War Cemetery Allocation Question

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by over_the_hill, Feb 17, 2013.

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  1. A bit of background first and the a question.

    My parents spent most of their lives researching one of my uncles who was killed in the battle of Normandy; I have a nicely annotated copy of "Caen. The Anvil of Victory". He is buried in the war cemetery in Douvres la Deliverand. Family wisdom has it that he was killed on D day in Douvres by a sniper.There are a few problems with this idea - Dovres was on the Canadian beach and uncle was in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and the date on his headstone is 9th July 1944.

    A couple of years ago I bought some battlefield tour books from a remainders bookshop. Most enlightening. Apparently, the Warwicks were on the right flank of the British offensive but were moved to the left flank at Le Port on the Caen Canal in case of a German counter attack up the Caen canal. They had not made much progress on the right. The Warwicks were heavily involved in Operation Charnwood which took off from Le Port on 8th / 9th July and the Warwicks were heavily involved.

    It would make more sense if the story was that uncle was killed in Operation Charnwood. But in that case why would he be buried on the other side of the battlefield? How do casualties get allocated to a cemetery?

  2. He would have been buried in the field at first. Once the fighting had moved on, he would have been re-interred at a more permanent resting place. This may not have been local to where he was killed, as quite a bit of re-organisation and rationalisation went on, even years after the war. Bodies could have been interred and re-interred 2, 3 times before fetching up in a permanent CWGC cemetary.
  3. Family wisdom is often at odds with the facts. People are sometimes surprised when they investigate the truth.

    The CWGC usually get the date of death and identity of the dead right.If you have a very strong reason to believe that he died on D Day somewhere else ,take it up with the CWGC. If you ask them they may tell you if the man buried in Dourves le Deliverande had been reinterred from another cemetery.
  4. I do know the area, but there is also the possibility that grave was near the military hospital where he may have been taken. This factor certainly accounts for significant displacement in the WW1 battlefields.
  5. Thanks for the swift replies folks. I'm pretty sure he was killed during Charnwood now, as his regiment was there at the right (wrong) time and that family story is wrong. My parents were meticulous in their research and I do know that the were in contact with CWGC but I don't know what happened with them. I had underestimated the logistics involved. Mystery solved I think.

    The first time we visited his grave was in about 1960 and I was a little nipper. Almost all the family went (about 15 of us) except for my grandmother who was too upset to travel. Put a fair old load on the French public transport system.
  6. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    There was much shuffling and reorganising of graves post WW2. General Crerar (Canada) swore that no Canadian soldier would lie in enemy territory and as such all POW graves and Canadian Army graves were moved to Holland or closer. The Air Force did things differently and my Grandfather was buried on the Dutch Border but reinterred closer to Hannover post war into a cemetery that was fairly close to where they had been headed that night!
    As for finding things out, most of what I was raised on was family hearsay which the son of a surviving crewman put right in a brief op history of the crew. I have since shared it with my family!
  7. I am not sure, but I think the policy was to ensure that there were British war cemeteries scattered across Germany - to make a point as Germany was reconstructed.
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