Frank Martin’s grave at Holten Canadian war cemetery in the Netherlands

Frank Martin’s grave at Holten Canadian war cemetery in the Netherlands

Historian finds family of local war veteran

Museum volunteer Dave Humphrey tracked down Frank Martin after seeing the Townsman's story

It only took a few days for a Cranbrook resident keen on history to paint a better picture of Sergeant Frank L. Martin.

On Tuesday, the Townsman published a story about a group trying to find more information on soldiers who died during WWII and are buried in Holten, the Netherlands. The group reached out for information on Sgt. Martin, as he was a resident of Cranbrook.

Dave Humphrey, Cranbrook Museum and Archives volunteer, saw the story in the paper and went about searching the archived newspapers of the day.

“I thought there’d have to be some things in the archived newspapers of the day,” Humphrey explained. “I’ve actually scanned all the newspapers from 1898 to 1948.”

Humphrey found Martin’s death announcement. It appeared in the May 10, 1945 Cranbrook Courier. The short article notes that Martin’s wife Lillian was notified of his death. She was living in Slaterville at that time. It mentioned that she had two children, Jean and Richard.

“I did a bit of a search on Jean and Richard and I tracked them through the high school,” Humphrey said. “I sort of lost them at that point because on B.C. Archives you can’t get very recent records; they won’t release them.”

Then, while browsing, he noticed that there were some families who had Frank, Jean and Richard on their family tree, so he contacted them and got into contact with Tom, Lillian’s son from a second marriage, who it turned out was a bit of a family historian.

“He contacted me and between the two of us we worked out who the people were,” Humphrey said.

It lead to Jean Brehm, who lives in Cranbrook, as well as her son Rick – Frank’s grandson. Jean was amazed with how much information Humphrey had found.

“Strangely enough I already knew her,” Humphrey said. “I didn’t know the connection at that time.

“That was the basic premise, through the archived newspapers and through to get further information. Once I got their names I can go back and find more information.”

Rick Brehm said his mom phoned him up after reading the article and was quite excited to hear about the group’s initiative to find out more about Martin.

“I take these things on and not always successfully, but this happened to be a successful one,” Humphrey said.

Mike Muntain, from the Welcome Back Veterans committee and part of the Holten Cemetery project, originally contacted the Townsman to put the information they were looking for out there. Humphrey contacted him with the information.

“He was absolutely delighted,” he said.

Humphrey also found that in the Caribou region there is Martin Lake, named after the Sergeant.

“Canada, in collaboration with the provincial governments, is trying to commemorate our war dead with geographic place names,” he said. “Martin Lake lies near the community of Burns Lake on B.C.’s Nechako Plateau.”

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Supporters — and shoppers — lined up waiting at the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South, waiting for the doors to open on the store's first day of operations since the pandemic forced its closure. (Photo courtesy Kate Fox)
CHCA Thrift Store re-opens in Cranbrook

After a closure of 15 months, due to the pandemic, the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South has once again opened its doors for business.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read