A MEMORIAL will be unveiled later this year in the Netherlands to commemorate the death of a brave Borders soldier.

And the tribute will also honour the Dutch mother-of-eight who tended his grave.

Guardsman John Shiells was killed during the liberation of Sevenum - a village near Eindhoven - on November 21, 1944.

The 21-year-old from Kelso was part of 3rd Battalion Scots Guards tank brigade when his Churchill tank hit a mine on the Saardijk road near Sevenum.

John, who was driving the tank, was killed and his body buried in a field close to the road.

Historian Piet Snellen researched the background of the first soldier to be killed during the liberation of his hometown.

And it was his suggestion to the local Remembrance Committee of Sevenum that has led to the commemoration stone being erected later this year to mark the 75th anniversary of their liberation.

Piet told us: "This year Sevenum celebrates the fact that the German occupation ended exactly 75 years ago on November 22.

"John Shiells became the first allied liberator who lost his life in the Sevenum community during the liberation.

"He became a symbol for the other allied soldiers of the 15th Scottish Division who died in the village in the days of the liberation.

"John's body was buried near the place where he died in a grave in a field near the Saardijk.

"His grave was adopted and lovingly tended by Mrs Ida Pauwels, who lived on the Saardijk."

Mrs Pauwels was a mother of eight who had already been widowed before the war years.

She tended to Guardsman Sheills' grave for almost three years before his remains were moved to a final resting place at the British War Cemetery in Mook on August 1, 1947.

The planned memorial to be erected at Sevenum will commemorate both John and Ida.

Piet added: "We also want to honour Mrs Pauwels.

"She was a widow in the war and must have had a difficult time caring for her eight children and her farm, but she made the effort to adopt and care for John's grave.

"She was a great example of humanity in the midst of the inhumanity of the war."

Ida Pauwels died in 1954, aged 69.

John Sheills was the son of farm labourer John and Mary Sheills and had worked in the mill of John Hogarth Ltd after leaving Kelso High School.

He had been in the Army for more than two years before his death and had turned out for his Regiment at both rugby and football.

The unveiling of the memorial to John and Ida will take place on Saturday, November 23.