On The War Memorial Trail….. The WW1 Soldier From Tryon Buried With A Message In A Bottle

CIMG8651 Sep 9 2017 Pieter at the grave of Arthur Clinton Robinson in La Laiterie cemetery

September 2017. Pieter by the grave of Arthur Clinton Robinson, La Laiterie Military Cemetery in Belgium.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

January 10, 2023.   In 2017, we visited La Laiterie Military Cemetery in Belgium, where WW1 soldier Arthur Clinton ROBINSON is buried. Born July 20, 1896 in the USA, but moved as a child to Tryon, Prince Edward Island, Arthur enlisted in the 26th (New Brunswick) Battalion on November 20, 1914 and remained with the Regiment until his death.

…Arthur lost his life on the first day of the Actions of St Eloi Craters Battle….

On March 27, 1916, he was killed in action during the Actions of St Eloi Craters when shell fire hit the trenches southeast of Kemmel. The battle lasted from March 27 until April 16, 1916. Sint-Elooi (the French St Eloi is also used in English) is a village about 5 km (3.1 miles) south of Ypres in Belgium.

1919 photo of St Eloi Craters

The British had dug tunnels in No Man’s Land, then placed large explosive charges under the German defences, and blew them at 4:15 a.m. on March 27. The plan was for the 2nd Canadian Division, which Arthur’s Battalion was part of, to take over and hold the line.  (NOTE: ‘No Man’s Land’ was a WWI term used to describe the area between opposing armies and trench lines.)

The plan was a disaster as Canadian troops were sent to the battlefield before they had time to prepare for the attack. (For more information, see https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/battle-of-st-eloi-craters and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actions_of_St_Eloi_Craters)

St_Eloi_near_Ypres_-_mine_plan_27_March_1916

Map of St Eloi with the six mines fired on 27 March 1916. (Map Source: By ViennaUK – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53210386)

In ‘A Family Of Brothers’, author J. Brent Wilson explains that “…during the German retaliation for the attack, the 26th faced a heavy pounding that killed seven men and wounded another eighteen…”  One of these casualties was Arthur.

…. La Laiterie Military Cemetery was chosen by the Battalion…

After visiting La Laiterie Military Cemetery, it was interesting to read in ‘A Family Of Brothers’ that a section of the cemetery was chosen by soldiers in the 26th (New Brunswick) Battalion as a “…. focus for their remembrance….”  The section set aside for the Battalion’s 67 burials was “…marked by a large board bearing the battalion’s name….

The cemetery is located “…about a kilometre behind the front trenches on the road between Kemmel and Vierstraat.  The area surrounding the cemetery had once featured groves of trees and fine residences, but since had been blasted by shellfire….

…. The Battalion didn’t want the identity of a buried soldier to be lost…

One of the most intriguing things read in ‘A Family Of Brothers’ was the care taken with burials, with one soldier buried per grave, with  “…. small white crosses at the head of each burial mound…”  On each cross was “…nailed an aluminum metal plate with the name, number, and battalion…” of the deceased.

But the Battalion went further, a smart move in a war where battlefront cemeteries could come under crossfire.  “…To ensure that the identity of the soldier in the grave was not lost if something happened to the cross, the man’s name was inserted into bottles that were placed at the head of the grave and beneath the body….” It would be interesting to know if that bottle is still there!

….Previous stories about Arthur Clinton Robinson…

Arthur Clinton Robinson is one of the names listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion.  Unfortunately, a photo of him has yet to be found by either us, or his family.  Can you help put a face to this name?  Do you have a story to tell? 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…..A Photo For WWII Soldier Leonard Stephen Avery

December 17, 2022. When Pieter began researching the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion in 2015, he hoped to put a face and story to each of the 48 names.  Over the years he’s researched each name, and we’ve told the story of each one, plus shared our visits made to the graves or memorials for many of them.

The Cenotaph Wall of Remembrance in the Borden-Carleton Legion, which displays the photos of the men listed on the Cenotaph, has empty frames for those photos still waiting to be found.

