The WW1 Soldier From Barton Whose Body Was Never Recovered

July 31, 2022. Most of the time Pieter is involved in a search for photos and family of WW1 or WW2 soldiers, a task that requires a great deal of research and luck.  Sometimes, however, the opposite happens, and he’s asked to find family and a soldier for a photo that has been ‘orphaned’ for one reason or another.

For a veteran, it can be difficult to ignore a photo that has been discarded or placed for sale in an auction or secondhand shop.  That’s exactly what happened when veteran Mario Henry, Sgt At Arms at the Borden-Carleton Legion, visited a pre-auction preview recently and spotted a photo of what looked to be a WW1 soldier.

….Photo of a WW1 soldier placed for auction…

improved_photo(4) shortliff

Photo of WW1 soldier Lloyd Shortliff.  (Photo credit and restoration: Pieter Valkenburg)

It was in an antique frame and was most likely a black and white photo that had been colourized with watercolour and framed, suggesting that at one time this was a treasured piece in someone’s home.

….The back of the photo identified the soldier and his family….

CIMG5692 Jun 28 2022 back of Shortliff photo

Back of photo with identifying information.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

A quick glance at the back of the photo had identifying information, which helped to uncover a soldier’s military service.  The information on the back stated: “Lloyd Shortliff, son of Emma (Dunbar) Shortliffe and Charles Shortliffe. Sisters Minerva and Gertrude (Mrs Joseph Foster).  He was missing in action September 17, 1916 in France.

….Who was Lloyd Shortliff?….

Mario contacted Pieter, who soon determined that the photo was of Lloyd Clifford SHORTLIFF, born April 12, 1891 in Barton, Digby, Nova Scotia, son of Charles Henry and Emma (nee Dunbar) Shortliff.

A farmer before enlisting in Sussex, New Brunswick on September 20, 1915 with the 64th Battalion, Lloyd left Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the SS Adriatic on March 31, 1916, arriving in Liverpool, England on April 9, 1916.

On June 24, 1916 he was transferred to the 12th Battalion and sent to Shornecliffe Army Camp for further training. (See https://www.saltwoodkent.co.uk/the-canadian-at-shorncliffe-during-)

…Lloyd was sent to the front…..

Screenshot 2022-07-04 at 10-28-48 Vierstraat · Ypres Belgium

Blue line shows the route taken by the 24th Regiment as they moved from the Ypres area in Belgium towards France for the Battle of the Somme. (Map source: http://www.google.ca)

A few days later, on June 28, 1916, he was transferred to the 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles of Canada) and sent to Belgium on July 12, 1916. The Regiment was part of the Canadian Corps manning the Western Front.

On August 28, 1916 the Regiment marched to Eperlecques, France for training on the new Lee-Enfield rifles, where they also trained in manoeuvres in preparation for what the troops would experience in the Battle of the Somme. (See map at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_the_Battle_of_the_Somme,_1916.svg)

On September 4, 1916, the Regiment went to Argues, France, and took a train to Conteville, before moving on towards Hérissart, and then to Albert, France, where the Regiment arrived on September 10, 1916 and were set up in tents.

The Somme front was near the village of Courcelette. Training began for an attack on the Sugar Refinery near Courcelette, which began on September 15, 1916.  By the next day, Battalion Headquarters was set up in a trench by the Sugar Refinery, in preparation for further attacks against the Germans. (See https://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/battles-and-fighting/land-battles/courcelette/)

Lloyd lost his life on September 17, 1916.  Unfortunately his body was never recovered and he is listed on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

….Could the photo be saved?….

Knowing that Lloyd Shortliff was listed on the Vimy Memorial was like waving a red flag at a bull for veterans Pieter and Mario.  Pieter has a special affinity for Vimy after we’d been there in 2017 to honour two soldiers from the Island that Pieter had researched.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2017/09/19/visiting-the-canadian-national-vimy-memorial/)

The photo couldn’t be resigned to the dustbin of history!  The value was in the antique frame, not the photo, and both men believed someone would buy the frame and discard the photo.

Mario contacted the auctioneer and asked if the seller would pull the picture out of the auction, pending further investigation.  The seller refused.

That seemed to be that ….. until Mario contacted Pieter to say that he had attended the auction and bought the picture.  Pieter went back to his research, to learn how Lloyd lost his life and to find his family.

CIMG5689 Jun 28 2022 Pieter and Mario with photo

Pieter (left) and Mario Henry (right) with the picture of WW1 soldier Lloyd Shortliff. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

….How did Lloyd Shortliff lose his life?…

Pieter wanted to know how Lloyd lost his life and why he was listed on the Vimy Memorial, since he didn’t die during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which was in April 1917.

According to the war diary for the 24th Battalion for September 17, 1916, “… at 12:30 pm, orders were received from the Brigade that the Battalion, less one Company, were to attack the German front line, with our Right resting on the Baupame Road, and our Left with the 22nd Battalion in the vicinity of the Quarries.  The attack commenced at 5 pm…..

The soldiers  of ‘D’ Company, on the extreme right, “…were unable to reach their objective, many of them killed before they got over the parapet, and the men who did advance were held up in the German wire and shot down…

‘A’ Company was in the centre, and “…obtained their objective, but after severe fighting, the enemy bombed them out, working through from his main line…

By the time the fight was over, 9 officers and 330 other ranks of the 24th Battalion were dead, wounded, or missing and presumed dead, among them Lloyd Shortliff.  As his body was never recovered it appears he was among the soldiers who were bombed.

24th battalion WW1 112

Map of the Battle of Courcelette on September 17, 1916. Red arrow shows the Sugar Refinery where Lloyd Shortliff went missing.  (Map source: The 24th Battalion, C.E.F., Victoria Rifles of Canada, 1914-1919)

…Pieter found the family of Lloyd Shortliff….

Pieter’s research next focused on Lloyd’s descendants, and led to family member Trent Whittaker, whose grandmother was Gertrude Foster, Lloyd’s sister.  After explaining about the picture that Mario had rescued, he was surprised to learn that it was Trent who had put the photo in a garage sale as part of the clear out of a 200 plus year old farmhouse.  The family had a photo of Lloyd and the one put in the garage sale was a duplicate. Several ‘pickers’ had bought the goods and that was the last he saw of the picture.

This is a story many will find familiar.  Relatives die and families are left with an accumulation of ‘stuff’ that can become overwhelming.  In the purge, photos, letters, diaries, and other memorabilia can get discarded.

…. Lloyd is remembered on the Barton War Memorial…

IMG_5558R Jul 8 2022 Barton War Memorial

Barton War Memorial.  (Photo credit: Sandra Lent)

Lloyd Shortliff was bombed to smithereens in France, his remains never recovered, but he is listed on the Vimy Memorial in France, and Pieter discovered that he is also listed on the war memorial in Barton, Nova Scotia:  https://nshdpi.ca/is/digbyco/bartonwarm.html.  The Legion in Weymouth, Nova Scotia has expressed an interest in the picture after learning of its existence.

