Crosses for initial burials / casualties among airborne / Varsity

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by alberk, Jul 2, 2020.

  1. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Hovelmannshof burial 1.jpg

    This photo comes from "Tip of the Spear" - a book on the 1st Canadian Para Bn in WW2. The caption says these soldiers are burying their dead on March 24th, 1945 - after the drop on LZ A as part of Operation Varsity. Two obersvations on this: I located the exact place - it is in the middle of the LZ. All in all. 11 men are buried here, two Canadians, 9 British. It is one of several burial sites. However, the LZ on March 24th and 25th was by no means safe, as the Germans launched some counter attacks across the LZ at the positions 3rd Para Bde had taken up on the edge of the LZ. So, one may assume that the burial rather took place on March 26th or even 27th.
    Now my question: The crosses seem to be prefabricated, they do not look improvised at all. Was this a common practice?

    Hovelmannshof burial 2.jpg

    The main burial site for casualties of 3 Para Bde was in the hamlet of Bergerfurth, a bit south of the LZ. As many as 71 men were buried there: 16 Canadians of 1 CPB, 41 casualties of 3 Para Bde, 14 soldiers of 15th Scottish Division (who reached the airborne troops in the afternoon of March 24th and advanced through the Diersfordt Wood on the 25th). The following photo shows the main burial site - right next tio the civilian cemetray and the church


    The crosses on the main burial site in Bergerfurth are to be seen on photos that were taken in July 1945 - by a Canadian photographer. He Shows war photographer Charles Richer visiting the grave of Lt Col Jeff Nicklin. I am not surprised to see proper crosses on the graves several months after the battle.
    Nicklin_colour 3-bearb.jpg

    Another photo from Canada allows us to read the Name:
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  2. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    These are the two burial sites I am talking about - marked on a 1947 German map. Caution: the grid differs from Allied war time maps. However, for the grid reference I consulted Allied maps.
    Karte_1_MTB 4205_1947-markiert.jpg
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  3. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    "Nicklin copse" - as most of you will probably know - is where the body of Jeff Nicklin, CO of 1 CPB, was found. He was buried with most other casualties in Bergerfurth (158471). 12 x Canada Bergerfurth.JPG
  4. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    One more question: It seems that some metal stamping device was used to create name tags for the crosses. Can anyone tell me more about that?

    Thank you!
  5. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    This came up in a thread a bit back I'm sure - here it is
    Grave marker

    - here is the link I provided there about the embossing machine

    Embossing Machine
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  6. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Thank you AB64 - I am new to the forum...
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  7. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    That is an amazing machine - rather bulky, too. Always interesting to see semi-modern machines like this - the concept is decidedly 20th century but the materials used an the dimensions look rather 19th-century...
  8. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    These colour photos really bring the summer of 1945 to lifeā€¦ come to think of it, an odd expression, as so many men had lost their lives even that late in the war.
    Nicklin colour_2_bearb.jpg
  9. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    I am coming back to my intitial question or assumption: As seen in the photo I am posting again below the airborne units of 3 Para Bde buried their dead on LZ/DZ A on March 26th or 27th. They apparently used prefabricated crosses. Please correct me if I am wrong - but that means that they brought crosses for this purpose. And these were probably dropped in containers... or brought in with a glider load? At first thought, this is a bit surprising - but also a very pragmatic approach. At the same time I think it is an interesting detail...
    Hovelmannshof burial 2.jpg
    Another Canadian photo shows German POW digging graves for the Canadians on DZ/LZ A:
    burial POW.jpg
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