VALE – Ivan Sinnaeve

Ivan Sinnaeve
‘Shrapnel Charlie’

On behalf of the committee and members of Families and Friends of the First AIF, I express condolences to Marie Claire Sinnaeve, her family and friends on the loss of her dear husband, Ivan, at the age of 58 years.

Ivan passed away on Tuesday 13 March 2012. He had been in poor health for considerable time and although he fought every inch of the way, never managed to recover after surgery in February.

Marie Claire wishes to thank all who sent cards and letters of support during Ivan’s illness. She said it was really heart warming and encouraging to receive such a large volume of mail which helped them through the hard weeks of post-surgery attendance. Knowing they were not alone and that a lot of people were thinking of them really helped.

Ivan’s loss to the wider community is considerable and those of us who were privileged to meet him and be presented with a soldier, will never forget his warm friendship and generous disposition.

We can celebrate that Ivan came close to achieving the fifty-five thousand ‘soldiers’ he set out to make; one for each name on the Menin Gate. The soldiers he moulded were made with the lead from World War I shrapnel shells found on the former battlefields of the Ypres Salient in Belgium.

The card that accompanied each soldier states:
“The lead that once killed soldiers is now moulded into new soldiers who can travel back to their home countries to tell people never to forget what happened here in the past and to bring a message of peace” – this is the motivation of Ivan ‘Shrapnel Charlie’ Sinnaeve, the man who created these figures.

Our thoughts at this sad time are with Marie Claire and her family, their friends and members of the ‘extended families’ of World War I soldiers who were touched by Ivan’s sentiment. He embodied the true spirit that Kept The Memory Alive and will be sadly missed.

May he Rest in Peace.

Russell Curley
Families and Friends of the First AIF.

FFFAIF member Johan Durnez has sent news of Ivan’s death. Here is Johan’s message  Ivan ‘Shrapnel Charlie’ Sinnaeve 1953-2012.

The funeral service will be held in the Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist, Brugseweg, Ieper (Sint-Jan), on Tuesday 20 March 2012 at 10 am.


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