December 24, 2021. We’re nearing the end of another challenging and socially distanced year of Covid, but are thankful to have had our three Covid vaccine shots.
Covid or not, we have been very busily working at home. In spite of travel restrictions and social distancing, we nevertheless managed to do a lot, with the help of media, and families stepping forward with photos. This seems a good time to reflect on what happened in 2021 with this research project.
…Pieter Awarded Sovereign’s Medal For Volunteers….
On April 30, 2021, Pieter Valkenburg was presented with the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal For Volunteers, awarded in January 2020, for his ongoing research to uncover the stories and photos of those who served in WW1 and WW2, and sharing his research findings with the public. The insignia was presented to him by the Hon. Catherine Callbeck, CM, OPEI, LLD, on behalf of the Administrator for Canada, via a virtual ceremony. (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/recognition/)
…. WW2 Soldiers Listed On The Cenotaph Outside Borden-Carleton Legion …….
This year we told the story of 1 WW2 serviceman listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion, and we added more information on a WW1 soldier whose story had previously been told:
- Arthur Clinton ROBINSON
- Arnold Dudley TAYLOR
… WW1 Related Stories….
- We told the story of trying to solve the mystery of a WW1 German ‘letter’ found amongst the possessions of Earle DAVISON, which turned out to be an anti-war song dating back to the 19th
- We shared more observations that WW1 soldier Harold Keith HOWATT made in the post WW1 period when he was waiting to be demobilized. 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.
… WW2 Related Stories….
- We shared a story about a research into the soldiers who died in Wommelgem, Belgium in the fall of 1944.
- We shared our experience at the Woudenberg General Cemetery in The Netherlands, to visit the grave of WW2 pilot Leonard Arthur UNWIN, who had been a flying instructor at the 9 Service Flying Training School RCAF in Summerside.
- We shared a story about the photo tributes by the graves of soldiers at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands, during the first two weeks of May.
- We shared the story of how five Canadian soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment drowned in a tragic accident in the Battle of Leer in Germany on April 28, 1945, one of the final actions to end WW2 in Europe. All 5 soldiers are buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands.
- We shared a story from Willy van Ee of The Netherlands, whose father was Indigenous soldier Walter MEKAJI, who let us know that 7 Indigenous soldiers are buried in Adegem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium.
- After reading about the 7 Indigenous soldiers buried in Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, Edwin van der Wolf reported that he and his son have adopted the graves of 2 Canadian Scottish Regiment soldiers. We shared his account and learned about the grave adoption program in Belgium.
- We shared the story of the search for a photo of Allan ‘Gordon’ COUTTS, who lost his life in Germany and is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands.
- We shared the story of the successful request for a headstone from the Last Post Fund for WW2 veteran Alexander McGregor DEANS, who died in 2010 and is buried at the Tryon People’s Cemetery in Prince Edward Island.
- We shared the link for a video ‘The Last Flight Of Halifax L9561’ made by Barry and Terry Hunt, sons of the crew’s wireless operator, William Herbert HUNT. Shot down over The Netherlands on October 12, 1941, Canadian pilot Elmer Bagnall MUTTART managed to save his crew and steer the burning plane away from the Dutch village of Wons before losing his own life. Two previous videos made by us about this event were made in 2019 and 2020.
We were able to tell the stories of the service by several WW2 Indigenous soldiers, after an APTN article was published.
- WW2 Indigenous soldier Thomas Beresford BIG CANOE from Ontario, who was killed in Germany.
- WW2 Indigenous soldier William ‘Willie’ DANIELS from Saskatchewan, who was killed in The Netherlands.
- WW2 Indigenous soldier Alfred Louis PITAWANAKWAT (PITWANAKWAT) from Ontario, who was killed in Germany.
- WW2 Indigenous soldier Eli Ambrose SNAKE from Ontario, who was killed in The Netherlands.
- WW2 Indigenous soldier Leo Francis TONEY from Nova Scotia, who was killed in The Netherlands.
…. Stories About Servicemen From The Maritimes…
We also featured stories about servicemen from The Maritimes:
- WW2 soldier Alderic BASQUE, from New Brunswick, who was killed in Germany.
- WW2 soldier Joseph ‘Ambroise’ COMEAU, from Nova Scotia, one of the 5 soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment who drowned in a tragic accident in the Battle of Leer in Germany on April 28, 1945.
