On The War Memorial Trail….. Atlantic Canada Remembers – Part 5

January 27, 2021. Responses to the news clips on CTV’s Atlantic Live At 5 on January 4 and 13 continue to come in.  As mentioned in the previous 4 parts, Pieter is ensuring that every email is acknowledged, and that the photos of soldiers buried in The Netherlands are forwarded to the appropriate cemetery for their digital archives.

This posting features more of the photos submitted…..

Soldiers buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands

William Herbert Bellamy

William Herbert Bellamy.  (Photo courtesy of the Bellamy Family)

On behalf of the Bellamy Family, Linda Fury submitted a photo of her uncle, William Herbert “Billy’ BELLAMY, explaining that ….There are about 150 members of our family now.  We hold reunions often and all know the story of our Uncle Bill.  He belonged to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders and died in January 1945 while a prisoner in Germany.  Thanks so much for all you have done and are continuing to do.  Your work is very much appreciated by all of us….

William Herbert ‘Billy’ was born on May 2, 1921 in Hereford, England, the son of Percy and Frances Bellamy.  In 1927 he immigrated to Canada with his family and settled in Midgic Station (now Midgic), New Brunswick.  Following his 18th birthday, he enlisted with the West Nova Scotia Highlanders on August 2, 1940 in Aldershot, Nova Scotia. On April 30, 1941 he transferred to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, and was on his way to England in July 1941.

The North Nova Scotia Highlanders were among the troops to land in Normandy on D-Day on June 6, 1944.  Unfortunately, on June 7, 1944 he was captured by the Germans in Normandy and became a prisoner of war (POW).  On August 13, 1944 he arrived at Stalag XII A [Limburg an der Lahn, Hessen, a POW transit camp] and then, on August 26, 1944 was transferred to Stalag Camp VIII B [Lamsdorf, Oberschlesien] near the German-Polish border.  On November 2, 1944 he was sent to the work camp E 902 Delbrückschächte Hindenburg where, along with other POWs, he worked in a nearby coal mine.

According to an account that a former POW sent after the war to Billy’s father, Billy was seriously injured on January 1, 1945 when the mine ceiling collapsed.  He was taken to hospital in Hindenburg (now Zabrze and part of Poland).  However, according to the POW record kept by his captors, he was seriously injured on November 23, 1944 and sent to a military hospital in Knurow (now Knurów, Poland). Curiously, the same injuries described as happening on January 1, 1945 were reported on the POW record as having occurred on November 23, 1944.

In January 1945 he died of his injuries. Records of the exact circumstances have not been found, likely due to advancing Russian troops.  His military service file lists his official date of death as January 28, 1945. On February 6, 1945, Billy was buried in the Municipal Cemetery of Teupitz (in the state of Brandenburg, Germany).  After the war ended he was reburied in the Heerstrasse British Cemetery in Berlin, and then in 1949 reburied for the final time in Holten.

Robert Cole

Robert Theodore Cole. (Photo courtesy of Emily Gilbert)

Ervin Ellis submitted a photo of Robert Theodore COLE, explaining that “I was told by Kent Caldwell that you were looking for a picture of Robert Cole, WWII Veteran from Coles Island. A woman that I knew had close ties to that area.  She said the whole family was deceased but her first husband was part of that family, if anyone had any pictures it would be her.  She looked through her old pictures and by some sort of miracle she had pictures…”  This was Emily Gilbert.  Robert Cole was the nephew of her husband.

Born in Coles Island, New Brunswick, the son of Fred and Maria Cole, Robert enlisted in March 1940 and served in Canada and Labrador before going overseas in September 1943. He was in France by 1944, and also was with his regiment in Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany.  He lost his life on April 21, 1945 during the Battle of Friesoythe in Germany while serving with the Lorne Scots – Ground Defence Platoon.

Ervin’s assistance was invaluable in putting a face to this soldier’s name! He went on to write Pieter that “….This is a great project you are working on, saw you on TV a couple of times. I am the Zone Commander for the legions in this area so I know them pretty good and their Cenotaphs. If I can help you any let me know…”  Needless to say, Pieter has taken Ervin up on his offer and is grateful for the help that he and Kent Caldwell have provided.

