Dutch sailors remembered in Shotley

FIVE Dutch sailors who fought with Suffolk comrades in the Second World War have been remembered today.

FIVE Dutch sailors who fought with Suffolk comrades in the Second World War have been remembered today.

His Excellency the Royal Netherlands Ambassador, Pym Waldeck visited St Mary's Church in Shotley to lay a wreath for five of his countrymen who died in 1944 and were buried in the church's naval cemetery.

Brian Ives, chair of the Shotley branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “They fought with the Free Royal Netherlands Navy and were based at Harwich and Felixstowe.

“They had escaped the Netherlands which was occupied and they gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Mr Ives said the men, Johannes van Niekirk, Peter Egas, Dominicuf Rens, Adiaan Jansen and Cornelis de Hoog, were thought to have died when one of their wooden boats hit a German mine.

He added: “It is great to be able to pay a tribute to them. It doesn't matter what side you were on now or what nationality.

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“It was solemn in parts but it was also a more upbeat occasion, a celebration of what they did.

“In honour of the ambassador we had 16 standard bearers and they wore white carnations which was the symbol of resistance in occupied Holland.”