Happy Holidays From The Valkenburgs!

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December 24, 2022.  It’s hard to believe how quickly 2022 has raced by.  It seems like only yesterday that Pieter was preparing his research plan for the year, and I was working on the final chapters of a book. 

It’s been a busy year.  Several long-standing searches for photos were successful, meaning Pieter could complete his files for those soldiers.  New research files were added, such as the request to find photos and family for 4 soldiers of Ukrainian descent, and Pieter was able to finish his research for many of the unfinished files from 2021.  There is a lag between him completing his work and me getting a chance to document his research, but that is on my ‘to do’ list for this winter.

While we didn’t get to travel as much as we had hoped, we were able to meet several families, which we very much appreciated.  We were able to able much with the help of media, and the many families that came forward to share photos and information.  What follows in the rest of this posting is a summary of what happened in 2022 with this research project.

…Book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’….

In February 2022 a book Daria wrote about our 2017 war memorial tour in Europe through 4 countries was published, and is available in print and e-book formats.  See www.nosoldierforgotten.com for more information.

OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEurope_Barcode

…Pieter Honoured With PEI Senior Islander of the Year Award….

On October 21, 2022, Pieter Valkenburg received the PEI Senior Islander of the Year Award, 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 certificate was presented by the Hon. Matthew Mackay, Minister for the Department of Social Development and Housing, and Audrey Morris, Chairperson, PEI Seniors Secretariat, in a ceremony at the Loyalist Inn in Summerside.   (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/10/23/pieter-receives-pei-senior-islander-of-the-year-award/)

…. Soldiers Listed On The Cenotaph Outside Borden-Carleton Legion …….

This year we added more information on soldiers whose stories had previously been told:

  • After a 7 year search we received a photo for WWI soldier James CAIRNS of Kinkora, Prince Edward Island, who died during the Battle of Amiens and is buried in France.
  • After another 7 year search we received a photo for WWII soldier Leonard Stephen AVERY of Bedeque, Prince Edward Island, who died after he was accidentally shot through the head while examining a rifle. He’s buried on Prince Edward Island.

 … WW1 Related Stories….

  • We explained what a Field Post Card was and shared more observations from WW1 soldier Harold Keith HOWATT, giving a comparison of what went into the Field Post Card and what he actually experienced that didn’t go into the card.
  • We shared the story of how a photo of WW1 soldier Lloyd Clifford SHORTLIFF of Barton, Nova Scotia, whose named is inscribed on the Vimy Memorial in France, was saved when a Legion member bought it at an auction. A Legion in Nova Scotia will be taking possession of this picture.

 … WW2 Related Stories….

  • We shared a story about the 2021 candle lighting at graves of Canadian soldiers in The Netherlands.
  • We shared on update on a 2020 posting about Ralph Gordon MCCUTCHEON, a WW2 flight student at the No. 9 Service Flying Training School RCAF in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, who died in a plane crash in North Tryon, Prince Edward Island.
  • We shared a visit that Pieter made to Coffeen Nature Preserve in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, site of a WW2 era JB-2 missile launching test site. The JB-2 flying robot bombs were the American version of the German V1 flying bombs.
  • We shared a story about the 2022 commemoration of 8 Carleton and York Regiment soldiers who lost their lives during the liberation of the village of Posterenk in The Netherlands on April 13, 1945.
  • We shared a story about the May 6, 2022 unveiling of the Monument in Gendringen, The Netherlands to commemorate those who lost their lives, including 41 Canadian soldiers and airmen.
  • We shared the story of the successful outcome of a photo search for WW2 soldier Allan ‘Gordon’ COUTTS of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, who is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands.
  • We shared a story of the tribute to 27 Ukrainian-Canadian soldiers at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands.
  • We shared a story about the search for WW2 soldier Wilfred GIROUX who was in Gilze Rijen, The Netherlands in December 1944 and befriended a Dutch couple, and whose daughter wished to repatriate a photo and two Christmas cards to the Giroux family.
  • We shared the heart-warming story about how WWI soldier Frank PEARCE and his friends made Christmas 1944 in England memorable for the Pearce family.

