Sittard, Netherlands – Sunday 13 November the annual Act of Remembrance was conducted in St Peter’s Church, Sittard, and later at the Commonwealth War Cemetery, Ophoven. The service was jointly led by Priest Frans Bronneberg (St Peter’s Church), Diaken Roger Fleischeuer (Sittard War Cemetery), Reverend Francis Noordanus (Anglicaans Pastor/Chaplain, Trinity Church, Eindhoven) and Dominee Joachim Stegink (Sittard Minister, United Church in the Netherlands).
This occasion marked the 70th commemoration in Sittard since the end of WWII and the 49th year that the Sittard War Graves Committee, the Mayor and community of Sittard have joined with members of JFC Brunssum to pay their respects to the fallen.
In the Commonwealth War Cemetery the graves, apart from a few dating from November 1944, are nearly all from January and February 1945. Of the 239 graves six remain unidentified. Most soldiers buried here were members of Scottish regiments belonging to the 52nd (Lowland) Division, who were engaged in battle in the local area from the 18th to 24th January, 1945. Their objective was to clear an area to the West of the River Roer.
The Sittard War Graves Committee invites relatives of fallen soldiers from the United Kingdom to attend these ceremonies and has done so since 1946. This year Sandy & Irene Grieve and Kevin Toner accompanied by his partner, Dianne, were special guests of the Committee.
The climax of a beautiful, well supported and memorable service was the laying of wreaths at the cemetery. Amongst others, wreaths were laid by the Mayor of Sittard, JFC Brunssum, the Sittard War Graves Committee, the British Contingent at JFC Brunssum and the Royal Air Force Association. A touching gesture was the individual laying of a red rose on the grave of each and every soldier.
Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office