Adopt the grave of a fallen soldier.
After the liberation, laid buried where they fell. The local population took care of these graves and ensured that the graves were provided with flowers. In various correspondences from that time it can be read that this was a great comfort for the family members. They were often unable to undertake the journey to visit the grave of their loved ones. Soon after the British authorities started to build a military cemetery, which was given the name “Valkenswaard War Cemetery”. Here the fallen British soldiers that were buried in the area were collected. These graves were adopted by local families who put flowers on the graves and looked after the graves. The British still had their hands full with other things so this was very welcome. For the local Dutch families this was the least they could do as a thank you for their liberation.
In the years it became somewhat easier for families to undertake the trip to the Netherlands, and several families visited the graves of their loved ones. They were often touched by the good involvement of the local population with the graves.
Because these days the maintenance of the graves is entirely done by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the British government decided to stop the adoption of war graves in the 1950s. The Foundation Stichting 40-45, has always seen the cemetery as an important part of local history. A lot of research was done into the background of the fallen soldiers and various contacts were made with their relatives. All information is shared by the foundation trough the website and facebook page about the cemetery. As a result, the foundation regularly got the question whether there was a possibility to adopt a grave. Because this possibility was not there, the foundation then called in the help of the municipalities of Valkenswaard and Bergeijk. Together they have received permission from the British Common Wealth War Graves Commission that we, as a Foundation, are allowed to restart the adoption of the British war graves at the Valkenswaard War Cemetery. This with the aim to increase the involvement with the cemetery and to secure it for the future.
Very soon after the start of the adoption program in 2018, all the graves were adopted. At the moment we work with a waiting list to ensure that all graves will stay adopted for the coming years. The adoptees lay a bouquet of flowers a few times a year. This can be on special occasions (for example: the 4th of May – Nat. Remembrance Day, September 17th – liberation of Valkenswaard or Christmas). People can also pay us to do this for them. The adoption is done by individuals, associations, companies, schools etc. This way ensure that the boys who died for our freedom are not forgotten.