On The War Memorial Trail…..The WWII Pilot Whose Spitfire Ran Out Of Fuel

January 25, 2023.  After seeing an interview on CTV National News about Pieter’s research into WWII soldiers and airmen buried in The Netherlands, Pieter received an email from Dave Montgomery.   (See Military researcher identifies 200 fallen soldiers | CTV News at https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2561931)

Dave Montgomery 1

Dave Montgomery, whose father’s best friend was RCAF Pilot George Glenn Millar. (Photo courtesy of Dave Montgomery)

Dave wrote that “…I became aware of your project of identifying Canadians killed in WW2 to liberate Holland when I saw your interview with CTV News recently.  

My father’s best friend, George Glenn Millar, nicknamed ‘Dusty’, was killed on September 28, 1944 in combat while flying a Spitfire Mark IX over Nijmegen, Holland.  He is buried at the Uden War Cemetery in North Brabant, Holland. He was from Winnipeg, Manitoba and was serving with 442 Squadron of the RCAF when killed. …  My father survived the war and lived a full life back in Canada and passed away in January 2013.  He never forgot his friend…

20220911_161454 Miller and Montgomery

George Glenn ‘Dusty’ Millar, left, with Thomas Richard Montgomery. (Photo courtesy of Dave Montgomery)

Dave included a photo, explaining that “… G. G. Millar is on the left.  My father, Thomas Richard Montgomery, is on the right….

….George Glenn attended university for one year before enlistment….

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George Glenn ‘Dusty’ Millar.  (Photo courtesy of the Information Centre, Holten)

Born November 21, 1921 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, George Glenn MILLAR was the son of George Sawers and Janet Smith (nee Wilson) Millar. While a first-year student at the University of Manitoba, George joined the University’s Canadian Officers’ Training Corps (COTC) on April 7, 1941, part of the Non-Permanent Active Militia. In his attestation form, he stated that he had served 110 hours in the University of Manitoba Training Unit (UMTU). (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Officers%27_Training_Corps

In July 1941, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in Winnipeg.  Asked about hobbies and sports, he wrote that he played golf extensively, occasionally played hockey, rugby, and baseball.  He was very clear in his goal – he wanted to enlist for flying duties and to be a pilot.

….George Glenn realized his goal of becoming a pilot….

In October 1941 he was sent to Edmonton, Alberta and then a few weeks later to Calgary, Alberta to #3 Service Flying Training School for flight training.  On December 12, 1941 he was sent back to Edmonton, to #16 Flight Training School, where he remained until April 25, 1942.  By the time he left he had put in 73 hours and 35 minutes into flying a Tiger Moth.

He was next posted to #1 Service Flying Training School in Camp Borden, Ontario on April 26, 1942, receiving his Pilot Flying Badge on August 14, 1942.   He had also learned to fly a Yale and a Harvard MK II.

In August 1942 he was posted to No. 133 (F) Squadron in Lethbridge, Alberta, where he gained more experience in flying a Harvard MK II and learned to fly a Hurricane II B.  The Squadron moved to Boundary Bay, British Columbia at the beginning of October 1942.  (Note: the ‘F’ stood for ‘Fighter’)

Map RCAF Boundary Bay

Patrol path of No. 133 (F) Squadron included the Canadian section [orange] and the area in the United States from Bellingham to Tacoma, Washington, [yellow]. (Map source: https://clarencesimonsen.wordpress.com/category/rcaf-133-squadron/)

On October 5, 1942, George Glenn received a promotion to Pilot Officer, and then another promotion, to Flight Officer, on February 13, 1943. He remained with No. 133 (F) Squadron until May 15, 1943, when he was sent to No. 111 Squadron in Anchorage, Alaska.

Don Smith, an Associate Historian with the RCAF, explained that George Glenn “….arrived at No. 111 Squadron as a replacement pilot.  Millar was at No. 111 Squadron to get checked out in a new (for him) fighter type, the Curtis P-40K Kittyhawk.  He had been flying the Hawker Hurricane with No. 133 Squadron….

P-40 Kittyhawk Aircraft

P-40 Kittyhawk. (Photo credit: Department of National Defence (DND) PGB-1436)

….George Glenn’s Squadron participates in the Aleutian Islands Campaign in 1943 ….

Don went on to explain that “Millar did not remain long with No. 111 Squadron after he soloed in the Kittyhawk in late May 1943. By the end of August he was flying with No. 14 Squadron at Umnak Island, in the Aleutians, where he spent a one-week rotation at the forward assembly airfield on Amchitka Island the same month…

Dave Montgomery had done some research on George’s time in Alaska, and explained that “…. No. 14 Squadron and No. 111 Squadron were ordered to Alaska in 1943 to fight alongside the Americans fighting the Japanese who had landed at Kiska and Attu Islands in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska in June of 1942.   

These RCAF squadrons served at Anchorage, Kodiak Island, and Umnak Island bases with short postings to Adak Island and Amchitka Island when flying missions against the Japanese, who were dug in on Kiska Island. 

Several were killed there as the weather was atrocious, especially in the Aleutians.  Weather was the biggest killer of pilots in Alaska, not enemy guns.   

G.G. Millar flew with both 111 Squadron (briefly) and then 14 Squadron and flew missions with the US fliers to Kiska Island bombing and strafing the Japanese there  under overall command of Jack Chennault, the son of Claire Chennault who was the US Colonel (later General) who commanded the famous Flying Tigers in China!

No. 14 and 111 Squadrons returned to Patricia Bay in September of 1943 after the 5,000 Japanese on Kiska Island managed to escape under cover of fog and darkness in late July 1943 on Japanese naval destroyers sent there to evacuate them after the defeat of the Japanese forces on Attu Island by the US…..”   RCAF Patricia Bay was in Victoria, British Columbia.  (For more information on the Aleutian Islands Campaign, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleutian_Islands_campaign)

Don Smith explained that “Millar remained with No. 14 Squadron, going overseas with them, where the Squadron was renumbered from No. 14 Squadron to No. 442 (F) Squadron…

Dave Montgomery noted that “….No. 14 and 111 Squadrons sailed to England between January 20 to 27, 1944 on the SS Pasteur (a French passenger liner completed in 1939 and converted to a fast troop ship).  The Pasteur made the crossing alone rather than in a convoy since she could sail at up to 26 Knots.