- WW2 soldier Gerald Burnell COOLEN, from Nova Scotia, who was killed in Germany during the Battle of Hochwald Gap.
- WW2 airman Robert ‘Bob’ James DICKIE, from Prince Edward Island, who lost his life when Lancaster Flight JB312 crashed on the runway as it returned to England from Germany.
- WW1 soldier Maynard FOY from Prince Edward Island, who served with the 26th Overseas (New Brunswick) Battalion, and was injured in France during the Battle of Amiens.
- WW2 soldier Armand GIONET from New Brunswick, who was killed in The Netherlands.
- WW2 soldier Gordon Frederick JOHNSON from Nova Scotia, who was killed in The Netherlands.
- WW2 mariner William (Bill) Arnold JOHNSTON from Prince Edward Island, but was born in New Brunswick, who was killed when HMS Itchen, the ship he was serving on, was torpedoed in the Atlantic Ocean.
- WW2 soldier Gilles LANTEIGNE from New Brunswick, who was killed in Germany.
- WW1 soldier Heath Ward MACQUARRIE from Prince Edward Island, who was killed in France.
- WW2 pilot Lorne MACFARLANE from Prince Edward Island, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force and flew 40 missions and survived the war.
- WW2 soldier George Edward MAHAR from New Brunswick, who was killed in The Netherlands.
- WW2 soldier Lewis Wilkieson MARSH, from Nova Scotia, one of the 5 soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment who drowned in a tragic accident in the Battle of Leer in Germany on April 28, 1945.
- WW2 soldier Ruel Kitchener MATHESON, from Prince Edward Island, one of the 5 soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment who drowned in a tragic accident in the Battle of Leer in Germany on April 28, 1945.
- WW2 soldier Lloyd William MURRAY, from Nova Scotia, one of the 5 soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment who drowned in a tragic accident in the Battle of Leer in Germany on April 28, 1945.
- WW2 soldier Norman James NIXON from New Brunswick, who was killed in The Netherlands during the Battle of the Delfzijl Pocket.
- WW2 soldier Samuel Glazier PORTER from New Brunswick, who was killed in The Netherlands.
- WW2 soldier Alphonse ROBERT from New Brunswick, who was killed in The Netherlands when a grenade exploded.
- WW2 soldier John ‘Clifford’ ROGERS from Prince Edward Island, who was killed in Germany in the Balberger Wald on March 3, 1945.
- WW2 soldier Gordon James ROGERSON from Prince Edward Island, who served with the West Nova Scotia Regiment and was injured in Italy.
- WW2 Chaplain William ‘Alfred’ SEAMAN from Prince Edward Island, who was killed in France during the Battle of Caen.
- WW2 soldier Charles ‘Charlie’ Borden TUPLIN from Prince Edward Island, who served with the Black Watch and was fatally wounded in The Netherlands.
- WW2 soldier Ronald Sidney WATERHOUSE from Nova Scotia, who lost his life in The Netherlands during the Battle of the Scheldt.
…. Stories About Servicemen From Outside The Maritimes…
- WW2 soldier Edmond COULOMBE, from Manitoba, who was killed in The Netherlands when a grenade exploded.
- WW2 soldier Howard Milo NICHOLLS, from Ontario, one of the 5 soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment who drowned in a tragic accident in the Battle of Leer in Germany on April 28, 1945.
…In Conversation And More….
Not everyone we wrote about this year served in WW1 or WW2!
- We interviewed RCAF pilot Captain Scott NANTES of Prince Edward Island, who is in active service.
- We enjoyed a fascinating conversation with Dr Tim Cook, Director of Research at the Canadian War Museum on the importance of remembrance.
- We wrote about a very special luncheon hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea for PEI Korean War Veterans, as a thank you for their service.
- We did a 3 part series of postings on the childhood recollections of the Korean War by Korean-born Charlie CHOI, whose family had a harrowing and dangerous journey to safety once the war began.
- We reported on the research done to ensure that WW2 veteran Alexander McGregor DEANS received a headstone at his grave in the Tryon People’s Cemetery on Prince Edward Island.
- We reported on how volunteers at the Borden-Carleton Legion in Prince Edward Island honour deceased veterans by placing flags at the graves and monuments in the area served by the Legion.
- We described the Cenotaph Wall Of Remembrance at the Borden-Carleton Legion on Prince Edward Island, the last phase of the Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project. All that is missing are some photos out of the 48 soldiers listed on the Cenotaph, and whose stories have been researched and told over the past years.
