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Belgian couple seeks information about northeast North Dakota soldier

IEPER, Belgium -- A Belgian couple is seeking to make contact with relatives of Martin Severin Tressing, a soldier from Walsh County, N.D., who died in Europe during World War I.

Private Martin Severin Tressing, a soldier from Adams, N.D., who died during World War I in Europe (Image submitted by Francky Denorme, Ieper, Belgium)
Private Martin Severin Tressing, a soldier from Adams, N.D., who died during World War I in Europe. Submitted photo

IEPER, Belgium - A Belgian couple is seeking to make contact with relatives of Martin Severin Tressing, a soldier from Walsh County, N.D., who died in Europe during World War I.

Francky Denorme and Nancy de Snoeck of leper, Belgium, “adopted” this soldier in response to the American Legion Flanders Field project that encourages people to remember and honor soldiers who served and died during the war.  

The couple, who knows very little about Tressing, learned he was born in Adams, N.D., and was the son of Halvor and Christine Tressing, Denorme said in an email.

Denorme and de Snoeck became interested in Tressing after viewing a short movie about the “Adopt a U.S. Tommy” program, he said.

They signed up for the program on the American Legion Flanders Field website.  

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After some searching, they found a photo of Tressing and his grave. That made them “want to know the man behind the photo,” Denorme said.

Tressing, who was born Oct. 4, 1892 and died Oct. 31, 1917, is buried in the Nine Elms British Cemetery at Poperinge, Belgium, Denorme said.

“We remember these young soldiers who did give their lives for us,” he said.  “In most cases, nobody ever visits their graves. We go on some days like birthday, day of dead, or 11 November.”     

Denorme and de Snoeck would like to know more about Tressing, whose mother, they think, lived for a time in Nekoma, Denorme said.

He has asked anyone with information about Tressing to contact him at francky.d@belgacom.net .

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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