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Friday, 11 November 2011

Remembrance Day.

Today my thoughts are with all the souls that have been lost during periods of war, which ever country they hailed from. 
(I have written before that) I live four miles from Cannock Chase and the German Military Cemetery. It was opened to the public on 10th June 1967.

It is a hauntingly sad but a peaceful place.

When you enter the site at the Hall of Honour this is the etched glass map showing the plot numbers of the graves.

The undercover tomb represents 'The Fallen Warrior'

This stone tells that there are 2,143 WWI and 2,786 WWII German soldiers laid to rest here, amongst those are 5 unknown WWI and 90 unknown WWII soldiers, who all died on British territory, most died in prisoner of war camps.  Others were airmen killed when their aircraft were brought down or crashed, sailors who died at sea and their bodies were washed ashore.

And a view from that stone to part of the cemetery.
Centre of the background is the huge cross that looks out over the site.

This stone explains that there is also amongst the graves four WWI Zeppelin crews buried here.

This is the final resting place of Zeppelin L32's crew.  I was amazed to count 22 names.  I didn't think they had such a large crew on board.  The other three crews buried here were much smaller.

 Some years ago I watched a television program about a German soldier Feldwebel (Sergeant Major) Wolfgang Rosterg, who was a prisoner of war lately held in Cultybraggan Camp, Comrie (it was designed to hold hard-core Nazis)
Wolfgang was a conscripted soldier who did not agree with the Nazi ideals, he had been transferred from a Prison camp in Devises after being wrongly classified after his capture by the British.  There had been a prison break attempt from that camp and a group of prisoners including Wolfgang were transferred to Cultybraggen Camp.  He arrived in the camp with thirty other prisoners on the 17th December 1944, but on the 22nd of December he was found dead, but it was far from natural causes.  The full facts of the story are still held, locked by authorities, but details have been collected together....
(The camp was guarded by Polish soldiers, who's hatred of the Germans was natural enough after the Germans had totally destroyed their country in 1939. )
On his arrival in the prison camp Wolfgang was housed in barracks with about 80 die-hard fanatical Nazis.  Now, weather he had been recruited by the British to spy, or just an innocent party is not yet officially confirmed,  but the other inhabitants in the barrack taunted and bullied him.  He asked the British officials to move him from the camp, but sadly this wasn't done.  His body was found badly beaten up and hanging in a makeshift gallows.  It is presumed that the other prisoners thought that he had been the one to inform the British of the attempted prison break - but that was not so.  Whilst he was being beaten another anti-Nazi prisoner had called upon the Polish Guards to assist, but his pleas had been ignored.  It was proved that Wolfgang had indeed died of his injuries from the beating before being hung, as though he had taken his own life...
Eight of the hard-core Nazis involved were taken to court, and of those two were cleared of all charges, one was given life imprisonment, and the rest were sentenced to death by hanging.  This sentence was carried out at Pentonville Prison in the following October.
Another prisoner from the very same camp was also found hanged a month earlier, his name was  s Oberleutnant Willy Thormann.  It is not known if he committed suicide or not, but once again he was not a Nazi.  They are buried together in the German Cemetery, here in Cannock Chase.

The program about this incident made me very sad, and so I decided to find their graves.  Each year I visit and place a remembrance poppy on their grave.

Will the human race ever learn the uselessness of war I wonder?


Sharing Shadymont said...

Profound post Rose. War is so hard for everyone. I lost a brother the day before I was born. He was in the war in Korea in 1952, age 21. My grandson is 20, which makes me realize just how young he was. So sweet of you to place poppies on these graves. Lovely tribute.


Fading Grace said...

So sad, war is so very brutal & savage. My friend lost her husband in iraq, she has a 11 year old son, he was 7 at the time, and still it goes on.... xx

Karen said...

Thank you for posting this Rose, it is so important that we remember all those who have died and are still dying in conflicts around the world. A lovely tribute.

Andi's English Attic said...

Thank you for this story. It's right to remember the people on both sides of the wars. They were all some mother's baby and most of them didn't want to fight. xx

Louise said...

It's lovely that you put poppies there every year. I wanted to visit that place one when we were out on Cannock chase, but we didn't have a map and I couldn't find it. I'm sure we will go one day.

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Another thing our 2 great countries share...Remembering on 11-11.
When I go to England I love to go to see historical sights like you showed. My favorite is the Cabinet War Rooms in London

My Spotty Pony said...

This is a tragic story Rose, but thank you for sharing it. You are a kind soul to visit the grave with a poppy every year.
I have been to our village church today to arrange flowers for the remembrance service tomorrow. It is a quiet time to reflect and remember, and I do agree with the last line you wrote. Sadly the answer is probably no... but we must live in hope.

Thank you for your kind words on my post and I am so glad you have entered the giveaway :) Abby xx

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

What an inspiring post, Rose. Thanks so much for your congratulations! I appreciate all the bloggy love!...hugs...Debbie