May 17, 2021. When we visited the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten in October 2019, we laid flags down at the graves of five soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders who drowned in a tragic accident in Germany on April 28, 1945.
Recap: In Part 1, the 5 soldiers were identified and the circumstances leading up to the accident were summarized. In Part 2, more information on the accident was discussed, as well as a brief story on Lloyd William Murray, one of the 5 soldiers. The rest of this series features the other North Nova Scotia Highlanders who lost their lives that day.
In October 2018, while we were in Nova Scotia, we were able to meet two nieces of Joseph Ambroise COMEAU, the only family members of the 5 soldiers we were able to meet in person – up to now.
Simone, Jacqueline, and their two sisters are diligent in remembering their uncle.
…. Joseph ‘Ambroise’ Comeau Remembered….
Niece Simone Comeau wrote a brief overview of her ‘oncle Ambroise’. “… Private Joseph Ambroise Comeau was born on October 1, 1923 in Lower Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, Canada, the fourth of six children to Gustave and Jessie (Saulnier) Comeau.
Ambroise was baptized on October 4, 1923 in Sacred Heart, Saulnierville, the local parish church. He also made his first confession, first Communion, and confirmation, all sacraments of the Roman Catholic faith in this church.
According to records, he had little schooling. Being from a poor family, his farmer/blacksmith father had no financial means to send him to the private local boys’ college. At the time of his draft he was employed as a carpenter for Clare Shipbuilding Company.
One has to wonder as to whether he had a premonition regarding the probability of his not returning to Canada as a veteran, since he was most reluctant to leave, according to the family of his then three old goddaughter, to whom he had brought a gift on his good-bye visit.
Sadly, Private J. Ambroise Comeau (F.602531) of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders was killed on April 28, 1945, a victim of World War II. On June 3, 1945, a memorial was held in Sacred Heart Church where he had practised his faith until his departure for the war. Being ever faithful to his beliefs, at the time of his death he carried a religious medal and a rosary on his person….”
Ambroise, who was fluent in both English and French, enlisted on April 28, 1944 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and lost his life exactly a year later. As part of the Canadian Infantry Training Regiment (CITR) he arrived in the United Kingdom on January 10, 1945. He was temporarily assigned to the St John Fusiliers, before being reassigned to the CITR. On March 28, 1945 he arrived in North West Europe as part of the IGU (Infantry General Unit) before being transferred to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders on April 19, 1945.
According to his service file, on May 19, 1945 Ambroise was buried on top of a dike in Leer, Germany before being reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten.
…. to be continued…..
In Part 4 we learn about more of the North Novies who lost their lives. Thank you to Simone and Jacqueline Comeau for sharing photos and information about their uncle.
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© Daria Valkenburg