More details on the life of a Second World War soldier originally thought to be from Lochee have emerged after a Dutch family adopted his grave.
We previously told how the Braam family, from the city of Venray, started looking after William Joseph Gray’s grave in the Netherlands.
They issued an appeal as they were keen to find out more about William, who died during the liberation of the Netherlands in 1944.
The Braams have now managed to make contact with the only child of the war hero, Yvonne Cameron, who has revealed more information about her father’s life to The Courier.
Yvonne said: “Mr Braam contacted me and mentioned how he had adopted the grave in his local cemetery.
“My father actually came from Coventry.
“My mum is from Lochee, but she was working at a prep school in the Midlands at that time.
“They met at a dance on a night out while my dad was on leave from the army and then they got married in Coventry in 1941.
“I’m not sure why they thought he was from Dundee. Maybe my mother registered the death when she returned home to Scotland.”
Yvonne’s name was actually inspired by her father’s adventures abroad.
“I was born in 1943 and my mum wrote to my dad for name suggestions,” she said.
“He suggested a few including Yvonne, which was a bit unusual at the time.
“My mum asked him why he chose that name and he said, ‘well, if it wasn’t for a girl called Yvonne in France, I wouldn’t be here today’.”
William promised to tell his wife Alexandrina, known as Zena, the story about Yvonne when he returned from service. However, he never came home.
Yvonne’s father died just 14 months after her she was born, when his vehicle was struck by German forces.
According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, William was just 31 when he was killed on November 22 1944.
Zena moved back to Scotland shortly after his death and raised Yvonne in Dundee.
‘Struck by German forces’
Yvonne has visited her father’s grave once before, when she was 12 years old.
She said: “The British Legion sponsored a trip for ‘war orphans’.
“It was a tremendous thing. There were so many children packed onto the train, all on the way to the Netherlands.
“My father was in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment so most of the children were English, but there were a few Scottish ones like me.
“It was one pound for the travel and I boarded with a Dutch family who took me to visit the grave.”
Yvonne, now a mum-of-three, recently sent across pictures of William to the Braam family.
She added: “When I was about five, my mum received a letter from girl offering to look after the grave, so I think they must’ve arranged grave adoptions before.
“I think they were very grateful to British forces for liberating their country.”
‘Now we know more about him’
The Dutch family – including Gabrielle and Jeroen, both 39, 16-year-old Lucas, 12-year-old Zora and eight-year-old Jack – wanted to track down any surviving relatives of the fallen sergeant.
Zora said: “It’s good for us to know about these people who died for us to have a free land.
“It’s an important part of our country’s history.
“We spoke to Yvonne and got a picture of William, and now we know more about him.”