Canadian since 1949, Mrs. Shirley Richardson, whose second brother Lt. Ralph Bonfoy Rooper DSC, RN was in a Motor Torpedo boat off the coast of Holland when it was destroyed by the German Navy in 1944. His body was washed up onto the beach of Bergen-Aan-Zee and was buried in the beautiful Commonwealth War Graves part of the Bergen-Aan-Zee Town Cemetery.
On my last visit in April 2014 to the cemetery my daughter Serena and I were alone in the Commonwealth War Graves part when a young couple and their 12 year old son walked in and after a while, as they spoke English, we began to talk. The parents said they had brought their son to the cemetery because he had to learn that all he had – freedom to do and work and where to live etc. – he owed to young men like my brother Ralph who had chosen and came to fight the Germans and be prepared and did give their lives for Holland’s freedom. He must never forget the sacrifice Ralph and many others made so he could live in freedom. The couple said the Dutch will never forget their sacrifice.
I give this story because I feel it typifies the huge debt the Dutch still feel to Canada and the Canadians who were the first to bring freedom to their country.