Joseph Gerald Fougere

Joseph Gerald Fougere. (Photo submitted by Doug Landry)

Gerald Douglas ‘Doug’ Landry submitted a photo of his uncle, Joseph ‘Gerald’ FOUGERE, explaining that he was “….born in Poulamon, Nova Scotia, the only son of Felix and Josephine (Marchand) Fougere. Gerald had three sisters: Evelyn, married to Thomas Sampson; Anita, married to Val Poirier; and Theresa, married to James W. Landry….

Doug went on to write that “…Gerald was with the Perth Regiment.  He was dangerously wounded in action on April 24th, 1945 and died of wounds on April 26th, 1945 at the age of 28 years, 11 months….” He lost his life during the Battle of the Delfzijl Pocket.

Soldiers Buried In Adegem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium

Arthur Jack Taylor

Arthur ‘Jack’ Taylor.  (Photo courtesy of the Taylor Family)

On behalf of the Taylor family, Art Taylor submitted a photo of his uncle, Arthur Brambel ‘Jack’ TAYLOR, explaining that “…My father and his four brothers, from the small town of Woodstock, New Brunswick, all served in WWII.  Three saw action.  My father (John Taylor) was in the Royal Canadian Navy and escorted convoys to Europe.  His two brothers were in the army.  Russell Taylor fought into Holland and survived.  His other brother Arthur ‘Jack’ Taylor was with the Winnipeg Rifles.  He was killed at the Leopold Canal on October 12, 1944.  He is buried at the Adegem Canadian War Cemetery in Belgium.  He was 26 years old…

Jack was a rifleman, killed during Operation Switchback, part of the Battle of the Scheldt.  A Wikipedia article explains that “….October 10, 11, and 12 were days of intense struggle while the men of the 7th Brigade with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles took, lost and then retook a group of houses known as Graaf Jan and the Regina Rifles found themselves pinned down by a group of well dug-in pillboxes that seemed to be resilient to artillery…(For more information see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Scheldt#Operation_Switchback) Jack was initially buried in Madelgem before being reburied in Adegem.

Thank you to Ervin Ellis, Emily Gilbert, Doug Landy, Linda Fury, and Art Taylor for sharing photos and anecdotes.  Kudos to CTV’s Atlantic Live At 5 for helping to get the word out on this quest of remembrance. Atlantic Canadians remember their loved ones who are buried overseas.  Pieter and I extend our condolences to Ervin Ellis, who sadly lost his wife on January 20.

More photos and stories in Atlantic Canada Remembers – Part 6! If you have photos or information to share, please email Pieter at dariadv@yahoo.ca, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.

If you are reading this posting, but aren’t following the blog, you are welcome to do so.  See https://bordencarletonresearchproject.wordpress.com or email me at dariadv@yahoo.ca and ask for an invitation to the blog.

Missed the previous postings in this series? See:

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….. Atlantic Canada Remembers – Part 3

‘No soldier buried overseas should be forgotten’ …. Pieter Valkenburg

January 16, 2021.  “No soldier buried overseas should be forgotten.” This statement by Pieter in a news clip on CTV’s Atlantic Live At 5 touched many people who watched it, and many photos and stories continue to be emailed to him.  As mentioned in Parts 1 and 2, Pieter has been working to ensure every email is acknowledged, and that the photos of soldiers buried in The Netherlands are forwarded to the appropriate cemetery for their digital archives. 

This posting features more of the photos submitted…..      

Soldiers buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, The Netherlands

William Broome restored

William Harold Broome. (Photo submitted by the Fleet Family)

On behalf of the Fleet Family, Diane Russo submitted a photo of her uncle, William Harold BROOME of Galt, Ontario, was born in 1913, the son of Simeon and Charlotte (nee Gilbert) Broome.  In 1937 he married Edith Cavel Gillies, and they had a son Billy.  A machine operator before enlisting in the war, he died of wounds received in action on April 25, 1945 during the Battle of Friesoythe in NW Germany, while serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada. He was buried there temporarily, before being reburied on March 9, 1946 in Holten.

Lt. Percy Dexter Higgins

Percy Dexter Higgins.  (Photo courtesy of the Higgins Family)

On behalf of the Higgins Family, Donald Higgins submitted a photo of his uncle, Percy Dexter HIGGINS, and wrote that “…My father’s brother, Lt. Percy Dexter Higgins, is buried in Holten Cemetery. He served with North Nova Scotia Highlanders R.C.I.C. (from N.S.)…

Lt Higgins lost his life during the Battle of Warnsveld which began late in the day on April 4, 1945. An account of the events is in Will R. Bird’s ‘No Retreating Footsteps… the story of the North Novas’: “…. April 4th was bright and sunny…The Brigadier arrived and the Novas’ next objective was the town of Warnsveld…. The troops were carried in vehicles to a debussing point in the woods…… there was a delay as a huge crater in the road had to be filled by the Sappers before the ‘Wasps’ could get over. Then the tanks had not arrived and the company could not get forward until 1730 hours. A Company started to hit snipers in concealed positions and progress was slow as each house had to be searched in turn….

