By Jeff Sager
My wife and I along with our friends from Stratford, Lynn and Dale Bast (Stratford Royal Canadian Legion), went on a Go Ahead Tour group that landed in Amsterdam, Netherlands on April 5th,
touring the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
We attended Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery south of Amsterdam where my Uncle was buried from WWII. While in Amsterdam, we also attended the Anne Frank Museum.
The focal point of the trip was the 100th anniversary of Canada’s role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge in WWI, and we were among 25,000 Canadians in attendance, including Governor-General David Johnstone (who happened to stay in the same hotel as us in Lille) and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Also taking part in the ceremonies were the Royal Family and the President of France.
During our trip, we also visited other Canadian cemeteries including the Newfoundlanders, Dieppe, Vimy, Juno, Antwerp, Normandy, and Cabourg. Among those who gave their lives in WWII were two of my uncles and I was able to visit them both on this trip. Uncle William is laid to rest at Groesbeek in Holland while Uncle Roy is buried in the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery in Normandy, France.
For my Uncle Roy, it has been over 72 years since anyone has visited his grave site. My sister Janice Grant and her husband Bruce visited William at Groesbeek a few years ago, but they were not able to make it to France. For our visit to both of my uncles, Dale brought a cross for each representing the St. Marys Royal Canadian Legion.