Dutch author searching for family of World War Two soldier from Berkhamsted

Can you help John gather more information for his book?

Friday, 9th October 2020, 10:03 am
Updated Friday, 9th October 2020, 10:04 am

An author from the Netherlands is appealing for the public's help in finding the family of James Wilson from Berkhamsted.

John Heideman is currently writing part three of his book about his hometown, Castricum in the Netherlands, during the Second World War.

During his research he found out about a soldier Joseph Arthur Boyd, who died in his hometown, and another soldier, James Wilson, who lived in Berkhamsted.

Joseph Arthur Boyd and James Wilson served together in the Second World War

He said: "In part 3 of the book there will be a chapter about the 62 bodies, of mostly airmen, that washed up on the shore of Castricum during the wartime - 34 of them are buried in our local cemetery.

"Castricum was liberated in May 1945 by parts of the Royal Artillery Regiment. When I did some research about the 34 graves I found out that some of the buried men of The Royal Artillery Regiment died after the liberation of Castricum.

"One of them was Joseph Arthur Boyd. He died because of an accident. He drowned in German anti tank canal after a swim."

John put adverts in English newspapers and got in contact with a former neighbour - Evelyn Egan - of Joseph Arthur Boyd in 2007.

James Arthur Boyd grave

Evelyn wrote to John about a close friend that Joseph had in the same regiment, James Wilson.

John said: "Joseph and James fought their way through Normandy, France, Belgium and Holland.

"Miss Egan gave me an old address of James Wilson in Berkhamsted. She also mentioned in here letters that James Wilson later married the sister of Joseph, her name was Jenny.

"In 2008 I wrote a letter to the old address and a few months later I got a letter back from James Wilson!

"In the letter he told me things about Joseph. After this correspondence the contact with James suddenly stopped. He possibly passed away."

Now, John is looking to get in touch with the family or friends of James Wilson to gain more information for his book.

He said: "I want to write down his wartime story as well and make the story about James and Joseph more complete. And maybe there are some pictures of James and Joseph.

"Maybe by publishing this article some of the family members or old friends of James will give a reaction. James Wilson used to live in Castle street in Berkhamsted."

If anyone can help, you can contact John by emailing [email protected]