A few weeks ago a photo of WWI soldier James CAIRNS was submitted, ending a 7 year search.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/12/04/on-the-war-memorial-trail-a-photo-for-wwi-soldier-james-cairns/)

…The 7 year search for a photo of WWII soldier Leonard Stephen Avery…

CIMG6065 Empty frame for Avery

Empty frame patiently awaiting a photo of WWII soldier Leonard Stephen Avery.  (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

Not long after the photo of James Cairns was sent, Pieter was overjoyed to receive a photo of WWII soldier Leonard Stephen AVERY, born March 20, 1924 in Bedeque to John Avery and Mary Ellen Arsenault. 

Leonard died accidentally in Ontario while on guard duty at the Chippewa Power Canal in Welland County on the evening of August 23, 1943.  For some unexplained reason, he was accidentally shot through the head while examining a rifle, causing a massive destruction of his brain and multiple skull fractures.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2019/11/26/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-ww2-soldier-who-was-accidentally-shot/)

No family came forward with a photo, and we thought perhaps the 7 year ongoing search would go on for many more years.  But then, we heard from Judie Klassen, who has helped with difficult searches in the past. 

…How a photo of Avery was found…

Judie wrote that “…I noticed a number of very recent postings on the Borden-Carleton Through the Years Facebook page that were from Mike Gaudet.  One discussion mentioned Lena Avery (Mrs. Gilbert Arsenault) who was Leonard’s aunt. It appears Lena got married the same day as her brother John and wife Mary (Leonard’s parents)….” 

Judie included a link to the Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1564604580644445&set=gm.5454416931343343&idorvanity=281593188625769

With this clue, Pieter contacted Mike Gaudet, who checked and did have a photo. Pieter asked Mike if he was a relative, and was told “….Not directly related.  The old albums I have came from a lady who died this year and whose mother was an Avery who married a Wedge...

The photo sent by Mike was of Leonard in uniform with a little girl on his lap.  Pieter realized that this was Leonard’s sister Ruby.

Avery from Mike Gaudet restoration Duane MacEwen

Leonard Stephen Avery with his sister Ruby.  (Photo courtesy of Mike Gaudet.  Photo restoration and colourization: Duane MacEwen)

Another 7 year search that has been successfully concluded!

…9 photos are still to be found for the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion….

The photo of Leonard Stephen Avery is now on the Legion wall, and Pieter hopes that more of the empty frames will be filled over the coming year. “…Unfortunately, photos for 8 from WWI and 1 from WWII are still missing on the wall….” he said.  Can YOU help with this photo wish list?

Names still without faces from WWI

  • 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

  • Ernest Ramey GALLANT, born in Borden

A huge thank you goes out to Mike Gaudet and to Judie Klassen for their help in obtaining a photo, and to Duane MacEwen for help in photo restoration. If you can help with the photo search request or have a story to tell, please let Pieter know. 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….. A Photo For WWI Soldier James Cairns

December 4, 2022. When Pieter began researching the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion in 2015, he hoped to be able to put a face and story to each of the 48 names.  Over the years he was able to research each name, and we’ve told the story of each one, plus shared our visits made to the graves or memorials for many of them.

Unfortunately, up to now, photos for several have never been found.  The Cenotaph Wall of Remembrance in the Borden-Carleton Legion, which displays the photos of the men listed on the Cenotaph, has empty frames for those photos waiting to be found.

…The 7 year search for a photo of WW1 soldier James Cairns…

20221130_194445 Empty Frame

Empty frame awaiting a photo of WWI soldier James Cairns.  (Photo credit: Kathy Henry)

One of those for which a photo was missing was James CAIRNS, born February 22, 1897 in Kinkora, the son of Thomas Cairns and Mary Jane MacDonald.  He later went to Manitoba to work, joining his brother Edward, a farmer, in Cartwright, Manitoba.

