Search

Names in the landscape

As an "open museum", the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 establishes the link between historical facts and the landscape. The masterplan ‘Names in the landscape’ intends to strengthen the ways in which the landscape acts as a final witness for Canadian First World War soldiers that fought and died in Flanders.

The masterplan 'Names in the landscape' is a cooperation between the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917,  'The Department of Library and Archives of Canada', and the In Flanders Fields Museum. 

George Crowther Ryerson 

During the Second Battle of Ypres, Canadian troops defend Ypres. The 3rd Battalion (Toronto Regiment) is at Mouse Trap Farm. When a shell explodes in the line, 31-year-old Captain George Crowther Ryerson is killed. George's younger brother Arthur, wants to bury his brother, but is himself wounded during the process.

The day after the Ryerson family learns of the brothers' fate, their sister and mother travel to England. Mother and daughter left New York on 1 May 1915 aboard the RMS Lusitania. Once again, disaster strikes. On 7 May 1915 the British ocean liner is torpedoed off the coast of Ireland. Laura, survives the shipwreck. Their mother, Mary Amelia, is less fortunate.

George Crowther Ryerson

Herbert Klotz

As his name suggests, Herbert Klotz is of German descent. His grandparents, on his father's side, emigrated from Holstein to Canada. Herbert's father, Emil Klotz, was for a time Canada's immigration commissioner in Hamburg, Germany.

In the spring of 1915 the Canadians are in front of Ypres. On 22 April the Germans launch the first large-scale gas attack of the war there. The poisonous cloud makes a breach six kilometres wide in the Allied lines. On the following day the Canadians go on the counterattack. The 2nd Battalion (Eastern Ontario Regiment) is sent out to reinforce positions near Kitchener's Wood. Two weeks before the attack Lieutenant Herbert Klotz writes a letter home:

"I am at present in the cellar of a ruined farmhouse, 100 yards from our trenches and the rifle fire and cannonading keep up incessantly. We therefore have to keep under cover. We haven't had very many losses yet and hope it will continue that way. I guess it can't last very long though."

Herbert’s words are almost prophetic. Just before Kitchener's Wood, his battalion comes in full view of German machine guns. The results are terrible. Herbert, 28, is killed when a shell bursts nearby.

Herbert Klotz

Douwe Frederick Puncke
Douwe, an office clerk from Amsterdam, emigrates to Canada a few years before the outbreak of the war. He follows his brother, who runs a farm near Calgary. Late 1915 the 35-year-old enlists in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He is assigned to the 50th Battalion (Calgary).

In April 1917 Douwe is wounded at Vimy, but he remains at duty. A few months later the 50th is in support at Passchendaele. The battalion lies in the mud for days under heavy artillery fire. Douwe is killed on 26 October 1917.  He leaves behind a wife and son.

Douwe, an office clerk from Amsterdam, emigrates to Canada a few years before the outbreak of the war. He follows his brother, who runs a farm near Calgary. Late 1915 the 35-year-old enlists in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He is assigned to the 50th Battalion (Calgary).

In April 1917 Douwe is wounded at Vimy, but he remains at duty. A few months later the 50th is in support at Passchendaele. The battalion lies in the mud for days under heavy artillery fire. Douwe is killed on 26 October 1917.  He leaves behind a wife and son.

Douwe Puncke

Alphonse Machtelinckx

Alphonse Machtelinckx was born and raised in Geraardsbergen. Like so many, the young man emigrates to Canada. He goes farming in Manitoba.

At the end of 1916 he enlists. The Canadian military clerk has trouble interpreting Alphonse’s Flemish accent. So the East-Fleming goes to war as Alphonse Machtelinsky.

On 30 October 1917 his unit storms the heights at Passchendaele. The German boys on the opposite side defend their positions with all their might. After a few minutes, all Winnipeg officers are eliminated. The wounded disappear into the flooded shell holes. Despite heavy losses, the Winnipeg Grenadiers dig in on their objective. After three more days of heavy shelling, they are relieved. Three more days of anguish.

Exhausted and numb, the Winnipeg Grenadiers retreat to the hinterland. Passchendaele is over for them. But many stay behind. So does Alphonse. The 28-year-old goes missing on 30 October 1917.

For over a century Alphonse's name has been misspelled on the Menin Gate. With the assistance of the municipal archives of Geraardsbergen and the CWGC the honest mistake will soon be rectified.

machtelinckx

----------

William Karl Kalabza 

William is born in St Albans, England, the son of Czech-Hungarian immigrants. At the age of 18, he joins the army. When his wife Amelia dies, William leaves for Canada.

On 4 August 1914, the United Kingdom declares war on Germany. Canada wants to do its bit. Tens of thousands look to join the Expeditionary Force. Only the ‘best’ are selected. William, then a shoemaker in Montreal, also applies. As an ex-military man, he is immediately accepted.

William is killed during the Second Battle of Ypres, the first major action in which the Canadians partake. On 27 April 1915, five days after the first gas attack, the 27-year-old's dugout is hit by a shell.

kalabza

----------

Dunlop brothers

The Three Dunlop brothers Daniel jr, James and John Burt don't have  a known grave. They’re remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial.

The Dunlop family emigrates from Scotland to Canada in 1906. They settle in Frank, Alberta, an insignificant village at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. In 1915 Daniel senior and his three sons go to war.

20 years-old James is killed in the trenches near Zillebeke in May 1916. A few days later, John Burt is killed when he is on duty as a runner in trenches at Sanctuary Wood. John is 16 years old. The oldest brother Daniel Jr., 24, is killed in the final days of the Battle of Passchendaele. He is acting as a stretcher bearer when a shell bursts right in front of him.

Father Daniel senior survives the war and is the only one to return to Canada.

dunlop 1  dunlop 2  dunlop 3