Remembering

Searching for Second World War soldier

Every year, the Scheepvaart Museum has a ‘throw away’ day. Held on May 3, people are encouraged to clean out their attics and present their findings to a panel to give the items a name, place, and date.  

“The idea is that if you have something in the attic from the attic, people should not throw it away. They have to come by to see if it can be of value to the archive,” Anna van der Molen of the War and Resistance Center Groningen told Netherlands broadcaster RTV Noord. 

It was during ‘throw away’ day that Mrs. Mike Ypma-Leeninga from Stad, Norway, presented the panel with a framed pencil drawing of a Canadian soldier thought to have been from the Second World War. 

During the war, Ypma-Leeninga’s father earned money by approaching Canadian soldiers and sketching them.

“My father approached Canadians after the war to earn some money and cigarettes. He asked for a passport photo, and then made a very nice pencil drawing of it. They could pick up the Canadians, and then he would get his wages for that,” she told RTV Noord.

The soldier’s picture and the passport were never picked up. After Ypma-Leeninga’s father passed away in 2000, she found the picture but not the passport and always wondered who the unknown soldier could be. 

“I really wanted to know who that Canadian was. I never could find who that was. I thought about the beginning, if I know who that man is, I can trace the family, I can send the painting,” she told RTV Noord.

 Ypma-Leeninga told RTV Noord, the only thing she knows about the soldier in the portrait is that he was a volunteer during the war and he was a bit older at the time.

Until the soldier in the portrait can be identified, he remains hung above her dining table. 

Do you think you might know who this Canadian soldier is? Contact Anna van der Molen of the War and Resistance Center Groningen at annavandermolen@groningerarchieven.nl 

Featured photo courtesy of RTV Noord.

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Miranda Brumwell

Miranda attended Niagara College in 2014, completing the two-year Journalism program. She currently resides in London, ON with her boyfriend and baby boy. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys reading, cooking, photography, watercolour painting and spending time with family and friends.

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