IMG_5566R Jul 8 2022 Barton War Memorial

Lloyd Shortliff is remembered on the Barton War Memorial. (Photo credit: Sandra Lent)

Sandra Lent of the Weymouth Legion visited the memorial and explained that it was “…located in Barton, at the head of a cemetery.  There are no other markings, such as the name of the cemetery, although it is well tended, and the pillar shaped monument is helpful for identification.  It is located a short distance north of the Barton post office, on the same side of the highway...

Thank you to Mario Henry for saving the photo which gave us a chance to tell Lloyd Shortliff’s story.  Thank you as well to Sandra Lent for taking the photos of the Barton War Memorial.  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.

….. More stories of ‘orphan’ soldier photos and artifacts …

…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/

Upcoming Author Talk: Thursday, August 11, 2022 – Victoria-By-The-Sea, Prince Edward Island, part of the ‘Our Island Talks’ series, and hosted by Victoria Playhouse and Victoria Historical Association. Time: 2:00 pm.

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….. Remembering WW2 Soldier John ‘Jack’ Richard Maracle

July 17, 2022. Before we travelled to North Bay, Ontario in May for an Author Talk at the North Bay Public Library we were given the name of a WWII soldier buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands, who was listed as being from North Bay: John ‘Jack’ Richard MARACLE.

When Pieter began researching his story, he quickly saw that Jack Maracle was not from North Bay and had never lived there.  What was the connection?  It turned out that his maternal grandfather, Thomas Marshall, lived in North Bay, and his mother had grown up there. Mystery solved!

Jack Maracle from Brenda Baughman

John ‘Jack’ Richard Maracle.  (Photo courtesy of the Jack Maracle Family)

Brenda Baughman submitted a photo on behalf of the Maracle Family, explaining that it was “…a photo of my cousin John Richard Maracle. Jack, as he was called by the family, is in his WWII uniform.  My grandmother Florence was the sister of Jack’s father, who was always called Elmer….”   

Jack Maracle and his cousin, Freda Maracle (2)

Jack Maracle with Brenda Baughman’s mother Freda Maracle in Toronto, circa 1942. (Photo courtesy of the Jack Maracle Family)

…Jack Maracle had deep Mohawk roots….

Jack was born March 29, 1925 in Midland, Ontario, the son of Henry ‘Elmer’ and Irene Mildred (nee Marshall) Maracle.  He had deep Mohawk roots on his paternal side through Elmer’s parents. 

Elmer’s father, Albert Maracle, was born on the Tyendinaga Reserve in Ontario.  (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyendinaga_Mohawk_Territory and https://mbq-tmt.org/) Elmer’s mother Elsie (nee Hill) was born on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Nations_of_the_Grand_River)

…Jack’s father was a professional hockey player….

Jack’s father Elmer was a professional hockey player, playing in six leagues across North America over the course of his 20 year career.  He was one of the first Indigenous players in the National Hockey League (NHL) when he was with the New York Rangers in the early 1930s. 

Elmer Maracle, North Bay - 1925

Elmer Maracle with the North Bay Trappers, circa 1925. (Photo courtesy of the Jack Maracle Family)

And there was a North Bay connection, as he played for the North Bay Trappers.  (See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Maracle)

Because of his father’s career, Jack and his sister Betty lived in several places throughout North America, returning to Ontario with their mother only once their parents’ marriage broke up.

…Jack had an aptitude for motor mechanics….

Jack worked in several jobs as a teenager, including bicycle delivery with a printing company, telegram delivery, press operator helper with lithography, and a shop man with the Canadian Pacific Railway. 

Before Jack enlisted with the #2 District Depot in Toronto, Ontario on March 29, 1943 – his 18th birthday – he was an elevator operator with the Robert Simpson Company, a department store that later became known as Sears. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpsons_(department_store)) 

The self-operated automatic elevators we know today replaced manually operated elevators, which required an operator to be able to regulate speed and have a good sense of timing to ensure the elevator stopped level with a floor. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator_operator)  These skills were a good preparation for Jack’s army career.

His Personnel Selection Record with the Canadian Army recorded that Jack was “… a neat, well-dressed young man of slim build… who is keen to get into the army… In each of his frequent job changes he has bettered himself…..”  It went on to note that he had “….well above average learning ability...” His aptitude and interest in motor mechanics was noted, including that he “…prefers the ‘Tank’ corps….” 

The Personnel Selection Record noted that Jack’s “… only sporting interest is roller-skating...” (not hockey!) and that he liked “…social events, and, for a hobby, collects photographs of locomotives…

…Jack’s army career began with armoured tank training ….

Jack’s medical exam noted that he had a hernia and a heart murmur, so he was placed in Category ‘D’ (temporarily unfit for service) and sent first to the Camp Petawawa Military Hospital (CPMH), then to Toronto Convalescent Hospital (TCH) for a hernia operation.

On August 20, 1943 he was transferred to #26 Canadian Army Basic Training Centre (CABTC) in Orillia, Ontario, where he stayed until October 18, 1943.  From Orillia he was sent to Borden, Ontario to the Canadian Armoured Corps Training Centre (CACTC) for advanced training in tanks, becoming a Qualified Driver i/c Class III Wheeled on November 25, 1943.  It was noted that he could not proceed overseas before his 19th birthday on March 29, 1944.

On April 30, 1944, he left sailed to the United Kingdom, arriving on May 7, 1944, where he was transferred to the Canadian Armoured Corps Reinforcement Unit (CACRU).  He was sent for further training, and qualified as Gunner Operator ‘C’ on August 1, 1944.

…Jack arrived in northwest Europe and joined the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment ….

On September 25, 1944 he arrived in France as part of the Canadian Armoured Corps reinforcement.    On October 31, 1944 he was transferred to the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars), which was in Breda, The Netherlands.

The November 1, 1944 War Diary entry for the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment noted that “…This section of the country has received us exceptionally well but they are almost destitute for food as is evidenced by the number of civilians around our cook lorry…

On November 9, 1944 the Regiment moved towards the northeast to Groesbeek, near the German border, in preparation for upcoming operations in the Rhineland.

…Armoured tanks helped win the war…..

If you wondered what an armoured tank regiment did and the difficulties and dangers that were faced, you can take a look at this 47 minute documentary: ‘How Canada’s Blockbuster Tank Operation Won The Allies WW2

…Jack’s Regiment prepared for the upcoming battles in Germany…..

Christmas found the Regiment still in The Netherlands. The December 25, 1944 War Diary entry for the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment noted that “…To-day the regiment, less one squadron, came under command of 3rd Canadian Infantry Division….