…Indigenous Soldiers….

We were able to tell the stories of the service by these WW2 Indigenous soldiers:

  • WW2 Indigenous soldier Philip LAFORTE from Manitoba, who was killed in The Netherlands.
  • WW2 Indigenous soldier John ‘Jack’ Richard MARACLE from Ontario, who was killed in Germany.
  • WW2 Indigenous soldier Stanley Owen JONES from British Columbia, who drowned on September 8, 1945 in Germany when the carrier he was in overturned in a ditch.

…. Stories About Servicemen From The Maritimes…

We also featured stories about servicemen from The Maritimes:

  • WW1 soldier Theodore (Ted) Francis ARSENAULT from Prince Edward Island, who lost his life during the Battle of Amiens in France.
  • WW2 soldier Bruce Wilbur CHURCHILL from Nova Scotia, who was accidentally killed in The Netherlands when a bullet from a Bren Gun ricocheted and hit him.
  • WW2 airman Rowan Charles ‘Bunky’ FITZGERALD from Prince Edward Island, who was on the last flight of Halifax W1175 of the 405th Squadron when it was hit by shellfire and crashed onto a sandbank in the Wadden Sea off the Dutch coast.
  • WW2 soldier Carman Edward GILLCASH from Prince Edward Island, who lost his life during the Battle of the Delfzijl Pocket in The Netherlands.
  • WW1 soldier George Stanley HENNESSEY from Prince Edward Island, who was in the 1st Canadian Engineers Battalion and survived the war.
  • WW1 soldier Chesley William HOWATT from Prince Edward Island, who was in the 50th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, and survived the war.
  • WW2 soldier Richard Lea HOWATT from Prince Edward Island, who was a despatch rider and scout and survived the war.
  • WW1 soldier John David MACDONALD from Prince Edward Island, who was in the 26th Battalion (New Brunswick Regiment) and survived the war.
  • WW2 soldier Donald Charles MACKENZIE, from Nova Scotia, who was killed in The Netherlands.
  • WW2 soldier George ‘Ivan’ MACKINNON, from Prince Edward Island, who was killed in The Netherlands during the defence of the Nijmegen Salient.
  • WW2 soldier Michael Joseph ‘Joe’ MCKENNA, from Prince Edward Island, who was killed in The Netherlands during the Battle of Rha.
  • WW2 soldier James ‘Frank’ MOSSEY, from Prince Edward Island, who was killed in The Netherlands while serving in the Carleton & York Regiment.
  • WW2 soldier Harold Gordon SABEAN, from Nova Scotia, who was killed in The Netherlands while serving in the Carleton & York Regiment.
  • WW1 soldier William ‘James’ SEAMAN from Prince Edward Island, who was in the 105th Overseas Battalion and survived the war.

…. Stories About Servicemen From Outside The Maritimes…

  • WW2 soldier Elie ANTONYSZYN, from Manitoba, who died on July 15, 1945 in The Netherlands.
  • WW2 soldier Albert Joseph COTE, born in Quebec but grew up in Ontario, who died on October 5, 1944, of wounds received during the Battle of the Leopold Canal in a prisoner of war field hospital in Germany,
  • WW2 soldier Cecil Edward GOODREAU, from Ontario, who was killed in Germany during the Battle of Keppeln on February 26, 1945.
  • WW2 soldier Andrew KERELCHUK, born in Manitoba but who moved to Ontario, and who was killed in Germany on April 19, 1945, during the Battle of the Küsten Canal.
  • WW2 soldier Sam MATVICHUK, born in Saskatchewan but lived in Alberta, who was killed in The Netherlands on April 14, 1945 during the Battle of Groningen.
  • WW2 soldier Neville William NESBIT, from Manitoba, who was killed in Germany on May 2, 1945 following the Battle for Bad Zwischenahn.
  • WW2 soldier Anthony PETTA, from Ontario, who was killed in Germany during the Battle of Hochwald Gap on March 2, 1945, but whose death is recorded as March 3, 1945.
  • WW2 soldier John RUSNAK, from Manitoba, who died in Germany on November 22, 1945 following a collision between his despatch motorcycle and a farm wagon.
  • WW2 soldier John ‘Jack’ Langford WALKER, from Ontario, who was killed in Bad Zwischenahn, Germany on May 1, 1945.

