Sunderland Second World War soldiers to be honoured in the Netherlands
Two Sunderland soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice are to be honoured at a civic ceremony in the Netherlands.
They were among 328 British soldiers buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Brunssum who died fighting to liberate the country from the Nazis during World War II.
They will be given honorary citizenship by the town of Brunssum, in south-east Holland beside the German border.
Sapper Maurice William Teasdale of the Royal Engineers was killed on November 14, 1944, aged 23 and laid to rest in Brunssum's beautiful war cemetery. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission says he was: “The son of John Thomas Teasdale and Margaret Teasdale, of Sunderland, Co. Durham.”
Nearby are the remains of Lance Corporal John Scott, also of the Royal Engineers, who died on New Year’s Day 1945, aged 27.
Known details are that he was: “Son of Arthur and Hannah Scott; husband of Jennie Scott, of Houghton-le-Spring, Co. Durham.”
Both men helped liberate Brunssum, which has never forgotten them. Their graves were adopted by locals; Sapper Teasdale’s by the Donckers family, Lance Corporal Scott’s by Roderick Spinder, a police officer.
Honorary citizenship is Brunssum’s highest honour. It has only been awarded 15 times previously.
It will be granted to all 328 men, one of whom is unidentified. The award marks the 75th anniversary of the town’s liberation by Allied forces. More than 100 of the soldiers’ relatives will travel from around the world to attend the ceremony on Thursday, September 26.
Brunssum acting mayor, Gerd Leers, said the war cemetery had always been “at the heart of the community” since its first burials.
He said: “It was one of the first Commonwealth war graves in the world of which every grave was adopted by local citizens.
“Now, with the 75th anniversary of our liberation approaching, there was a widespread and heartfelt feeling that we should make a special gesture to express our deep gratitude to these men.
“Through awarding this distinction, the people of Brunssum wish to stress that these 328 men are not forgotten by us – and never will be.”
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