Putting faces to names of fallen soldiers

Woman looking for anyone who remembers a Kimberley soldier who died in Holland in 1945

An example of the project, which is attempting to put faces to the soldiers lost in action in Holland. Courtesy Donna Maxwell.

A woman who is helping Dutch citizens with commemorative projects for the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Holland in 2020 is searching for family of a soldier who was killed in action in Holland in 1945.

Donna Maxwell is searching for family of the fallen so when can let them know about the commemorative projects, and perhaps get a photo of the soldier to put a face to the name.

The soldier in question was L/Cpl Gerald Levesque of the Royal Canadian Regiment, killed in action April 15, 1945. He is buried at the Holten Canadian War Cemetery.

“From an obituary I see that his sister Marie Olive McLean nee Levesque lived in Kimberley. He had a brother Reno who was only 6 years old when his brother died and I believe a Reno Levesque died in 1999 in Kimberley,” Maxwell said.

“This year is a big year since it is the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland. The Holten Canadian War Cemetery built a “Canadian Information Centre” just outside the cemetery several years ago and are now adding on to the centre. Individuals can enter the centre and on computer look up any soldier in the cemetery. If they have no information the tombstone will be shown. If there is a picture, history, letters from the front etc. they will be visible to view so that they can know more about the soldier buried there.

“At present the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery is working on a virtual war memorial and for the Anniversary will display every picture they have at this time at the soldier’s grave. They are keen and passionate to find stories and pictures of the men buried there. “After the war, the graves were individually adopted by Dutch citizens whom to this day visit the graves. Some were able to contact family in Canada years ago but many did not and a few are just being connected with them now.

“I try to find families to help with this great cause. I grew up in a military family. My father was in the Italian Campaign and was in Holland at the end of the war. He spent his life serving our country. My mom’s twin brother landed on Juno Beach on D-day. There are many more in our family who served in WW1, WW2 and conflicts that followed. Some who did not come home. I do not want to think that they are forgotten. I also think if you see a soldier’s picture, you might not remember the name but you won’t forget the face.”

If you remember the Levesque family, you can contact Donna Maxwell at 403-283-0337 or email dmaxwell7@shaw.ca.

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