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 Sep 20 2019

British Soldiers Honoured at Brunssum

 
 
 
 

Brunssum, the Netherlands - The town of Brunssum was liberated on September 19, 1944. On September 19, 2019, exactly 75 years later, the 328 British soldiers who died in 1944/45 in the vicinity of Brunssum were awarded Honorary Citizenship of the town. Honorary Citizenship is Brunssum’s highest distinction and this is the first time the award has been granted posthumously.

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Celebrations started early in the afternoon at the Brikke Oave as invited guests including Mr Peter Wilson (UK Ambassador to the Netherlands), Mr Theo Bovens (Governor of the Province of Limburg), General Erhard Bühler (Commander JFC Brunssum), Lieutenant General Stuart Skeates (Deputy Commander JFC Brunssum), 1st Lieutenant Francis Turner (aged 100 & veteran of the US 2nd Armoured Division), Victoria Wallace (Director General Commonwealth War Graves Commission), and Mrs Victoria Lewis-Jones (daughter of Dame Vera Lynn) were warmly welcomed by the Mayor of Brunssum – Mr Gerd Leers – to a mixed programme of music, film and reflection in honour of those who sacrificed their lives so that we might enjoy peace and freedom.

 

At 1800 guests invited to the reception joined in a procession that made its way from the Lindeplein to the Brunssum War Cemetery. Upon arrival, a moving service followed where, perhaps the highlights were the reading out of the names of all 328 soldiers by children from the AFNORTH International School and the presentation of Honorary Citizenship certificates to more than 30 relatives of those laid to rest who had traveled from as far as Australia to attend this most significant and historic event. But, most importantly, the people of Brunssum turned out in their hundreds, possibly thousands, to pay their respects at the remembrance service. The depth of gratitude of the local people to those who liberated their town is immense and they remain deeply committed to ensuring the sacrifice made by those men 75 years ago, and its legacy will never be forgotten.

 
 

Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office

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