On February 8, 1944, No. 14 Squadron was renumbered as 442 Squadron (equipped with Spitfire Mark IX fighters) and No. 111 Squadron was renumbered as No. 440 Squadron (equipped with Hawker Typhoon fighter bombers)….” 

Spitfire Mk. IX

Spitfire Mark  IX.  (Photo source: Google image, from ‘Spitfire Mk IX Performance Testing, Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment, Boscombe Down, 21 October, 1942.’)

….George Glenn’s Spitfire failed to return from a patrol near Nijmegen….

On August 14, 1944, George Glenn received his final promotion, to Flight Lieutenant.  Just over a month later, he had his final flight.  Don Smith explained that from September 20 to October 1, 1944, Base 68 at Le Culot/Beauvechain in Belgium “was occupied by 126 Wing, Group 83, 2nd Tactical Air Force (Canadian Fighter Wing), to provide air cover over the Arnhem/Nijmegen areas for Operation Market Garden….” 

NOTE: Operation Market Garden was an Allied military operation, from September 17 to 27, 1944, that succeeded in liberating Nijmegen and Eindhoven but failed in liberating the last bridge held in Arnhem, which would enable troops to the Rhine into Germany.  The movie ‘A Bridge Too Far’ dramatized this event. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Bridge_Too_Far_(film))

It was from Base 68 at Le Culot/Beauvechain that George Glenn’s Squadron operated during that period. “….On September 28, 1944, while on a patrol over enemy territory in Spitfire PL490, his aircraft apparently ran out of fuel. F/L Millar was last seen over Nijmegen, Holland. While the record indicates F/L Millar’s aircraft ran out of fuel, the record for Spitfire PL490 suggests on 28 September, 1944, this aircraft, flown by F/L G.G. Millar, RCAF, was in aerial combat with Fw190s of the German Luftwaffe before the fuel shortage was reported….” 

This summary was similar to what was written in a September 30, 1944 letter to George Glenn’s mother by his Commanding Officer in No. 442 Squadron, Flight Lieutenant W A Olmstead.  “…On the morning of September 28th, Glen took off with the Squadron on a Patrol over enemy territory in Holland.  During this operation the Squadron were chasing some German aircraft when Glen reported on his radio that he was getting low in fuel and would have to return to friendly territory which he started out to do.

Later during the operation, Flight Lieutenant W.A. Olmstead, who was leading the Squadron, heard Glen on his radio saying that his engine was cutting and he would have to bail out or crash land. He was not seen at this point by any member of the Squadron, but it is believed he bailed out or crash landed somewhere in Holland at approximately 0945 hours….

The aircraft crashed 3 km (1.86 miles) southeast of Weibosch near Schijndel, in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant. 

….Why did the plane run out of fuel?….

We asked Don Smith why the Spitfire would have run out of fuel.  He said that although it was possible that the Spitfire “…PL490 suffered battle damage if involved in aerial combat with Fw190s, this cannot be confirmed…” 

Don went on to explain that ….the Merlin-powered Spitfire Mk IX was also known to have problems with vapour-lock in the fuel system, especially if the aircraft had been sitting in the sun prior to take-off. If the Spitfire PL490 was carrying an external belly-mounted auxiliary fuel tank at the time of its loss, this could create failure of the engine when switching from main tanks to external, or from external back to the main fuel tanks. The latter was more serious, since this would usually take place over enemy territory, as was the case on September 28, 1944.

As an example of this particular problem, No. 401 Squadron (RCAF) reported almost one quarter of pilots lost were due to this cause. These incidents were not mentioned as ‘tank problems’, but referred to such incidents as ‘engine failure’ or ‘engine trouble’.  

The actual cause of the loss of Spitfire PL490 will probably never be known. The Spitfire Mk IX had two tanks in front of the cockpit, one upper and one lower. Later models had another fuel tank added behind the cockpit. It is possible that the lower front tank could have been holed in combat, or the rear tank, depending on the age of PL490. In either case, F/L Millar would not have noticed the fuel leak….” 

….George Glenn Millar was buried in Uden War Cemetery….

Edwin van der Wolf, a volunteer researcher at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, wrote that George Glenn was temporarily buried in Weibosch before being reburied on July 23, 1946 at Uden War Cemetery in Uden, The Netherlands.  (See https://www.cwgc.org/visit-us/find-cemeteries-memorials/cemetery-details/2082100/uden-war-cemetery/)

Millar G.G. graffoto

George Glen Millar is buried in Uden War Cemetery.  (Photo courtesy Information Centre, Holten)

Thank you to Dave Montgomery for sharing information about his father’s best friend, George Glenn Millar.  He is not forgotten!  Thank you to Don Smith for help with the aviation specifics and history, and to Edwin van der Wolf for sending photos and confirming burial information. If you have a story to share, please contact Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.

…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.  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/

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

 

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

 

On The War Memorial Trail….. The Search For A Photo Of Austin Havelock Munroe Is On YouTube

November 29, 2022. Sometimes uncovering a photo of a soldier leads to a much larger investigation. That’s what happened when Pieter looked into the service file of Charles Marshall CARSON of Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick, one of the names on the photo wish list from the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands.

…Pieter was astonished to learn that 39 North Novies lost their lives on his 1st birthday….

…He died on my birthday! I was just one year old!…” Pieter exclaimed.  When he learned that Carson died during the Battle of Bienen in Germany on March 25, 1945, he wondered if there were more Canadian soldiers who had lost their lives that day.

Pieter contacted Alice van Bekkum, Chair of the Groesbeek Cemetery Faces To Graves project and asked if there were more casualties.  To his surprise, Alice sent a list of 38 more soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment.  12 of these soldiers were on the cemetery’s photo wish list.

Over the past months, Pieter managed to find families of 11 of these soldiers, and has already received photos of 10.  One family is in the process of preparing a copy of a treasured photo.  In March 2023 a special series on several of these soldiers will be featured on this blog, in the lead up to March 25.