On February 7, 1945, War Diary entry for the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment noted that “…Morale is at a high peak as it is evident by the flow of equipment on the roads that we are soon to witness our first real thrust into Germany….

The February 11, 1945 War Diary entry for the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment noted that “…Now that Operation Veritable is in full swing traffic has been resumed to normal….” (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Veritable)

On February 19, 1945, the Regiment was informed that they would be going into Germany.  The War Diary entry for the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment noted that “…This morning we were warned that the Regiment would be moving very shortly to the CLEVE area. The prisoners taken on operation Veritable have now risen to nine thousand one hundred…”  Kleve, Germany is just a few short kms from Groesbeek, The Netherlands.

On February 25, 1945, the War Diary entry for the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment noted that “…. The crews are checking on all equipment and making minor repairs to make the tanks battle worthy as we have learned of a coming operation…”  This was for the Battle of Keppeln, fought between February 26 and March 3, 1945.  This was the start of Operation Blockbuster. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Blockbuster)

After Keppeln came the Battle of Balberger Wald, the southern section of the Hochwald Forest, southeast of Keppeln and part of the Schlieffen Line that protected the approach to the Rhine River. It took “two more days to complete clearing … after Le Régiment de la Chaudière had secured the Tüschen Wald on 2 March. As they probed southward and then eastward through the woods, the Queen’s Own Rifles and the North Shore Regiment encountered persistent resistance by small enemy bands…. Every advance was counter-attacked…. and the 1st Hussars, held up by numerous anti-tank mines, could only give supporting fire through the trees from stationary positions….” (See https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/Canada/CA/Victory/Victory-19.html, page 513)

…The final phase of Operation Blockbuster began on March 5, 1945 ….

In ‘A History of the First Hussars Regiment 1856-1980’ by Brandon Conron, published in 1981, explained that “… The final part of ‘Blockbuster’, in which the Regiment took an active part, was on March 5th… the plan was to attack east from the Hochwald and seize the high ground between Xanten and Sonsbeck...

The March 5, 1945 War Diary entry for the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment noted that it was “…Cloudy with sleet and rain...

Conron’s Regimental history provides a bit more information.  “…Although first light was at 0645 hours, zero hour was set for 0615 hours. Despite the darkness the tanks moved forward with the infantry… By daylight it became quite evident that the buildings in the rear where not clear, for a continuous stream of German machine gun fire from that direction harassed everyone…” 

Jack was hit in the abdomen by a bullet from machine gun fire and quickly taken to a Casualty Clearing Post by the 23rd Canadian Field Ambulance, reaching it shortly after 7 am.  By noon he had been admitted to #3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station in Bedburg, Germany. Despite efforts to save him, he unfortunately died on March 12, 1945.

map showing Reichswald forest and Bedburg

 …Jack is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek…

Maracle gravestone from Find A Grave

Grave of John ‘Jack’ Richard Maracle at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek.  (Photo source: http://www.findagrave.com)

Jack was temporarily buried at the Bedburg Canadian Military Cemetery before being reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands.

Brenda Baughman, Lynda Wink, Gordon Cooper - July 12, 2022 resized

Brenda Baughman with her sister and brother. Left to right: Brenda Baughman, Lynda Wink, Gordon Cooper. (Photo courtesy of Brenda Baughman)

Thank you to Brenda Baughman for sending photos and sharing information on her cousin, Jack Maracle.  Our North Bay adventure concludes in the next posting. If you know of any soldiers from the North Bay area that are buried in The Netherlands please let Pieter know. You can email him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.  

…Missed the previous postings about our North Bay Memorial Trail visit?…

….Indigenous soldiers featured on this blog….

To read about other Indigenous soldiers featured on this blog:

…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/

Upcoming Author Talk: Thursday, August 11, 2022 – Victoria-By-The-Sea, Prince Edward Island, part of the ‘Our Island Talks’ series, and hosted by Victoria Playhouse and Victoria Historical Association. Time: 2:00 pm.

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 In North Bay….. Remembering WW2 Soldier Cecil Edward Goodreau

June 17, 2022. Some families span generations of military service, as we discovered when researching the life of WWII soldier Cecil Edward GOODREAU of North Bay, Ontario. Not only did Cecil serve during WWII, but two of his brothers did as well:

  • Murrel Robert, who worked at National Grocers in North Bay before enlisting in 1942
  • William (Bill) Joseph, who worked at Rankin’s Grocery in North Bay before enlisting

Both Murrel and Bill returned home from the war. Cecil didn’t.

The three brothers followed in the footsteps of their father Henry (Harry) Goodreau, who enlisted in WWI and served in France. While in England he met and married Margaret Daisy. They had 2 boys born there before returning to Canada in March 1919 on a ship full of troops and their wives and children.

improved_photo(3) Cecil Goodreau

Cecil Edward Goodreau.  (Photo courtesy of the Goudreau family. Photo colourization by Pieter Valkenburg)

Cecil was born July 9, 1924 in Cache Bay, Ontario, the son of Harry Joseph and Margaret Daisy Goodreau.  He attended St Joseph’s Separate School in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, and after the family moved to North Bay when he was 12, he was a student at St Mary’s School in North Bay. 

Before enlisting in Sudbury, Ontario on March 15, 1943, Cecil worked at the International Nickel Company (Inco) in Copper Cliff, Ontario. He was sent for training as a gunner at Camp Borden, Ontario before going overseas.  He left Canada on November 25, 1943 and arrived in the United Kingdom on December 1, where he became part of the Canadian Armoured Corps Reinforcement Unit (CACRU).

While in the United Kingdom, he attended Gunnery and Wireless courses in preparation for the D-Day landings on June 4, 1944 in Normandy.  Remarkably, he survived D-Day and on June 9, 1944 was transferred to the 27th Armoured Regiment (Sherbrooke Fusiliers). 

… Cecil lost his life during Operation Blockbuster in Germany….

On November 1, 1944, while still in France, he was wounded when he sustained shell fragment wounds to his head and face, as well as his knee and shin, in an infantry accident.  At the time of his death he was still carrying scars of the face and head shell wounds received in November.

Unfortunately, a few months later, Cecil was killed in action in Germany in the Battle of Keppeln on February 26, 1945 during Operation Blockbuster, the last part of Operation Veritable. He had been transferred to the 25th Armoured Delivery Regiment (Elgin Regiment) just the day before. 

Cecil was initially buried near Kalkar, Germany. (For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Blockbuster and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Veritable)

… Cecil’s great-niece contacted us….

Nancy Gribbons, daughter of Cecil’s niece Marie, wrote that “…My grandfather, Harry Goudreau, and Uncle Cecil were brothers.  My mother talked of Uncle Cecil staying with them all the time and that they all loved him.

When he was 18, Uncle Cecil moved from North Bay to stay with Harry and Grandma Helene at their home in Copper Cliff, Ontario.  Uncle Cecil worked at Inco mines before signing up in Sudbury to join the war. 

