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Dutchman who cares for war graves bids to trace family of Rifleman Walter Senior


A DUTCHMAN who helps care for war graves in a village in the Netherlands is bidding to trace the family of Warrington soldier Rifleman Walter Senior, who was killed in action during the Second World War.

Rifleman Senior, who was born in Warrington and worked as a fruit seller, was killed in action aged 26, serving with the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division during the liberation of Neerkant and is one of 363 war graves being cared for by local villagers.

Due to his knowledge of the events during the Second World War in the Meijel/Neerkant/Liessel region Jürgen Beekers, who was born and grew up in Neerkant, a small village near Meijel, has now been tasked with helping put faces to those who sacrificed their lives to help liberate the Netherlands.

Last year he adopted the grave of another soldier, Private Arthur Hope (from Holwell Hertfordshire), 8th Bn. Royal Scots, 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division (KIA 02-11-1944). Arthur was also killed during the liberation of Neerkant and Jürgen is proud and honoured to have been assigned to adopt his grave. Arthur, like Walter is buried in the Nederweert War Cemetery.

The adoption of the grave was made possible by the Adoption Graves Foundation of the Nederweert War Cemetery and and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

All 363 graves in this cemetery have now been adopted by residents of the Netherlands. Some graves have also been adopted by residents from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium and Brazil.

The youngest adopter is 8-years-old and the oldest adopter is almost 100 years old. Several primary schools in the area have also adopted a grave. The adoption of a grave involves visiting the grave several times a year and attending commemorations that are organized annually on Remembrance Day and on Christmas Eve (on Christmas Eve candles are lit on the graves of the Cemetery).

Jürgen said: “Because of my knowledge of the events during the Second World War in the Meijel/Neerkant/Liessel region, the board of the Adoption Graves Foundation of the Nederweert War Cemetery has asked me to participate in a research group that investigates the soldiers buried in the Nederweert War Cemetery, also trying to give each grave a face.

“They assigned me the fallen soldiers who served in the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division.

“One of the soldiers I am researching on behalf of the research group is Rifleman Walter Senior. Walter was born and raised in Warrington.

“I already have some information concerning Walter after posting a message on the Facebook groups “Warrington Memories” and “Warrington Family tree & Genealogy” but I would like to get in touch with Walter’s family for more information and perhaps a photograph of him (if the family also wishes this of course).

“I am also in possession of information regarding the circumstances in which Walter was killed and the approximate location where this happened. I would like to share this with his family (if desired of course).

“During previous researches concerning other soldiers buried in the Nederweert War Cemetery, I found out that many families would like to receive this information because many have remained unfamiliar with what exactly happened to their relatives and where this happened.

“During my research, I found already these data of Walter:

Rifleman Walter Senior was killed between the villages of Deurne and Liessel.
Age: 26 years
Date of birth: 27 July 1918
Date of death: 31 October 1944
Army unit: 9th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), 46th Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division
Military rank: Rifleman
Army service number: 3601025
Cemetery: Nederweert War Cemetery
Grave location: II. A.12.
Parents: He was the son of Walter Senior (born 10 March 1887) and Ada Senior (nee Dean), (born 27 May 1891) of Warrington. Walter’s father was a wire rope maker and had his own business
Profession: Walter was a Fruit salesman (own account)
Residence: 25 Mill Lane In Warrington (Mill Lane is east Warrington, Sankey district)
Siblings: Walter had 3 sisters and 2 brothers.
* Alice Senior, (born 11 September 1912) => Alice married Maurice Cunliffe. Dec quarter 1945
* Hilda Senior, (born 13 October 1913)
* Ada Senior (born 2 March 1916) => Ada married Cecil A Gorman. March quarter 1941
* Thomas Senior (born 3 January 1923)
* Jessie Senior (born 21 April 1927) at school => Jessie married James E Buckley. March quarter 1950
* Alan Senior (born 3 May 1932)
* Further surnames that can be linked through his siblings marriages include: Hardman, Bennett and Wells.

Walter is also named on the war memorial in Warrington, the “Warrington Cenotaph” – see below.

Jürgen added: Walter’s grave has been adopted by a primary school in Nederweert and I am also researching Walter on behalf of this school and the children.

“I would therefore appreciate it even more if I could receive more information and/or a photo of Walter so that Walter’s grave is no longer a headstone with a name on it, but that it also becomes something tangible and human for the children.”

Anyone with information should email


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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