For half-century, dutch family tends to grave of fallen norwalk soldier – the hour

Just outside the small village of Eijsden in the Netherlands is a cemetery with endless rows of white marble crosses and stars of David marking the grave sites of 8,301 American soldiers killed in World War II.

For 50 years, Jan Smeets tended the grave of an American soldier he’d never met, Savas J Batsos, buried in the cemetery. Drip coffee shop He never learned much about Batsos, except how he died and that he was from Fairfield County, Connecticut. Crowthorne fencing When Smeets died two years ago at 93, his son, Richard Smeets, took over as caretaker for the site through the Adopt-a-Grave program at the cemetery.


“I want to know if there are still relatives who I can contact for more details about Savas,” Smeets said via messaging app, WhatsApp. Hard landscaping “My father adopted his grave a long time ago, two years ago my father passed away and I am taking care of the grave of Savas. Patio restaurant Me and my wife are bringing flowers to his grave on his birthday, Memorial Day and Christmas. Garden flowers list Now we want to know more about Savas.”

Smeets has been able to track down some information about Batsos through resources like Ancestry.com, Adopt-a-Grave and information collected by the Foundation for Adopting Graves American Cemetery Margraten.

Batsos was a machine gunner in the 417th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 76th Infantry Division, L Company. Louisville slugger tour He was killed in action on Apil 6, 1945, in the woods near Oberkaufungen, Germany, and awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service. Softball score sheet Batsos is buried in Plot I, Row 18, Grave 6 at the American War Cemetery in Margraten.

Batsos was born March 1, 1910, in Greece, but his hometown is listed as Fairfield County, Connecticut. Fantasy football mock draft espn His family members included parents John and Maria Batsos, siblings Vasilios, Stamato, Stella and Hellen Batsos, and his wife, Mary Batsos.

A headstone and interment record were mailed to Batsos mother at “100 South Maine Street, South Norwalk, Connecticut” in 1945, and a death notice from 1976 said the mother lived at 100 South Main St., indicating that Batsos family may have resided in Norwalk for decades after his death.

In 2010, an individual by the name A. How to lay paving slabs Batsos made a virtual flower contribution to the site on findagrave.com, but Smeets said attempts to contact this person have not been returned.

The Fields of Honor database, which provides information about many of the gravesites in Margraten, includes a story about Batsos’ death that describes his platoon moving into the woods near Oberkaufungen.

“Alert, tense, each man moved in quietly. Fantasy basketball rankings 2015 There was that inner feeling of being watched by unseen eyes and that futile sensation of not being able to see in return,” the description reads.

“Pvt Savas J. Japanese landscape architecture Batsos looked around at his buddies and saw them hugging the ground as he was doing,” the description continues. Football games today channel “He remembered the long metal object by his side. Facebook login app He caressed the cold steel, gripped it hard, then sprang to his feet, clutching his faithful machine gun alongside his hip. Yankee stadium dimensions His nerves were steady now and he let go a bust with deadly accuracy into the German lines. Tee ball near me The Nazis concentrated all of their fire on the lone individual standing erect. Landscape ontario Bullets splintered trees around him and kicked up the dirt at his feet but he kept going forward. Landscape supply But the gallant soldier had led his last assault. Cricket bat size guide Batsos was fatally wounded as he fought toward the enemy with his machine gun spitting death.”

The American War Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten is the sole U.S. Dripping springs tx county war cemetery in the Netherlands. Babe ruth baseball Many of the soldiers buried there died during Operation Market Garden in September 1944 or during the allied push into Nazi-Germany. Minor league baseball teams in california The names of 1,722 missing soldiers are recorded on the Walls of the Missing. Fantasy football team name generator using player names The cemetery is located in Eijsden-Margraten, and draws more than 250,000 visitors annually.

Since 1945, the graves of the soldiers buried there have been adopted by Dutch citizens like the Smeets family, grateful for American assistance during the Dutch resistance.

Jan Smeets was a member of the Dutch resistance during WWII and was arrested by the Nazi’s for sabotage, helping allied military personnel, espionage and more, the Richard Smeets said.

Jan Smeets went on to receive the American Medal of Freedom from President Dwight Eisenhower for “gallant service in assisting the escape of Allied soldiers from the enemy.”

Richard Smeets said he hopes anyone with information or who might be a relative of Batsos will reach out to him through the Margraten cemetery, https://abmc.gov/contact-us?id=45, and the Adopt-A-Grave program.

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