…. Interviews To Highlight Search For Photos….
Pieter did several interviews in his quest for photos for:
- WW2 soldier John Clifford ROGERS, who is buried in The Netherlands in a radio interview on CBC Mainstreet PEI. (Listen at https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-130-mainstreet-pei/clip/15819180-pieter-valkenburg-searching-john-clifford-rogers-information) This search was subsequently successful.
- WW2 soldiers buried in The Netherlands on CTV Atlantic’s Live At 5. The response was so heartening that it prompted a series on our research blog entitled Atlantic Canada Remembers. (See https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/dutch-canadian-man-on-a-mission-to-tell-stories-of-lost-soldiers-1.5266404)
- WW2 First Nations soldiers William DANIELS and Stanley Owen JONES, who are buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands, in an interview with Brett Forester of APTN news. The response led to a series on our research blog entitled First Nations Remember. (See https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/dutch-born-p-e-i-man-on-a-mission-to-find-photos-of-first-nations-soldiers-killed-overseas-in-wwii/) This search was successful.
- WW2 soldier Allan Gordon COUTTS, who is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands, in an interview with Galen Hartviksen of CKFM radio in Olds, Alberta. (See https://ckfm.ca/2021/08/09/11202/) This search was successful.
- WW2 soldier Edmond COULOMBE, who is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands in an interview with Kevin Rollason of the Winnipeg Free Press. (See https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/hunting-for-photo-to-honour-manitoban-575687592.html) This search was very successful and resulted in a follow-up article a few days later. (See https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/photo-found-to-honour-manitoba-war-casualty-575714042.html)
- A follow-up interview on WW2 soldiers buried in The Netherlands ran on CTV Atlantic’s Live At 5 during Remembrance Week, prompting many more responses. Pieter’s research work is cut out for him for the next few months! (See https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2318376&jwsource=em)
- In July, Pieter was interviewed by Sharon Adams of Legion Magazine, as part of an article on the Faces To Graves project in The Netherlands. This article was published in the November/December 2021 issue in an article entitled Online Monument. See https://legionmagazine.com/en/2021/11/online-monument/)
…. Letters To The Editor For Photo Searches….
Letters to the editor in various newspapers were written in the quest for a photo for:
- WW2 soldier Gordon Frederick JOHNSON, who is buried in The Netherlands. On June 24, 2021, Pieter’s letter to the editor was published in the Truro News. This search was successful.
- WW2 soldier Alexander James MILLER, who is buried in The Netherlands. On October 29, 2021, Pieter’s letter to the editor was published in the High River Times. This was at the request of Edwin van der Wolf, who wanted the family to know about a planned memorial plaque being placed in April 2022 in The Netherlands. This search was successful.
- WW1 soldier Joseph Arthur DESROCHES, who is buried in Ligny-St-Flochel British Cemetery in Averdoingt, France. On November 9, 2021 Pieter’s letter to the editor was published in The Guardian. This is not the first time that a media request has been made in the search for family and a photo. Up to now the search remains unsuccessful.
… Successful Search For Photos …..
Many WW2 soldiers are buried in cemeteries in Europe. After an appeal by Pieter on CTV’s Atlantic Live At Five in early January for photos and information, photos and information came in for WW2 soldiers buried in The Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Italy. Their stories were featured on the blog either as separate postings or in a series entitled Atlantic Canada Remembers. No one was forgotten, and photos of soldiers buried in Dutch cemeteries were forwarded to researchers there for their digital archive. Photos were found for:
Buried in Holten Canadian War Cemetery in The Netherlands:
- James Grant ANNINGSON
- Howard W. ARMSTRONG
- Alderic BASQUE
- John Angus BEATON
- William Herbert “Billy’ BELLAMY
- William Harold BROOME
- Robert Theodore COLE
- Melvin COLLINS
