Den Burg, Texel, Xmas Eve

The annual lighting of candles on the 167 graves at the War Cemetery at Den Burg, Texel, took place yesterday evening, Christmas Eve.

This is a very simple but extremely moving and quietly spectacular ceremony, and for the last three years we have published photographs of it.

Extremely powerful guns were located on Texel during the war, and many aircrew fell victim to them or to night fighters from nearby bases in Holland. Amongst those who perished were a number of Pathfinders, including Leslie Laver and four other members of the Steven crew, who were shot down on 14 January 1944. (See Why the Archive Began)

The ceremony began at Den Burg in 2018, but similar ceremonies have taken place for some time in other cemeteries in the Netherlands. Bram van Dijk and Jan Nieuwenhuis, both Texelaars, were the prime movers. Bram van Dijk started his research into the men who are buried at the Den Burg war cemetery some 40 years ago. Jan Nieuwenhuis began his research into Allied crashes in the Netherlands some 20 years ago. All honour and credit to Bram and Jan for the dedicated work they have done in remembering the war dead.

Due to Covid-19 problems, the lighting of the candles was a slightly different ceremony this year, but it is hoped that next year things will be back to normal.

Photographs by Michelle van Bennekom, sent by Jan Nieuwenhuis