All the honours that could be given by a little town to a fighting man of the Empire, or her Allied Forces, were given this week to PFC John Wesley VanDyke of the American Army, who gave his all in defense of His Country and the Allied Forces at the Battle of the Bulge.
This young soldier, a son of Melville L. VanDyke, a former Grimsby boy, now a prominent businessman in Buffalo, was a member of Company K, 291st Infantry, 75th Division, American Army and was killed in action near Grand Halleaux, Belgium, January 15th, 1945, and was buried in Henri Chapelle cemetery, Belgium.
In accordance with the plan of the United States government in bringing the bodies of their fighting men home for re-burial, if the parents so desire, the last remains of this young soldier arrived in Grimsby on Monday evening under escort of American Army men. Members of West Lincoln Branch 127, Canadian Legion, met the remains at the railway station and escorted it to the funeral parlors of E.L. Stonehouse, where they reposed until Wednesday morning with an honor escort from the Legion being on duty.
On Wednesday morning with full Legion honors and Color Party the remains were escorted to St. Joseph's R.C. Church where Requiem Mass was conducted by Rev. Father Bernard A. O'Donnell, after which the funeral cortege moved off the Queen's Lawn Cemetery where the last rites were conducted by the Legion and the sounding of Reveille and the Last Post by Bugler Sergt. Wally Phipps.
PFC John Wesley VanDyke is the first member of the American Army forces to be brought back to the Niagara Peninsula for re-burial and while the hermetically sealed casket was not opened at the funeral parlors, it was banked with flowers from the many friends of the VanDyke family. This young soldier was a grandson of the late John Wesley VanDyke, one of the best known men who resided in this district for a great many years. The grandfather operated the Hotel Grimsby for years and the father Melville L. VanDyke was born in the Hotel Grimsby, and is a volunteer veteran of the American Army in World War One. The grandfather owned and operated the first waterworks system in Grimsby and also the first electric light plant.