…One soldier’s photo still has not been found…

One soldier’s photo is still outstanding – Austin Havelock MUNROE.  Austin was born on December 2, 1919 in Little Dover, Nova Scotia, the son of Edward and Minnie Munroe.  He was married to Anna Elizabeth Munroe, nee Barry.

In the hope of reaching as many people as possible, Pieter sat down to help feature this photo quest on our YouTube Channel.  You can watch Photo Search-WW2 Soldier Austin Havelock Munroe (S3E2) here:

Pieters saying

…Pieter’s interview on CTV Atlantic News At 5 was successful….

In addition to the YouTube video, 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

Following this interview, family of one soldier immediately came forward with a photo.  Families of two other soldiers subsequently got in contact.

Thank you to post-production editor Wendy Nattress, who made this YouTube video a reality.  Thank you also to Ceilidh Millar, Jayson Baxter, Maria Panopalis, and CTV Atlantic News At 5 for publicizing the photo search of soldiers killed in Bienen, Germany.

If you have photos or information to share about Austin Havelock Munroe – or any of the soldiers killed during the Battle of Bienen -, please let Pieter know. You can email him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.

….The 38 Other North Novies Buried in Groesbeek….

  • Clifford BATEMAN of La Poile, Newfoundland
  • Vilhelm Kruuse BOGGILD of Lockeport, Nova Scotia
  • John Joseph BOHON (BOHONKO) of Montreal, Quebec
  • Ralph Schurman BOULTER of West Point, Prince Edward Island
  • Herbert Malcolm BRANNEN of Stony Island, Nova Scotia
  • Lawrence William BULGER of Foxley River, Prince Edward Island
  • Charles Marshall CARSON of Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick
  • Hugh Patterson CHRISTIE of English Town, Nova Scotia
  • Walter George COLEBOURNE of Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Roy Williams COLLINS of North Sydney, Nova Scotia
  • George Mitchell DASH of Sable River West, Nova Scotia
  • Harry William DOUCETTE of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
  • Charles Benjamin HAGERTY of Port Williams, Nova Scotia
  • Marven Glenroy HARVEY of North Noel Road, Nova Scotia
  • Granville Murray HEARABOUT of Truro, Nova Scotia
  • Gordon HENRY of North Sydney, Nova Scotia
  • Harold Charles JAMES of Springhill, Nova Scotia
  • Harold Lawrence KEDDY of Port Williams, Nova Scotia
  • Kitchener LANGILLE of North Glasgow, Nova Scotia
  • Stewart Rindress MACDONALD of Cape Dauphin, Nova Scotia
  • Norbert James MACINTYRE of Reserve Mines, Nova Scotia
  • Donald John MACKINNON of Sydney, Nova Scotia
  • Leo Joseph MACMULLAN of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
  • Robert Bruce MACNEILL of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • Marvin William MCGREGOR of West Jeddore, Nova Scotia
  • Gordon Robert MCLEOD of Toronto, Ontario
  • Harland Evender MITCHELL of East Jeddore, Nova Scotia
  • Edward John MUNRO of Quebec City, Quebec
  • Austin Havelock MUNROE of Little Dover, Nova Scotia
  • Laurie Douglas PAGE of Rawdon, Nova Scotia
  • Wilfred Joseph POWER of New Westminster, British Columbia
  • Wesley Levi ROBINSON of South Maitland, Nova Scotia
  • Louis Allan SEXTON of Saint-Jules, Quebec
  • Norman Alexander SHAW of Lochside, Nova Scotia
  • Edison Alexander SMITH of West Point, Prince Edward Island
  • William THOMPSON of Campbelltown, New Brunswick
  • Eric Herman THOMSON of Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • John Lewis WALLACE of Canning, Nova Scotia
  • Theodore George WARNELL of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

NOTE: These are not the only casualties from the Battle of Bienen, only the ones identified as being in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment.

…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.  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/

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

On The War Memorial Trail….. Remembrance Day On The Island

RemembranceDayHeader

November 13, 2022. Remembrance Week is always busy at our place. This year was a bit different as we gave a presentation featuring a few of the names listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion, at the Legion’s Remembrance Day indoor service – prior to the placing of wreaths and crosses at the Cenotaph.

RCL Nov 11 2022 Presentation They Arent Just Names On A Cenotaph

This was the title of our presentation.

…11 photos are still to be found for the names on the Cenotaph….

There are 48 names from WWI and WWII listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion.  Unfortunately, photos for 9 from WWI and 2 from WWII have not been found.  The story of each one has been told in previous postings on this blog.

Names still without faces from WWI

  • James CAIRNS, born in Kinkora
  • Leigh Hunt CAMERON, born in Albany
  • James Lymon CAMERON, born in Victoria
  • William Galen CAMPBELL, born in Wellington
  • Bazil CORMIER, born in Tignish
  • Joseph Arthur DESROCHES, born in Miscouche
  • Charles LOWTHER, born in North Carleton
  • Arthur Clinton ROBINSON, born in Tryon
  • Harry ROBINSON, born in Augustine Cove

Names still without faces from WWII

  • Leonard Stephen AVERY, born in Bedeque
  • Ernest Ramey GALLANT, born in Borden

 … We attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in Borden-Carleton and Kinkora…..

November 11, 2022 was a cool day for the Remembrance Day service at the Legion in Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island.

CIMG6027 Nov 11 2022 Borden Carleton Legion Ceremony Pieter and Danny Bernard

Pieter and Danny Bernard walk to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Borden-Carleton on behalf of the Government of Canada. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG6028 Nov 11 2022 Borden Carleton Legion Ceremony Pieter lays wreath

Pieter placed the wreath on behalf of the Government of Canada at the Cenotaph in Borden-Carleton. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG6035 Nov 11 2022 Cenotaph at Borden Carleton Legion

Flag bearers Arthur Ranahan (left) and George Palmer (right) are flanked by representatives from the Fire Brigade and RCMP at the Cenotaph in Borden-Carleton. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

In the afternoon, members of the Legion attended the Remembrance Day ceremony in Kinkora.

