Canada: 'We still owe them a lot': Dutch historian profiling some of Canada's wartime dead - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada'We still owe them a lot': Dutch historian profiling some of Canada's wartime dead

16:25  04 march  2019
16:25  04 march  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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'We still owe them a lot': Dutch historian profiling some of Canada's wartime dead © Oorlogsdoden Dinkelland Anton Versteeg and his history group are looking to speak with anyone who may have known these men, or knew the family, or know essentially anything about these people.

A historian in the Netherlands is writing a book profiling dozens of people who died in the Second World War  — including one man from Prince Edward Island.

Together with his colleagues, Anton Versteeg is hoping to have the book completed ahead of May 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of Second World War in Europe.

He's a member of the local history group in Ootmarsum — a town nestled on the country's border with Germany — and is looking for the help of Islanders, and other Canadians, to lend whatever knowledge they can to enrich the stories of the men who lost their lives liberating the Dutch.

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"People were liberated by these soldiers, and we still owe them a lot," Versteeg said.

"Things we would like to have is really stories about the soldiers from people who knew them, or have heard stories about them. To make things more personal, not just dates and names in the book."

The Island man he's looking for more information on is one of eight Canadian soldiers who died in a Canadian military hospital in Ootmarsum, he said.

'Photographs would be very nice to have'

John Archibald MacLaren is his name, and he was a 24-year-old man from Goose River, P.E.I.

According to the Canadian Virtual War Memorial, he is the son of Andrew and Ida MacLaren, of Annandale, and served with the Cape Breton Highlanders during the war.

'We still owe them a lot': Dutch historian profiling some of Canada's wartime dead © Submitted by Anton Versteeg Anton Versteeg, right, is looking for help from Canadians to profile eight men who died in a military hospital in the Netherlands.

Other Canadians who died in the military hospital that are profiled on the history group's website include:

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Versteeg and his colleagues are looking to speak with anyone who may have known these men, the family, or those who know the family, or essentially anyone who knows anything about them.

"Old pictures, old stories, anything will do," Versteeg said.

"Photographs would be very nice to have. When they were young, or with their family. Their house maybe, where they were living. The village or the town they were living. And in your case, the Island. I've never heard of it before, until we went to do these stories."

'We still owe them a lot': Dutch historian profiling some of Canada's wartime dead © Canadian Virtual War Memorial 'Photographs would be very nice to have. When they were young, or with their family,' says Anton Versteeg. John Archibald MacLaren is one of those men. He's from Goose River, P.E.I.

The group has put months of work into the project so far. Along with the eight Canadians they are researching, there are about 70 more victims of war they're profiling from that area.

Most of those victims were Dutch Jews who were killed by the Nazis, Versteeg said.

In speaking with Canadians, he's hoping to not just receive photos and stories, but also to work with the people to provide feedback on how to better the book throughout the process.

To get more information on the soldiers, Versteeg is pointing Canadians to visit the website where there are short profiles on the men.

Versteeg is also available by email.

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