In Memory of
JOHN JENNINGS

Trooper
7963258
4th, Royal Tank Regiment, R.A.C.
who died on Saturday 24 March 1945 . Age 21 .
Son of John and Lily Jennings, of Higher HeySham, Morecambe, Lancashire, England. 

Buried in the GROESBEEK CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY Gelderland, Netherlands Grave No: VI. E. 16.

Whilst compiling this book, some friends of John who spent their childhood together told us of the happy times they all had together. John's parents and his brother are no longer with us, so they wanted us to know that they remembered John and the times they had together during his short life. They all lived in and around Rothesay Road (where John lived), Connaught Road and Londonderry Road. All were built by LMS Railways to house port and ferry workers. They remember that this little enclave was known as "The railway community", a close knit group of families. The community all knew one another well, all were in work and "electricity, generated by the Company was free!" As children they all played together in the cornfield, and the quarry nearby. They recall Farmer Mashiter chasing them away from the corn - no doubt with a twinkle of understanding in his eyes. Growing up together and going to school together formed the close bonds between people and families in those days. They are very conscious that John lost his life in battle when only 21 years old, and four other lads from the "community" also gave their lives. They felt that someone should remember them all now nearly 60 years later. A few photographs concerning John are below.

John with his Mum and Dad outside their house in Rothesay Street Heysham.

     

John's Grave marked with the original, cross; alongside is picture of a Dutch girl who tended his grave (taken in September 1947).

Some details of the campaign in which John lost his life and of the cemetery where he is buried are below, courtesy of The Commonwealth War Gave Commission.

Allied forces entered the Netherlands on 12 September 1944. Airborne operations later that month established a bridgehead at Nijmegen and in the following months, coastal areas and ports were cleared and secured, but it was not until the German initiated offensive in the Ardennes had been repulsed that the drive into Germany could begin. Most of those buried in GROESBEEK CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY were Canadians, many of whom died in the Battle of the Rhineland, when the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions and the 4th Canadian Armoured Division took part in the drive southwards from Nijmegen to clear the territory between the Maas and the Rhine in February and March 1945. Others buried here died earlier or later in the southern part of the Netherlands and in the Rhineland. The cemetery contains 2,610 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, and nine war graves of other nationalities. Within the cemetery stands the GROESBEEK MEMORIAL, which commemorates by name more than 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 know.

Groesbeek is located 10 kilometres south east of the town of Nijmegen and close to the German frontier. Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery is 3 kilometres north of the village and 1.5 kilometre east of the main road to Nijmegen. On leaving the A73 motorway at the junction Overasselt-Mook-Groesbeek, follow directions to Mook. Follow direction signs towards Mook War Cemetery. After passing Mook War Cemetery continue to the village of Groesbeek to a roundabout. Turn left at the roundabout onto Dorpstraat passing through Groesbeek. The road name then changes to Molenweg. A Commission direction sign indicates the right hand turning from Molenweg onto the Zeven Heuvelenweg. 1 kilometre after entering this road lies the cemetery on the right hand side of the road.

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