Friday, 1 November 2013

A Lonely Wargrave, or not so lonely

Found last week on the cemetry of Beesel, Limburg. On the eastern bank of the Maas (or Meuse, as the French say)

The grave contains the body of  RAF air gunner, Flight Sergeant H.J. Hiscox, a New Zealander whose Lancaster crashed in July 1944 a few miles away on the way back from a bombing run on Homberg in Germany. There is a webpage in his honour.

As you can see, the grave is well looked after. One of the people we met there, preparing the cemetry for All Souls, told me a woman had been tending the grave for several decades now. Kids from the village learn of his history, also through the stories of his former comrades in arms. It is good to know that even this lone soldier is not forgotten.

This area along the Meuse was in the frontline in from Market Garden until the Allies crossed the river in early March 1945. The cemetry also contains a grave of three local victims of the war, a father, his 12 year old son and his aunt, killed by a grenade or shell (the Dutch word granaat can mean either) in November 1944.

In those last months of occupation the Germans rounded up 3,000 young men from the western bank of the Maas to work in German factories. 120 of them didn't return.

A commemorative plate on the church in Nunhem

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