May 16, 2023. One of the events planned for the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of The Netherlands in May 2020 was to place photos by the graves of soldiers at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands. Unfortunately, due to social distancing measures from Covid, this was postponed for a year.
In 2021, photos were placed at more than 1,600 graves for three weeks. The event was so successful that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which oversees the cemetery, gave permission for photos to be placed by the graves every two years.
…The Faces Of Groesbeek Exhibition 2023 includes almost 2,000 photos…
This year, The Faces Of Groesbeek Exhibition runs from April 30 to May 21, 2023, with almost 2,000 photos, just over 350 more than 2 years ago! Photos are printed onto an aluminum backing, making them impervious to rain, and reusable.
Volunteers from Faces To Graves Foundation Groesbeek, of which Alice van Bekkum is the Chair, worked tirelessly to make this exhibition possible, and to organize the Liberation Day commemoration events.
Pieter has been involved in finding photos of Canadians who are buried in all three Canadian War Cemeteries in The Netherlands since 2014, with many of their stories told on this blog.
…5 Islanders Commemorated…
In this posting, the graves and photos of five soldiers from Prince Edward Island, whose stories have previously been told, are featured.
Ralph Schurman BOULTER of O’Leary was serving with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders when he was killed on March 25, 1945, during the Battle of Bienen in Germany, at the age of 27. You can read his story at https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2023/03/07/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-battle-of-bienen-part-2-the-wwii-battle-drill-instructor-from-oleary/
George ‘Ivan’ MACKINNON of Albion was serving with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders when he was killed on December 4, 1944, during the defence of the Nijmegen Salient in The Netherlands, at the age of 27. You can read his story at https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2022/11/02/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-wwii-soldier-from-albion-who-died-during-the-defence-of-the-nijmegen-salient/
Bernard ‘Barney’ Reuben MCGUIGAN of Sturgeon was serving with the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment when he was killed on February 26, 1945, during Operation Blockbuster in Germany, at the age of 16. You can read his story at https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2020/08/07/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-search-for-barney-reuben-mcguigan/ and https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/12/23/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-photo-search-for-barney-mcguigan-is-successful/
John ‘Clifford’ ROGERS of Hope River was a sapper with the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment when he and six other soldiers died on March 3, 1945 in the Balburger Wald, Germany. He was 19 years old. You can read his story at https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/08/24/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-search-for-a-photo-of-john-clifford-rogers-is-successful/
Edison Alexander SMITH of West Point was serving with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders when he was killed on March 25, 1945, during the Battle of Bienen in Germany, at the age of 32. You can read his story at https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2023/03/04/on-the-war-memorial-trail-the-battle-of-bienen-part-1-the-wwii-soldier-whose-body-shielded-a-wounded-major/
…The search for photos continues…
What is striking is how many photos have been found! Out of 2,619 graves in the cemetery, 2,338 are Canadian, with 103 in graves marked ‘unknown’. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if photos for all of the known graves of Canadians buried in Groesbeek will be found for The Faces Of Groesbeek Exhibition in 2025?
Thank you to Alice van Bekkum and Ad and Noor Scheepers for taking these photos. The Dutch continue to stress the importance of remembrance to the next generation so they can continue to remember those who lost their lives in WWII.
In Part 2, the graves and photos of Indigenous soldiers whose families contacted us will be featured.
If you have a photo of a soldier buried at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek or one of the other cemeteries in The Netherlands, Pieter encourages you to email him at email@example.com, comment on the blog, or tweet to @researchmemori1.
…Previous postings about The Faces Of Groesbeek Exhibition at the Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek…
- William ‘Willie’ Alfred CANNON, Joseph ‘Joe’ Edmund HENNEBERY, Alfred Louis PITAWANAKWAT (PITWANAKWAT), George Preston SMITH, Eli SNAKE, Clarence Wilfred WAKEGIJIG, William WEATHERBIE: https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/05/05/commemorating-liberation-day-at-the-canadian-war-cemetery-in-groesbeek/
- Thomas Beresford BIG CANOE: https://onthewarmemorialtrail.com/2021/05/10/the-photo-tribute-at-the-canadian-war-cemetery-in-groesbeek/
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© Daria Valkenburg