My grandparents helped many persons by letting them stay at their home while working at the Inco mines.  Inco was a large employer and people could make money to save.

In 1940 there was not a lot of work, especially in Northern Ontario, and men flocked to Sudbury to work in the mines.  It was a mining town, and still is.

Grandpa Harry never got over losing his brother Cecil.  He and Grandma Helen named their next child, a girl, Cecilla after him, and then the next and last was a boy and his name is Cecil Goudreau too. 

Uncle Cecil was so loved and was saving to buy a farm in Verner, a farming community between North Bay and Sudbury, near Sturgeon Falls and Cache Bay, where he was born….” 

…Memorial Plaque at Pro-Cathedral Of The Assumption Church in North Bay….

20220518_165029 May 18 2022 Procathedral

Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption Catholic Church in North Bay, Ontario.

After Nancy told us that Cecil’s name was listed on a memorial plaque at the Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption Catholic Church in North Bay, we asked Don Coutts if he could arrange a visit there to see it. 

Don contacted Karen Steel, Parish Administrator, who was present when we came to view the plaque.

20220518_154353 May 18 2022 Pieter Karen Steel Don Coutts by memorial plaque in Procathedral

Pieter with Karen Steel and Don Coutts beside the memorial plaque at the Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption Catholic Church. Pieter is pointing to Cecil’s name.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)


20220518_154254 May 18 2022 Memorial plaque for Goodreau in Procathedral

Memorial plaque at the Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption Catholic Church. Cecil’s name is second from the bottom in the far left column.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

…Cecil’s nephew had a photo….

Nancy Gribbons contacted her uncle Johnny Goudreau, a retired veteran, who wrote “Thank you for your work on this project….” Johnny and his wife Beverley contributed the photo of Cecil, noting that there was a “…difference in the spelling for our last name. Goudreau is how this branch of the family spells the last name….

Cecil was initially buried near Kalkar, Germany, before being reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands.

12903776_137245225378 Goodreau from Find A Grave

Cecil Edward Goodreau is buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands.  (Photo source: http://www.findagrave.com)

Thank you to Johnny and Beverley Goudreau and Nancy Gribbons for sharing anecdotes about Cecil Goodreau and his photo. Heartfelt thanks to Don Coutts and Karen Steel for arranging the visit to the Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption Catholic Church to view the memorial plaque. Thank you also to Judie Klassen and Shawn Rainville for researching the newspaper and genealogy archives. 

Our North Bay adventures continue in upcoming postings.  If you know of any soldiers from the North Bay area that are buried in The Netherlands please let Pieter know. You can mail him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.  

… Stories about other soldiers who lost their lives on February 26, 1945 during Operation Blockbuster…

…Missed the previous postings about our North Bay Memorial Trail visit?…

…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 In North Bay….. The North Bay Cenotaph In Memorial Park

CIMG5568 May 18 2022 Pieter and Don at North Bay Memorial

Pieter and Don Coutts by a section of the Wall of Honour in Memorial Park in North Bay, Ontario.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

June 8, 2022. Whenever we visit a place, the local Cenotaph or monuments are always on the ‘must see’ list. North Bay, Ontario has the largest municipal war memorial in Canada. The 2000 installation of the Honour Wall listed the names of 636 men and women from the area that lost their lives. 

Exif_JPEG_420

Cenotaph in Memorial Park in North Bay, Ontario. You can see the Wall of Honour in the background. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

…Soldiers buried in The Netherlands on the photo wish lists by Dutch researchers…

The names of 6 WWII soldiers from the North Bay area who are buried in The Netherlands were on photo wish lists from Dutch researchers, and four of these were on the Cenotaph:

  • Albert Joseph COTE
  • Cecil Edward GOODREAU
  • Anthony PETTA
  • John Langford ‘Jack’ WALKER

DSCN2391 A J Cote name is at the very bottom

Albert Joseph Cote, buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten. (Photo credit: Don Coutts)


CIMG5565 May 18 2022 North Bay Memorial Cecil Goudreau

Cecil Edward Goodreau, buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)


CIMG5564 May 18 2022 North Bay Memorial Anthony Petta

Anthony Petta, buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)


DSCN2395 J L Walker name

John Langford ‘Jack’ Walker, buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten. (Photo credit: Don Coutts)

All four of these soldiers will be featured in upcoming stories on this blog.  For a list of all known soldiers from the North Bay area who are buried in The Netherlands, see https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/05/15/on-the-war-memorial-trail-author-talks-in-north-bay/

….End Polio Now Tulips….

DSCN2414 May 18 2022 Tulips at North Bay Memorial Don Coutts

‘End Polio Now’ Tulips by the Cenotaph in Memorial Park in North Bay, Ontario. (Photo credit: Don Coutts)

While at the Cenotaph, we were surprised to learn that the tulips gracing the monument were ‘End Polio Now’ tulips.  Pieter grows several varieties of tulips in our yard, but this is one we had never heard of, so we asked Don Coutts for more information.

In the Fall of 2020, I had seen an article in The Guardian of how the Rotary Clubs on Prince Edward Island and Atlantic Canada had raised funds for Rotary International’s project to eradicate Polio in the world by selling the End Polio Now Tulip Bulb Boxes.

Around 1985 Rotary International took on a project to eradicate Polio throughout the world. My wife Nora’s uncle, Tom Elliott, was quite involved with the Rotary International in getting the project started. Tom was a senior manager with the North Bay Public District Health Unit at the time. At the present time, there are only a handful of Polio cases in the world.

In 2020, proceeds of $43,192 were made by Rotary Clubs on PEI and in the Atlantic Provinces, plus sales of the bulbs that had been made to the public separately. With matching grants, including the Melinda and Bill Gates’ Foundation for the Polio Eradication Programme, the total amount of money raised was $154,715.00 US Dollars.

 In 2021, members of our Rotary District 7010 Rotary Clubs in Ontario bought 665 Tulip Bulb Boxes. The proceeds were $10,267.60 and with matching grants the amount became $30,802.00 Canadian Dollars.

The three (3) Rotary Clubs in North Bay bought 132 Tulip Bulb Boxes and donated many. Other Rotary Clubs in the District bought the Tulip Bulbs and donated them to various organizations as well. 

There is only one supplier of the Tulip Bulbs in the world—–they come from Holland (this was music to Pieter’s ears!) Veseys Seed Company was involved and is the sole Canadian Distributor.  There are twenty-five (25) Tulip Bulbs in each box. (For more information, see https://www.veseys.com/ca/end-polio-now-tulip-76289.html)

Once Polio has been eradicated, the supplier of the Tulip Bulbs in Holland will no longer produce them….

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the ‘End Polio Now Tulips will be on Pieter’s bulb purchase list for this fall! 

Thank you to Don Coutts for taking us to the Cenotaph.  More North Bay adventures are coming up in the next posting.

