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Solving the puzzle of Dutch girls’ time in England

First published in News
Last updated

A DUTCH woman has appealed to readers of The Press to help her discover why her grandmother came to live and work near York at the end of the Second World War.

Jill Weenink, who lives in Dieren, near Arnhem, in the Netherlands, said her maternal grandmother Grada Tjooitink, who died in 1997, came to England with her sister Willy in 1945.

She said they visited twice, firstly staying for a year and later for another six months, but unfortunately she did not have exact dates.

“During her time in England, she wrote back to the family mentioning that she worked at a big house near Appleton Roebuck,” she said.

“She always said that she worked in York, and lived 15 minutes by bike from the city. In her possessions, there is a photo of a big house and there are also two postcards of Appleton Roebuck and of Bolton Percy.”

She said she hoped Press readers might be able to help her in her search for information concerning her grandmother’s time in York.

“I’m traying to trace her movements to gain a fuller picture of her early life,” she said.

“I would like to publish a request to see if anybody remembers them or has information about the large house where I think they spent their time in England, perhaps working for a family. It is a mystery to my family why, so soon after the liberation of Holland, the two girls came to England. Grada was 20 at the time.

“I realise that this happened nearly 70 years ago, but if I can gain any information at all, it might be the missing piece in the jigsaw.”

• Anyone with information can write to Jill Weenink at Mezenlaan 117, 6951 HL Dieren, The Netherlands, or email her at

Alternatively, email, and we will forward your message.

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