HALIFAX -- A Dutch-Canadian man is on a mission to match the faces and stories of lost Canadian soldiers to their final resting places in the Netherlands.

Former Dutch diplomat Pieter Valkenburg was born in the Netherlands, and now lives in North Tryon, Prince Edward Island.

Like many in his home country, Valkenburg holds a special gratitude towards Canadian soldiers, who in the Spring of 1945, liberated the Netherlands from nearly five years of Nazi Germany occupation.

Now Valkenburg is on a mission to find out all he can about the Canadian soldiers who helped liberate his homeland.

“I thought this is a perfect opportunity for me to help these people to honour the legacy of the soldiers who gave their lives,” says Valkenburg.

Valkenburg’s efforts are part of a bigger project called ‘Faces to Graves’, a collaboration between the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, Netherlands and private cemeteries to establish a virtual memorial to Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the liberation efforts in the Netherlands.

“We realize that a lot of Canadians came from thousands of kilometres over to liberate us, and they lost a lot of people here,” says Edwin Van Der Wolf, a volunteer at the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten, Netherlands.

Valkenburg has successfully tracked down images and stories from 46 P.E.I. soldiers, along with a handful of the 40 names from New Brunswick, and is now looking for information about 25 Nova Scotia based soldiers.

After CTV Atlantic aired a story on his efforts last week, Valkenburg says he has received a lot of photos and information from families in Nova Scotia.

In Cole Harbour, N.S., David and Darlene Roberts spend a few minutes reminiscing about an uncle that David never knew.

Pte. Bobby Nickerson is one of more than 7,600 Canadians resting in the Netherlands, a country eternally grateful for their sacrifice.

Nickerson was young and eager to serve his country, when he lost his life during his first parachute jump in March of 1945.

“Don’t worry, everything will be ok,” Nickerson had written in a quick letter to his mother the night before he died.

Nickerson’s mother soon collected his Silver Cross, which along with a few photographs, are the only remaining memories of a life cut short.

“He was just a nice young fella, that’s the story we’ve always hear, because he was only 23 when he died,” says Darlene.

With successes piling up, the War Cemetery recently sent Valkenburg even more names from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Valkenburg says it is deeply satisfying work for him and his wife Daria.

“I think we’ve got our work cut out for us for this 2021,” says Pieter.

The Roberts were among those who reached out to share with the Valkenburgs, both eager and grateful for the opportunity.

“It’s so important that all this information gets out. For all the nieces and nephews, and it’s just an important part of our life story,” says Darlene Roberts.

A labour of love for a grateful Canadian, determined we should remember the faces of those who gave so much for the freedom of others.