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.

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© Daria Valkenburg