The Embassy and Consulates | Kingdom of the Netherlands, Canada

Every War Grave has a Story

Honorary Consul Irene Bakker remembers NL fighter pilot in TV documentary

“Every War Grave has a Story” is a special documentary series commissioned by the Netherlands War Graves Foundation (Oorlogsgravenstichting) and produced by Pia Media. The series consists of five parts to be broadcasted on a Dutch television channel. Monday 19 December a special episode to Canada and South-Korea will be aired.

Honorary Consul Irene Bakker of the Netherlands in Calagary made an important contribution to the documentary with the Canadian story of Johannes Sluijter, a Dutch fighter pilot who died whilst training at the Second World War flight training school in Medicine Hat in 1943, more than 7,000 km from the Netherlands, was remembered in a special way.

Bakker underlined the importance of keeping Sluijter’s memory alive, not only because of the significance to his family, but also as a pass on the torch gesture, helping the younger generation to understand what happened during war times, as well as the shared history between Canada and the Netherlands. She mentioned it was wonderful to see so many people partaking in the ceremony. Earlier this year Irene Bakker, honoured the grave of Johannes Sluijter on Canada Day 2016 by placing flowers at the Hillside Cemetery in Medicine Hat, together with Johan Teeuwisse of the Oorlogsgravenstichting, who visited Medicine Hat to record Sluijter’s story with the Dutch film crew.

In the Medicine Hat area a total of 49 pilots were killed in training accidents during the nearly three year history of the Royal Air Force Station No. 34 Service Flying Training School, which was situated at the present airport location.

Upon finishing the documentary project ‘Every war grave has a story’ a DVD box will be available.