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Brunssum Annual Remembrance Ceremony



Brunssum, Netherlands - the annual Remembrance Service was conducted at the Brunssum Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery 11 November with the Reverend (Wing Commander) Ashley Mitchell presiding.  An excellent turnout comprised, amongst others, serving military and civilian personnel from JFC Brunssum, the Brunssum Mayor’s office, veteran’s associations, local schools and local people.  The service constituted a moving tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we might live in peace today.
 
Wreaths were laid by:
Alderman Frank Joosten – Representative of Gemeente Brunssum
Mrs Anne-Mie Koopmans – Foundation War Cemetery Brunssum
Major General van Griensven – Senior Dutch Officer JFC Brunssum
Air Commodore Huggett – Senior British Officer JFC Brunssum
Colonel McBride – UK Senior National Representative JFC Brunssum
Commander Wiseman – Senior Royal Navy Officer JFC Brunssum
Lieutenant Colonel Holbrook – Senior British Army Officer JFC Brunssum
Group Captain Cummins – Senior Royal Air Force Officer JFC Brunssum
Squadron Leader (Rtd.) Thomson – Royal Air Force Association
Mr Stollman – COM De Mijnstreek (Former Marines Association)
Mr Snackers – VOMARNS (Committee Former Marines)
And representatives of Veteranen Brunssum, Wareham British Legion, Eldershoes and students of Broekland College.

Historical Information.
Brunssum was liberated in September 1944 by American forces; they were, shortly afterwards, joined by the British 43rd (Wessex) Division, who made their headquarters in the town and, in turn, were succeeded by the 52nd (Lowland) Division.
The first burials in the cemetery were made by an Advanced Dressing Station and a Casualty Clearing Station that were based at Merkelbeek in November 1944 when the 43rd Division were engaged in clearing a triangle of land between the Rivers Roer and Maas.
Later, other fatalities were brought to Brunssum for burial.  These included 50 men who were killed while clearing mines on the German border at the beginning of January 1945.  Operations in the Geilenkirchen sector account for a significant element of the soldiers buried here.
There are 328 British soldiers buried in this cemetery, of which one remains unidentified.
 

Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office

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