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Research on Second World War fallen James Walter Walford

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Research on Second World War fallen James Walter Walford

When I think about the Liberation of the Netherlands, I remember my grandfather, Bernard Roderick Pelletier. After surviving the Italian Campaign, Grandpa Bern

Photo of Bernard Roderick Pelletier in military uniform

was sent to Northwestern Europe, with his battalion, the Saskatoon Light Infantry.

Photo of Bernard Pelletier in uniform standing in a city

My grandfather recalled how thankful the people of the Netherlands were

Photo of Bernard Pelletier in older years, signing a Canadian flag

for what the Canadians did there. He often returned for celebrations

Photo of Bernard Pelletier in older years with two comrades, standing on a tank

and anniversary events, until he died in 2013 at 89.

Photo of Bernard Pelletier on parade in later years with comrades

My grandfather was able to live a busy and successful life after the war, as a researcher and explorer

Photo of Bernard Pelletier in uniform in later years, in a military vehicle

with the Geological Survey of Canada.

Close-up photo of Bernard Pelletier in later years with a Royal Canadian Legion hat

He married his lifelong partner, had six children, and six grandchildren. Bern Pelletier was lucky to survive the war, and he did many great things in the decades that followed. Unfortunately, many young Canadians did not share that luck, including some from the Saskatoon Light Infantry…

Photo of James Walter Walford in military uniform

James Walter Walford was a delivery boy at the Cramer Bros. Grocery Store

Photo of James Walter Walford's Attestation Paper

in his hometown of Souris, Manitoba. On January 28, 1943, he enlisted in the Canadian Army.

Photo of military unit

James was 17 at the time, so he lied about his age and said he was 18.

Photo of a gun firing

He was the only son of Walter Wallace Walford

Photo of first aid training

and Gladys Edna Walford, and he had three sisters: Dorothy, Edna and Ferne.

Group photo with a politician

After months of training in Canada,

Photo of four soldiers, seated on the ground

James set sail for England in December 1943. Months later, James joined his battalion in Italy,

Photo of two gunners behind their weapon

and would take part in some of Canada’s fiercest fighting of the war.

Photo of devastated Italian scenery, in Monte Cassino

He sustained several injuries, but recovered from all of them,

Photo of two gunners among house debris

and continued fighting.

Photo of two gunners ready to fire their weapon

In March 1945, he and the rest of the Canadian 1st Division made their way to Northwestern Europe

Photo of soldiers on a armoured vehicle with tracks

to take part in the Allied advances.

Photo of soldiers walking on debris, in a city

In the Netherlands, James was once again wounded; this time, he suffered a fractured skull and forearm.

Photo of citizens driving through Holland, windmills in the background

Sadly, James never recovered.

Photo of civilians and soldiers with a tank in the streets

He died at the age of 19 on April 12, 1945.

Photo of charging soldiers

He was one of over 7,600 Canadians who gave their lives

Photo of amphibian vehicles landing on the shore

in the efforts to free the Netherlands.

Photo of soldiers on parade in a city

He was buried shortly after his death, in the Netherlands. His permanent resting place is at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery

Photo of a telegram about James Walter Walford

in the province of Gelderland. On his grave, the following is inscribed: “An only son born at Souris, Manitoba, Canada.

Photo of a letter about James Walter Walford

He died that we might live.” Back home, James is remembered at the

Photo of people at a cemetery

Souris-Glenwood Cemetery, alongside the graves of his parents. He is also honoured at the Souris War Memorial, outside

Photo of a Cross of Sacrifice, with a group of soldiers

the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Photo of the entrance to the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery

Many Canadians have made the trip overseas to pay their respects to the fallen of

Photo of the Royal Canadian Legion in Souris, Manitoba

the Liberation of the Netherlands, including his mother, who visited his grave in 1967. On the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands, let us remember Private James Walter Walford and all of the Canadians who served and sacrificed during this important campaign that helped put an end to the Second World War in Europe.

Research project on James Walter Walford, by a former student guide at Vimy and Beaumont-Hamel, filmed to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
April 24, 2020
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Liberation of the Netherlands

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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