Missed the previous posting about North Bay?  See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/06/07/on-the-war-memorial-trail-in-north-bay-adventures-in-north-bay/

If you know of any soldiers from the North Bay area that are buried in The Netherlands please let Pieter know. You can mail 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 now available.  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 In North Bay….. Adventures In North Bay

CIMG5579 May 19 2022 Pieter and Daria by North Bay welcome sign (1)

We arrive in North Bay, Ontario!  (Photo credit: Don Coutts)

June 7, 2022. When we accepted an invitation from the North Bay Public Library in North Bay, Ontario to do an Author Talk, we never expected it to be such a thoroughly engaging and interesting few days.  The next few postings will highlight the events, but first here are a few adventures from our travels.

Our guide for the trip was Don Coutts, nephew of WWII pilot Elmer Bagnall MUTTART of Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island, who is buried in The Netherlands, and whose story has been featured on this blog.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2017/07/28/the-elmer-bagnall-muttart-story/ and/or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71Rzg07kPw0&list=PLaJcEVojJra-ZwR6rvb-THj8Zr2QbUXLT&index=2)

Of course, we visited many places related to the research being done on soldiers from the North Bay area who are buried in The Netherlands.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/05/15/on-the-war-memorial-trail-author-talks-in-north-bay/)  One of the stops was at the North Bay Museum.

20220518_165730 May 18 2022 Pieter and Don outside North Bay Museum

Don Coutts and Pieter outside the North Bay Museum. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

…Author Talk At North Bay-Nipissing Rotary Club….

May 19 2022 Rotary Club Nipissing Presentation Slideshow

Pieter and I were invited to the North Bay-Nipissing Rotary Club meeting in North Bay, where I gave a brief Author Talk, a prelude to the main event at the North Bay Public Library.  It was interesting that after I shared our challenges in finding St Sever Cemetery in Rouen, France, in spite of (or maybe because of?) GPS, one of the Rotary Club members came up and shared his own travel challenges in getting around Rouen.  It wasn’t just us!

May 19 2022 Rotary Club Jonathan Jolkowski, Daria, Pieter, Kevin Smith, Don

Jonathan Jolkowski, Daria, Pieter, Kevin Smith, Don Coutts.  (Photo credit: Shona Camirand)

…The North Bay Heritage Carousel….

For me, however, a stop on MY Must See list was the North Bay Heritage Carousel.  Fans of Hallmark Movies will find this carousel familiar if they saw ‘A Christmas Carousel’.  I was overjoyed when Don said we could not only see the carousel, but go for a ride.  My reluctant Hallmark hero gamely went along, but couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about!

Exif_JPEG_420

A ride on the North Bay Heritage Carousel made me feel like a Hallmark heroine!  (Photo credit: Don Coutts)

In this very short clip from the movie preview, you can see the carousel:

Thank you to Don Coutts for guiding us around North Bay and arranging for the events we were able to participate in.  More North Bay adventures are coming up in the next posting….

If you know of soldiers from the North Bay area that are buried in The Netherlands please let Pieter know. You can mail 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 WW2 Soldier Who Lost His Life In A Monastery Garden

June 5, 2022. After seeing Pieter on the news during Remembrance Week 2021, Sylvia Churchill of Nova Scotia contacted us.  “My husband’s father, Bruce W. Churchill, was killed in Hulst, The Netherlands, buried there, and later exhumed after the war was over and buried in the Adegem Canadian War Cemetery.  He was killed in a garden near a Monastery while their Regiment was cleaning their Bren guns. He died instantly, on September 29, 1944.  My husband was born January 1945 and named after his father, Bruce W. Churchill (Jr). …”  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/11/15/on-the-war-memorial-trail-ctvs-atlantic-live-at-5-update-on-the-photo-search-for-soldiers-buried-in-the-netherlands/)

Bruce W Churchill Sr Sep 21 1942

Bruce Wilbur Churchill in a September 21, 1942 photo.  (Photo courtesy of Bruce (Jr) and Sylvia Churchill)

Bruce Wilbur CHURCHILL was born April 17, 1921 in Sandford, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, the son of Ralph Lloyd and Ethel Mae Churchill.  He had 5 brothers and 6 sisters, and worked as a farm labourer and fisherman after leaving school at the age of 16.

…Bruce was not the only family member who served in the military…

When he enlisted in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on October 10, 1939 with the 6th Anti-Aircraft Battery,  not only were 4 of his brothers in the Army, but also his father, who was a gunner.

Bruce’s service file noted that he played volleyball and swam, and liked to read popular magazines and novels.

On November 1, 1941, Bruce was transferred to the 1st Anti-Aircraft Search Light Battery as a member of the search light crew, all the time remaining in Canada, understandable given that 5 members of his family were already serving.  He had been a cook since April 11, 1940 and held the rank of Gunner.

He married Dora Mae Goodwin on February 14, 1942, and they became the parents of a daughter, Donna Fay, born in Argyle Sound, Nova Scotia on September 3, 1942.

…Bruce was anxious to serve overseas…

In an August 4, 1943 interview with the Personnel Selection Board of the Army, it was noted that Bruce was “…anxious to see action in an active theatre of war.  For this purpose he has volunteered for the parachute battalion…

Bruce didn’t meet the requirements for the parachute battalion, but was considered suitable for the artillery.

On February 14, 1944, Bruce and Dora Mae’s son Eric Bruce was born in Argyle Sound, but sadly he passed away on May 28, 1944.  May 28 is the same day that Bruce’s desire for overseas service was about to be granted, as he was transferred to the Canadian Infantry Training Centre (CITC) in Aldershot, Nova Scotia.

He was on his way to England as of August 3, 1944, arriving on August 10, and at his request, he changed from cook to general duty as of August 21, 1944.  He became part of the Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit (CIRU) and sent to France on September 4, 1944.

…Bruce lost his life when a gun ricocheted…

On September 15, 1944 he was transferred to the Algonquin Regiment. On September 29, 1944, he lost his life in Hulst, The Netherlands, accidentally killed when a Bren gun ricocheted.

Soldiers Service Book with bullet hole

Soldier’s Service Book showing the bullet hole.  (Image courtesy of Bruce (Jr) and Sylvia Churchill)

Among the documents that Sylvia shared was “…the first page of Bruce Churchill Sr.’s Soldier’s Service Book. I want to point out the bullet hole in that book (which is on all the other pages) ….he obviously was wearing that when he died. How sad to see that….

When Bruce died, his wife Dora Mae was pregnant with their son Bruce, who was born in January 1945.

…Account of the accident by George Spittael…

cms_visual_1335496.jpg_1582646467000_600x858An account of the incident was recorded by George E. Spittael of Belgium in his book ‘Librera Me’, published in 1989 in Flemish.  By September 27, 1944, several companies were given a rest period in Hulst while others patrolled the shoreline of the Scheldt.

