August 9, 2022. In 2017, Pieter and I visited the village of Posterenk in The Netherlands with Edwin van der Wolf, one of the research volunteers at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten. At the time, we never expected that we would be doing several stories about soldiers from the Carleton & York Regiment who lost their lives during the liberation of the village in April 1945.
….The Island connection to Posterenk…..
Edwin wanted us to visit the village because it had an Island connection. Frank GALLANT, son of Anthony and Eleanor Gallant of Mount Carmel, Prince Edward Island, was one of the Carleton & York soldiers who died during there on April 13, 1945 at the age of 32.
The village prepared a list of 6 soldiers to commemorate from the Carleton & York Regiment. Unfortunately, not all soldiers who died are included on this list, but Edwin worked towards making for a more inclusive list.
One soldier not on the original list of 6, Daniel Peter MACKENZIE, who was born in Victoria Cross, Prince Edward Island, son of John and Rachel MacKenzie, also died on April 13, 1945 during the liberation of Posterenk. Pieter had been able to find a family member and photo in 2015.
That made two soldiers from Prince Edward Island. In 2021, a soldier from Minto, New Brunswick, who wasn’t on the original list, was identified: Goldwin Marven POLLICK.
In April 2022, 8 names were commemorated in Posterenk. However, photos of two men were missing. To our surprise, one was from Prince Edward Island, making for a third Island soldier. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/04/17/on-the-war-memorial-trail-posterenk-commemorates-its-liberation-by-the-carleton-and-york-regiment/)
…The search began for a photo of James ‘Frank’ Mossey….
Pieter immediately began researching James ‘Frank’ MOSSEY, born on April 20, 1919 in Souris, Prince Edward Island, son of William and Mary (nee McMillan) Mossey.
… Frank Mossey’s niece contacts Pieter….
A few days after the article was published in the Eastern Graphic, Glynne Squires contacted Pieter, explaining that “…My Mother is Margaret (deceased) – a sister of Frank. The members of Frank’s family are small. A few cousins, myself, Karen Sereda, and Marilyn Jones – nieces of Frank’s. Thank you for the work you are doing to keep the memory alive of these brave young men….” And Glynne had a picture to share…
When he enlisted in Charlottetown on July 10, 1940 with the PEI Highlanders, Frank was working as a meter reader for the Town of Souris. He had also worked with his father who had been the town electrical inspector.
… Frank was sent to Newfoundland….
He was sent to Halifax with the PEI Highlanders, and then in 1941 the Regiment went to Newfoundland. An RCAF base in Botwood had aircraft patrolling the east coast of the Atlantic. Canadian Army personnel based at Botwood were charged with protection of military facilities that had been installed there, as well as in Gander. (See https://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/politics/botwood-base.php)
On November 7, 1941 Frank was attached to the No. 6 District Depot, the default unit for troops in the area that weren’t members of another unit. Military District 6 comprised Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, with headquarters in Halifax. However, he remained in Newfoundland.
… Frank was anxious to go overseas….
An April 29, 1943 interviewer recorded in his Personnel Selection Record that Frank was “…now a section commander in ‘A’ company….” and that he “… gets along well with his men…”
The report went on to say that Frank “…expresses himself well; has a decisive but attractive manner…” It also noted that he “… likes the army and is very anxious to get overseas….”
Frank was soon to get his wish. He was transferred to the No. 1 Transit Camp in Windsor, Nova Scotia on June 2, 1943, and just over a week later he was on his way to the United Kingdom, arriving there on June 18, 1943, part of the Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit (CIRU).
… In December 1943 Frank joined the Carleton & York Regiment in Italy…
On December 12, 1943 he was transferred to the Carleton & York Regiment, joining the Regiment in Ortona, Italy, part of the reinforcement of troops following the battles in Sicily.
On March 19, 1945, he and his Regiment left Italy for North-West Europe as part of Operation Goldflake, arriving in Marseilles, France on March 21, 1945. Operation Goldflake was the codename for moving troops from Italy to North-West Europe. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Goldflake)
From France, troops were moved up to the Belgian front, into The Netherlands, through the Reichswald Forest in Germany, and then back into The Netherlands, arriving near Zutphen on April 10, 1945.
…The Liberation of Posterenk…
According to the April 12, 1945 war diary entry of the Carleton & York Regiment, they “…moved across the Ijssel River at 14:30 hours….” to relieve the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada.
On April 13, 1945, the war diary entry noted that “…‘D’ Company’s objective is Posterenk…” The Regiment didn’t expect much opposition, but they “… met with stiff resistance just after starting at 11:25 hrs…”
With the help of a tank troop, they were able to move forward. According to the war diary entry, “…at 13:37 hrs ‘D’ Company reported that POSTERENK was clear of the enemy, having had one officer killed (Lt. R.B. Savage) and two other ranks wounded but a total of 50 POWs. ‘D’ Company were ordered to push on up the road which they did at once and came under enemy fire…”
In the evening ‘B’ Company moved forward and encountered “…considerable enemy resistance…” Very late into the night and into April 14, 1945, “…during ‘B’ Company’s attack they have eight wounded and one killed, Lt. W.E. Brousseau being one of those wounded…”
The war diary entry noted that in the middle of the night – into April 14, 1945 – “…‘B’ Company’s patrol met stiff opposition…”
It’s not clear exactly what happened to Frank. The service file only notes that he was killed in action on April 14, 1945 near Posterenk. He was 25 years old.
….Frank was originally buried near Posterenk….
Frank was temporarily buried near the crossing next to the windmill in Posterenk.
On January 24, 1946 Frank was reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands.
After the war ended, Frank’s family was informed that he was twice mentioned in despatches “…in recognition of gallant and distinguished services…” and they subsequently received a certificate from King George VI.
….Mossey Island in northern Canada named in his honour…..
A 2010 email from Blair Neatby in Yellowknife to Greg Gallant of the PEI Regimental Museum noted that Mossey Island, located on Faber Lake in the Northwest Territories, in northern Canada, was named in his honour on October 12, 1952. (Location coordinates: Latitude 63.93374° or 63° 56′ 2″ north, Longitude -117.15295° or 117° 9′ 11″ west, Elevation 213 metres or 699 feet.)
Thank you to Glynne and Bob Squires for sharing photos and information about Frank Mossey, and to Charlotte MacAulay of the Eastern Graphic for writing about the photo search. If you have a story to tell, please let Pieter know. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.
…Previous stories about soldiers commemorated in Posterenk….
- Daniel Peter MACKENZIE in https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2018/01/20/on-the-war-memorial-trail-at-holten-canadian-war-cemetery/
- Goldwin Marven POLLICK in https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/01/07/on-the-war-memorial-trail-atlantic-canada-remembers-part-1/
- Samuel Glazier PORTER in https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/11/28/on-the-war-memorial-trail-atlantic-canada-remembers-part-11/
- Frederick Joseph TAIT in https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/03/16/on-the-war-memorial-trail-atlantic-canada-remembers-part-8/
…Want to follow our research?….
Daria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats. For more information see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/
Upcoming Author Talk: Thursday, August 11, 2022 – Victoria-By-The-Sea, Prince Edward Island, part of the ‘Our Island Talks’ series, and hosted by Victoria Playhouse and Victoria Historical Association. Time: 2:00 pm.
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© Daria Valkenburg