…In Conversation And More….

  • We shared a few adventures that we had in North Bay in May, including people we met, a visit to the North Bay Cenotaph, and an Author Talk at the North Bay Public Library.
  • We wrote about the Author Talk at the Victoria Playhouse in Victoria-By-The-Sea in August.
  • We wrote about the Remembrance Day ceremonies we attended in Borden-Carleton and Kinkora, two Prince Edward Island communities.

…. Interviews To Highlight Search For Photos….

Pieter did several interviews:

  • On Friday, November 11, 2022, Pieter was interviewed by Todd van der Heyden of CTV news.  You can watch Military researcher identifies 200 fallen soldiers | CTV News at https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2561931
  • Charlotte MacAulay of the Eastern Graphic wrote about the successful photo search for WW2 soldier George ‘Ivan’ MACKINNON, who is buried in The Netherlands. The article, ‘Sturgeon soldier’s photo discovered in church’, ran in the newspaper on November 9, 2022. 
  • On Monday, November 7, 2022, Pieter was interviewed by Ceilidh Millar of CTV Atlantic News At 5 about the search for 4 soldiers of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment who died during the Battle of Bienen on March 25, 2022. You can read the article and watch the video.  See P.E.I. man identifying Canadian soldiers in the Netherlands | CTV News https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/maritime-man-appealing-to-public-for-help-identifying-lost-canadian-soldiers-1.6143236
  • Kevin Rollason of the Winnipeg Free Press wrote about Pieter’s search for photos and featured the story of Indigenous soldier Thomas CHASKE, then listed the names of several other soldiers from Manitoba who are buried in The Netherlands.  The article, ‘A name without a face’, ran online on November 4, 2022 and in the print edition on November 5, 2022.  See https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/2022/11/04/a-name-without-a-face
  • Charlotte MacAulay of the Eastern Graphic wrote about the photo search for WW2 soldier George ‘Ivan’ MACKINNON, who is buried in The Netherlands. The article, Researcher seeking photo of Second World War soldier, ran in the newspaper on September 21, 2022.  This search was successful.
  • Pieter was interviewed by Charlotte MacAulay of the Eastern Graphic, about the photo search for WW2 soldier James Frank MOSSEY, who is buried in The Netherlands.  The article, Researcher seeks photo of Souris soldier from Second World War, ran in the newspaper on June 1, 2022.  This search was successful.
  • Pieter and Daria were interviewed by Peter J. Wilson of the North Bay Nugget, about their research into soldiers buried in The Netherlands.  The article Couple devoted to telling fallen soldiers’ stories | North Bay Nugget ran in the online version on May 19, 2022 and in the print version on May 20, 2022.  See https://www.nugget.ca/news/couple-devoted-to-telling-fallen-soldiers-stories 
  • Pieter was interviewed by Marcel Vink of De Telegraaf, a newspaper in The Netherlands, about his research into Canadian soldiers buried in The Netherlands.  The article Zoektocht naar gezichten (Quest For Faces) ran in the newspaper on May 4, 2022 – Remembrance Day in The Netherlands. See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/05/04/article-in-de-telegraaf-quest-for-faces-zoektocht-naar-gezichten/
  • Pieter was interviewed by Charlotte MacAulay of the Eastern Graphic, about the successful photo search for WW2 soldier Barney McGuigan, who is buried in The Netherlands.  The article Search for teen soldier’s photo is successful, ran in the newspaper on January 13, 2022.  See https://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/search-for-teen-soldier-s-photo-is-successful/article_eaee52fa-72e6-11ec-b539-d33f425bb7c3.html 

…. Letters To The Editor For Photo Searches….

