A foreign field

There’s a long tradition of local people tending to the graves of British soldiers in cemeteries across the world.

Will Cremers has been been in touch with the museum to let us know that he and his wife Caren have been looking after the grave of Green Howards soldier, Alfred Williams at Venray War Cemetery in The Netherlands.

The Cremers at the grave of Alfred Williams“I live near a town called Venray, that’s in the south of our small country. Now the local people from Venray area had the opportunity to adopt one or more of these graves at Venray War Cemetery. In this cemetery are resting 692 British Heroes as we call them.

Since two months all of the graves are adopted by the locals to take care of and make sure these heroes will never be forgotten because they died for our freedom.”

Alfred Williams was killed in action on 17 October 1944, the day after his 25th birthday.

“On October 8th the [6th] Battalion moved forward from Nijmegen ……to a sector of the line near Driel…..They remained in these positions until October 17th, subjected to intermittent shelling and mortar fire from the enemy on the high ground across the river. No movement was possible by day, and the only people who were active during the daylight hours were snipers.” (source: Synge, page 356)

Alfred was the son of Daniel and Hannah Williams from Grove Hill, Middlesbrough and had two sisters, Hannah and Esther.

Venray was liberated by Allied troops in mid October 1944, and the burials in the cemetery date from October 1944 to March 1945.

Will and Caren want any relatives of Alfred Williams to know that they are proud to be looking after his grave.