Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Holyhead plans memorial to Second World War Dutch sailors

Sixty eight years after the end of the Second World War, one town in Wales is about to get a new war memorial - to sailors from the Dutch navy.

Thousands of them came to Holyhead during the war, beginning a a connection that continues to this day.

A large number of Dutch sailors were stationed in Holyhead during the Second World War

In 1940, thousands of sailors from the Dutch Navy fled from the Germans and sailed to Britain: in ports like Anglesey and Milford Haven, they began the fightback.

Many also began making a new life here - men like Graham Van Weert's father Matty

I've got a Welsh accent, I'm Welsh but there's a part of me that is Dutch as well - and just like in Wales we have a Hiraeth in the Netherlands we have a Velrangen, a longing to be somewhere.

When I go there I enjoy going to see my family, but my home is Holyhead

– Graham Van Weert, son of Dutch sailor

A town of just over 10,000 witnessed one hundred marriages between Dutch sailors and local girls. The town's Maritime Museum has a score of artefacts - the Dutch sailor doll, the photographs - the model ships sailors made in their spare time - but it's still a story largely untold.

The building used by the Dutch sailors as their canteen is now the Maritime Museum