Dutch couple who adopted British war grave at Overloon in the Netherlands reach out to Fleetwood family

A Dutch couple who have adopted a British war grave in their native Netherlands have reached out to find his relatives in Fleetwood.

By Richard Hunt
Monday, 25th April 2022, 1:10 pm
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 6:22 pm

Anne and Dennis Peeters, from the small town Baarlo in the southern province of Limburg, live 22 miles away from the Second World War war cemetery in Overloon, where there are 279 British and Commonwealth graves.

Among the graves is that of Fleetwood man Alexander Johnstone Cowe, who fought for the 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment and was killed on April 16 1945, aged just 28.

Tragically, he died just one month before the war ended.

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The war grave of Fleetwood man AJ Cowe, at Overloon in the Netherlands, has been adopted by Dutch couple Dennis and Anne Peeters

His parents, Alexander Johnstone Cowe and Elizabeth Balfour Stott Cowe, had moved from Aberdeen several years earlier to live in Fleetwood, where young Alexander grew up.

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Anne, 29, and 31 year old Dennis, have been trying to find out more information to build up a better picture of Alexander and contacted the Facebook site, Fleetwood Our Great Town, whose members spread the word to try and help them.

The couple have now begun liaising with relatives of Alexander who still live in Fleetwood.

Anne and Dennis Peeters have adopted the British war grave of a Fleetwood man buried in their native Netherlands

Anne said: “The reason we decided to look after the grave was that Dennis has always been very interested in history, especially the two world wars.

"We want to visit as many World War graveyards together to honour the fallen heroes.

“Now that we are expecting a first child together, we thought it was a good moment to adopt a fallen soldier’s grave.

“We want to teach our child that something as natural as freedom is a great good.

"Brave, young men fought for our freedom, paying the highest price - their lives.

"We think it's important to remember the awful years that both World Wars were, especially since the youth in the Netherlands has a decreasing level of knowledge and interest in the World Wars.

“So to honour these heroes, we began to search for a grave that could be adopted and found the grave of Alexander Johnston Cowe.

"Now we want get more information about his live, service years and family.”

One member of Fleetwood Our Great Town, posted: “What a fantastic gesture, many thanks to you both.”