Serendipity

2010, Photography

Sometimes unexpected things do happen. Last year I published a post about a Canadian War Cemetery near Groesbeek the Netherlands overlooking the German border region near the Rhine. A Canadian newspaper, who are working on a special coverage on the 65th commemoration of the liberation of the Netherlands, contacted me for one of these photographs.

A 78-year-old woman from London, Ontario, read the newspaper yesterday. When she saw the photograph and read the inscription on the grave of the soldier, she realised that it was her brother’s grave who died in Germany less than two months before the war in Europe ended.

65 years have passed, we take our freedom for granted, and while the numbers of lives lost in the war were earth-shattering, it makes me realize that all of them should not be forgotten. Not of Corporal L.A. McIntosh, private L.F. Pringlemeir, rifleman R.J. Mc Donald, and many of their brothers.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

15 thoughts on “Serendipity

  1. Been waiting for a new post for some time. What a post to return with, so personal and moving a subject, thank you.

  2. Beste Wouter!

    Prachtige foto’s, prima passend bij de belangrijke herinnering waarvan ik het met je eens ben, let’s not forget….op deze wijze lukt dat aardig….foto 1 roept bijzondere gevoelens bij me op!

    //Dave

    ps. gaaf artikel van je in dat fotoblad!!!

  3. Wow! What a story. For all the trials and tribulations that technology can create it does have the ability to bring us closer together in ways unlike anything else in history.

  4. I’m the editor in Canada who bought the photo, and wow, it resonated with readers here. There’s something about the mood it conveys that telegraphs such sacrifice.

  5. I’m the one who placed the flags by the gravemarker for Corporal L.A. McIntosh. Walking through that cemetery was a very moving experience. The sense of loss and sacrifice was incredible. I was astounded to see the picture in the paper. On behalf on the McIntosh family, thank you.

    1. When I made the photograph last year I was so touched by all the little personal memorials at the graves. After so many years these young men are thankfully not forgotten. I feel honoured to bring this salute to L.A. McIntosh and the McIntosh family.

      My sincerest thank you to his sister Isabel Mofatt and the McIntosh family. And thank you so much for leaving behind your personal comment.

      With sincere regard,
      Wouter Brandsma

  6. I had a similar experience when I lived in Albania. I came across a British and Commonwealth cemetery in the park in Tirana, took some photographs and posted them on my blog. I was subsequently contacted by a family friend of one of the soldiers – an army chaplain – buried there. They had known that he had died somewhere in the region but never knew where or the details. I was able to go back and take pictures of the headstone and send it to them. Serendipity, luck or providence. It made me feel that my time in Tirana was worthwhile – that and my recued street dog.

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