Godewaersvelde - need to know exact location

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by Andrew England, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. Andrew England

    Andrew England New Member

    I am researching the friend of my father. His name was Terrence Charles Potter (RASC) and in the retreat to Dunkirk on 28 May 1940 (aged 20) he was unfortunately killed. In order to attempt to escape capture my father crawled over the body of Terry, but was later captured on the same day and never saw his friend again.
    He was buried (according to the Graves Concentration Report Form) in Godewaersvelde Boeschepe Sh. 2. H..4156.... and was reburied in Lille Southern Cemetery on 13 June 1947.
    I would really like to know exactly where the location of his original burial was.... I can decipher Great War grid references but I have no knowledge of how to interpret the location I have provided above. I know of the Great War cemetery that exists in the village but don't know if this is the same place..... I suspect not.
    If some kind soul could help me then I would be very grateful.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you
    Andrew England
  2. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Hello Andrew.......I found the “grid square” that the original cemetery would have been in. Unfortunately the record doesn’t give a 6 or 8 figure grid reference, so the best that can be done is the “grid square”. I’ve also attached a google map, and put a circle on the approx location of the original grid square. Hope this helps


    Just a Note.....the record says he “Died of Wounds” (Died/W).....so this may have been a burial spot next to a Field Ambulance or hospital.....or it the Germans took over the area, a place they brought the wounded.....this would require more research to be exact

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
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  3. Andrew England

    Andrew England New Member

    Hello Temujin

    Thank you so much for your help.... that is great. I shall have a look at my maps and check out where the Great War CWGC cemetery is, and see if it is within the square you have indicated. I'm not sure that it is but I will check.

    Thank you again

  4. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Andrew.......this location is NOT where he is buried now, as the CWGC document indicates, he was “originally’ buried here, then after the war the graves were concentrated and he was re-interred in cemetery he lies now.

    I thought that is what you were asking, where the FIRST burial was?

    Let me know if you need more help or have more questions I can help with
  5. Andrew England

    Andrew England New Member

    Hello 'Temujin'

    Sorry crossed wires here..... yes I am asking where he was originally buried. I know where he is buried now and actually took my father there, when he was alive, some years ago, but I am really keen to establish where Terrence Potter was first interred.

    Such a pity that the reburial team just gave the square.... to me it looks like the cemetery that is still extant at Godewaersvelde is right on the outskirts of the square you identified, and the current communal cemetery is also there, and more probably in the square. It seems to be that anyone burying troops in May / June 1940, and that would have almost certainly (I assume) would have been the Germans would have buried them either within an existing military cemetery, or just outside it. Why would you start a new one when one clearly already existed.

    On the other hand if the second world war men were buried in the existing CWGC cemetery why would you then re-bury them in Lille, why not simply create a second world war plot?

    I am intrigued!

    Thank you very much for your help, and anymore you can give me! I might write to the CWGC and see if they have any further records.


    Incidentally, my Dad always said that he (Terrence Potter) was dead 'killed in front of me' and that he had to crawl over his body (they were in a ditch at the time) in an attempt to escape the German troops.

  6. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    From the Army casualty lists the timeline around the period of his death is:

    List No. 298 dated 3 September 1940 - Reported missing 10/5 - 16/6/40

    His name was then mentioned in the March 1941 list circulated to POW camps, these lists were produced "with a view to obtaining any information which POWs may be able to give concerning the fate of the missing Army personnel"

    List No. 551 dated 28 June 1941 - Died, date not reported, with "As killed" written by hand (not totally sure what this means, or when written, but it applies to a number of casualties on the list

    List No. 593 dated 18 August 1941 - Died 28/5 - 4/6/40

    List No. 652 dated 25 October 1941 - date of casualty should read 28/5/40

    It would appear that it took some time to establish the circumstances.

    Incidentally the other RASC soldier, Guthrie, whose has similar details on the concentration report has the following entries on the casualty lists:

    List No. 325 dated 4 October 1940 - Missing 10/5 - 16/6/40

    List No. 551 dated 28 June 1941 - exactly same details as Potter, above

    List No. 655 dated 29 October 1941 - Died, with date amended from 'not reported' to died 28/5/40

    The Godewaersvelde British Cemetery contains only WW1 soldiers.
  7. Andrew England

    Andrew England New Member


    Thank you so much for the information; I really appreciate your help..

    That is excellent, and anything you can help me with would be great.

    With best wishes


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