Dutch author’s history mission

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A DUTCH history teacher wants to trace a picture of a Leeds soldier who was killed trying to liberate parts of Holland in the Second World War.

Dirk Paagman is searching for an image of Lance Corporal William George McClelland who died after coming under German machine gun fire while leading an attack in Schijndel in October 1944.

History teacher Dirk Paagman, from Holland, is appealing for information about a Leeds soldier who was killed in The Netherlands during World War Two.

History teacher Dirk Paagman, from Holland, is appealing for information about a Leeds soldier who was killed in The Netherlands during World War Two.

Mr Paagman is writing a book telling the story of American forces in Schijndel during Operation Market Garden in September 1944 and the 51st Highland Division’s bid to liberate the rest of the South of the Netherlands a month later. Mr Paagman, who was born in Schijndel, wants YEP readers to help him find family members so he can include a picture of Lance Cpl McLelland, who was in the 5th Queen Own Cameron Highlanders, in his book.

The Maurick College teacher said: “It became a bloody affair. Of the four attacking companies 11 British troops were killed and 60 men were severely wounded, of whom unfortunately more men died from their injuries within a few days. One of the officers who was attacking the German positions at Schijndel was Lance Cpl William George McLelland, son of GT and Margaret A McLelland.

“He was 23 years old when he died, leading the attack, and he was buried with his 11 friends at a farm near the village of Sint Oedenrode.

“He received a temporary field grave until 1946. Then he was reburied at the Uden War Cemetery.

“It would be an honour if I could incorporate his photo and his story in my book about the liberation of Schijndel. I reckon it would be of a great historical importance to visualize the story by showing the men who actually liberated Schijndel.”

Please email D.Paagman@maurickcollege.nl if you can help.