CIMG6039 Nov 11 2022 Kinkora Pieter and Heath MacDonald

Pieter Valkenburg with The Honourable Heath MacDonald, MP for Malpeque after laying a wreath on behalf of the Government of Canada in Kinkora.

…Remembrance Day didn’t end with the two ceremonies!…

After we returned home in the late afternoon, cold and tired, we learned that CTV News wanted to interview Pieter during a live broadcast.  So, after a short rest, 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

Remembrance Day may be over for another year, but Pieter’s research work continues.  If you have photos and information to share about Canadian soldiers, please contact Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.

…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.  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/

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

On The War Memorial Trail….. The Importance Of Remembrance

RemembranceDayHeader

November 9, 2022. On November 11, we will remember the memories and sacrifices made by those who did their best to answer the call to fight for freedom.

Those who sacrificed their lives in war are not just names on a Cenotaph or buried in a war grave.  They were children, siblings, spouses, parents, friends… Each one has a story that can be told and they should not be forgotten. That’s been the goal of this research blog over the years.

…Burnie Reynaert still remembers laying a wreath as a young girl….field-of-poppies300

Burnie Reynaert still remembers her uncle Lewis Wilkieson MARSH of Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, one of 5 soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment who drowned in a tragic accident on the Leda River during the Battle of Leer in Germany on April 28, 1945. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/05/18/on-the-war-memorial-trail-a-tragic-drowning-on-the-leda-river-in-germany-part-4/)

Last year, Burnie shared the telegrams her grandmother received, first saying that Lewis was believed to have drowned, and then the awful confirmation that he had died.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/11/10/on-the-war-memorial-trail-linking-the-past-with-the-present/)

This year, Burnie shared a photo of herself as a young girl, placing a wreath in honour of her uncle.

IMG_9994 Burnie Reynaert re Lewis Wilkieson Marsh

A very young Burnie placed a wreath in honour of her uncle, Lewis Wilkieson Marsh.  (Photo courtesy of B. Reynaert)

Even today, Burnie has not forgotten her uncle’s sacrifice.

IMG_0348 Burnie Reynaert with book

Burnie Reynaert with book.  (Photo courtesy of B.  Reynaert)

field-of-poppies300…We visited the memorial in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia…

20220912_123247 Sep 12 2022 Pieter beside Saulnierville Memorial

Pieter beside the memorial in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

This fall, while in Nova Scotia, we visited the memorial in Saulnierville.  Two soldiers that Pieter researched are listed on this monument.  Both are buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten.

Joseph ‘Ambroise’ COMEAU, from Lower Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, was one of 5 soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment who drowned in a tragic accident on the Leda River during the Battle of Leer in Germany on April 28, 1945.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/05/17/on-the-war-memorial-trail-a-tragic-drowning-on-the-leda-river-in-germany-part-3/ and https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/11/10/on-the-war-memorial-trail-linking-the-past-with-the-present/)

Joseph E.  ROBICHAU, from Meteghan, Nova Scotia, lost his life on April 14, 1945 near Deventer, The Netherlands, while serving with the Royal 22nd Regiment.  His story will be told in an upcoming posting.

20220912_123347 Sep 12 2022 Saulnierville Memorial WW2 soldiers inc Comeau & Robichau

The WWII tribute on the memorial in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

…Pieter interviewed by the Winnipeg Free Press….field-of-poppies300

20210220_111030 Feb 20 2021 Pieter with photo wish lists

Pieter surrounded by some of the photo wish lists from the Canadian War Cemeteries in The Netherlands.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Pieter was interviewed by Kevin Rollason of the Winnipeg Free Press, about his request for help in finding photos of 12 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. As of the date of this posting, the photo wish list remains unfulfilled. Here is the link in case you can help:  https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/2022/11/04/a-name-without-a-face

field-of-poppies300…Pieter interviewed on CTV Atlantic News At 5….

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

The names of the soldiers mentioned in the interview were:

  1. Donald John MACKINNON, born October 8, 1925 in Sydney, Nova Scotia, son of Joseph and Catherine ( nee MacNeil) MacKinnon.
  2. Austin Havelock MUNROE, born December 2, 1919 in Little Dover, Nova Scotia, son of Edward and Minnie Munroe. He was married to Ana Elizabeth (nee Barry) Munroe.
  3. John Lewis WALLACE, born June 1, 1921 in Canning, Nova Scotia., son of William Edward and Amy Louise Wallace. He was married to Doris Avanelle (nee Crowe) Wallace. They had one son, William Lewis Wallace.
  4. Louis Allan SEXTON, son of  James E. and Ethel Sexton of Maria Est, Bonaventure County in Quebec, is also still on the photo wish list.

Incredibly, shortly after the broadcast we were contacted by Irene Doyle of Campbelltown, New Brunswick, who sent us a photo of Louis Sexton, which came from the Bay Chaleur Military Museum website.  The three soldiers from Nova Scotia are still on the photo wish list!

… ‘Il Silenzio’ to remember the fallen….field-of-poppies300

It seems fitting to end this Remembrance Week posting with music.  In a Dutch Liberation Day concert in Maastricht, The Netherlands, 13-year-old Melissa Venema, backed by André Rieu and his orchestra (the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands), was the trumpet soloist in a haunting rendition of ‘Il Silenzio’ (The Silence). This piece, by Italian composer Nino Rossi, is based upon what we know as The Last Post. Watch

Thank you to Burnie Reynaert for sharing a childhood photo, Irene Doyle for sending the photo of Louis Sexton, Kevin Rollason and the Winnipeg Free Press for publicizing the photo search request of soldiers from Manitoba, and to Ceilidh Millar, Jayson Baxter, and CTV Atlantic News At 5 for publicizing the photo search of soldiers killed in Bienen, Germany.

If you can help with these photo requests, or 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.

field-of-poppies300…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.  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/

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

On The War Memorial Trail….. The WWII Soldier From Albion Who Died During The Defence Of The Nijmegen Salient

November 2, 2022. Once you visit a Canadian War Cemetery and place down a flag by the grave of a soldier from the province where you live, it stays with you, and makes you wonder about the young man who is buried there.  Over the years, Pieter has researched several of the soldiers from Prince Edward Island who are buried in The Netherlands, and he continues to do so. 

