Kid solves mystery

for The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

What started out as a little Dutch boy’s hobby has turned into an international affair.

Sebastiaan Vonk, the 14-year-old whose quest to find the family of World War II hero Lawrence Shea was documented in The Brooklyn Paper in January, has finally linked up with Shea’s American descendents and gotten what he really craved: Shea’s story.

Born in 1923 in Brooklyn, Shea lived in the borough until he enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1943. The corporal was a towering figure at 6-foot-8, and fought numerous battles across Germany in the 80th Infantry Division.

On April 2, 1945, he was stationed near the industrial city of Kassel when a tank ambush caught his unit unaware. Shea fell — struck in the chest by an artilliary round.

Sixty years later, Vonk read some books on WWII that sparked his interest, and found out it was possible to adopt the grave of US soldiers buried in Europe.

He adopted Shea’s grave last year, but he did more than just place flowers. Vonk also reached out to The Paper in hopes of finding Shea’s family and discovering more about the hero’s life. It was a slim chance, but the inquiring Dutchman didn’t have many other options — most of the corporal’s records were destroyed in a 1973 fire.

After The Paper ran an article about Vonk, one of Shea’s nephews, now living in Pennsylvania, got in touch with him.

Updated 4:29 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: