July 16, 2015

UNB is Honouring my Uncle Nev, a Fallen WW2 Soldier

Last month I received an email from Laura Jackson. She explained that she had been selected to travel to Holland with the University of New Brunswick to look in depth at the liberation of Holland. She is to be part of Lucinda and John Flemer Netherland’s Study Tour.

Laura's email said  

"As a history teacher in an area of many post World War II immigrants from the Netherlands I am hoping this experience will help me pass on the legacy of those battles. Part of the program is to research and speak at the grave of a fallen soldier from the liberation offensive. The soldier assigned to me is your uncle James Nevin Bonar."

Laura then went on to ask for any information I could give her on Nev so that she would have a better understanding of him as a husband and father. I should explain that Nev was married to my mother's sister Lillian in a double wedding ceremony in Guelph in 1936.  He and my aunt Lily had one son then Nev went off to war. 

He was killed 23 October 1944. Nev was only 29 years old. Laura added some detail I had not known previously - that his unit was part of some very intense fighting in Holland, and was in very close contact with the enemy. His body was robbed before it was buried presumably by Germans. 

Nev Bonar in back row. 1936
It was touching to see the poignant letter his parents wrote after receiving a Memorial Cross in his name.

A small local paper wrote about the trip that Laura is currently on. She promises to send me photos of the grave on her return and I'm quite pleased about this. I never knew Nev but I heard about him from my aunt and mother. They spoke highly of him and I think my aunt loved him very much for she never remarried. 

I wish I'd known him but I'm very grateful he is being honoured this way. He has two living grand-daughters who I think will be very pleased. 

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