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Waterman immigrant ship history linkage claimed

Harry Roffel followed in 1958

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

GUELPH, Ontario - A third Roffel family wants in on the history of the Waterman, the Dutch immigrant ship which led the way of numerous similar postwar Atlantic crossings. Retired Guelph homebuilder Harry Roffel, a nephew of Bouke Roffel who arrived in Canada on the Waterman in 1947, also came on the former Liberty class U.S. wartime supply ship. Bouke and his namesake Geert were the subject of a feature article in the June 7, 2011 issue, titled Two unrelated Roffel families seem to follow each other in print.

Harry Roffel left the Netherlands early in May 1958, destined for Halifax. He first settled in Toronto but raised his family in Guelph where his wife Reina has worked for over 25 years at the Thalens family’s Dutch Toko.

Born in Enschede, Harry’s family lived on the island of Texel before settling in Den Helder from where the move across the Atlantic was made.

When Harry Roffel arrived in Canada, he was following the example of not one but three uncles and their families: Bouke (1947), Berend and Hendrik. Harry’s father Jan and his family remained in the Netherlands along with other uncles and aunts.

Several other 1947 Waterman passengers have requested forms for the Project I Remember, an effort to trace the vanguard of the post WWII Dutch immigration to Canada. The 1947 Waterman passengers were not issued a passenger list. Passengers of the Tabinta, Kota Inten and the Volendam all disembarked without such lists. Hundreds of families already registered but many more need to do so before the effort can be completed. For more information please see the Windmill Herald's page B6 of the July 11, 2011 issue, or email for a form.

The Waterman made its final journeys to Canada in 1960.