One of these WWII soldiers was George ‘Ivan’ MACKINNON, who was born September 16, 1917 in Albion, Prince Edward Island, the son of Wilbert and Catherine ‘Kattie’ (nee Acorn) MacKinnon (also spelled McKinnon).  Ivan’s birth record says he was born on September 16, but he recorded September 26 on his attestation form.

…The photo search began with media help….

In his quest to find a photo, Pieter contacted Charlotte MacAulay of the Eastern Graphic newspaper for help in publicizing his quest.  The article ran on September 21, 2022 and shortly afterwards, Pieter was contacted by Sandra Stephens, who explained that she had a photo.

EAG-A03-092122-K Eastern Graphic George Ivan MacKinnon with border

20221019_102847 Oct 19 2022 Pieter and Sandra Stephens

Sandra Stephens with Pieter. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

When we met, Sandra explained that “… Dad’s Aunt Chris married Nathaniel MacKinnon, Ivan’s uncle.  Their place was just up the road and we visited there…

George Ivan MacKinnon

George ‘Ivan’ MacKinnon. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Stephens)

When Ivan enlisted with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders in Charlottetown on August 15, 1940, he was living in Montague, Prince Edward Island, and had worked on his family’s mixed farm operation for the past 10 years.

After completing his basic training, Ivan travelled to the United Kingdom with the Regiment, boarding the ship ‘Orion’ in Halifax, Nova Scotia on July 18, 1941.  The ship left Halifax the next day, arriving in Bristol on July 29, 1941. Intensive training followed, in preparation for the upcoming battles in Normandy in 1944.

…Ivan survived D-Day….

The North Nova Scotia Highlanders left England for Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, after waiting in place in the English Channel on landing craft earlier.   The war diary for Sunday, June 4, 1944 noted that “…We are tied up with two other landing craft tank.   The Padre is on one, so he had a church service at 10:30 hours on the quarter deck of the middle craft…

On June 5, 1944 the war diary recorded that “…At 14:00 hours the flotilla moved out to the open sea and formed up with the other craft taking part in the invasion…

After landing on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, the war diary noted that the Regiment had 10 casualties – 4 killed, 6 wounded.  Ivan had survived D-Day.

…The Regiment arrived near Nijmegen…

The North Nova Scotia Highlanders fought their way through Normandy.  On July 25, 1944, during ‘Operation Spring’, a battle in Tilly-La-Campagne, France, Ivan was slightly wounded by shell fragments to his face, legs, and neck.  (See https://www.dday-overlord.com/en/battle-of-normandy/cities/tilly-la-campagne)

From France, the Regiment travelled through Belgium, and then to The Netherlands for the Battle of the Scheldt. By November 1944 they had advanced to an area near Nijmegen.

Nijmegensalient

The North Nova Scotia Highlanders were posted near Nijmegen.  (Map source: http://www.canadiansoldiers.com)

In ‘No Retreating Footsteps’ by Will Bird, he noted that on November 19, 1944, the North Novies would “…relieve the 7th Recce Regiment at Nijmegen Bridge…”  This was the bridge across the Waal River, a vital link to the Rhine River and into Germany.

The area known as the Nijmegen Salient had been established in September 1944, and was defended by Allied troops since then.  The First Canadian Army, of which the North Nova Scotia Highlanders were part of, was responsible for its defence between November 1944 and February 1945, when the advance into Germany began.  (See https://www.canadiansoldiers.com/history/campaigns/northwesteurope/nijmegensalient.htm)

Skirmishes with German troops were ongoing, with casualties on both sides.  On December 3, 1944, Will Bird recorded that “…temporary quarters was in the cellar of a smashed house.  Sgt Arnold Piers was in command, and along with him were Sgt Bud Tibbetts, Cpl I MacKinnon, Ptes Bill Smith, Conners, Scott, Campbell and Lantagan as well as four or five others. There was a German village 1000 yards ahead and until dark the carrier men fired at anyone who moved in the village….”  

When the men noticed activity in the nighttime and flares being sent up by the Germans, they reported it to officers at Artillery Headquarters, who ignored their observations.  Bird noted that “… the general feeling was that the carrier men, unused to such duties, were jittery…

…Ivan lost his life during a firefight…

It turned out that the officers were wrong and the men were right to be concerned.  There were several casualties, with two who paid with their lives, in the early hours of December 4, 1944.  “…Sentries were relieved at 2:00 am…” 

Six men were resting when Sgt Piers woke them up.  “…He had sighted a raiding party of the enemy coming toward the post. Pte A. J. Campbell rushed out with a Bren gun, and fell back dead, target for a dozen bullets…” 

In the firefight that followed, the Germans “… threw grenades and overwhelmed the … small garrison as the Brens on the parapet had been left on cock and would not fire.  Daylight came shortly after…

Ivan did not survive the attack. “…Cpl Ivan MacKinnon was seen lying out in front about 50 yards.  Pte Connors crawled out and dragged him back, but he had died, having been shot ….” 

The other casualty was Allan Joseph CAMPBELL, aged 24, son of Alex T. and Annie Campbell, of Centennial, Inverness County, Nova Scotia.

…Ivan is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek….

Ivan was initially buried in the Jonkers Bosch Temporary Military Cemetery in Nijmegen, before being reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands.

CIMG3317 Oct 5 2019 Groesbeek George MacKinnon

Grave of George ‘Ivan’ MacKinnon in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Thank you to Sandra Stephens for providing a photo, and to Charlotte MacAulay and the Eastern Graphic for publicizing the photo search request. 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.  

…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.  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/

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

On The War Memorial Trail….. The WWII Soldier From Glenwood Killed During The Battle Of The Delfzijl Pocket

October 22, 2022.  In November 2014, Pieter began helping researchers at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten to find photos of soldiers buried there who were from Prince Edward Island. It wasn’t until a year later that newspaper articles were published with stories related to Pieter’s research, and three years before this blog began.

Back in 2014, Pieter was initially sent a list of 9 names, one of which was Carman Edward GILLCASH, who was born November 6, 1916 in Glenwood.  As Carman’s story has not yet been told on this blog, we thought it was time to do so.

