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Roos, de, Willem Leonard

Date of birth:
September 1st, 1906 (Zwolle, the Netherlands)
Date of death:
June 9th, 1986 (Richmond, British Columbia, Canada)
Nationality:
Dutch (1815-present, Kingdom)

Biography

When Willem de Roos reached the ag of 13, he told his parents that he wanted to quit school and go to Canada. Reluctantly, his parents granted their permission and he left to work in Canada in agriculture and forestry as well as in coal and goldmines.
In 1941 he was called into military service by the Dutch Government and posted to the Princess Irene Brigade. He underwent officer’s training in Surinam. At the end of October he was named commander of Camp Jodensavanne, a penal colony on the Surinam river where members and would be members of the Indonesian NSB were kept imprisoned.
August 1944 he landed in Normandy with the Brigade and moved through Europe with this unit. On May 8th, 1945, the Brigade had the honour as the first Allied unit to enter and liberate the city of The Hague. At the end of the war he was discharged in the rank of Captain.
In The Hague he met his future wife and together they emigrated to Surinam, taking up residence in Albina. De Roos went back to work in forestry and in gold mining. In the 50’s, the family moved back to The Hague and subsequently emigrated to Canada in 1958.
He spent the last years of his life, living alone in a mobile home in the woods near Vancouver.
Bill de Roos succumbed to lung cancer on June 9th, 1986.
The life of Bill de Roos has been described by Gilles W.B. Borrie in his book: “A courageous man, Captain W.L. de Roos.”

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Details:
The awarded Bronze Lion was withdrawn by appointment as Knight 4th Class of the Militaire Willems Order (Ridder vierde klasse der Militaire Willems Orde).
Bronzen Leeuw (BL)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Tijdelijk reserve kapitein (Temporary Captain (Res))
Unit:
Koninklijke Nederlandse Brigade 'Prinses Irene'
Awarded on:
June 18th, 1947
Ridder vierde klasse der Militaire Willems Orde (MWO.4)
Action:
Recommendation:
For having distinguished himself in battle by eminent deeds of courage, tact and loyalty.
In the night of April 19th, to 20th, 1945 as well as during the following night, after having reported as commander of a reconnaissance patrol, having crossed the River Meuse between Hedel and Ammerzoden, the northern bank being in German hands, and having gathered the necessary information through further reconnaissance by penetrating into this area. After the enemy had penetrated certain parts of Hedel on April 23rd, he has attacked him in an intrepid and exemplary manner thereby clearing house after house with handgrenades, automatic weapons and bajonets, having put a large number of enemies out of action or taken prisoner and suffering only a few casualties on his own side. Finally, after the enemy had launched a strong counter attack on another part of Hedel, initially making some progress, he again repelled the attack in an intrepid manner and on his own initiative with hastily gathered personell of the staff of 1e Gevechtsgroep, succesfully enabling a counter strike by our own troops.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Kapitein (Captain)
Unit:
No. 1 Independent Company, Royal Netherlands "Princes Irene" Brigade (No. 1 Independent Company, Royal Netherlands "Princes Irene" Brigade)
Awarded on:
March 20th, 1946
Military Cross (MC)
Action:
Citation:
"On 24 April 45, after a bridgehead had been established in Hedel, a party of enemy infiltrated and joining up with those still in the village threatened to cause considerable trouble and hinder mopping up. Capt. De Roos quickly assembled the reserve sections of platoons in the vicinity and delivered a very effective counter attack, killing 17, wounding 7 and taking 7 PW - the whole of the enemy party.
On 25 April when the enemy put in a Bn attack, they succeeded in breaking through one platoon position. The situation was for the moment serious. Capt. De Roos again taking charge of the local reserve and adding it to some of his Sp Gp personnel, put in a quick counter attack and drove the enemy right out of the village.
On both these occasions Capt. De Roos led his men in close hand to fighting with great courage and initiative, and a disregard for his personal safety. It was owing to his quick and determined action that the enemy were kept out of the village and we did not suffer casualties consequent upon house clearing."
Details:
British Royal approval dated Agust 31st, 1945.

Sources