Veteran Roly on quest to find children he rescued

Canadian Veteren Roly Armitage
Roly Armitage as a twenty-year old soldier and as a 98-year old veteran Photo Credit: Fred Hoek

A 98-year-old Canadian veteran has embarked on a nearly impossible mission. Roly Armitage saved the lives of two children, Jan and his younger sister, near Eindhoven airport at the end of 1944. Now he hopes to get in touch with the two or their families.

It is the end of 1944 when Roly is near the airfield with the Canadian army. There he encounters two children who are wandering.

“They were looking for their mother. The boy was about six years old and his name was Jan. He also had a younger sister with him. Both children were wet and cold, and the nearest building was probably another one or two kilometres away. I took them with me to our field kitchen, where I cooked for them. I washed the children and put them under a warm blanket. Then they slept through until the next day,” he looks back on that day.

In the field kitchen

The children spent ten to fourteen days in the field kitchen of Roly Armitage and his fellow soldiers. After that period, Jan and his sister were placed with a couple of sisters, possibly nuns. The Canadian army moved on towards Nijmegen. What the Canadian veteran still remembers from that time is that he turned twenty on February 8, 1945 while he was in Nijmegen. The next night, February 9, 1945, they entered Germany.

Liberation Day

Since then, Roly has wondered what happened to the children. If Jan is still alive he should be about 85 years old, his sister a few years younger. They most likely come from near Eindhoven and have also found a home there. More information is not known about the pair.

On Liberation Day, May 5, the Canadian hopes to spice up his visit to the Netherlands on May 5 with a reunion with the children he saved or their families. People who know more can contact Oranjevereniging Goedereede. You can do this via the email address or the Facebook or Instagram page.

Translated by: Shanthi Ramani

Source: Studio040

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