Sergeant Joseph van de Craen served in 2nd Battalion, 2nd (Yser) Infantry Brigade of the Belgian Army during the Second World War. This Belgian Brigade arrived in Northern Ireland for training from 23rd January 1945 until 4th February 1945.
Sergeant van de Craen died at Massereene Hospital, Antrim, Co. Antrim on 16th March 1945 aged 24 years old. At the time, his Battalion’s base was in the town of Antrim, Co. Antrim.
A funeral service took place on 20th March 1945. Members of both Belgian and British forces attended the ceremony conducted by chaplains from both armies.
Joseph van de Craen’s grave was in Glenalina Extension, Section CS, Grave 94 of Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast. He lay next to his fellow Belgian Infantryman Private Leon Maton. On 8th October 1949, Belgian authorities repatriated Van de Craen’s body to a cemetery in Belgium.