A translated excerpt from September 29, 1944 explained what happened to Bruce.  “Although there was no enemy activity in Hulst, there were two casualties when a Bren gun ricocheted. Pte. Poole was wounded and Pte. Bruce Wilbur Churchill, F/7185, killed. The 27-year-old Canadian from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, was temporarily buried in Hulst General Cemetery, but after the hostilities his remains were transferred to Adegem…

According to the Graves Registration Card, however, Bruce was buried on the Monastery grounds, not in the Hulst General Cemetery.  A letter from the Protestant Chaplain to Bruce’s family noted that Bruce had been buried on the Monastery grounds.

…. A letter from the Chaplain….

In a November 19, 1944 letter from Canadian Army Chaplain, Honorary Captain A. Phillips Silcox to Bruce’s parents, he described what happened on the day Bruce lost his life:

…a small group of soldiers were sitting in a garden, cleaning weapons, or taking them apart and reassembling them, when in some way a single shot was most unexpectedly fired from a Bren Gun close to Bruce.  He was instantly killed as the bullet passed through his body.  It then continued through a hedge and lodged in another soldier’s leg – though fortunately he was not seriously wounded…..

Our location at the time was in a small town in Holland not far from the border of Belgium, but well away from the enemy and we felt fairly secure for a few days rest.  The garden was the most unlikely place to expect death – a lovely spot, across from a Roman Catholic monastery….

The Father Superior of the Monastery (where I was staying) offered a pleasant corner of their garden for the grave, so there we laid him to rest while his Company stood ground, a few of the priests and a civilian woman looking on, for the brief military service.  Afterward the soldiers who completed the grave laid a lovely spray of flowers and I know that the priests will care for it until the day that our government agents transfer all graves to certain central cemeteries….

…Sylvia and Bruce Churchill visited the grave of his father…

Sylvia explained that “…in 2019, Bruce and I were fortunate to have visited Belgium and The Netherlands for two weeks, and we were able to visit his father’s gravesite for the first time….

P1040467 Bruce Churchill at his fathers grave in Adegem

Bruce Churchill at his father’s grave in the Canadian War Cemetery in Adegem in 2019.  (Photo courtesy of Bruce (Jr) and Sylvia Churchill)

…Sylvia and Bruce Churchill also visited Hulst…

In addition to the visit to the Canadian War Cemetery in Adegem, Belgium, Sylvia explained that “…when we went to Belgium/Netherlands, in particular to the town of Hulst, we went to the Town Hall and spoke to a historian. Prior to our visit to Europe, we had mailed him everything we had as far as finding the grounds where Bruce’s father had originally been buried, and they gave us a location where an old Monastery used to be. It is a school now. …

P1040331 Tree in Hulst taken by Sylvia

The former Monastery in Hulst, The Netherlands, and the tree that jogged a memory.  (Photo courtesy of Bruce (Jr) and Sylvia Churchill)

The visit to Hulst brought back a memory of an old photo Bruce remembered seeing.  “…There was a huge tree that jogged Bruce’s memory of his Mother showing him a picture of his dad sitting on a tree (which was small then but low lying).  That particular photo is lost. I’ve attached a picture I took of that tree when we were in Hulst….

P1040431 Hulst taken by Sylvia

A view of Hulst. (Photo courtesy of Bruce (Jr) and Sylvia Churchill)

Sylvia noted that “…Bruce felt a connection with Hulst, perhaps because he knew that is where his Father died. It was so peaceful and beautiful. …

Thank you to Sylvia and Bruce Churchill for sharing photos and information on Bruce’s father, and their own memorial journey. Do you have more information to share? Email 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.  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 Canadian War Cemetery in Holten Pays Tribute To Ukrainian-Canadians Buried There

May 31, 2022.  In light of the present day events in Ukraine, the Information Centre at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands recently paid tribute to 27 known Ukrainian-Canadians buried in the cemetery.

When they asked for help to find photos of the soldiers for which none were available, or only a poor image was available, we of course said yes.  My father was born in Ukraine and left shortly after his 14th birthday, one of several youths sent on an unheated cattle car in January 1941 to Germany.  He was lucky. He survived the journey and the war and was able to lead a peaceful life in Canada until his death in 2012.

….Translation of Dutch placard…

Attached is a PDF of the Dutch placard (Stoepbord Oekrainse Canadezen A0) and below is a translation of the text, followed by the names of the soldiers mentioned.

…  They fought for our freedom then ~~~

Ukrainian Canadians who died for our freedom, buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten.

A brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine is now sparking a war in Europe. Ukrainians desperately try to defend their freedom but are the easy targets of a ruthless aggressor. Thousands are forced to flee elsewhere to find safe shelter, warmth and food elsewhere, temporarily or perhaps even forever.

Also towards the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, many thousands of Ukrainians left their country in search of a better life. Some 170,000 of them ended up in Canada where they were offered free land to become farmers. Also around 1930 and immediately after the Second World War, a wave of refugees/expellees from Ukraine came to Canada.

At the outbreak of World War I (August 1914), Canada was on the side of the Allies. Large parts of present-day Ukraine belonged to the territory of Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, and these countries were the enemy of the Allied forces.

In Canada, at the time, there was prejudice against Ukrainians regarding their ‘race’, appearance, customs and religion. The simple fact that they came from countries with which Canada was at war meant that tens of thousands were labeled ‘enemy aliens’ and interned in labour camps.

During the Second World War, the Ukrainians were viewed completely differently. There was therefore no question that they were not the enemy, as present-day Ukraine was then part of the Soviet Union and Poland.

More than 35,000 Canadians of Ukrainian descent served in the Canadian Army during World War II. These servicemen constituted the largest group of non-British and non-French conscripts in the Canadian Forces. The soldiers were not only an integral part of the Canadian military during wartime, but also made a significant contribution to the development of Canada’s post-war policy towards displaced persons and refugees.

Many of them fought in the struggle for the liberation of Europe. We assume about 100 Ukrainian Canadians are buried in the three Canadian War Cemeteries in The Netherlands; Bergen op Zoom, Groesbeek, and Holten.

We know that at least 27 Canadian soldiers of Ukrainian descent are buried in Holten.

They fought for us back then and gave their lives….

