December 26, 2022. A Christmas Eve tradition to light candles by the graves of Allied soldiers and Dutch resistance fighters who are buried in one of the War Cemeteries or in a municipal cemetery continued this year.
This year, we include photos from three municipal cemeteries and one memorial: Donia Protestant Church Cemetery in Makkum, the Halifax L9451 memorial panel in Wons, Harlingen General Cemetery in Harlingen, and Sleen General Cemetery in Sleen.
….Donia Protestant Church Cemetery in Makkum….
Remko de Jong, a resident of Makkum, coordinates the candle lighting ceremony in his village. Candles were placed at the graves at 38 airmen who are buried in the Donia Protestant Church Cemetery in Makkum, located by Lake Ijsselmeer in the province of Friesland.
One of the airmen buried in Makkum is RCAF Flying Officer John Francis Edward TABOR of Ottawa, Ontario, who lost his life when the plane he was in, Halifax LK 879 crashed at sea on the night of December 16, 1944 into December 17, 1944.
Another of the airmen buried in Makkum is RCAF Air Gunner Sgt George David NISBET of Conquest, Saskatchewan, whose body was recovered from the sea on June 7, 1944, after being reported missing on May 24, 1944.
…The Halifax L9561 memorial panel in Wons…
The De Jong family travelled to Wons, also in the province of Friesland, to place a candle at the Halifax L9561 memorial panel. This memorial, unveiled in October 2019, honours the crew of Halifax L9561. WW2 pilot Elmer Bagnall MUTTART of Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island lost his life on October 12, 1941, but the rest of the crew were able to safely bail out of the burning plane. (For a short documentary on the unveiling of the memorial panel and the crew of Halifax L9561, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71Rzg07kPw0&list=PLaJcEVojJra-ZwR6rvb-THj8Zr2QbUXLT&index=2
…Harlingen General Cemetery in Harlingen…
Willem Visser sent photos taken during the candle lighting in Harlingen General Cemetery in Harlingen, in the province of Friesland.
In the photo above, RCAF Flight Sgt Elmer Bagnall MUTTART of Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island, who is commemorated on the memorial panel in Wons, is buried at the very far right in the front row.
The second row, on the left, contains the graves of Murray Ralph KLEISDORFF of Australia and three unknown airmen, all from Halifax W1175 LQ-Q of the 405th Vancouver Squadron RCAF, which came down into the Wadden Sea on June 28, 1942. Perhaps one of these unknown graves contains the remains of RCAF Warrant Officer Class II Rowan Charles FITZGERALD of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, who was the navigator aboard the flight. (See https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/10/12/on-the-war-memorial-trail-well-never-forget-uncle-bunky/)
…Sleen General Cemetery in Sleen…
Harlingen, Makkum, and Wons are all in the province of Friesland. Sleen is a village in the province of Drenthe. An upcoming story in 2023 will be about RCAF Flight Sgt John Douglas ‘Jack’ MACKENZIE of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who lost his life on February 4, 1943 when the plane he was piloting, Halifax DU 630-T, was hit by artillery fire.
When asked by Remco de Jong, Hans Buls sent photos of the candles lit for Jack MacKenzie and three of his crewmates: William Peter DUTHIE of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Lennox Alwin GONNETT of Westmount, Quebec; Raymond Hepton HILL of Montreal, Quebec.
….Over 7,600 Canadian soldiers are buried in The Netherlands!…
Kudos to the Dutch, who never forget the sacrifices made by Allied soldiers! Over 7,600 Canadian soldiers are buried in The Netherlands and they are not forgotten. Thank you to Remco de Jong for sharing photos from Makkum and Wons taken by Lin Struiving and his son Robin, to Hans Buls for sharing photos from Sleen (check out the Hans Buls Photography Facebook page), and to Willem Visser for sharing photos from Harlingen.
If you have a story or photo to share about Canadian military personnel buried in The Netherlands, please contact Pieter at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.
…Previous postings about Christmas Eve Candle Lighting…
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