the Canadian Infantry Training Regiment (CITR). A month later, on February 24, 1945, he was sent to continental Europe, and on March 1, 1945 transferred to Le Régiment de la Chaudière.
On April 6, 1945, while serving with Le Régiment de la Chaudière in The Netherlands, Alexis was killed in action (‘mort au champ d’honneur‘) near Zutphen, during the Battle of Zutphen. (For more information on this battle, see https://www.canadiansoldiers.com/history/battlehonours/northwesteurope/zutphen.htm)
According to the Regiment’s war diary for April 1945, the Battalion had “…proceeded on foot to a concentrated area just past Almen, approximately 3 miles short of Zutphen…..” where they rested until the start of an operation which began “…on the night 5-6 April…”
The attack started at 4:30 am. “… Only slight opposition was encountered up to the outskirts of the town of Zutphen. The objective was C and D companies to seize the ground in between the main highway leading to town and the first row of houses….”
Alexis was in D Company and it’s likely that he lost his life in what happened next. “…. Between the starting line and the objective there was a canal on which both leading companies were stopped for almost two hours. First opposition was then encountered from well-sited snipers, machine gun nests, and bazookas...”
Alexis was one of 4 soldiers in the Regiment killed in that operation. The others were:
- V. PARE (D Company)
- S. BOUCHARD (D Company)
- E. PARADIS (C Company)
Alexis was temporarily buried in Almen, and later reburied in in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten.
Patrick Côté of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 21 in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, submitted a photo of Mathieu MICHAUD. Born November 11, 1921 in Drummond, New Brunswick, he was the son of Achille Michaud and Fébronie Laforest.
Patrick provided a translated excerpt from a book, ‘Military Heritage – The Greater Grand Falls Region’, by Jean-Guy Plourde, which explained that “….wanting to emulate his older brother Laurent, he enrolled in the army on December 3, 1942, and received training in Fredericton. From March 10 to July 24, 1943, he was in Valcartier, Quebec before becoming a gunner. The authorities assigned him to Goose Bay, Labrador from August 1, 1943 to June 30, 1944. From November 30, 1944, he made a two week stay in Sorel, Quebec before embarking for the great adventure. On January 10, 1945, he made the crossing to the United Kingdom where he was stationed until March 1, 1945….”
In the UK he was assigned to the Canadian Infantry Training Regiment (CITR). On March 2, 1945 he left for Northwest Europe, and then transferred to Le Régiment De La Chaudière on March 21, 1945.
He was killed in action (‘mort au champ d’honneur‘) in The Netherlands while part of the Regiment’s Company C and died on April 8, 1945. According to the Regiment’s war diary, the Battle of Zutphen had ended on April 7 but continued to encounter sniper fire. Mathieu was one of two soldiers from Company C that died that day. The other soldier was H. A. MARCHAND.
Like Alexis Daigle, Mathieu was temporarily buried in Almen, before being reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten.
Soldiers buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands
Wilmot Tompkins submitted a photo, explaining that “…This is Elbridge Wellington Miller, my great-uncle, buried in Groesbeek. My wife found your interview and your blog while searching for the place my great-uncle lost his life…” Wilmot had seen a list of 28 men listed as having lost their lives in Keppeln, in a posting about a video plea for a photo of Frank McGovern. (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2020/12/09/the-search-for-a-photo-of-frank-edward-mcgovern-moves-to-youtube/)
Elbridge Wellington MILLER was born in Deerville, New Brunswick, the son of David W and Elizabeth Miller, and was a labourer before enlisting on December 3, 1942 in Fredericton. By April 4, 1943 he was in the United Kingdom. On August 19, 1943 he was transferred to the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment.
Serving with the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, he landed in France on D-Day (June 6, 1944) and was wounded by shrapnel in the left thigh and right ankle during the Battle of the Scheldt on October 13, 1944, resulting in a recovery period in England before rejoining his unit a month later.
He lost his life on February 26, 1945 in Germany during the Battle of Keppeln, during Operation Blockbuster, the last part of Operation Veritable. (For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Blockbuster and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Veritable)
Eldridge was one of 28 men killed in action that day, as was explained in the posting about Frank McGovern. Another of these soldiers was Barney McGuigan. (For his story, please see https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2020/08/07/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-search-for-barney-reuben-mcguigan/)
Like Frank McGovern and Barney McGuigan, Eldridge was temporarily buried in the Bedburg Military Cemetery, and then later reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek.
Armel ‘Mel’ Lanteigne, President of the Caraquet branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, submitted a photo of Alphonse ROBERT on behalf of the Robert family. Alphonse came from a family of “…9 children…” Mel wrote, “…one died at an early age. His father Amédée was a veteran of WW1 and after returning to Caraquet, his job was lighthouse keeper on Caraquet’s island, where he lived with his family….”
Born October 23, 1923 in Caraquet, Alphonse was the son of Amédée and Alma Robert, and was a fisherman before enlisting on August 23, 1943.
In January 1945 he was in the United Kingdom, assigned to the Canadian Infantry Training Regiment (CITR). On March 28, 1945 he was transferred to North West Europe and was serving with Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal when he lost his life on March 30, 1945 in Germany.
Alphonse was temporarily buried in Germany, and later reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek. NOTE: For an update to this story, please see: https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2021/10/12/on-the-war-memorial-trail-an-update-on-the-story-of-ww2-soldier-alphonse-robert/
Thank you to Marc Comeau, Patrick Côté, Armel ‘Mel’ Lanteigne, Gilberte Manuel, Alfrida Richard, and Wilmot Tompkins for sharing photos and anecdotes. Atlantic Canadians remember their loved ones who are buried overseas.
More photos and stories in Atlantic Canada Remembers – Part 10! To share photos or information, please email Pieter at email@example.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.
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