….Ukrainian-Canadian soldiers buried in Holten…

  • Elie ANTONYSZYN, died July 15, 1945, aged 22 (no photo)
  • George EWONIUK, died April 10, 1945, aged 19 (very poor photo)
  • Donnie P. GNUTEL, died April 29, 1945, aged 25
  • Andrew KERELCHUK, died April 19, 1945, aged 21 (no photo)
  • John KENDZIERSKI, died January 18, 1945, aged 20
  • George FESCHUK, died April 25, 1945, aged 21
  • Nick FORSACHUK, died April 17, 1945, aged 21
  • Peter HARASYMCHUK, died April 23, 1945, aged 24
  • Steve HNATIW, died April 21, 1945, aged 28 (poor photo)
  • Harry ILASEVICH, died April 12, 1945, aged 21
  • John KIBZEY, died April 12, 1945, aged 21
  • William J. KOZARICHUK, died April 20, 1945, aged 26
  • William W. LOTOSKY, died April 7, 1945, aged 24
  • Harry MACHURA, died April 23, 1945, aged 22 (poor photo)
  • Sam MATVICHUK, died April 14, 1945, aged 19 (no photo)
  • Steve MICHLOSKY, died April 8, 1945, aged 21
  • Steven J. MOTKALUK, died May 2, 1945, aged 32
  • Joseph PETRAK, died April 26, 1945, aged 19
  • Nestor PROBIZANKSI, died April 11, 1945, aged 22
  • John RUSNAK, died November 22, 1945, aged 21 (no photo)
  • Alexander SEREDIUK, died April 14, 1945, aged 26
  • Stanley SKULMOSKI, died April 24, 1945, aged 20
  • John SLYZUK, died April 11, 1945, aged 30 (poor photo)
  • Harry H. SMITH, died April 7, 1945, aged 25 (very poor photo)
  • Stanley WERNIUK, died April 12, 1945, aged 23
  • Peter WOZNIAK, died May 1, 1945, aged 21
  • Joseph YURKIW, died April 13, 1945, aged 21 (poor photo)

sunflower header

Can you help with photos or information on these soldiers? Do you know of more Ukrainian-Canadian soldiers buried in Holten? Email 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.  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….. Author Talks In North Bay

May 15, 2022. We very much appreciate the feedback from ‘No Soldier Buried Overseas Overseas Should Ever Be Forgotten’, and enjoy seeing the photos sent in and the opportunity to meet some of you in person.  We’re back on the war memorial trail…. this time in North Bay, Ontario.

…Upcoming Author Talks In North Bay….

Meet Daria Valkenburg

Invitations have been received and accepted for two ‘Author Talks’:

  • Thursday, May 19, 2022 – North Bay, Ontario, presentation at Rotary Club of North Bay-Nipissing.  Time noon.
  • Thursday, May 19, 2022 – North Bay, Ontario, hosted by the North Bay Public Library.  Time 7:00 pm.

If you are in the North Bay area, we hope to see you!

….North Bay Area Soldiers Buried In The Netherlands….

We received lists of soldiers from the North Bay area who are buried in the Canadian War Cemeteries in The Netherlands, including a few for which no photo had been found.  With the help of Don Coutts, Judie Klassen, and Shawn Rainville, headway has been made in researching these names from the photo wish lists, and families for 3 have been found.

Thank you also to Helen Vaillancourt of the Nipissing Chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society and North Bay Public Library staff who delved into research after reading about the search for photos and families of soldiers buried in the Canadian War Cemeteries in The Netherlands.

20220514_122907 May 14 2022 Pieter with Shawn Rainville

Shawn Rainville and Pieter Valkenburg had a chance to meet in person.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

…Buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten…

APOSTLE of 12th Manitoba Dragoons – 18th Armoured Car Regiment. KIA 1945-Apr-16, aged 21

Albert Joseph COTE of The Algonquin Regiment. KIA 1944-Oct-05, aged 24

Herbert P. CROOME of Royal Canadian Artillery – 2nd Anti-Tank Regiment. KIA 1945-May-1, aged 27

Theodore S.  DUNN of The Algonquin Regiment.  KIA 1945-Apr-11, aged 30

William H. K. LOCKE of Royal Canadian Artillery – 4 Field Regiment. KIA 1945-Apr-03, aged 19

John Langford ‘Jack’ WALKER of Governor General’s Foot Guards-21st Armoured Regiment. KIA 1945-May-1, aged 20

…Buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek…

Zave BROWN of Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. KIA 1945-Mar-9, aged 19

Leopold Daniel BRULE of Essex Scottish Regiment.  KIA 1945-Feb-19, aged 22

Cecil Edward GOODREAU of Elgin Regiment, 25th Armoured Delivery Regiment. KIA 1945-Feb 26, aged 22

Donald O. GUERTIN of Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. KIA 1945-Mar-2 aged 27

Clifford Stanley JOHNSTON of Royal Canadian Air Force 419 Squadron. KIA 1944-Jun-17, aged 21

John Richard ‘Jack’ MARACLE of 1st Hussars, 6th Armoured Regiment. KIA 1945-Mar-12, aged 19 (Maternal grandfather T. Marshall lived in North Bay)

Anthony PETTA of the Algonquin Regiment.  KIA 1945-Mar-3, aged 29

…Buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Bergen Op Zoom…:

Cleo Adelard SEGUIN of The Royal Regiment of Canada. KIA 1944-Sep-28, aged 24 (Wife Georgette Brousseau was from North Bay)

If you know of any other soldiers from the North Bay area that are buried in The Netherlands please let Pieter know. You can mail 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 now available.  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

Article In ‘De Telegraaf’ – Quest For Faces (Zoektocht naar gezichten)

Sep 16 2017 Groesbeek Cemetery Pieter by grave of WA Cannon

Caption in De Telegraaf: Pieter Valkenburg: “No soldier who died abroad during war should be forgotten.” OWN PHOTO (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

May 4, 2022.  Sometimes the unexpected happens.  Last month, a search for family and photos of WW2 soldiers Albert Joseph COTE and John Langford WALKER, who are buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands, began. 

On April 18, 2022, a letter to the editor written by Pieter and North Bay resident Donald Coutts was published in the North Bay Nugget. (See https://www.nugget.ca/news/researcher-seeks-information-on-fallen-city-soldiers)

Shortly afterwards, Pieter was contacted by Marcel Vink of De Telegraaf, a newspaper in The Netherlands.  He’d read the letter to the editor.  Would Pieter be willing to do an interview? Pieter agreed, and the article was published today, May 4, 2022 – which is Dodenherdenking (Remembrance Day) in The Netherlands. This day commemorates Dutch civilians and military who have died in war since the beginning of WWII. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_of_the_Dead)

…De Telegraaf article published May 4, 2022…

For those who can read Dutch, please see PDF of the article (De Telegraaf article Zoektocht naar gezichten). An English translation is below:

Quest for faces

Pieter Valkenburg is fully committed to fallen Canadians

by Marcel Vink

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND • It started as a helping hand, but grew into a true mission. Pieter Valkenburg has been passionately committed to giving fallen war heroes from Canada a face for years. The 78-year-old Dutchman, who lives in Canada, realizes how important it is emotionally for relatives to get clarity about their deceased loved ones, even 77 years after the Second World War. 

Valkenburg worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for many years and was posted to various locations around the world, including in Ottawa.  

