2022 Christmas Eve Candle Lighting In The Netherlands

Dec 24 2022 Makkum overview candles Robin de Jong

Candles were placed at the graves of airmen buried in the Donia Protestant Church Cemetery in Makkum.  (Photo credit: Robin de Jong)

December 26, 2022.  A Christmas Eve tradition to light candles by the graves of Allied soldiers and Dutch resistance fighters who are buried in one of the War Cemeteries or in a municipal cemetery continued this year.

This year, we include photos from three municipal cemeteries and one memorial:  Donia Protestant Church Cemetery in Makkum, the Halifax L9451 memorial panel in Wons, Harlingen General Cemetery in Harlingen, and Sleen General Cemetery in Sleen.

….Donia Protestant Church Cemetery in Makkum….

Remko de Jong, a resident of Makkum, coordinates the candle lighting ceremony in his village. Candles were placed at the graves at 38 airmen who are buried in the Donia Protestant Church Cemetery in Makkum, located by Lake Ijsselmeer in the province of Friesland.

Dec 24 2022 Makkum foto`s gemaakt door Lin Struiving

Candles were placed at the graves of airmen buried in the Donia Protestant Church Cemetery in Makkum.  (Photo credit: Lin Struiving)

Dec 24 2022 Makkum Tabor Robin de Jong

Candle placed at the grave of John Francis Edward Tabor. (Photo credit: Robin de Jong)

One of the airmen buried in Makkum is RCAF Flying Officer John Francis Edward TABOR of Ottawa, Ontario, who lost his life when the plane he was in, Halifax LK 879 crashed at sea on the night of December 16, 1944 into December 17, 1944.

20211224_170919 Dec 24 2022 Makkum Nisbet Robin de Jong

Candle placed at the grave of George David Nisbet. (Photo credit: Robin de Jong)

Another of the airmen buried in Makkum is RCAF Air Gunner Sgt George David NISBET of Conquest, Saskatchewan, whose body was recovered from the sea on June 7, 1944, after being reported missing on May 24, 1944.

…The Halifax L9561 memorial panel in Wons…

The De Jong family travelled to Wons, also in the province of Friesland, to place a candle at the Halifax L9561 memorial panel.  This memorial, unveiled in October 2019, honours the crew of Halifax L9561.  WW2 pilot Elmer Bagnall MUTTART of Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island lost his life on October 12, 1941, but the rest of the crew were able to safely bail out of the burning plane.  (For a short documentary on the unveiling of the memorial panel and the crew of Halifax L9561, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71Rzg07kPw0&list=PLaJcEVojJra-ZwR6rvb-THj8Zr2QbUXLT&index=2

20221224_130222 Dec 24 2022 Candle by memorial panel in Wons Robin de Jong

Candle placed at the memorial panel in Wons, honouring the crew of Halifax L9561. (Photo credit: Robin de Jong)

…Harlingen General Cemetery in Harlingen…

20221225_163618 Dec 24 2022 Harlingen

Candles placed at graves of Allied airmen in Harlingen General Cemetery.  (Photo credit: Willem Visser)

Willem Visser sent photos taken during the candle lighting in Harlingen General Cemetery in Harlingen, in the province of Friesland.

In the photo above, RCAF Flight Sgt Elmer Bagnall MUTTART of Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island, who is commemorated on the memorial panel in Wons, is buried at the very far right in the front row.

The second row, on the left, contains the graves of Murray Ralph KLEISDORFF of Australia and three unknown airmen, all from Halifax W1175 LQ-Q of the 405th Vancouver Squadron RCAF, which came down into the Wadden Sea on June 28, 1942.  Perhaps one of these unknown graves contains the remains of RCAF Warrant Officer Class II Rowan Charles FITZGERALD of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, who was the navigator aboard the flight. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/10/12/on-the-war-memorial-trail-well-never-forget-uncle-bunky/)

DSC_0049Dec 24 2022 Harlingen Muttart

Candle placed at the grave of Elmer Bagnall Muttart. (Photo credit: Willem Visser)

DSC_0055 Dec 24 2022 Harlingen Kleisdorff and maybe FitzGerald

Candles placed at the graves of Murray Ralph Kleisdorff and unknown graves from the same flight. (Photo credit: Willem Visser)

…Sleen General Cemetery in Sleen…

Harlingen, Makkum, and Wons are all in the province of Friesland.  Sleen is a village in the province of Drenthe.  An upcoming story in 2023 will be about RCAF Flight Sgt John Douglas ‘Jack’ MACKENZIE of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who lost his life on February 4, 1943 when the plane he was piloting, Halifax DU 630-T, was hit by artillery fire.

When asked by Remco de Jong, Hans Buls sent photos of the candles lit for Jack MacKenzie and three of his crewmates: William Peter DUTHIE of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Lennox Alwin GONNETT of Westmount, Quebec; Raymond Hepton HILL of Montreal, Quebec.

Dec 24 2022 fotos lichtjes oorlogsgraven 2022 Begraafplaats Sleen (Drenthe) Hans Buis

List of Allied airmen buried in Sleen General Cemetery.  (Photo credit: Hans Buls)

Dec 24 2022 J.D Mackenzie Begraafplaats Sleen (Drenthe) Hans Buis

Candle placed at the grave of John Douglas ‘Jack’ MacKenzie. (Photo credit: Hans Buls)

Dec 24 2022 W.P Duthie Begraafplaats Sleen (Drenthe) Hans Buis

Candle placed at the grave of William Peter Duthie. (Photo credit: Hans Buls)

Dec 24 2022 L.A.J Gonnett Begraafplaats Sleen (Drenthe) Hans Bais

Candle placed at the grave of Lennox Alwin Gonnett. (Photo credit: Hans Buls)

Dec 24 2022 R.H Hill Begraafplaats Sleen (Drenthe) Hans Buis

Candle placed at the grave of Raymond Hepton Hill. (Photo credit: Hans Buls)

….Over 7,600 Canadian soldiers are buried in The Netherlands!…

Kudos to the Dutch, who never forget the sacrifices made by Allied soldiers! Over 7,600 Canadian soldiers are buried in The Netherlands and they are not forgotten.  Thank you to Remco de Jong for sharing photos from Makkum and Wons taken by Lin Struiving and his son Robin, to Hans Buls for sharing photos from Sleen (check out the Hans Buls Photography Facebook page), and to Willem Visser for sharing photos from Harlingen.

If you have a story or photo to share about Canadian military personnel buried in The Netherlands, please contact Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.

…Previous postings about Christmas Eve Candle Lighting…

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Front cover OnTheWarMememorialTrailinEuropeDaria’s book ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten‘ is available in print and e-book formats.  Net proceeds of book sales help support research costs and the cost of maintaining this blog. For more information on the book, please see https://nosoldierforgotten.com/

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© Daria Valkenburg

4 thoughts on “2022 Christmas Eve Candle Lighting In The Netherlands

  1. What a wonderful article and story. The photos of the memorials with the lighted candles are very moving

    All the best during this holiday season and the best for 2023

    Robert O’Brien

    Like

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