While living in Manitoba, WWI broke out, and James he enlisted in July 1916 with the 190th Battalion Manitoba Regiment (which later became what we know as the Royal Winnipeg Rifles). He was killed on August 9, 1918 in France during the Battle of Amiens, and is buried in Manitoba Cemetery in Caix, France.  We visited this cemetery in 2017. (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/the-search-for-manitoba-cemetery/)

CIMG8561 Pte James Cairns

The grave of James Cairns at Manitoba Cemetery in Caix, France. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

…Various media appeals were not successful…

Inquiries and appeals for a photo were unsuccessful. Although James had 7 siblings, Pieter ran into one dead end after another.  On October 8, 2020, Vicki Wallace, editor of the Southern Manitoba Review in Cartwright, Manitoba, published Pieter’s letter to the editor.  (Unfortunately, this publication ceased publication at the end of 2021.)

Letter to the editor re James Cairns

While no photo of James Cairns resulted from the letter, Vicki Wallace did some research on Edward Cairns, the brother of James. Edward died on June 3, 1929 in a tragic farming accident, leaving behind a widow, Lily Victoria nee McKelvey, and several children, the youngest just 16 months old at the time of Edward’s death.

On November 11, 2021, Kevin Rollason of the Winnipeg Free Press put out an appeal for a photo at the end of an article about a very successful photo search for WWII soldier Edmond Coulombe, but we weren’t lucky twice.  (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/12/24/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-successful-search-for-a-photo-of-ww2-soldier-edmond-coulombe/)

We even tried a YouTube video appeal.  (See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com/2020/12/17/the-search-for-a-photo-of-james-cairns-moves-to-youtube/)

…Success when the grandchildren of Edward Cairns sent a photo…

Then, with the help of Judie Klassen, family members of Edward’s son Alvin were found.  Sisters Kelly Slade and Shannon Cairns Zemp got in contact, and Shannon sent a photo of James and their grandfather Edward.  “…Our brother Patrick had the photo…” she explained.

Her father Alvin received it from a family member on a trip made to the Island with an 18 year old Shannon in 1990. “...My dad, Alvin Walter and my Mom, Patricia, were searching for members of the Cairns Family – which is how we have the picture that we have of James and Edward. I want to thank you Pieter for remembering James and I thank you for your hard work…

Coloured photo James and Edward Cairns

James Cairns (left) with his older brother Edward. (Photo courtesy of the Cairns Family.  Photo colourization: Pieter Valkenburg)

…10 photos are still to be found for the names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion….

The photo of James Cairns will soon be in that empty frame on the Legion wall, and Pieter hopes that more of the empty frames will be filled over the coming year. “…Unfortunately, photos for 8 from WWI and 2 from WWII have yet to be found….” he said.  Can YOU help with this photo wish list?

Names still without faces from WWI

  • 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

A huge thank you goes out to Shannon Cairns Zemp for providing a photo on behalf of the family, to Vicki Wallace for publishing the letter to the editor in the Southern Manitoba Review and researching what happened to Edward Cairns, and to Judie Klassen for researching Edward’s descendants. If you can help with the photo search request or have a story to tell, please let Pieter know. 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 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

Pieter Receives PEI Senior Islander Of The Year Award

October 23, 2022. On Friday afternoon, October 21, 2022, we were invited to the Loyalist Inn in Summerside for the 2022 PEI Senior Islander of the Year Awards.  Pieter was honoured for his volunteer work, with a particular emphasis on his research to uncover the stories and photos of Islanders who served in WW1 and WW2.  

20221021_142625 Oct 21 2022 Pieter receives award photo by Mike Smith

Left to right: Hon. Matthew Mackay, Pieter, Audrey Morris.  (Photo credit: Mike Smith)

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. 

2022 Sr Islander of Year Certificate 1

The PEI Senior Islanders of the Year Award certificate.

….Excerpts from some of the letters of support for the nomination….