After his retirement, he decided to continue living in the North American country with his Canadian wife Daria, where he discovered that many families often no longer know in detail what happened to relatives that didn’t come back during the Second World War. About 7600 Canadians are buried in the Netherlands who fought for our freedom. 

“At the beginning of 2014 I read an article about the Canadian war cemetery in Holten, one of the military cemeteries in The Netherlands,” says Valkenburg. 

“There are 1,355 Canadians lying there, and not much was known about some of them at the time. Therefore, around that time, a project was started that strived to literally find the face for every name. I find that very important myself. No soldier who died abroad in war should be forgotten.”  (NOTE:  there are 1,394, not 1,355.) 

‘Reactions from next of kin are priceless’ 

Background

The native of Leerdam was captivated by the subject and delved into the matter. First in the background with only a few names, but then more and more.

Over the past five years, I have helped researchers at Canadian war cemeteries in the Netherlands in their quest to give each grave a face, and thus also a story. It is quite a puzzle, but the reactions of relatives when it succeeds are priceless. Those involved really appreciate it when they realize that they have never been forgotten. They gave their lives in the struggle for our freedom, in a country foreign to them. It’s much more meaningful when you stand by a grave to pay your respects if you know what the person looked like.” 

Investigative Work

While his search was initially limited to the fallen from Prince Edward Island – the western province where he lives – he now focuses on many more areas in Canada. Valkenburg uses the old-fashioned manual search, but also uses many digital sources.  (NOTE:  Prince Edward Island is on the east coast of Canada!) 

Relatives are often emotional about it, he noticed. After he found the family of Lieutenant Norman James Nixon – killed in the Battle of Delfzijl in April 1945, in which twenty Canadians of his regiment were killed, his son called this ‘a total surprise’. “I am immensely grateful,” said the man, who named his own son after his dead father, in tears. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/03/07/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-ww2-soldier-from-st-stephens/

The work of Pieter and his wife Daria is highly appreciated in the Netherlands as well as in Canada. He has already received several awards. Sometimes he finds new ‘assignments’ in a miraculous way. 

“Once we were at a hotel in New Brunswick Province, when a receptionist asked what we were doing. After I told about our searches, he indicated that his great-uncle had also died in the war, and that his grave should be in The Netherlands. Other than that he had no idea. I immediately got to work and found him at the cemetery in Groesbeek. I also found a photo on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.” (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/08/02/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-ww2-soldier-killed-while-lining-up-to-attend-church/

In this way, this man also got his face back. “With these results, I say, Canadian-style: this makes my day. I’m 78 now, but as long as I can keep up with this, I will. Because there is still a lot of work to be done.” 

This very proud wife thanks Marcel Vink for writing the article about Pieter and De Telegraaf for publishing it on this day of remembrance and commemoration.

If you have photos or information to share, please let Pieter know. Email him 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.  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….. Posterenk Commemorates Its Liberation By The Carleton and York Regiment

April 17, 2022.  In September 2017, Pieter and I visited the village of Posterenk in The Netherlands with Edwin van der Wolf.  Edwin told us how the Carleton and York Regiment came from Italy to Marseilles, France, and then made their way to The Netherlands.  On April 13, 1945, they liberated Posterenk.  In the process several soldiers lost their lives and were temporarily buried in the vicinity.

4E46F7E7-A0E7-4351-A024-12F18B8BD9AB Apr 13 2022 Posterenk Windmill

April 13, 2022. Posterenk windmill. (Photo submitted by Edwin van der Wolf. Photo credit: Anneke Poppenk)

The village never forgot the sacrifices and placed a memorial stone on its windmill.

CIMG9300 Sep 25 2017 Sign Posterenk freed by CYR Apr 13 1945

Translation of memorial stone on the windmill: Posterenk freed by the Carleton & York Regiment of Canada on April 13, 1945. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

…8 known soldiers who lost their lives in the liberation of Posterenk….

The village also prepared a list of 6 Carleton & York Regiment soldiers, who had been buried in the area, to commemorate.  Unfortunately, not all soldiers who died were included.

CIMG9299 Sep 25 2017 Pieter with the Posterenk list of 6 soldiers

Pieter holds the list of 6 Carleton & York Regiment soldiers temporarily buried in Posterenk in 1945. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Over the past few years, two more soldiers were identified: Goldwin Marven POLLICK of Minto, New Brunswick, and Daniel Peter MACKENZIE of Victoria Cross, Prince Edward Island.

…Sacrifice of Goldwin Pollick and Daniel MacKenzie commemorated in 2022….

On April 13, 2022, the commemoration of the 6 soldiers of the Carleton & York Regiment who had been buried near Posterenk was held.  This year, Edwin “….read out for the first time the stories of Pte Goldwin Pollick and Cpl Daniel MacKenzie of this regiment, who were temporarily buried in Lochem because they had previously died in a Canadian hospital there….

FF577743-F4F1-49BF-BBFE-3B1693FA7B73 Edwin

Edwin van der Wolf reads out the stories of Goldwin Pollick and Daniel MacKenzie.  Above him, you can see the photos, left to right, of Samuel Glazier Porter, Goldwin Marven Pollick, and Frederick Joseph Tait. (Photo submitted by Edwin van der Wolf. Photo credit: Anneke Poppenk)

3CA1766D-098B-4373-8113-05CCE31CC1E2 Apr 13 2022 Legion and band by windmill

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion in The Netherlands and the City of Apeldoorn Pipes and Drums Band joined officials and the public for the commemoration event in Posterenk.  (Photo submitted by Edwin van der Wolf. Photo credit: Anneke Poppenk)

A0453EEF-6C61-4011-9F58-E7049A4ADCFC

The City of Apeldoorn Pipes and Drums Band attended the commemoration event in Posterenk.  (Photo submitted by Edwin van der Wolf. Photo credit: Anneke Poppenk)

…Two soldiers commemorated in Posterenk are without photos….

Edwin advised that photos of the soldiers have been hung on the Posterenk windmill, but photos of two soldiers have yet to be found.  He has asked for help to “look for the two missing photos of Pte James Mossey and Sgt Harold Sabean for the working group in Posterenk...”  Both men are buried in the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands.

  • James Frank MOSSEY was born on April 20, 1919 in Souris, Prince Edward Island, son of William and Mary Mossey.  Killed in action on April 14, 1945, aged 25.
  • Harold Gordon SABEAN was born on March 19 1918 in Port Lorne, Nova Scotia, the son of Saul and Susan Sabean. He was married to Josephine Marie Sabean and lived in St John, New Brunswick. Killed in action on April 13 1945, aged 27.

Thank you to Edwin van der Wolf for sharing photos about the commemoration event in Posterenk. If you have photos or information to share, please let Pieter know. Email him at memorialtrail@gmail.com, comment on the blog, or 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 bookNo Soldier Buried Overseas Should Ever Be Forgottenis 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