- Alexis D. DAIGLE
- Allan Gordon COUTTS
- William ‘Willie’ DANIELS
- Nelson DESROCHES
- Francis ‘Frank’ Ivan DOUGAN
- Joseph ‘Gerald’ FOUGERE
- George Albert FRYDAY
- Armand GIONET
- Ernest Robert HAYNES
- Percy Dexter HIGGINS
- Gordon ‘Gordie’ Frederick JOHNSON
- Stanley Owen JONES
- Douglas JURY
- James Gordon KING
- Philip LAFORTE
- Donald Charles MACKENZIE
- George Edward MAHAR
- Mathieu MICHAUD
- John ‘James’ MURRAY
- Daniel PEARO
- Goldwin Marven POLLICK
- Richard Joseph RANEY
- Louis Graham RICHARD
- Brenton Leroy RINGER
- Ford Hilton SPIDLE
- Frederick Joseph TAIT
- Leo Francis TONEY
- Charles ‘Charlie’ Borden TUPLIN
- Frederick Christian VAN IDOUR
Buried in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in The Netherlands:
- Thomas Beresford BIG CANOE
- Gerald Burnell COOLEN
- Edmond COULOMBE
- Percy Clayton CROMWELL
- Harry William DOUCETTE
- Arnold F. HUPMAN
- Gilles LANTEIGNE
- Francis ‘Frank’ Lewis LIBBY
- Hiram Albion LORD
- Barney Reuben MCGUIGAN
- Elbridge Wellington MILLER
- Robert (Bobby) Alan NICKERSON
- Alfred Louis PITAWANAKWAT (PITWANAKWAT)
- Burgess Allison PORTER
- Alphonse ROBERT
- John ‘Clifford’ ROGERS
- Eli Ambrose SNAKE
- Stanley SPRAY
- William Francis STEWART
- Benjamin James WITHERALL
Buried in Bergen Op Zoom Canadian War Cemetery in The Netherlands:
- Austin Ephraim BOUTILIER
- Gordon Thomas BREWER
- Dennis HOARE
- Gregory Philip Anthony MCCARTHY
- Clayton Wilfred SHANNON
- Russell Richard SOBLE
- Arnold Ernest “Ernie” THORNTON
Buried in Adegem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium:
- Bruce W. CHURCHILL
- Alexander Fraser MACDONALD
- Edison Reynolds SMITH
- Arthur Brambel ‘Jack’ TAYLOR
Buried in Montecchio War Cemetery in Italy:
- Felix GAUDET
Buried in Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in France:
- William ‘Alfred’ SEAMAN
… The Search For Photos On YouTube….
2020 began with a documentary that was posted on YouTube, and ended with a dedicated YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw
In 2021 the following videos were posted on the channel:
- S2E1 Remembering Lt Norman Nixon
- S2E2 Photo Search – WW2 Soldier Frank McGuigan
- S2E3 Photo Search – WW1 Soldier James Cairns
- S2E4 Photo Search – WW2 Soldier John Clifford Rogers
- S2E5 Thank You Atlantic Canada
- S2E6 Photo Search – WW1 Soldier James Lymon Cameron
- S2E7 Photo Search – WW1 Soldier Leigh Hunt Cameron
- S2E8 Photo Search – WW2 Soldier Gordon Frederick Johnson
- S3E1 In Remembrance
Thank you for your support and encouragement of this research project!
As 2021 comes to an end, we would like to thank all who helped with researching these stories and contributed 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.
Thank you to the media who helped publicize the search for photos and information – APTN, CTV Live At 5’s Atlantic, CBC Radio’s Mainstreet PEI, CKFM Radio, Truro News, High River Times, The Guardian, and Winnipeg Free Press.
Last, but not least, the YouTube videos and channel would not be possible without the invaluable support of post-production editor Wendy Nattress.
Pieter and I wish you all the best for the holidays and in 2022. May we never forget those who gave their lives for their freedom.
Pieter’s research work continues. If you have photos or information to share, please email Pieter at email@example.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.
© Daria Valkenburg
6 thoughts on “Happy Holidays From The Valkenburgs!”
Merry Christmas to both of you from both of us and Hopefully a better New Year. Hope we can meet in 2022.
George and Gerry Z
Happy holiday to you both! Hopefully we will be able to meet up in 2022!
Pieter and Daria
Merry Christmas to you both,and blessings in the New Year. Congratulations,Pieter on your well deserved award. Burnie
I see you have My uncle Lewis Wilkinson Marsh, as drowned. It was believed in the first telegram. Second reads killed in action. Thank you for all you do. 🌲❄️🙏🙏
Sent from my iPad
Thank you for your kind words Burnie. Your uncle drowned while he was on a mission. ‘Killed in action’ was the standard phrase given when a soldier died while on duty. Best wishes for the New Year!
Pieter and Daria
What an astonishing trove of treasures. Congratulations and Merry Christmas 🎄 Pam and Roger
Pam Alexander 07718 256795
Happy holidays to you both! More stories coming up for 2022!
Pieter and Daria