Canadian veteran’s wartime jeep connects families in N.B. and the Netherlands

Ethel Walsh

A ray of sunshine on the steering wheel of an old jeep has helped connect two families — full strangers positioned practically 5,000 kilometres apart.

Nick Obdam, who life in the Netherlands, possible in no way expected it when he made a determination to acquire a Next Planet War-period jeep for his family members about 6 months in the past.

“The preceding owner was an aged man who experienced it in a get rid of for 30 yrs and he did not [drive] it a good deal,” Obdam stated in a cell phone interview.

Obdam bought it working. On a take a look at generate on a sunny day, he made a discovery.

“I noticed when the sunlight was shining in the steering wheel, I found some scratching … and there was a title in [it] and the name was Buck Cyr, Campbellton, N.B. — New Brunswick.”

That discovery kicked off a tale pretty much 80 yrs in the building.

A young man and woman sit in a military jeep next to a canal.
Nick Obdam acquired the jeep as a surprise for his spouse on their anniversary. (Submitted Nick Obdam)

Claude (Buck) Cyr was born and lifted in Campbellton.

In the summer of 1943, Cyr, clean out of substantial college, enlisted in the military. He located himself positioned with the Royal Canadian Signals Corps.

By the next spring, he was in England undergoing what he thought was extra primary military education.

But Cyr was being organized to engage in a critical function in the Allied invasion of France, retaining the strains of interaction on the battlefield open up.

The working day immediately after the invasion, he went ashore at Normandy. He would take aspect in several important battles, including the seize of Caen, France, the so-referred to as Falaise Gap breakthrough and the capture of Arnhem in the Netherlands in the spring of 1945.

His jeep was with him the full way.

A group of young soldiers pictured in uniform, standing on a staircase outside, wearing heavy overcoats and winter hats.
Cyr (front, 2nd from still left) is demonstrated during his times in assistance. (Phyliss Roy submitted)

His daughter, Phyliss Roy of Campbellton, has fond memories of getting her father back again to Arnhem in 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation.

Through the trip, her father obtained a likelihood to sit in a war-period jeep. When Roy advised the jeep could be his, his response was a bit puzzling.

“All he claimed was, ‘No, mine experienced my title on it,'” Roy said in an job interview from her home, “But I failed to inquire any additional simply because I just figured the Canadian military put his identify on it.”

He would make a equivalent remark about several other jeeps he noticed on that 2005 trip.

“We failed to seriously know that he carved his title in the steering wheel,” Roy reported.

a steering wheel with the name Buck S=Cyr carved into it.
The photograph Obdam despatched to Phyliss Roy displaying her father’s title carved into the jeep’s steering wheel. (Nick Obdam)

At initial Obdam had problems getting Cyr’s family members. But just ahead of Christmas, he observed a put up on Fb of an post about Cyr’s time playing hockey with the Campbellton Tigers.

Beneath that write-up, Roy experienced commented, figuring out herself as his daughter.

“We, out of the blue, posted a picture of the steering wheel with the identify of Buck and said, ‘Yeah, I am incredibly sorry to hassle you but we are centered in Holland and I believe we bought your father’s army jeep.'”

Roy claimed it did not even appear actual.

“I experienced a blended bag of emotion,” she explained. “That was a week just before Christmas.

“I was shocked. I was happy. I was sad — unfortunate that my father was not in this article to see it because he would have been so content.”

She was amazed that another person had owned it for 30 several years and “failed to see it, and how the daylight made it materialize.”

An elderly man, back turned to the camera, surveys a group of graves in a military cemetery.
Cyr is demonstrated in a navy cemetery in Arnhem in 2005 on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands. (Phyliss Roy)

Obdam mentioned he made the work to track down the loved ones because he required them to know the jeep was continue to close to and jogging, being aware of it would be an emotional issue for them.

He also required to get data on Cyr’s wartime company. That would allow the vehicle to be restored to how it seemed in 1944.

“It can be now … at the restorer yet again and we are absolutely reworking it now in the Alerts Division Canadian Jeep, with authentic radio in all over again, and all Canadian possibilities it experienced all through the war,” Obdam mentioned.

“So, the earlier operator, he manufactured an American Airborne Jeep from it, so it experienced [completely] improper markings.”

Obdam would like it to be a memorial to Cyr’s assistance.

“A very little little bit of a statement to all the people today who liberated us yrs ago in Holland,” he reported. “And I assume … it truly is years ago but … you need to retain background alive and, in particular, these times. War is back again, just about at Europe’s border.”

An elderly man and two women stand next to a war memorial.
Cyr, Phyliss Roy and granddaughter Tina McCormack visited the Netherlands in 2005. (Phyliss Roy submitted)

Roy said that appreciation is a thing her father seasoned very first hand just before he died.

“I know when we had been more than there in 2005, my dad, walking the streets, younger children would appear up to shake his hands. They gave him flowers. He was hugged by the older generation. He was treated, honest to God, like a hero.

“It was wonderful to see. We have not found that in Canada, but about in Holland, they certainly recognize what the Canadians did.”

It is likely the connection amongst Obdam’s relatives and Cyr’s loved ones will continue to expand, Roy said.

“[My dad’s] great-grandson is heading on a faculty journey up coming yr, pursuing the exact same route that he took. Nick has achieved out to me to let him know … they are hoping to fulfill him and allow him travel the Jeep. 

“Myself and my daughter and my brother are hoping to also go over with our people.”

An elderly man sits in a military jeep, smiling at the camera.
Cyr is pictured in a jeep in the Netherlands in 2005. (Phyliss Roy)

She’s just unhappy her father isn’t nevertheless alive to see it. Cyr died in 2018 at the age of 95.

“He would have been about there in a heartbeat,” she mentioned.

“He would have been so thrilled due to the fact, I know, in 2005, deep down, he was seeking for his Jeep.”

Obdam stated the jeep is presently getting heaps of consideration in the Netherlands. Universities and seniors’ houses are asking if he can stop by with the auto.

He’s very delighted to now be ready to share the vehicle’s background.

“When you park these types of a auto, and it doesn’t make any difference the place you park it, it attracts people today,” he reported.

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