Excerpts from some of the letters in support of his nomination included:

….In 2015 Pieter began researching 46 names listed on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion, and in the process was involved in adding 2 more names, for a total of 48.  He not only researched the stories, and where possible, found photos and families of the soldiers, he publicly shared these stories through the media. 

In 2017, so much research had been compiled that he and his wife Daria started a dedicated research blog, which continues to this day.  He also undertook, at his own expense, a 6 week, 7,000 km war memorial tour through 4 European countries to visit cemeteries and memorials of those soldiers he had researched that were buried there…. and those stories were shared as well. 

Pieter continues to share stories of Islanders who served, a valued and immeasurable contribution to our Island’s history. His research has led to a renewed interest in our Island soldiers, and has informed many families and communities about the service and bravery of those who served. 

His research now has expanded to include soldiers from other parts of Canada, as requests come in for help from Dutch researchers. Being Dutch Pieter has a deep gratitude towards Canadians for liberating his birth country, which drives his passion to bring to the forefront the sacrifices of those who served….

…Pieter, assisted by his wife Daria, has voluntarily, passionately, and tirelessly worked to research the lives of close to eighty Island soldiers killed overseas in WW1 and WW2.

Pieter’s work has brought to life the personal stories of Island soldiers who gave their lives overseas, and until now were only names on plaques. Descendants of these brave men and women, many now seniors, are greatly appreciative and moved by the commemorative work he has done on behalf of their loved ones.

Whether pouring over documents and photos, meeting families of Island soldiers killed overseas, or boarding a plane for Europe to visit war graves and memorials, Pieter persevered, often tramping through fields in search of a Canadian soldier’s grave….

…Heritage and in particular a passion for the Veterans of this area led Pieter into the Borden-Legion Cenotaph Project, and I emphasize the contribution Pieter made as he undertook to complete a remarkable amount of research documenting information and faces of forty-eight names on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton legion, and then continuing with stories of other WW1 and WW2 soldiers from the area.  Pieter met with families of these soldiers whenever possible, linking the past with the present, visiting graves and memorials in Canada and in Europe. Pieter continues this research to this present day…

How special is it for people to bring to life the personal histories of these brave men and women from their local communities who died in service. Pieter’s work reveals his community spirit in supporting Veterans families through his continued efforts. 

Even more importantly is the knowledge that family members of these soldiers have someone who has taken the initiative to ensure the families heroes are not forgotten.  Through his thorough research it also communicates to the families many facts that they would not have otherwise known about their war heroes…

….What are the Senior Islanders of the Year Awards?….

The Senior Islanders of the Year Awards have been presented since 2010 to celebrate the work of Island seniors in areas like volunteering, artistic achievement, leadership, mentorship, fundraising, community participation and career achievement. 

These awards are about recognizing and celebrating the significant contributions of Island seniors, through employment, volunteerism and community activities. I cannot think of a more deserving group of Islanders to receive this honour.” – Social Development and Housing Minister Matthew Mackay

Pieter was one of six Island Seniors who were awarded the Senior Islander of the Year for 2022.  (See P.E.I. presents Senior Islanders of the Year awards for 2022 | SaltWire https://www.saltwire.com/prince-edward-island/news/local/pei-presents-senior-islanders-of-the-year-awards-for-2022-100786273/)

…Pieter with his guests….

CIMG5962 Oct 21 2022 Pieter & guests after Sr Islander Of Year award ceremony

Pieter was allowed to invite 5 guests.  From left to right: Mike Smith, the Hon. Matthew Mackay, Daria and Pieter, Annie Lee and Elmer MacDonald.  Missing from the photo: Isabel Smith.  (Photo courtesy of Valkenburg Family Collection)

A huge thank you to those who nominated and supported Pieter for this award, and to the PEI Seniors Secretariat for affirming that seniors continue to play a vital role in our society.

As his very proud wife, I was delighted that Pieter received this recognition.  I’m extremely proud of him for his incredible work in bringing history to life by telling the stories of individuals who served in WW1 and WW2. 

If you have a story to tell, 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 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

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:

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