North West Wales

WW2 marine David Williams reburied after remains found

Royal Marines and members of the Dutch Marine Corps took part in the service Image copyright Hille Hillinga
Image caption Royal Marines and members of the Dutch Marine Corps took part in the service

A Royal Marine who died during World War Two in the Netherlands has been buried with full military honours after his body was discovered six years ago.

Research and DNA tests identified the remains of David Williams, 22, from Colwyn Bay, Conwy county.

He drowned during a military operation near Waalwijk, North Brabant, on 5 February 1945.

He was buried at a nearby cemetery in the presence of Royal Marines and the Dutch Marine Corps on Wednesday.

His remains were found in a shallow grave during an explosives-detection project on land occupied during the war at Overdiepse Polder.

Four allied nations were known to have fought in the area and it was recorded that three marines died in a boating accident, and one body was missing.

Through DNA testing, the Recovery and Identification Unit in the Royal Netherlands Army (RIU/RNLDA) found his half-sister, Sheila Clough.

They shared the same biological mother but Ms Clough said she had been unaware of her half-brother until last year as her mother had never spoken about Mr Williams - who had been given up for adoption.

Image copyright Hille Hillinga | Royal Navy

Ms Clough said: "This past year has been unbelievable, a complete emotional rollercoaster.

"I am extremely proud of David and his service with the Royal Marines and am grateful to everyone who has helped to finally lay him to rest in such a proud and dignified manner."

The British No. 41 Royal Marine Commando had been operating in the area when three marines drowned trying to recover a collapsible canvas assault boat from the enemy side of the river.

But the body of Mr Williams, who joined the marines in 1940 and could not swim, was not found until 2010.

Lt Geert Jonker, from RIU/RNLDA, said: "Identifying a WWII victim is giving them back their identity, making them real people again, linking them to real people and making them human."

Image copyright Hille Hillinga

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