Bird’s account mentions what happened next…. “….There was considerable shooting going on in various spots and B Company sent a platoon to make sure of an area between them and A Company.  Lt Higgins was in command. There was open ground to be crossed with a fence running at an angle. Three attempts to get over were driven back by machine gun fire.  Lt Higgins then tried to lead a rush up by the cover of the fence and was killed as he jumped over on the other side….”   

Like John James MURRAY, whose story was told in Atlantic Canada Remembers –Part 2, he is listed on a monument in Warnsveld. (See https://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/57960/Memorial-Canadian-Soldiers.htm).

An error might have been made in recording the date of his death as April 7, 1945 on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and on his gravestone.  The family has been provided with the service file records should they wish to ask the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for a correction to be made on his gravestone, and for a correction to be made on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

IMG_7900 James King

James King. (Photo courtesy of Terry McCormick)

Aaron Bouma submitted a photo of James Gordon KING on behalf of Terry McCormick. Born July 3, 1910 in Woodstock, New Brunswick, the son of Harris Weston and May King, James was a salesman and radio technician in a music store before enlisting on September 1939.

While serving with the Royal Canadian Artillery, he died in a road accident on August 5, 1945, and was temporarily buried in Ostercheps (north west Germany) before being reburied on March 7, 1946 in Holten.

Pte Richard J Raney - 1

Richard Joseph Raney. (Photo courtesy of The Raney Family)

On behalf of the Raney family, Michelle Sutherland submitted a photo of Richard Joseph RANEY, explaining that “…My great uncle (my grandmother’s brother) was killed in action on April 8, 1945 and is buried at the Holten Canadian War Cemetery.  He was born April 12, 1926 in Point Michaud, Richmond County, Nova Scotia.  I was able to get a copy of his World War II Records & Service Files. As I was reading through his file, I realized that he actually lied about his age at the time of his enlistment. He enlisted in Sydney, Nova Scotia on August 31, 1942. He gave his birthday as February 8, 1924. Immediately I knew that could not be correct because my grandmother was born in September 1923. As it turns out, Richard was actually born on April 12, 1926 and was only 16 years old when he enlisted. He was killed a few days before his 19th birthday….

Following the successful liberation of Warnsveld, the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, which Richard Joseph was serving with, continued their advance. Will R. Bird’s ‘No Retreating Footsteps… the story of the North Novas’ explains that: “…. April 8th was clear and sunny and an O-group was held at noon.  The general plan was to seize a bridgehead over the Schipbeek Canal and penetrate into the village of Bathmen.  The bridgehead was to be taken quickly to allow Sappers to set up a Bailey bridge and open the road to traffic….” Richard Joseph lost his life at some point during the ensuing sortie.

Soldiers buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Bergen Op Zoom, The Netherlands

Ernie Thornton

Arnold Ernest “Ernie” Thornton.  (Photo courtesy of Susan Hudson)

Susan Hudson submitted a photo of her uncle, Arnold Ernest “Ernie” THORNTON.  “…He was born in Amherst on September 30th, 1921 and was killed September 22, 1944, eight days before he turned 23….” she explained. “… He was the son of Edward Arnold and Doris Maude (MacDonald) Thornton.  He served with the Calgary Highlanders….” 

Ernie was killed in Belgium during the Battle of the Scheldt and initially buried near Wommelgem, Belgium, before being reburied in the Canadian War Cemetery in Bergen op Zoom.

Thank you to Aaron Bouma, Donald Higgins, Susan Hudson, Terry McCormick, Diane Russo, and Michelle Sutherland for sharing photos and anecdotes.  Thank you again to CTV’s Atlantic Live At 5 for helping to get the word out on this quest of remembrance. Atlantic Canadians remember their loved ones who are buried overseas.

More photos and stories in Atlantic Canada Remembers – Part 4! If you have photos or information to share, please email Pieter at dariadv@yahoo.ca, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1

Missed the previous postings in this series? See:

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