Photo 1 Carman Gillcash in uniform

Carman Edward Gillcash.  (Photo courtesy of Stewart Gillcash)

Stewart Gillcash submitted photos, and explained that he was the son of Carman’s brother Leland.  “…Carman Edward Gillcash, born and raised on a farm in Glenwood, Prince Edward Island in Canada, was the son of Stewart and Mae (nee Boulter) Gillcash. He had two brothers, Elton and Leland. 

Carman went to school in a one room schoolhouse not far from his home, and, as his father died when Carman was a young boy, he later worked with farmers in his community to help out at home. 

Carman and his younger brother Leland joined the army at a young age, when Leland was only 16 or 17 years of age.  Leland returned from the war, but Carman died there…

Carman enlisted with the PEI Highlanders in Charlottetown on July 15, 1940.  In his Occupational History Form, dated April 8, 1941, Carman stated that he had been working as a fisherman for Wilfred Hickey of O’Leary.

Photo 2 Carman Gillcash on right unknown on left

Carman Gillcash, right, with unidentified soldier. (Photo courtesy of Stewart Gillcash)

… Carman was sent to Newfoundland….

NFLD Map shows Botwood

Location of Botwood Military Base in Newfoundland. (Map source: http://postalhistorycorner.blogspot.com/2012/12/wwii-canadian-forces-in-newfoundland.html)

Carman was sent to Halifax with the PEI Highlanders.  In June 1941, he went to Valcartier, Quebec, and then the Regiment went to Newfoundland in July 1941. 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 June 4, 1942 he was sent to Gander, and then in April 1943 he was posted to Saint John, New Brunswick.  While serving in Newfoundland, Carman was promoted twice, first to Lance Corporal, and then to Corporal.

…..Two other soldiers were in Botwood…..

Carman was in Botwood at the same time as two other soldiers whose stories have been told on this blog:

…Carman was sent overseas….

On June 1, 1943, he was transferred to No 1 Transit Camp in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Just over a week later, along with fellow Islander James ‘Frank’ Mossey, he was on his way to the United Kingdom, arriving there on June 18, 1943, part of the Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit (CIRU).

On August 13, 1943, at his own request, Carman was demoted to private.  He then transferred to the Cape Breton Highlanders.  On October 24, 1943 the Regiment went to Italy.

On May 14, 1944 Carman was wounded, but returned to service two weeks later.

On February 19, 1945 he left Italy as part of Operation Goldflake, arriving in Marseilles, France two days later.  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.

…The Regiment participated in the Battle of the Delfzijl Pocket….

The Cape Breton Highlanders relieved The Essex Regiment in the area of Nijmegen, before going towards Dokkum. On April 21, 1945, the Regiment relieved the North Nova Scotia Highlanders.

The next objective was to liberate Delfzijl, which was strategically important to the Germans as it and the surrounding area had batteries with cannons to defend the coastline and the German port of Emden against Allied bombers.

The April 28, 1945 war diary entry for the Cape Breton Highlanders recorded that “…We received word from Brigade this morning that the Perth Regiment did not do so well last night on account of mines. We will likely relieve them tonight so we are to move to another concentration area this afternoon…

The Regiment was on the move quickly in preparation to relieve the Perth Regiment.  “…At 13:50 hours the marching personnel were on the move and half an hour later the vehicles moved. Tactical HQ and B Company were set up in the town of Bierum while the remainder of the Battalion are in the area of Spijk...

The war diary went on to report that “….At 20:00 hours the Observation Post reported very dense smoke coming from the town of Delfzijl, which is our objective. This could be caused by either demolitions by the enemy or our artillery which has been firing on that area.

At 23:55 hours ‘A’ Company moved off to relieve ‘A’ Company of the Perth Regiment. They will likely be the only Company moving tonight…

…Carman lost his life in the wee hours of April 29, 1945….

On April 29, 1945 the war diary reported that “….The first report received from ‘A’ Company was at 01:15 hours when they called for the Medical Officer’s carrier. As the Company was going forward it was met by a large group of P.O.Ws. being escorted back by the Perth Regiment, and as they were passing each other one of the enemy stepped on a mine, killing one of our men and wounding two more…

The fatality in the early morning of April 29, 1945 was Carman.

…Carman was temporarily buried in Wirdum…

Carman was initially buried in 15 Divisional Cemetery in Wirdum, The Netherlands.

Photo 4 Leland brother of Carman Gillcash at the gravesite

Carman’s brother Leland visited his grave.  (Photo courtesy of Stewart Gillcash)

.…Carman was reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten….

After the war ended, Carman was reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands.  We visited his grave twice – in 2017 and again in 2019.

CIMG3219 Oct 3 2019 Holten Carmen Gillcash

Pieter (right) at the grave of Carman Gillcash with researchers Edwin van der Wolf (left) and Henk Vincent (centre) in October 2019.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

 …A plaque commemorates Canadian soldiers who died during the Battle of the Delfzijl Pocket….

In 1995, the Stefanus Church in Holwierde placed a plaque to commemorate Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the Battle of the Delfzijl Pocket.

Plaque at Stefanus Church in Holwierde

Plaque at Stefanus Church in Holwierde, The Netherlands.  (Source: https://www.tracesofwar.nl/sights/40531/Herinneringsplaquette-Stefanus-Kerk.htm)

…We had a chance to meet Stewart Gillcash….

CIMG2610 Sep 8 2018 Pieter with Stewart Gillcash at The Catch

Pieter (left) with Stewart Gillcash.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Thank you to Stewart Gillcash for sharing photos and information on his uncle.  We were able to meet him in September 2018.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2018/09/11/on-the-war-memorial-trail-in-prince-county-pei/)

If you know who the unidentified soldier is in the photo, or 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.

….. Other Soldiers Mentioned On The Plaque In The Church In Holwierde….

…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.  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/

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

‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’ Is Not Forgotten By Readers

October 17, 2022. We very much appreciate hearing from readers of ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’.  We love seeing the photos that you send, your feedback, and where possible, having the opportunity to meet you.

