On The War Memorial Trail….. The WWII Soldier From Port Lorne Who Lost His Life During The Advance To The Apeldoorn Canal

IMG_20220913_144658413_HDR Posterenk photo from John Hetherington

Posterenk town sign. (Photo credit: John Hetherington)

October 8, 2022. When Pieter and I visited the village of Posterenk in The Netherlands in 2017, with Edwin van der Wolf, one of the research volunteers at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, we never realized that we would be telling stories about soldiers from the Carleton & York Regiment who lost their lives during the liberation of the village in April 1945!

CIMG9296 Sep 25 2017 Edwin and Pieter by Posterenk windmill

Edwin van der Wolf (left) and Pieter in Posterenk.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

….The Atlantic Canada 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.

Over the next years, two more Island soldiers were identified: Daniel Peter MACKENZIE, of Victoria Cross, and James Frank MOSSEY of Souris.

In April 2022, 8 names were commemorated in Posterenk. However, photos of two men were missing: James Frank MOSSEY and Harold Gordon SABEAN. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/04/17/on-the-war-memorial-trail-posterenk-commemorates-its-liberation-by-the-carleton-and-york-regiment/)

…The search for a photo of Harold Gordon Sabean is successful…

Family of James Frank Mossey came forward this summer, leaving one last Carleton & York soldier whose photo was missing.  A wide-reaching effort was made to uncover a photo, which was successful when Harold E. Wright of Saint John, New Brunswick, received a photo from Harold Gordon SABEAN’s niece, Pam Godsoe.

colourized_photo(12) Sabean

Harold Gordon Sabean. (Photo courtesy of Pam Godsoe. Photo colourization by Pieter Valkenburg.)

Harold was born on March 19, 1918 in Port Lorne, Nova Scotia, son of Solomon ‘Saul’ and Susan ‘Susie’ Alice (nee Hibbard) Sabean.

… After enlistment Harold was quickly sent overseas…

Before enlisting in St John, New Brunswick on March 9, 1940 with the Carleton & York Regiment, Harold was a machinist with T. McAvity & Sons (now Clow Canada) a foundry and valve casting company.  (See https://www.clowcanada.com/about-us/company-history/)

He was initially sent to Woodstock, New Brunswick and went for infantry training in Aldershot, Nova Scotia on March 19, 1940.

On May 4, 1940 he married Josephine Marie Gray at the Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church in St. John, New Brunswick.  A month later, on June 8, 1940, he left Halifax, Nova Scotia for the United Kingdom, arriving in Liverpool on June 20, 1940.

He was sent for a number of training courses while in England – Regimental Gas Instructors Course, Gunner Wing, Qualification Level Motor Transport, Camouflage Course, and Spigot Mortar Course.  He became an Instructor.

… Harold was seconded to Canada as an Instructor…

On March 19, 1943, Harold returned to Canada as an Instructor, and was attached to A-12 Canadian Infantry Training Centre (CITC). A report stated he was a good instructor and hard working.

In July 1943 he was sent to the Battle Drill School in Vernon, British Columbia for further training.

In February 1944, he was sent to No. 1 Transit Camp in Windsor, Nova Scotia prior to returning for overseas service.  A report in his Personnel Selection Record, dated February 9, 1944, recorded that Harold was “…Married- no children.  Sabean is an only child whose parents are deceased...”  It went on to note that he was “… interested in all team sports.  His hobby is wood carving. Reads mechanical magazines. Enjoys usual social pastimes….

He was assessed as being “…suitable for overseas service on operational duties…” and that he was “…mature, willing, and cooperative…

… Harold returned overseas…

On February 16, 1944, he embarked for the United Kingdom, arriving on February 25, 1944.  A month later, on March 26, 1944, he was in Italy with the Regiment.

On August 11, 1944 he left Italy and was sent to France to a Special Services unit.  In December 1944, he left France and was back in Italy on December 9, 1944.  A few days later, on December 12, 1944, he was promoted to Sergeant.

…The Carleton & York Regiment left Italy for North-West Europe…

On March 19, 1945, Harold 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.

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. The Regiment’s new objective was to liberate the village of Posterenk which was done on April 13, 1945.

Map western holland showing Posterenk

….Harold was originally buried near Posterenk….

Unfortunately, on April 15, 1945, Harold lost his life as the unit advanced to the Apeldoorn Canal in The Netherlands.  He was one of 6 soldiers initially buried along the main road to Posterenk, a village near Zutphen.

Posterenk list of 6 CYR members

The 6 soldiers buried near Posterenk.

On January 24, 1946, Harold was reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten.

sabean, harold gordon gravestone from ICB

Grave of Harold Gordon Sabean in Holten, The Netherlands.  (Photo courtesy of the Information Centre Canadian Cemetery Holten)

Thank you to Pam Godsoe, Harold E. Wright of Saint John Heritage, and Kent Caldwell of the Royal Canadian Legion in New Brunswick.  If you have a story to tell, please let Pieter know. You can email him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.

…Previous stories about soldiers commemorated in Posterenk….

…Want to follow our research?….

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/ or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog.

Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’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/

You are also invited to subscribe to our YouTube Channel: On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw.

© Daria Valkenburg

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