A Canadian casualty of the Second World War, whose remains were identified this spring, was finally laid to rest on May 6.
Private Albert Laubenstein was buried with full military honours at Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery in Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands. In attendance were members of Pte Laubenstein’s family, representatives from the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
“Private Laubenstein is laid to rest with his comrades, with the dignity and respect he so greatly deserves. In remembering his courage, we recall and honour the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who have served their country,” said Lieutenant-General Hainse, commander, Canadian Army.
Pte Laubenstein was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on March 28, 1914 and joined the Canadian Army in 1940. He served with the 102nd Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery and the 4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps and the Lincoln and Welland Regiment.
The Canadian soldier was killed during the Battle of Kapelsche Veer on January 26, 1945, and his body was interred with care in a battlefield grave, which could not be re-located at the end of the war. He was one of 50 fatalities suffered by the Lincoln and Welland Regiment during the battle. He was 30 years of age at the time of his death.
Veterans Affairs Canada provided support to the family members of Pte Laubenstein and co-ordinated their participation in the funeral.
“Private Albert Laubenstein’s military burial today provided us the opportunity to honour his courage and sacrifice with dignity. We are finally able to pay tribute to this Canadian hero and demonstrate to his family that this sacrifice will not be forgotten,” said Jason Kenney, National Defence Minister.
Pte Laubenstein’s name is recorded on Panel 10 of the Groesbeek Memorial at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands.
The monument commemorates over a 1,000 members of the Commonwealth land forces who died during the campaign in north-west Europe, between the time of crossing the Seine at the end of August 1944 and the end of the war in Europe, and whose graves are not known.
The Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery commemorates 1,118 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War, including 968 Canadians.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains the graves of 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. The Commission operates in over 23,000 locations in 153 countries across all continents except for Antarctica.
May 2015 marks both the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands and the end of the Second World War in Europe (VE-Day) and Pte Laubenstein’s military burial is included in related commemoration ceremonies.
In June 2014, a metal detector hobbyist discovered the remains of Pte Laubenstein on the southern bank of the river Maas near Sprang-Capelle, Netherlands.
Pte Laubenstein’s identification resulted from a combination of dental records, historical context and artefacts. Royal Canadian Dental Corp’s forensic dentists and auxiliaries verified the identification made by the Recovery and Identification Unit of the Royal Netherlands Army.
The Canadian War Museum will highlight this story in the upcoming exhibition “Oral History – A Century of Canadian Military Dentistry,” presented from May 12 to November 15, 2015.
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