…We love meeting readers of our book!….

Janet Fitzgerald with book

Janet FitzGerald with book. (Photo courtesy of Janet FitzGerald)

Janet FitzGerald wrote to say that ….the work you two are doing is so important and amazing.  I am reading your book and loving every story in it.  May you both be blessed for the precious work you are doing….

Janet’s uncle, WW2 airman Rowan Charles ‘Bunky’ FITZGERALD of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, 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 on June 28, 1942.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/10/12/on-the-war-memorial-trail-well-never-forget-uncle-bunky/)

CIMG5812 Sep 12 2022 Simone Comeau and Daria with book

Simone Comeau with book. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

We first met Simone Comeau and her sister Jacqueline in 2018 while researching a tragic drowning in which her uncle lost his life.  On a recent trip to Nova Scotia, we had a chance to meet up with Simone again.

Simone’s uncle, WW2 soldier Joseph ‘Ambroise’ COMEAU, from Lower Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, was one of 5 soldiers from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment who drowned in a tragic accident on the Leda River during the Battle of Leer in Germany on April 28, 1945.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/05/17/on-the-war-memorial-trail-a-tragic-drowning-on-the-leda-river-in-germany-part-3/ and https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/11/10/on-the-war-memorial-trail-linking-the-past-with-the-present/)

…A short interview in North Bay….

In May we were in North Bay, Ontario for an Author Talk. I was interviewed by Clarke Heipel of YOUR TV North Bay prior to the talk I gave at the North Bay Public Library in North Bay, Ontario on May 19, 2022.

The Author Talk resulted in several postings about our North Bay visit and stories of several soldiers. Each posting in the North Bay series has links to previous stories. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/07/27/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-wwii-stretcher-bearer-whose-compassion-cost-him-his-life/)

At the time we hadn’t seen the interview, so we were very happy when Don Coutts received a copy of the interview clip.

Thank you to Simone Comeau and Janet FitzGerald for taking the time to share photos and comments.  Thank you to Don Coutts and YOUR TV North Bay for sharing the interview about the presentation in North Bay, Ontario.  Photos or information to share? Email Pieter at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.

…..Upcoming Presentation….

  • Friday, November 11, 2022 – Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island, short presentation ‘They Aren’t Just Names On A Cenotaph’ during the Inter-Faith Remembrance Day service at the Borden-Carleton Legion. Time: Service begins at 9:55 am.

…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.  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/

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

On The War Memorial Trail….. ‘We’ll Never Forget Uncle Bunky’

October 12, 2022. Recently, Douwe Drijver, a researcher at the Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation, a non-profit volunteer organization based in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, asked if Pieter could help find family of a WWII airman from Prince Edward Island. (For more information – in Dutch – on the Foundation, see www.luchtoorlogfriesland.nl )

This organization organized the unveiling of a memorial panel in Wons, The Netherlands to honour WWII pilot Elmer Bagnall MUTTART of Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island, who is buried in Harlingen General Cemetery, and the crew of Halifax L9561.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2019/10/06/unveiling-of-the-memorial-panel-for-downed-ww2-plane-halifax-l9561-in-wons/)

Douwe asked if Pieter could find family of Rowan Charles FITZGERALD….who was born in Charlottetown on July 12, 1915 and has been missing since June 28, 1942….”  The plane he was on, “… Halifax W1175 of the 405th Vancouver Squadron RCAF came down in the Wadden Sea at 03:00 that morning. Only one crew member has a known grave….

Then Douwe surprised us by saying that the crew member with a known grave, Murray Ralph KLEISDORFF of Australia, “…. found his final resting place in Harlingen….” His grave is between 3 unknown graves, one of which may just contain the remains of Rowan Charles FitzGerald.  All four graves are in the row right behind Elmer Muttart!

…We meet family of Rowan Charles ‘Bunky’ FitzGerald….

Shortly after this request came in, retired music teacher Rowan FitzGerald got in contact, explaining that Rowan Charles, known in the family as ‘Bunky’, was his uncle.  Rowan’s sister Janet was visiting from Alberta and the two of them would like to meet to share photos and stories of their uncle.

CIMG5743 Aug 7 2022 Rowan Janet Fitzgerald Pieter

Pieter, left, with Janet FitzGerald and her brother Rowan FitzGerald.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

… ‘Bunky’ was born in Charlottetown….

Janet had prepared a summary of her uncle’s life. “Rowan Charles FitzGerald was the middle son of Geoffrey David FitzGerald and Flora Hope Wiggins.  He was born on July 12, 1915 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where he attended West Kent School and Prince of Wales College.  Rowan was active in sports. He played football, was a competitive speed skater, and played hockey with the Charlottetown Abbies and with a farm team in Colorado…..

Bunky Fitzgerald hockey picture

Bunky played hockey before enlistment.  (Photo courtesy of the FitzGerald Family)

… Bunky’s true character shone through in an anecdote….

In addition to hockey, Bunky was a keen speed skater.  Janet shared an anecdote that showed the true character of her uncle.  “The FitzGerald family loved competitive sports, but winning was never the most important thing.  I remember our father, T. L. ‘Babs’ FitzGerald, illustrating this with a story about his brother Bunky.  He was in a speed skating championship race.  He and one other contender were way out in front of the pack, neck in neck, as they rounded the turn beginning their last lap. 

The other man fell, and instead of skating on to victory, Uncle Bunky stopped, waited for his opponent to get back up on his skates, and then raced him to the finish line, winning by only a few strides.  When asked why he stopped when his opponent fell, he replied that he wanted to win fairly because he was the faster skater, not because his competition had an accident….

… Bunky enlisted with the RCAF in 1940….

From 1934 to 1935, Bunky was a signaller with the 8th Medium Battery Militia in Charlottetown. He later moved to Ontario, where he worked as a prospector for Kirkland Hudson Bay Mining in New Liskeard, an area rich in cobalt.

On July 1, 1940, Bunky enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in Toronto, Ontario.  Janet noted that he “….began training in July 1940 ...

From January 5, 1941 to March 31, 1941 he attended an Air Observers course in Malton, Ontario.