Letters to the editor in various newspapers were written in the quest for a photo for:

… Successful Search For Photos …..

Many WW2 soldiers are buried in cemeteries in Europe.  Pieter continues to work with photo wish lists from Canadian War Cemeteries for WW2 soldiers buried in The Netherlands.  This year we also received photos and information on soldiers buried in Belgium. 

Photos of soldiers buried in Dutch cemeteries were forwarded to researchers there for their digital archive. Whenever possible, stories are featured on the blog but there is a backlog due to the success of Pieter’s research.  I can’t keep up! This year, photos were found for:

Buried in Holten Canadian War Cemetery in The Netherlands:

  1. Elie ANTONYSZYN
  2. William Eben BROWN
  3. Albert Joseph COTE
  4. John CULBERTSON
  5. Theodor ‘Ted’ HENSCHEL
  6. Andrew KERELCHUK
  7. Amil Adolph LARSON
  8. Donald Charles MACKENZIE
  9. Sam MATVICHUK
  10. Neville William NISBET
  11. Joseph Edmond ROBICHAU
  12. John RUSNAK
  13. Harold Gordon SABEAN
  14. John Langford ‘Jack’ WALKER
  15. William Henry ‘Barney’ WEBB

 Buried in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in The Netherlands:

  1. Clifford BATEMAN
  2. John Joseph BOHON (BOHONKO)
  3. Charles ‘Marshall’ CARSON
  4. James Edward DUFFY
  5. Cecil Edward GOODREAU
  6. James Edward ‘Eddy’ DUFFY
  7. Marven Glenroy HARVEY
  8. Kitchener ‘Kitty’ LANGILLE
  9. John Richard ‘Jack’ MARACLE
  10. George ‘Ivan’ MACKINNON
  11. Marvin William MCGREGOR
  12. Laurie Douglas PAGE
  13. Wilfred Joseph ‘Willy’ POWER
  14. Anthony PETTA
  15. Louis Allan SEXTON

 Buried in Bergen Op Zoom Canadian War Cemetery in The Netherlands:

  1. Milton Evangeline LIVINGSTONE
  2. Robert K. VIDITTO

 Buried in an unmarked grave in The Netherlands following an aircrash:

  1. Rowan Charles ‘Bunky’ FITZGERALD

 Buried in Adegem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium:

  1. Bruce Wilbur CHURCHILL
  2. David ‘Dave’ Stinson HENDERSON
  3. Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Sidney HOOLE

The YouTube Channel….

In 2022 the following videos were posted on the YouTube channel:  On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw

  • S3E1 Book Trailer for ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’
  • S3E2 Photo Search-WW2 Soldier Austin Havelock Munroe

…Thank you for your support and encouragement of this research project!…

As 2022 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 all the families that contributed photos and stories. Thank you to Judie Klassen and Shawn Rainville who volunteered their time to help find families of soldiers through newspaper and online searches. Thank you to Don Smith for answering any aircraft and military flight questions we’ve had.

Thank you to the media who helped publicize the search for photos and information – Bay Today, CBC Radio’s Mainstreet PEI, CTV News, CTV Atlantic News, Dauphin Herald, De Telegraaf, Eastern Graphic, North Bay Nugget, The Guardian, and the Winnipeg Free Press.

Last, but not least, the YouTube channel and videos would not be possible without the invaluable support of post-production editor Wendy Nattress.  Wendy also designed and manages the book website.

….Happy Holidays

Pieter and I wish you all the best for the holidays and in 2023. May we never forget those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Xmas 2022 photo

Pieter’s research work continues. If you have photos or information to share, please email Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.  

© Daria Valkenburg

 

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