My interest in World War II started as a little boy. I remember clearly that my father had 3 huge books about WWII standing on the bookshelf. I’ve looked into them a lot. Besides that, I had the privilege to read my aunts diary in which she described her waryears in Venlo (Netherlands) and her journey to her hiding place in Bolsward (Netherlands). The diary contained original war related documents which I found very interesting.
In my youth I’ve visited Margraten American Cemetery and Memorial several times with my parents. In 2008 there was an article in the local newspaper about the adoption possibility of graves at Margraten American Cemetery and Memorial. I did not hesitate and decided to adopt the grave of PFC. Hans Bergmayr. Later it was learned that it was also possible to adopt names from the Tablets of the Missing. I adopted the name of Cliffe H. Wolfe. From both soldiers I was eager to learn more; who were these boys, where were the killed or went missing, was there any family traceable, etc., etc.
After receiving some documents from the U.S., it seemed that Cliffe H. Wolfe went missing during the battle of Huertgenwald. The documents contained a drawing made by Cliffes superior officer and he had drawn the exact place where Cliffe was KIA and where they buried him.
Due to the fact that I live in Zuid Limburg (Netherlands) makes Huertgenforest approximately a one hour drive. This is how my search for Cliffe H. Wolfe started and along this search I met the Dutch Stichting Missing In Action (MIA).
I was born in 1966 and have a have two sons; 17 and 20 years of age. Every time I visit Margraten I lay down flowers on the grave of Hans Bergmayr and in front of Cliffes name at the Tablets of the Missing. It reminds me that these boys fought for our freedom over seventy years ago and gave their lives for it. All those boys and girls killed and/or still unaccounted for may never be forgotten!!
Bart van der Sterren 2016
Volunteer Stichting Missing In Action (MIA), Netherlands
Since April 2018 Bart van der Sterren is an official Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) volunteer.
He earned this badge during one of the DPAA and Stichting Missing In Action (MIA) joint efforts bringing home a missing soldier.