Rowan Charles Fitzgerald in uniform in snow in Malton ON 1941

Bunky beside an Avro Anson plane in Malton, Ontario while attending an Air Observers course in 1941.  (Photo courtesy of the FitzGerald Family)

Once the Air Observers course was completed, Bunky was sent to the No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School in Jarvis, Ontario where he took the AB Initio Bombing and AB Initio Gunnery courses.  Both were completed on May 12, 1941.

From Jarvis, Bunky went to the No. 1 Air Navigation School in Rivers, Manitoba for an Air Observers Advanced Navigation Course, which he completed on June 9, 1941.

improved_photo Bunky Fitzgerald

Bunky in uniform after receiving his Air Observer wings. (Photo courtesy of the FitzGerald Family.  Photo colourization by Pieter Valkenburg)

… Bunky was sent overseas and joined the RAF pool….

On June 29, 1941 Bunky left for the United Kingdom, and was ‘attached to the RAF from the RCAF’ as of July 28, 1941.  (RAF referred to Royal Air Force.)

Janet recorded that Bunky was “first with the 77th Squadron and in March 1942 was assigned to the 405 Squadron at Pocklington Air Force Base near York, England…

… Bunky’s father and brother also served ….

Among the treasures that Janet shared were letters that Bunky’s mother had saved.  In a May 9, 1942 letter written from Pocklington, Bunky wrote about a reunion with his father and brother Babs, who were both in the army and in England at the time.

… Dear Mother,

As you probably guessed from our telegram the three of us have finally gotten together.  In my last letter I told you about missing them when I was on leave.  Well, they got leave when they came back from their maneuvers and came up to see me.  I parked them in York and got to see them for the last three nights.  They left for London this morning.  We had a lot of fun.  It was sure good to get together again…

Unfortunately, it was the last time they met.

 … The last flight of Halifax W1175 LQ-Q ….

Janet’s account noted that “On June 27, 1942, flight W1175 LQ-Q left RAF Pocklington, piloted by Canadian F/Sgt William Field, at 23:32 hours on a mission to Bremen, Germany. Rowan FitzGerald was the navigator on the flight….

As the plane was returning from Bremen in the morning of June 28, 1942, it was hit by shellfire (flak) and crashed into a sandbank called ‘De Waard’ in the Wadden Sea, off the Dutch coast between the Island of Texel and the mainland, 15.5 km from Harlingen, in the province of Friesland.  There were no survivors.

The-Dutch-Wadden-Sea-Area

The Wadden Sea off the Dutch coast near Harlingen.  (Map source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-Dutch-Wadden-Sea-Area_fig3_309826242)

The crew members were 3 Canadians, 1 Australian, and 3 British:

  • RCAF Flt Sgt W E N FIELD Captain (Pilot) – Canadian
  • RAF Sgt R F ANSELL (Flight Engineer) – British
  • RCAF Rowan Charles FITZGERALD (Navigator) – Canadian
  • RAAF Flt Sgt Murray Ralph KLEISDORFF (Air Bomber) – Australian
  • RAF Sgt E O SMITH (Wireless Air Gunner) – British
  • RCAF Flt Sgt J D AILEY (Air Gunner) – Canadian
  • RAF Sgt A DANBY (Air Gunner) – British

Douwe Drijver had explained in his request that only one crew member had been identified – Murray Ralph Kleisdorff of Australia.  For the next part of the story we had to look at records in the National Archives of Australia.

….Four bodies were buried in Harlingen General Cemetery…

The trail had run out for the information in Bunky’s service file, but reports related to the Australian crew member were available at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra.  The reports were not digitized, but when we asked Phillip Shovk of Sydney for help, he contacted Rod Covell, who lived in Canberra.  Rod and his wife Kaylene agreed to look into the files.

An investigation into the crash, based on German records, verified that a Halifax bomber matching the serial number of the plane used by W1175 crashed into the Wadden Sea on the night of June 27 into June 28, 1942.  “…Two days later, 4 corpses were recovered and as they possessed no identity, they were buried as unknown in Harlingen General Cemetery, Plot E, Row 1, Graves 3, 4, 5, 6...

After the war, the four graves were opened.  A December 29, 1948 report stated that “…only one of these could be identified….The six remaining crew members were therefore either lost at sea or at Harlingen as unidentified airmen in graves 3, 5, and 6….

What about Grave 4?  A June 22, 1948 report noted that “…the presence of RAAF dark blue material in Grave 4 indicates that ….Sgt M. R. Kleisdorff is buried there….”  Murray Kleisdorff’s headstone was amended.  The other 3 burials remain unknown.  Perhaps one holds Bunky’s remains?

Foto`s genomen op de begraafplaats van Harlingen (Harns) Prov Friesland (Fryslân). Door Remko de Jong (7)(1)

Harlingen General Cemetery in Harlingen, The Netherlands.  Murray Ralph Kleisdorff is second from the left in the front row.  The other 3 headstones are unmarked graves of airmen believed to be from the same flight.  (Photo credit: Remco de Jong)

The 6 men with no known grave are listed on the Runnymede Memorial, situated at Englefield Green, near Egham, 32 kms west of London, England. The memorial lists 20,450 members of the Air Forces of the British Commonwealth with no known grave.  (See https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/overseas/second-world-war/england/runnymede)

Janet ended her summary about her uncle’s life with “…Rowan Charles FitzGerald died 2 weeks prior to his 27th birthday. His descendants still hope to gain closure by locating his final resting place and ensuring his memory is preserved…

A few weeks after we met, Janet wrote us to say “…Rowan and I are so very grateful for your interest and time spent in piecing together Uncle Bunky’s story.  Thank you for all you are doing for our fallen boys and ensuring they are never forgotten….

Thank you to Rowan FitzGerald and Janet FitzGerald for sharing photos and information on their uncle, Remco de Jong for the photo from Harlingen General Cemetery, Angela Walker for contacting the FitzGerald family, Don Smith for identifying the Avro Anson plane in the photo of Bunky in Malton, Phillip Shovk for contacting Rod Covell, and Rod and Kaylene Covell for researching the crash report in the National Archives in Canberra, Australia.

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.

…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

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